A massive Minotaur IV rocket, made with parts from old nuclear missiles, just sent an important payload into orbit.
Yet another rocket blasted off from Cape Canaveral in Florida on Saturday, but this was not your typical rocket in several ways. First, it was powered with parts from decommissioned Cold War-era nuclear missiles, and second, it was carrying an incredible payload that will provide the Air Force with a satellite capable of tracking threats to military spacecraft.
Orbital ATK’s Minotaur IV rocket launched from Launch Complex 46 using Peacekeeper intercontinental ballistic missile motors. The $87.5 million mission will send a satellite high above the geostationary orbit to survey the “GEO belt,” where many important national security satellites are operating.
The launch happened in the early morning hours of Aug. 26, and just 28 minutes later, the satellite was deployed 372 miles above Earth.
“Orbital ATK (NYSE: OA), a global leader in aerospace and defense technologies, announced its Minotaur IV space launch vehicle successfully launched and placed into orbit the U.S. Air Force’s Operationally Responsive Space-5 (ORS-5) spacecraft on August 26, 2017,” the company said in a statement. “The Minotaur IV launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 46 (SLC-46), which is operated under license by Space Florida. This mission marks the 26th consecutive successful launch for the company’s Minotaur product line.
“The rocket’s first stage ignited at 2:04 a.m. (EDT). Approximately 28 minutes later, the Minotaur IV deployed the ORS-5 satellite into its targeted low inclination orbit 372 miles (599 kilometers) above the earth. From this orbit, ORS-5 will deliver timely, reliable and accurate space situational awareness information to the United States Strategic Command through the Joint Space Operations Center.”