Florida, United States (Online): NASA on Friday launched the latest in a series of satellites aimed at ensuring astronauts at the International Space Station can communicate with Earth .

The $408 million Boeing-made Tracking and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS-M) soared into space atop an Atlas V rocket that launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida at 8:29 am (1229 GMT).

NASA said in a statement, “The satellite will support critical space communication into the mid-2020s.”

The satellite will facilitate space-to-ground communication for NASA s low-Earth orbit operations, "ensuring scientists, engineers and control room staff can readily access data for missions like the Hubble Space Telescope and the International Space Station."

TDRS-M is the last of 13 such satellites that have been launched since 1983.

An antenna on the satellite was damaged last month at a processing facility in Titusville, Florida. The satellite was repaired, but the mishap set the launch back by about two weeks.