Orbital Sciences Corporation (NYSE: ORB), one of the world’s leading space technology companies, today announced that it successfully launched the U.S. Air Force’s Space Based Space Surveillance (SBSS) Satellite, also known as SBSS Block 10, aboard a Minotaur IV rocket. The launch, which took place on Saturday, September 25, 2010 from Vandenberg Air Force Base (VAFB) in California, extends Orbital’s record of launches with the Minotaur family of rockets to a perfect 18 successes out of a total of 18 missions.
An Orbital Sciences Corporation Minotaur IV rocket lifts off from Vandenberg Air Force Base at 9:41 p.m. (PDT) on September 25, 2010 carrying the U.S. Air Force's Space Based Space Surveillance (SBSS) satellite. The Minotaur IV successfully launched the SBSS satellite into its intended orbit approximately 540 kilometers above the Earth. (Photo: Orbital Sciences Corporation)
The Minotaur IV rocket lifted off from Space Launch Complex-8 at VAFB at 9:41 p.m. (PDT). The rocket flew an orbital trajectory downrange over the Pacific Ocean and delivered the SBSS satellite to the desired separation conditions.
The Minotaur IV launch vehicle is based on decommissioned Peacekeeper rocket motors that Orbital has upgraded and integrated with modern avionics and other subsystems to produce a cost-effective launcher based on flight-proven hardware. The launch of the SBSS satellite marks the first orbital mission for the Minotaur IV, which currently has a manifest of eight missions over the next several years.
“The second successful Minotaur IV flight, and the first orbital mission for the vehicle, continues the strong and growing tradition of mission success of the Minotaur rocket family. We are proud to support the U.S. Air Force with the next generation of the Minotaur family for the government’s Space Based Space Surveillance satellite program,” said Mr. Ron Grabe, Orbital’s Executive Vice President and General Manager of its Launch Systems Group. “With two successful launches, we are confident the Minotaur IV can provide the flexibility and reliability the Air Force demands.”