Minotaur Space Launch Vehicles
Under the U.S. Air Force Orbital/Suborbital Program-3 (OSP-3) contract, Orbital integrates, tests and provides space launch services for the Minotaur I, IV, V, and VI family of rockets. Employing a combination of U.S. government-supplied rocket motors and Orbital's proven commercial launch technologies, the Minotaur family of launchers provides low-cost and reliable access to space for government-sponsored payloads.
Minotaur I is a four-stage solid fuel space launch vehicle utilizing Minuteman rocket motors for its first and second stages, reusing motors that have been decommissioned as a result of arms reduction treaties. The Minotaur’s third and fourth stages, structures, and payload fairing are common with our highly reliable Pegasus XL rocket and feature flight proven avionics systems. The ground-launched Minotaur I rocket is capable of launching payloads up to 580 kg (1,278 lbs) into low Earth Orbit. To date, Minotaur I has conducted 11 missions with a 100% success rate, delivering 62 satellites into orbit.
Minotaur IV, V, and VI
The Minotaur IV, V, and VI space launch vehicles leverage the flight-proven heritage of Orbital’s Minotaur I, Pegasus, and Taurus space launch vehicles to provide an extremely cost-effective and capable space launch solution. Minotaur IV utilizes three government-furnished solid rocket motors from decommissioned Peacekeeper ICBMs and a commercial solid rocket upper stage. Minotaur IV builds on a long heritage of launch systems with over 50 flights of each core stage and is capable of launching payloads up to 1,730 kg (3,814 lb.) to low Earth orbit.
Minotaur V is a five-stage evolutionary version of the Minotaur IV space launch vehicle. The Minotaur V vehicle shares common structures with the Minotaur IV space launch vehicle with relatively minor changes to create a five-stage configuration. Combining three government-supplied Peacekeeper motors with two commercial upper stages, the Minotaur V design provides an extremely cost-effective capability to launch small spacecraft into high energy trajectories for geosynchronous Earth orbit and lunar missions.
100% success record in 25 missions - 15 space launch missions, eight target vehicles & two suborbital technology validation missions
74 satellites carried into orbit
Capable of launching from commercial spaceports, and/or Government facilities at Vandenberg Air Force Base (VAFB) CA, Wallops Island, VA, Cape Canaveral, FL and Kodiak Island, AK
Minotaur Mission History