Author Topic: Minotaur I - NROL-66 - Feb 5, 2011  (Read 30048 times)

Online Skyrocket

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Minotaur I - NROL-66 - Feb 5, 2011
« on: 01/27/2011 02:47 PM »
On February, 5th a Minotaur-1 rocket will launch a classified satellite payload for the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office from SLC-8, Vandenberg Air Force Base, California. The launch is called NROL-66

Has anyone heared of any info on the payload or the orbit?
« Last Edit: 02/05/2011 11:08 AM by Chris Bergin »

Offline simonbp

Re: Minotaur I - NROL-66
« Reply #1 on: 01/27/2011 08:12 PM »
Must be pretty small for an NRO payload; presumably a tech pathfinder of some sort?

Offline faustod

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Re: Minotaur I - NROL-66
« Reply #2 on: 02/03/2011 07:16 AM »
According to http://www.spaceflightnow.com/minotaur/nrol66/110202launchpreps/
the satellite is part of RPP (Rapid Pathfinder Program).

Offline Ben the Space Brit

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Re: Minotaur I - NROL-66
« Reply #3 on: 02/03/2011 10:38 AM »
Getting a launch contract from NRO is a big coup for OSC.  I'm presuming it says very good things about the perceived reliability of Minotaur-I.  Have they launched any previous NRO payloads?
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Offline Jim

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Re: Minotaur I - NROL-66
« Reply #4 on: 02/03/2011 11:11 AM »
Getting a launch contract from NRO is a big coup for OSC.  I'm presuming it says very good things about the perceived reliability of Minotaur-I.  Have they launched any previous NRO payloads?

Yes

Offline William Graham

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Re: Minotaur I - NROL-66
« Reply #5 on: 02/03/2011 11:35 AM »
Getting a launch contract from NRO is a big coup for OSC.  I'm presuming it says very good things about the perceived reliability of Minotaur-I.  Have they launched any previous NRO payloads?

Yes

That would be STEX on a Taurus in 1998

Offline agman25

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Re: Minotaur I - NROL-66
« Reply #6 on: 02/03/2011 10:12 PM »
What is the yellow material covering the bottom part of the booster. Thermal insulation?


http://spaceflightnow.com/minotaur/nrol66/110203gallery/

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Re: Minotaur I - NROL-66
« Reply #7 on: 02/03/2011 10:32 PM »
What is the yellow material covering the bottom part of the booster. Thermal insulation?

Yes

Offline Jim

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Re: Minotaur I - NROL-66
« Reply #8 on: 02/03/2011 10:42 PM »
What is the yellow material covering the bottom part of the booster. Thermal insulation?


http://spaceflightnow.com/minotaur/nrol66/110203gallery/

The Minuteman silos were "air conditioned" to maintain the SRM's at a constant temperature so that the performance was always the same for each vehicle.  The yellow material is a jacket in which conditioned air is pumped in

Offline Rocket Guy

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Re: Minotaur I - NROL-66
« Reply #9 on: 02/04/2011 02:54 AM »
And the "banana peel" as it's called rips off at liftoff. See photos 3, 4 and 5.
http://www.launchphotography.com/Minotaur_TacSat.html

Offline Ben the Space Brit

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Re: Minotaur I - NROL-66
« Reply #10 on: 02/04/2011 07:41 AM »
What strikes me about the pictures from spaceflightnow is that they emphasise just how small the Minotaur is compared to liquid-fuelled LVs.  You could see one being launched from a V2-style mobile launcher!
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Offline edkyle99

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Re: Minotaur I - NROL-66
« Reply #11 on: 02/04/2011 02:44 PM »
What strikes me about the pictures from spaceflightnow is that they emphasise just how small the Minotaur is compared to liquid-fuelled LVs.  You could see one being launched from a V2-style mobile launcher!

Russia's Minuteman counterpart, Topol, does just that.  Several were used to orbit payloads under the START program, and those were launched from mobile launchers.  It was never clear to me why the U.S. did not develop a similar capability.

In terms of the solid/liquid size comparison, Falcon 1 is probably the best liquid comparison to Minotaur 1. 

Falcon 1 stands 21.3 meters, weighs 27.2 tonnes, and can carry 0.47 tonnes to 185 km x 9 deg from Kwajalein. 

Minotaur 1 is 19.21 meters tall, weighs 36.2 tonnes, and could boost 0.64 tonnes to 185 km x 28 deg if launched from Cape Canaveral.  It's a mighty little "pocket rocket".

- Ed Kyle
« Last Edit: 02/04/2011 02:56 PM by edkyle99 »

Offline agman25

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Re: Minotaur I - NROL-66
« Reply #12 on: 02/04/2011 02:47 PM »
What strikes me about the pictures from spaceflightnow is that they emphasise just how small the Minotaur is compared to liquid-fuelled LVs.  You could see one being launched from a V2-style mobile launcher!

Russia's Minuteman counterpart, Topol, does just that.  Several were used to orbit payloads under the START program, and those were launched from mobile launchers.  It was never clear to me why the U.S. did not develop a similar capability.

 - Ed Kyle
I guess the Trident fills the mobile ICBM role.

Offline snowhole

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Re: Minotaur I - NROL-66
« Reply #13 on: 02/04/2011 05:08 PM »
The VAFB site suggests launch window to be 4:26 am, is that local or UTC?

Offline Rocket Guy

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Re: Minotaur I - NROL-66
« Reply #14 on: 02/04/2011 05:26 PM »
Local time.

Offline Art LeBrun

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Re: Minotaur I - NROL-66
« Reply #15 on: 02/05/2011 12:08 AM »
Is the launch window length known?
1958 launch vehicle highlights: Vanguard TV-4 and Atlas 12B

Offline William Graham

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Re: Minotaur I - NROL-66
« Reply #16 on: 02/05/2011 12:10 AM »
Is the launch window length known?

I haven't seen anything. Drop zones suggest that it might be going to SSO, so the window could be instantaneous.

Offline Art LeBrun

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Re: Minotaur I - NROL-66
« Reply #17 on: 02/05/2011 04:38 AM »
Is the launch window length known?

I haven't seen anything. Drop zones suggest that it might be going to SSO, so the window could be instantaneous.

Thank you. Now if the clouds and fog can be kept at bay........
1958 launch vehicle highlights: Vanguard TV-4 and Atlas 12B

Offline MikeMi.

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Re: Minotaur I - NROL-66
« Reply #18 on: 02/05/2011 09:27 AM »
Will be avaible some webcast to look at this "pocket rocket"? :)

Offline ksc_houston

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Re: Minotaur I - NROL-66
« Reply #19 on: 02/05/2011 09:34 AM »
Is the launch window length known?

I haven't seen anything. Drop zones suggest that it might be going to SSO, so the window could be instantaneous.

Thank you. Now if the clouds and fog can be kept at bay........

Window open:    11:45 UTC / 3:35 a.m. PST / 6:35 a.m. EST
Launch time:    12:26 UTC / 4:26 a.m. PST / 7:26 a.m. EST
Window close:    15:35 UTC / 10:25 a.m. EST / 4:25 a.m. EST

In a case the launch is postponed on Feb. 5, there is a reserve slot at the same time on each of Feb. 6, 7 and 8.

Aimed at a polar obit, possibly sun-synchronous. It will probably be given the name "USA 225".
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