The OSP-2 Minotaur IV SLV combines elements of government-furnished decommissioned Peacekeeper boosters with technologies from our proven Pegasus®, Taurus® and OSP Minotaur launch vehicles. The vehicle consists of three Peacekeeper solid rocket stages, a commercial Orion 38 fourth stage motor and subsystems derived from our established space launch boosters. Under a 10-year contract with the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center, Orbital will develop and operate the low-cost Minotaur IV vehicle to launch U.S. government-funded satellites into low-Earth orbit.
The Minotaur IV SLV incorporates a standard 92-inch fairing from our Taurus booster and supports dedicated or shared launch missions. Capable of boosting payloads more than 1,750 kg into orbit, the vehicle is compatible with multiple U.S. government and commercial launch sites. The Minotaur IV is designed to provide 18-month mission response including payload integration and launch by Orbital's experienced launch crews.
The Minotaur IV launch vehicle made its debut in 2010. To-date, five successful missions have flown in three configurations from three different launch sites. The April 2010 inaugural launch utilized a Minotaur IV Lite configuration that boosted DARPA's Hypersonic Test Vehicle on a suborbital trajectory. The next Minotaur IV mission, and first to place a satellite into orbit, occurred in September 2010 with the launch of the SBSS satellite for the U.S. Air Force. This was followed by the Minotaur IV STP-S26 mission in November 2010, which demonstrated the capability to deploy multiple ESPA class spacecraft at two different orbital altitudes. A second successful flight of DARPA's Hypersonic Test Vehicle in August 2011 once again utilized the Minotaur IV Lite launch vehicle. This mission was followed closely by a Minotaur IV+ configuration in September 2011 that launched the TacSat-4 satellite into a critically inclined, highly elliptical orbit for the U.S. Navy.