Launch Systems Overview
Space Launch Vehicles
Orbital's space launch vehicles are the industry standard for boosting small payloads to orbit. Our innovative Pegasus® rocket is launched from the company's "Stargazer" L-1011 carrier aircraft and has proven to be the industry's small space launch workhorse, having conducted 42 missions from six different launch sites worldwide since 1990.
Our Minotaur ground-launched rockets combine Pegasus upper stages with either government-supplied or commercially available first-stage rocket motors to boost larger payloads to orbit. Minotaur IV combines decommissioned Peacekeeper rocket motors with proven Orbital avionics and fairings to provide increased lifting capacity for government-sponsored payloads.
With the development of the Antares space launch vehicle, Orbital is extending its capabilities to provide medium-class launch services for U.S. government, commercial and international customers. The inaugural launch of Antares occurred on April 21, 2013 from Wallops Island, Virginia.
Missile Defense Systems
Orbital is an industry-leading provider of suborbital target and interceptor launch vehicles for the nation's missile defense systems. In the last 10 years we have conducted nearly 50 major launches for the U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA), the Air Force, the Army and Navy to develop, test and enhance U.S. missile defense systems.