2013-09-05 18:25:02 -
ORBITAL SET TO LAUNCH NASA'S LADEE LUNAR ORBITER ABOARD MINOTAUR V ROCKET
-- Inaugural Launch of Minotaur V to Deploy 45th Spacecraft by Orbital's
Minotaur Product Line --
-- Launch to Occur from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia on Friday --
(Wallops Island, VA 5 September 2013) - Orbital Sciences Corporation (NYSE:
ORB), one of the world's leading space technology companies, announced today
that it is in final preparations for the launch of NASA's Lunar Atmosphere and
Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) spacecraft
aboard its new Minotaur V rocket.
The vehicle is scheduled to be launched from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in
eastern Virginia on Friday, September 6, 2013 at approximately 11:27 p.m. EDT.
LADEE will mark the first lunar launch from the NASA Wallops facility and
Orbital's first Minotaur rocket launch of a payload that will travel beyond low-
The Minotaur V is a five-stage space launch vehicle designed, built and operated
by Orbital for the U.S. Air Force. It uses three decommissioned Peacekeeper
government-supplied booster stages that Orbital combines with commercial motors
for the upper two stages to produce a low-cost rocket for launching smaller
spacecraft into low-Earth orbit and higher-energy trajectories, such as the
trans-lunar flight of the LADEE mission.
"The Minotaur V design builds on Orbital's proven systems engineering,
production, test and flight operations supporting the Minotaur family of
rockets, creating another cost-effective launch alternative for U.S. government
space missions," said Mr. Lou Amorosi, Senior Vice President of Orbital's Small
Space Launch Vehicle business. "We look forward to the successful launch of the
LADEE orbiter and the opportunity to continue supporting NASA in its exploration
and science missions."
Under the Orbital/Suborbital Program (OSP) contract, which is managed by the
U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC), Space Development and
Test Directorate (SMC/SD) Launch Systems Division (SMC/SDL) located at Kirtland
Air Force Base, New Mexico, Orbital designs, integrates, tests and provides
launch services to orbit with the Minotaur I, IV, V and VI rockets, as well as
other suborbital capabilities with the Minotaur II and III configurations. The
company has launched a total of 23 Minotaur rockets with a 100% success record
dating back to January 2000.
Employing a combination of U.S. government-supplied rocket motors and Orbital's
proven commercial launch technologies, the Minotaur family of launchers provides
reliable and low-cost access to space for government-sponsored payloads. The
rockets are specifically designed to be capable of launching from all major U.S.
spaceports, including government and commercial launch sites in Alaska,
California, Virginia and Florida. Orbital's use of standardized avionics and
subsystems, mature processes and experienced personnel make Minotaur rockets
both reliable and cost-effective for U.S. government customers.
In addition to the Minotaur V rocket, the product line includes:
* Minotaur I - The initial member of the Minotaur family, the Minotaur I is a
four-stage space launch configuration that can place up to 1,300 lbs. into
low-Earth orbit. It was originally launched in January 2000 and has
conducted a total of 10 successful launches to date.
* Minotaur II - A three-stage suborbital rocket, the Minotaur II is used as a
target vehicle for testing U.S. missile defense systems and related
missions. This configuration has performed eight successful launches to
* Minotaur III - A three-stage suborbital rocket, Minotaur III can deliver
suborbital technology demonstration payloads of up to 6,500 lbs. or serve as
a target vehicle for testing U.S. missile defense systems and similar
* Minotaur IV - A heavier-lift four-stage space launch vehicle using retired
Peacekeeper rocket motors, the Minotaur IV is capable of launching
satellites weighing up to 3,800 lbs. into low-Earth orbit. Five successful
launches have been conducted with this configuration.
* Minotaur VI - An evolutionary version of the flight-proven Minotaur IV, the
Minotaur VI provides a highly-capable and cost-effective launcher for U.S.
Government-sponsored spacecraft of up to 7,000 lbs. into low-Earth orbit.
The combination of four government-furnished solid rocket stages, a
commercial solid rocket upper stage, and Orbital's flight-proven systems and
processes provide unmatched value and performance.
About the LADEE Mission
NASA's Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer is a robotic mission that
will orbit the moon to gather detailed information about the lunar atmosphere,
conditions near the surface and environmental influences on lunar dust. A
thorough understanding of these characteristics will address long-standing
unknowns, and help scientists understand other planetary bodies as well. The
LADEE spacecraft's modular common spacecraft bus is an innovative way of
transitioning away from custom designs and toward multi-use designs and
assembly-line production, which could drastically reduce the cost of spacecraft
development, just as the Ford Model T did for automobiles. More information
about LADEE can be found at www.nasa.gov/LADEE
. Live launch coverage of
the LADEE mission will be available at
. For more information, visit
Orbital develops and manufactures small- and medium-class rockets and space
systems for commercial, military and civil government customers. The company's
primary products are satellites and launch vehicles, including low-Earth orbit,
geosynchronous-Earth orbit and planetary spacecraft for communications, remote
sensing, scientific and defense missions; human-rated space systems for Earth-
orbit, lunar and other missions; ground- and air-launched rockets that deliver
satellites into orbit; and missile defense systems that are used as interceptor
and target vehicles. Orbital also provides satellite subsystems and space-
related technical services to government agencies and laboratories. More
information about Orbital can be found at www.orbital.com
. Follow the
company on Twitter @OrbitalSciences.
# # #
Barron Beneski (703) 406-5528
Public and Investor Relations
Orbital Sciences Corporation
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Source: Orbital Sciences Corporation via Thomson Reuters ONE