Watch the Minotaur IV/SBSS mission webcast here! A webcast featuring launch commentary and information about the SBSS mission will be available for viewing until October 24, 2010. Click HERE to view a replay of the launch webcast.
On September, 25 2010, a Minotaur IV rocket successfully boosted the Space Based Space Surveillance (SBSS) satellite into orbit from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California. The four stage Minotaur IV launch vehicle flew in a standard configuration with three government-supplied peacekeeper solid rocket boosters and a commercial Orion 38 fourth stage solid rocket motor.
The 1,031 kilogram SBSS spacecraft was placed into an insertion orbit approximately 540 km above the Earth. The spacecraft will be raised to a final orbit of 630 km where it will provide timely detection, collection, identification and tracking of man-made space objects ranging from deep space to low-Earth orbit. The SBSS system will provide significantly improved capabilities to track and monitor satellites, debris, and other objects in space that can threaten U.S. space assets that provide communications, navigation, weather forecasting, security, and other services.
The Orbital-developed Minotaur IV space launch vehicle is capable of delivering payloads weighing up to 3,000 kg into low-Earth orbit for U.S. Government-sponsored applications. It utilizes residual Peacekeeper solid rocket motors combined with Orbital’s commercial launch vehicle technologies. The successful inaugural Minotaur IV launch took place on April 22, 2010 flying in a “Lite” (3-stage suborbital) configuration for the DARPA HTV-2a mission.
About Orbital’s Family of Minotaur Launch Vehicles
The Minotaur launch vehicle product line consists of the only proven launch vehicles currently capable of supporting the U.S. Department of Defense’s evolving Operationally Responsive Space (ORS) space launch requirements, as well as long-range target delivery for missile defense and technology demonstration missions. They are specifically designed to be capable of launching from all major U.S. spaceports, including government and commercial launch sites in Alaska, California, Florida and Virginia. In addition, the minimal amount of specialized ground infrastructure that is required to support Minotaur launches enable them to be employed at other U.S. launch sites. Orbital’s use of standardized avionics and subsystems, mature processes and experienced personnel make Minotaur rockets both reliable and cost-effective for U.S. government customers.
The Minotaur family of launch vehicles are provided via the Orbital/Suborbital Program 2 (OSP-2) and managed by the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC), Space Development and Test Wing’s (SDTW) Launch Test Squadron (LTS).
For more information:
Orbital Minotaur Web Site
Orbital Minotaur IV Fact Sheet
Hi Res Image of 1st Minotaur IV Launch
Boeing SBSS Web Page
Ball SBSS Web Page
Minotar IV/SBSS Launch Photo