Orbital ATK launches USAF’s ORS-5 satellite on-board its Minotaur IV rocket


Orbital ATK has successfully launched the US Air Force’s (USAF) Operationally Responsive Space-5 (ORS-5) spacecraft from its Minotaur IV rocket at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, US.

The ORS-5, which was launched from Space Launch Complex 46, is designed to provide space situational awareness information of the geosynchronous orbit belt to the US Strategic Command. It will do this through the Joint Space Operations Center.

Supported by the USAF’s 45th Space Wing, the latest launch of the single satellite constellation marks the 26th consecutive successful launch for the company’s Minotaur product line.

Orbital ATK Launch Vehicles Division vice-president and general manager Rich Straka said: “This was our first Minotaur launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, demonstrating the rocket’s capability to launch from all four major US spaceports.”

The Minotaur IV deployed the ORS-5 satellite into its targeted low inclination orbit 599km above the earth, approximately 28 minutes after the lift-off, Orbital ATK stated.

The rocket used in the mission included three decommissioned Peacekeeper stages, an Orion 38 solid-fuel upper stage, and an additional Orion 38 insertion stage for the payload.

"This was our first Minotaur launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, demonstrating the rocket’s capability to launch from all four major US spaceports."

It is capable of launching payloads up to 1,800kg to low-Earth orbit.

The Minotaur family of launch vehicles are procured under the OSP-3 contract administered by Kirtland Air Force Base.

Production of Minotaur rockets is carried out at Orbital ATK’s facilities in Chandler, Arizona; Vandenberg, California; and Clearfield and Magna, Utah, US.

To date, Orbital ATK has launched close to 100 space launch and strategic rockets for the USAF.


Image: The 45th Space Wing supported Orbital ATK’s successful Minotaur IV rocket launch carrying the USAF’s ORS-5 satellite. Photo: courtesy of Ben Cooper via patrick.af.mil