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July 14, 2015

USAF contracts Orbital ATK for ORS-5 SensorSat spacecraft launch in 2017

Orbital ATK has secured a contract from the US Air Force's (USAF) operationally responsive space (ORS) office to launch the ORS-5 SensorSat spacecraft in mid-2017.

Orbital ATK has secured a contract from the US Air Force’s (USAF) operationally responsive space (ORS) office to launch the ORS-5 SensorSat spacecraft in mid-2017.

Under the $23.6m contract, Orbital is responsible for launching the ORS-5 SensorSat spacecraft using a rocket from its Minotaur launch vehicle family.

The ORS-5 mission will see an Orbital ATK Minotaur IV rocket lifting off from Launch Complex-46, which is operated by Space Florida at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

Orbital ATK Launch Vehicles Division vice-president and general manager Rich Straka said: "Launching from the Cape adds another capability to our programme and brings us to four ranges from which Minotaur can launch.

"Under the $23.6m contract, Orbital is responsible for launching the ORS-5 SensorSat spacecraft using a rocket from its Minotaur launch vehicle family."

"This flexibility and multiple vehicle configurations enable Minotaur launch vehicles to be tailored to meet mission requirements while offering the lowest cost flight-proven launch vehicles available to the US Government."

For the first three stages, the Minotaur IV rocket will use retired Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) Peacekeeper boosters. The upper stages will be supported by ATK Orion 38 solid rocket motors.

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The use of a launch vehicle that consists of solid rocket motors needs minimal pad infrastructure, offering a lower mission costs.

To date, the Minotaur family of vehicles performed 25 consecutive launches with a 100% mission success record and placed a total of 74 satellites into orbit.

In June, Orbital ATK received a $27m contract from the US Army to fulfil additional requirements of the USAF for the DSU-33D / B proximity sensor.

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