|Launch Date:||November 19, 2013|
|Launch Site:||Wallops Flight Facility (WFF), Virginia|
|Mission Customer:||Operationally Responsive Space (ORS) Office|
On November 19, 2013 a Minotaur I successfully conducted the U.S. Air Force ORS-3 mission from Pad 0B at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS) located at NASA Wallops Flight Facility, Virginia.
Highlights of the mission included:
- 25th overall launch of the Minotaur family of rockets
- 6th Minotaur launch from the Wallops Flight Facility
- 2nd Minotaur launch from Wallops in the last three months
- 29 Satellites launched in the mission (the most ever aboard a single rocket)
- 74 total number of satellites boosted into orbit aboard Minotaur rockets since the program's first flight in 2000
The primary payload for the ORS-3 mission was the U.S. Air Force STPSat-3 spacecraft. In addition, the rocket deployed 28 cubesats and carried two non-separating tertiary payloads. Among the cubesats launched was TJ3Sat, the first satellite built by high school students to be launched into space. Orbital employees advised the students who designed and built TJ3Sat and the company provided technical and financial assistance to the program.
About Minotaur I
Minotaur I is a four stage space launch vehicle capable of boosting up to 1,300 lbs. into low- Earth orbit. The rocket combines two commercial upper stage motors and other Orbital launch vehicle technologies, including structures, avionics and other elements, with two government-supplied lower-stage rocket motors to create a responsive, reliable and low-cost launch system for U.S. government-sponsored spacecraft.
Orbital conducts Minotaur launches under the U.S. Air Force's Orbital/Suborbital-3 contract, which is managed by the Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC), located at Los Angeles Air Force Base, CA. The Space Development and Test Wing, based at Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque, NM, oversees Minotaur launches for SMC.