Orbital ATK’s Minotaur IV rocket lifts the ORS-5 mission to orbit from Cape Canaveral. Photo credit: Bill Jelen / We Report Space
CAPE CANAVERAL FL: The $5 million Space Florida project to modernize the north launch stand at Launch Complex 46 paid off this morning as Orbital ATK used the renovated launch pad to lift a satellite for the USAF to orbit above the equator.
The Minotaur IV Space Launch Vehicle is a stack of of three government-furnished Peacemaker solid rocket stages with a commercial solid rocket upper stage and a 2.34-meter payload fairing. Although this was the 26th launch of the Minotaur family, today’s launch was the first from Cape Canaveral. The Air Force needed a tricky orbital insertion above the equator, bringing the launch to Florida.
Bright & Fast
People watching the launch commented on how quickly the rocket ascended. Just 56 seconds after launch, the first stage had lifted the spacecraft to 16 miles in altitude and 12.6 miles downrange. The first stage separated and the second stage ignited for a 57-second burn. When the second stage separated, less than 2 minutes after launch, the spacecraft reached 57 miles in altitude and 142 miles down range. The ...