Published: Jan 23, 2014 2:19 PM EST

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) - NASA's super-high-flying fleet of communication satellites is about to grow.
    
An unmanned rocket is set to blast off Thursday night from Cape Canaveral with the latest, third-generation Tracking and Data Relay Satellite.
    
NASA uses the TDRS (TEE'-driss) satellites to support the International Space Station and Hubble Space Telescope, among other craft. The network is 22,300 miles high and allows continuous two-way contact with the space station and its six inhabitants.
    
This newest satellite is designated "L'' in the TDRS series. NASA will rename it TDRS-12 once it's checked out in orbit, by late spring.
    
The satellite costs about $350 million.
    
NASA launched its first TDRS in 1983 aboard a space shuttle.
    
Launch time is 9:05 p.m.
    
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Online:
    
NASA: http://tdrs.gsfc.nasa.gov/

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