Author Topic: Minotaur-C - SkySat x6 (S/N 8-13) - October 17, 2017  (Read 21969 times)

Offline baldusi

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This is Orbital's Press Release

Quote
Orbital Signs Launch Agreement With Skybox Imaging
-- Company to Launch Six Commercial High-Resolution Imaging Spacecraft for New Customer Aboard Commercial Version of Minotaur Rocket in Late 2015 --


(Dulles, VA 20 February 2014) – Orbital Sciences Corporation (NYSE: ORB), one of the world’s leading space technology companies, today announced that it has signed a commercial launch contract with Skybox Imaging to carry six high-resolution imaging and video-capable spacecraft into low-Earth orbit (LEO) in late 2015 from Vandenberg Air Force Base, CA. The Skybox spacecraft will be launched aboard the Minotaur-C space launch vehicle, a commercial variant of the company’s Minotaur product line that serves the U.S. government market. The mission will be overseen by the same Small-Class Launch Vehicles unit of the company’s Launch Systems Group that has executed 25 consecutive successful Minotaur launches since 2000. Financial terms of the agreement were not released.

“We are very pleased to have been selected by Skybox Imaging for this exciting opportunity,” said Mr. David W. Thompson, Orbital’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “As fellow participants in the expansion of the commercial space industry, Orbital and Skybox share similar values of innovation, affordability and reliability, which make this partnership a perfect fit. We have offered options for additional launch services to support the development of Skybox’s business, and we are looking forward to the opportunity to forge a long-term, multi-launch relationship with their team.”

The Minotaur-C rocket will use four solid rocket motors supplied by ATK as its propulsion system, all of which have been flown dozens of times and thoroughly flight-proven in various combinations on Orbital’s other small space launch vehicles, including Pegasus, Taurus and Minotaur, as well as on the company’s Orbital Boost Vehicle (OBV) long-range missile defense interceptor. It will also incorporate numerous design features that are common with the Minotaur product line, such as the rocket’s electrical power system, payload fairing, flight termination system, navigation sensors and RF components. In addition, the Minotaur-C will utilize its SkySat satellite dispenser, currently in design by the Minotaur team, which will be built and tested at the company’s Chandler, AZ launch vehicle design and engineering facility.

Orbital’s family of small space launch vehicles provides reliable “right-sized” launch services that are the industry standard for boosting small payloads to orbit. From the innovative air-launched Pegasus to traditional ground-launched rockets like the Minotaur family of launchers, Orbital’s small-class launch vehicles share flight-proven propulsion, avionics, engineering teams, production and testing facilities, and management systems to provide low-cost and reliable access to space.

About Orbital
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 http://www.orbital.com. Follow the company on Twitter @OrbitalSciences.

About Skybox Imaging
Skybox Imaging (Skybox) empowers global businesses to make better decisions with timely, high fidelity imagery and infinite analytics. By combining the power of web technologies and a constellation of high-resolution imaging satellites, Skybox is generating a unique data source describing daily global activity with timely, accessible, sub-meter color imagery and high definition video of the Earth. Founded in 2009, Skybox Imaging is backed by leading venture firms and comprised of internet and aerospace professionals. For more information, visit www.skybox.com.

First mention of the Minotaur-C I've ever seen.
« Last Edit: 09/06/2017 04:01 AM by gongora »

Offline Galactic Penguin SST

Re: Minotaur-C - SkySat-4/5/6/7/8/9? - Late 2015
« Reply #1 on: 02/20/2014 02:32 PM »
I guess the Minotaur-C is just a commercialized version of the Minotaur-I? ?_?
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Offline Danderman

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Re: Minotaur-C - SkySat-4/5/6/7/8/9? - Late 2015
« Reply #2 on: 02/20/2014 02:50 PM »
If this is Minuteman-based, this would break a boatload of space policy regulations.

However, this could simply be a new small solid launcher, sort of like an Athena.

Online Skyrocket

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Re: Minotaur-C - SkySat-4/5/6/7/8/9? - Late 2015
« Reply #3 on: 02/20/2014 02:51 PM »
I guess the Minotaur-C is just a commercialized version of the Minotaur-I? ?_?

Something alike. But as the refurbished ICBM motors are not available for commercial flights, the M55 motor of the first stage must be replaced by something else - possibly an Orion-50SXL.

Orbital has a rudimentary page on the Minotaur-C:

http://www.orbital.com/SpaceLaunch/Minotaur/Minotaur-C/

Quote from: Orbital
The Minotaur-C rocket will use four solid rocket motors supplied by ATK as its propulsion system, all of which have been flown dozens of times and thoroughly flight-proven in various combinations on Orbital’s other small space launch vehicles, including Pegasus, Taurus and Minotaur, as well as on the company’s Orbital Boost Vehicle (OBV) long-range missile defense interceptor. It will also incorporate numerous design features that are common with the Minotaur product line, such as the rocket’s electrical power system, payload fairing, flight termination system, navigation sensors and RF components. In addition, the Minotaur-C will utilize its SkySat satellite dispenser, currently in design by the Minotaur team, which will be built and tested at the company’s Chandler, AZ launch vehicle design and engineering facility.


Offline kevin-rf

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Re: Minotaur-C - SkySat-4/5/6/7/8/9? - Late 2015
« Reply #4 on: 02/20/2014 03:01 PM »
Since we are talking multiple deployments, might they use something like HAPS as a final stage?
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Offline Jim

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Re: Minotaur-C - SkySat-4/5/6/7/8/9? - Late 2015
« Reply #5 on: 02/20/2014 03:04 PM »
I bet this is a renamed Taurus I with some motor changes

Offline Danderman

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Re: Minotaur-C - SkySat-4/5/6/7/8/9? - Late 2015
« Reply #6 on: 02/20/2014 03:15 PM »
I bet this is a renamed Taurus I with some motor changes

Let's hope with a fairing change, too.

Offline Galactic Penguin SST

Re: Minotaur-C - SkySat-4/5/6/7/8/9? - Late 2015
« Reply #7 on: 02/20/2014 03:15 PM »
I bet this is a renamed Taurus I with some motor changes

Ah yes I have forgotten that the Taurus name now has a black mark on it..... one SkySat is IIRC ~150 kg so 6 of them should be just OK for a modified Taurus-XL - which I guess is now called Minotaur-C?
Chinese spaceflight is a cosmic riddle wrapped in a galactic mystery inside an orbital enigma... - (not) Winston Churchill

Online Skyrocket

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Re: Minotaur-C - SkySat-4/5/6/7/8/9? - Late 2015
« Reply #8 on: 02/20/2014 03:42 PM »
I bet this is a renamed Taurus I with some motor changes

Ah yes I have forgotten that the Taurus name now has a black mark on it..... one SkySat is IIRC ~150 kg so 6 of them should be just OK for a modified Taurus-XL - which I guess is now called Minotaur-C?

Interestingly, the Taurus does no longer appear on Orbital's website in the launcher section. But i do not know, when the Taurus was removed.

Looks indeed like some kind of re-branding the Taurus to Minotaur-C

Offline Galactic Penguin SST

Re: Minotaur-C - SkySat-4/5/6/7/8/9? - Late 2015
« Reply #9 on: 02/20/2014 04:35 PM »
Well....I asked OSC's PAO on Twitter and the answers aren't completely clear....

Cosmic Penguin ‏@Cosmic_Penguin
@OrbitalSciences @skyboximaging Is the Minotaur-C just a "sold commercially" version of the Minotaur I? ?_?

Orbital Sciences ‏@OrbitalSciences
@Cosmic_Penguin @skyboximaging the two gov't furnished motors are replaced with commercially supplied motors from ATK

https://twitter.com/Cosmic_Penguin/status/436524075343556608
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Offline russianhalo117

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Re: Minotaur-C - SkySat-4/5/6/7/8/9? - Late 2015
« Reply #10 on: 02/20/2014 05:45 PM »
I bet this is a renamed Taurus I with some motor changes

Ah yes I have forgotten that the Taurus name now has a black mark on it..... one SkySat is IIRC ~150 kg so 6 of them should be just OK for a modified Taurus-XL - which I guess is now called Minotaur-C?

Interestingly, the Taurus does no longer appear on Orbital's website in the launcher section. But i do not know, when the Taurus was removed.

Looks indeed like some kind of re-branding the Taurus to Minotaur-C
I am told that Minotaur-C is believed to be the designation being used to refer to all commercial versions of the current Minotaur launcher family. It is my understanding that Minotaur-C will use  commercial equivalent motors and offer the similar payload performance as the existing Minotaur Family, which I designating as Minotaur-G (Government) for simplicity.

Offline russianhalo117

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Re: Minotaur-C - SkySat-4/5/6/7/8/9? - Late 2015
« Reply #11 on: 02/20/2014 06:03 PM »
I bet this is a renamed Taurus I with some motor changes

Ah yes I have forgotten that the Taurus name now has a black mark on it..... one SkySat is IIRC ~150 kg so 6 of them should be just OK for a modified Taurus-XL - which I guess is now called Minotaur-C?

Interestingly, the Taurus does no longer appear on Orbital's website in the launcher section. But i do not know, when the Taurus was removed.

Looks indeed like some kind of re-branding the Taurus to Minotaur-C
It is no longer in the menu and side bar, but it can be found via this link: http://www.orbital.com/SpaceLaunch/Taurus/

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Re: Minotaur-C - SkySat-4/5/6/7/8/9? - Late 2015
« Reply #12 on: 02/20/2014 06:45 PM »
Perhaps this new vehicle has some relation to their ICBM-Target, for which Orbital has also two contracts.

This ICBM-Target uses a new first stage,  an Orion-50SXLG as the second stage, which might be good replacement for the two Minuteman stages.

Offline Kim Keller

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Re: Minotaur-C - SkySat-4/5/6/7/8/9? - Late 2015
« Reply #13 on: 02/20/2014 07:00 PM »
I bet this is a renamed Taurus I with some motor changes

Ah yes I have forgotten that the Taurus name now has a black mark on it..... one SkySat is IIRC ~150 kg so 6 of them should be just OK for a modified Taurus-XL - which I guess is now called Minotaur-C?

Interestingly, the Taurus does no longer appear on Orbital's website in the launcher section. But i do not know, when the Taurus was removed.

Looks indeed like some kind of re-branding the Taurus to Minotaur-C

When you folks see pictures of it I believe you will indeed recognize it.

Offline gosnold

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Re: Minotaur-C - SkySat-4/5/6/7/8/9? - Late 2015
« Reply #14 on: 02/20/2014 07:02 PM »
What is the plane change possible with a Minotaur (let's say -IV) in LEO? Skybox wants a constellation, but populating the planes with 2 launches of 6 sats is going to be interesting.

Offline Danderman

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Re: Minotaur-C - SkySat-4/5/6/7/8/9? - Late 2015
« Reply #15 on: 02/20/2014 08:02 PM »
What is the plane change possible with a Minotaur (let's say -IV) in LEO? Skybox wants a constellation, but populating the planes with 2 launches of 6 sats is going to be interesting.

That's easy, you just dump the sats into a low parking orbit, and then raise them a bit to the final orbit after they have moved into the right plane locations.

Offline baldusi

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Re: Minotaur-C - SkySat-4/5/6/7/8/9? - Late 2015
« Reply #16 on: 02/20/2014 08:25 PM »
What is the plane change possible with a Minotaur (let's say -IV) in LEO? Skybox wants a constellation, but populating the planes with 2 launches of 6 sats is going to be interesting.

That's easy, you just dump the sats into a low parking orbit, and then raise them a bit to the final orbit after they have moved into the right plane locations.
That's if you want to keep them all in the same plane. There are some ways to play with precession and have them on different planes with very little fuel during a years. Since the sats are designed for at least three, they could do this.

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Re: Minotaur-C - SkySat-4/5/6/7/8/9? - Late 2015
« Reply #17 on: 02/21/2014 12:27 PM »
I am told that Minotaur-C is believed to be the designation being used to refer to all commercial versions of the current Minotaur launcher family. It is my understanding that Minotaur-C will use  commercial equivalent motors and offer the similar payload performance as the existing Minotaur Family, which I designating as Minotaur-G (Government) for simplicity.

There are only so many surplus Peacekeeper bits out there so there was always going to be a need to ultimately migrate to new-build motors. It's interesting that Orbital are investing in developing an all-civil version. Obviously they are anticipating a lot of interest in non-USG launches in its payload class.
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Offline kevin-rf

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Re: Minotaur-C - SkySat-4/5/6/7/8/9? - Late 2015
« Reply #18 on: 02/21/2014 01:11 PM »

There are only so many surplus Peacekeeper bits out there so there was always going to be a need to ultimately migrate to new-build motors. It's interesting that Orbital are investing in developing an all-civil version. Obviously they are anticipating a lot of interest in non-USG launches in its payload class.

Assuming it's not a renamed/branded Taurus.
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Offline Kim Keller

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Re: Minotaur-C - SkySat-4/5/6/7/8/9? - Late 2015
« Reply #19 on: 02/21/2014 01:13 PM »
I am told that Minotaur-C is believed to be the designation being used to refer to all commercial versions of the current Minotaur launcher family. It is my understanding that Minotaur-C will use  commercial equivalent motors and offer the similar payload performance as the existing Minotaur Family, which I designating as Minotaur-G (Government) for simplicity.

There are only so many surplus Peacekeeper bits out there so there was always going to be a need to ultimately migrate to new-build motors. It's interesting that Orbital are investing in developing an all-civil version. Obviously they are anticipating a lot of interest in non-USG launches in its payload class.

Ummmm, no. The components this rocket uses have been procured and used commercially in the past. This is not new investment; this is buying existing commercial stages (from ATK) in a combination that has been used commercially before.

As for "a lot of interest"......probably nothing more than there has been for the last decade.

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