Orbital Sciences Corporation (NYSE: ORB), one of the world’s leading space technology companies, today announced that it successfully launched a U.S. Government payload aboard a Minotaur I rocket in a mission that originated from Vandenberg Air Force Base (VAFB), CA on February 5, 2011. The launch was the 20 th for the Minotaur family of launch vehicles since 2000, all of which have been successful. Of the 20 total missions, nine have been carried out by the Minotaur I space launch vehicle configuration.
“For just over a decade, the Minotaur program has proven to be an extraordinary success for the U.S. Air Force. By efficiently utilizing surplus government-owned rocket motors, combined with commercial upper stages, avionics and integration processes, the Orbital/Suborbital Program has been an exceptional value for government customers, launching 30 satellites into orbit and nine payloads on suborbital trajectories,” said Mr. Ron Grabe, Orbital’s Executive Vice President and General Manager of its Launch Systems Group.
“As we enter a period of tight government budgets, Orbital is ready to answer the Department of Defense’s call for greater affordability, accountability and reliability with the fully developed Minotaur product line. We are also extending the Minotaur product line to the civilian space sector with the upcoming introduction of the Minotaur V high-energy launcher for NASA’s LADEE lunar mission, which is scheduled for launch in 2013.”
About Orbital’s Minotaur Product LineOrbital’s Minotaur product line was developed under the U.S. Air Force’s Orbital/Suborbital Program (OSP). The initial five-year OSP contract was awarded to Orbital in 1997, while the follow-on 10-year OSP-2 contract was received in 2003. The Minotaur I space launch vehicle used in the recent launch from VAFB is the original member of Orbital’s Minotaur product line, which includes both space launch vehicles and long-range suborbital vehicles for missile defense and other specialized missions.