A United Launch Alliance rocket launched a NASA communications satellite into orbit Friday, completing its 120th consecutive successful mission.
The Centennial-based company's Atlas V rocket blasted off from a Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida launch pad at 8:30 a.m. and just under two hours later delivered NASA's Tracking DATA and Relay Satellite-M into orbit.
The TDRS-M satellite is part of a fleet of NASA orbiters that relay phone calls and data traffic for the International Space Station and other space hardware.
NASA's first TDRS satellite launched in 1983 to handle around-the-clock communications, telemetry data and other signals from orbiting spacecraft. More than 40 NASA spacecraft rely on the satellites to communicate back to earth.