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Minotaur IV

Launch of the first Minotaur IV Lite
Function Expendable launch system
Manufacturer Orbital Sciences
Cost per launch (2014) $50 million[1]
Height 23.88 meters (78.3 ft)
Diameter 2.34 meters (7 ft 8 in)
Mass 86,300 kg
Stages 4
Payload to
1735 kg (28.5 deg, 185 km)
Associated rockets
Family Minotaur
Derivatives Minotaur V
Launch history
Status Active
Launch sites SLC-8, Vandenberg AFB
LP-1, Kodiak
Total launches 5
Successes 5
First flight 22 April 2010
First Stage - SR-118
Engines 1 Solid
Thrust 2,200 kN (490,000 lbf)
Fuel Solid
Second Stage - SR-119
Engines 1 Solid
Thrust 1,365 kN (307,000 lbf)
Burn time 54 seconds
Fuel Solid
Third Stage - SR-120
Engines 1 Solid
Thrust 329 kN (74,000 lbf)
Burn time 62 seconds
Fuel Solid
Fourth Stage (Baseline) - Orion-38
Engines 1 Solid
Thrust 32.2 kN (7,200 lbf)
Burn time 67.7 seconds
Fuel Solid
Fourth Stage (Optional) - Star-48V
Engines 1 Solid
Thrust 68.6 kN (15,400 lbf)
Burn time 84.1 seconds
Fuel Solid

Minotaur IV, also known as Peacekeeper SLV and OSP-2 PK is an active expendable launch system derived from the LGM-118 Peacekeeper ICBM. It is operated by Orbital Sciences Corporation, and made its maiden flight on 22 April 2010, carrying the HTV-2a Hypersonic Test Vehicle. [2][3][4] The first orbital launch occurred on 26 September 2010 with the SBSS satellite for the United States Air Force.

The Minotaur IV vehicle consists of four stages and is capable of placing 1,735 kilograms (3,825 lb) of payload into a Low Earth orbit (LEO).[5][6] It uses the first three stages of the Peacekeeper missile, combined with a new upper stage. On the baseline version, the fourth stage is an Orion-38. However a higher performance variant, designated Minotaur IV+, uses a Star-48V instead. A three stage configuration (no Orion-38), designated the Minotaur IV Lite, is available for Suborbital trajectories. A five stage derivative, the Minotaur V, made its maiden flight on 7 Sep 2013.

Minotaur IV launches will be conducted from SLC-8 at Vandenberg Air Force Base, LP-0B at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport, and Pad 1 of the Kodiak Launch Complex.


Date/Time (UTC) Variant Launch Site Payload Trajectory Outcome Remarks
22 April 2010
Minotaur IV Lite Vandenberg SLC-8 HTV-2a Suborbital Successful Successful launch, but payload failed
26 September 2010[7]
Minotaur IV Vandenberg SLC-8 SBSS SSO Successful
20 November 2010
Minotaur IV HAPS Kodiak LP-1 STPSat-2
LEO Successful STP-S26 launch. Included a Hydrazine Auxiliary Propulsion System (HAPS) to take the vehicle to a secondary orbit after placing payloads into the primary orbit.
11 August 2011
Minotaur IV Lite Vandenberg SLC-8 HTV-2b Suborbital Successful Successful launch, but payload failed
27 September 2011
Minotaur IV+ Kodiak LP-1 TacSat-4 LEO Successful First Minotaur IV+ launch
Scheduled Launches
TBD Minotaur IV Vandenberg SLC-8 TacSat-5 LEO Might launch on a Minotaur I
TBD Minotaur IV Lite Vandenberg SLC-8 CSM Suborbital


The third Minotaur IV launch, which was also known as STP-S26, deployed eight payloads. The 26th small launch vehicle mission in STP's 40-year history of flying DoD space experiments, STP-S26 was intended to extend previous standard interface development efforts, implementing a number of capabilities aimed at enabling responsive access to space for small experimental satellites and payloads. STP-S26 launched at 01:45 UTC on 20 November 2010 from the Kodiak Launch Complex. The launch facility contractor was Alaska Aerospace Corporation (AAC). The payloads were released in a 650-kilometer (400 mi) orbit, before the HAPS upper stage was demonstrated by deploying two ballast payloads into a 1,200 km (750 mi) orbit.

The primary objective of the STP-S26 launch was to deploy STPSat-2, whilst demonstrating the ability of the Minotaur IV to carry additional payloads, by deploying FASTSAT, FASTRAC, RAX, O/OREOS and FalconSat-5. A Hydrazine Auxiliary Propulsion System upper stage was flown aboard the Minotaur to demonstrate its ability to deploy payloads to multiple orbits, however only mass simulators were deployed after the HAPS burn.

The launch marked the first flight of a STP-SIV (Standard Interface Vehicle) satellite, the first use of the Multi Mission Satellite Operations Center Ground System Architecture (MMSOC GSA),, the first flight of the Minotaur IV's Multi-payload Adapter (MPA), the first use of a HAPS to obtain multiple orbits on a Minotaur IV flight, the first Minotaur launch from Kodiak Launch Complex (KLC), and the first deployment of CubeSats from a Minotaur IV via Poly-PicoSatellite Orbital Deployers (P-Pods).

See also


External links

  • FASTRAC Ready To Go Into Space
  • Alaskan Aerospace Corp official website

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