[Via Satellite 07-14-2015] The U.S. Air Force’s Operationally Responsive Space (ORS) office has awarded a $23.6 million contract to Orbital ATK to launch the ORS-5 SensorSat spacecraft in mid-2017 using a rocket from the company’s Minotaur launch vehicle family.
Orbital ATK plans to conduct the mission using a Minotaur 4 rocket from Launch Complex-46, operated by Space Florida at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Launch Complex-46 is one of four launch sites from which Minotaur can launch, and this will be the rocket’s first flight from this range.
The Minotaur 4 uses retired Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) Peacekeeper boosters for the first three stages and Orbital ATK Orion 38 solid rocket motors for the upper stages. A launch team comprised of employees from both Orbital and ATK heritage companies will integrate the final launch vehicle.
“This is a prime example of where the synergies from the Orbital ATK merger are providing real benefits to our customers, by being able to deploy one launch team that possesses expertise from critical propulsion and avionics subsystems, to the full systems engineering understanding of the vehicle,” said Scott Lehr, president of Orbital ATK’s Flight Systems Group.
ORS competed the contract, which the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will license. The Minotaur family of vehicles has managed 25 consecutive launches with a 100 percent mission success record and has placed a total of 74 satellites into orbit.