Minotaur assembled at Cape Canaveral

Minotaur-4, converted ICBM missile, was successfully assembled at Launch Pad 46 at Cape Canaveral last Friday, August 19, 2017.

Orbital ATK, operator of Minotaur-4, passed through assembly process at Launch Pad 46 last Friday. Rocket was delivered in parts and thanks to the fact, that rocket is solid fueled, assembling process was done safely directly at the launch pad. Minotaur-4 will deliver on August 25, 2017,  SensorSat satellite to 700 km orbit . It is operated by United States Air Force’s Operationally Responsive Space division experimental satellite designed by The Massachusetts Institute of Technology-Lincoln Laboratory. Satellite will continuously scan belts placed at GEO orbit at altitude of 35800 km. SensorSat will search for space debris and track satellites remaining at Low Earth Orbit. Experiment also will test method of monitoring GEOP orbit using satellites placed on LEO what is more cost efficient comparing to using for same purpose satellites positioned at geostationary orbit.

Minotaur-4 derives from LGM-118 Peacekeeper ICBM and is operated by Orbital ATK. First flight of rocket took place in 2010, when vehicle successfully delivered to orbit HTV-2A Hypersonic Test Vehicle. Rocket is based on four stages and is long for 23.88 m with diameter of 2.34 m and mass at 86.3 t. Rocket is fully operating with solid propellant. First stage is providing 2200 kN of thrust, second stage is able to provide 1365 kN; third stage is providing thrust at 329 kN. Upper stage, Orion-38, is able to deliver to orbit 1735 kg of payload with its 32.2 kN engine to 135 km orbit. Until now rocket has success ratio at 100% with 5 successful flights.

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