Author Topic: Minotaur I - NROL-66 - Feb 5, 2011  (Read 46170 times)

Offline 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/

Offline Skyrocket

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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".
"Negative return!"

Offline Chris Bergin

Re: LIVE: Minotaur I - NROL-66 - Feb 5, 2011
« Reply #20 on: 02/05/2011 10:19 AM »
Launch preview article - by William Graham - another very good read:

http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2011/02/live-orbitals-minotaur-i-californian-launch-nrol-66/

Offline Chris Bergin

Re: Minotaur I - NROL-66
« Reply #21 on: 02/05/2011 10:37 AM »
Will be avaible some webcast to look at this "pocket rocket"? :)

Could be a problem! Nothing on Orbital's site, not even a release on the upcoming launch.

Kind of hoping something will appear here:
http://ims.istreamplanet.com/video/?id=airforce

But looks doubtful.

Offline Chris Bergin

Re: Minotaur I - NROL-66 - Feb 5, 2011
« Reply #22 on: 02/05/2011 11:07 AM »
No webcast, so we can't do this one live.
« Last Edit: 02/05/2011 11:08 AM by Chris Bergin »

Offline MikeMi.

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Re: Minotaur I - NROL-66 - Feb 5, 2011
« Reply #23 on: 02/05/2011 11:12 AM »
Meanwhile some problem arised...

Offline STS-125

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Re: Minotaur I - NROL-66 - Feb 5, 2011
« Reply #24 on: 02/05/2011 11:13 AM »
Countdown stopped at T-15min, 55 seconds

Offline William Graham

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Re: Minotaur I - NROL-66 - Feb 5, 2011
« Reply #25 on: 02/05/2011 11:31 AM »
Clock has been reset to T-16 mins and holding.

Offline William Graham

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Re: Minotaur I - NROL-66 - Feb 5, 2011
« Reply #26 on: 02/05/2011 11:34 AM »
New T-0 of 13:20 UTC

Offline Jason1701

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Re: Minotaur I - NROL-66 - Feb 5, 2011
« Reply #27 on: 02/05/2011 11:42 AM »
The problem is with ground equipment, not the rocket.

Offline otisbow

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Re: Minotaur I - NROL-66 - Feb 5, 2011
« Reply #28 on: 02/05/2011 11:48 AM »
I think you all can watch the launch on the  NASA web site ELV countdown portal.

Offline Jason1701

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Re: Minotaur I - NROL-66 - Feb 5, 2011
« Reply #29 on: 02/05/2011 12:01 PM »
Can you be more specific, please? This web site's Windows Media and Real streams aren't opening for me.

Offline William Graham

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Re: Minotaur I - NROL-66 - Feb 5, 2011
« Reply #30 on: 02/05/2011 12:06 PM »
T-0 is now 14:12 UTC

Offline otisbow

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Re: Minotaur I - NROL-66 - Feb 5, 2011
« Reply #31 on: 02/05/2011 12:08 PM »
The live video is at countdown.ksc.nasa.gov/elv/
« Last Edit: 02/05/2011 12:09 PM by otisbow »

Offline STS-125

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Re: Minotaur I - NROL-66 - Feb 5, 2011
« Reply #32 on: 02/05/2011 12:46 PM »
SCRUB, the problem is not resolvable, tomorrow there will be a new attempt

Offline Jim

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Re: Minotaur I - NROL-66 - Feb 5, 2011
« Reply #33 on: 02/05/2011 01:46 PM »
The live video is at countdown.ksc.nasa.gov/elv/

Huh?  I see an Atlas V at SLC-41 and a Taurus at SLC-576

Offline robertross

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Re: LIVE: Minotaur I - NROL-66 - Feb 5, 2011
« Reply #34 on: 02/05/2011 02:09 PM »
Launch preview article - by William Graham - another very good read:

http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2011/02/live-orbitals-minotaur-i-californian-launch-nrol-66/

Indeed, very good read. Quite the history lesson.
Remembering those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our rights & freedoms, and for those injured, visible or otherwise, in that fight.

Offline William Graham

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Re: Minotaur I - NROL-66 - Feb 5, 2011
« Reply #35 on: 02/06/2011 11:13 AM »
T-14 minutes, LHAs reported clear, all systems go for launch

Offline William Graham

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Re: Minotaur I - NROL-66 - Feb 5, 2011
« Reply #36 on: 02/06/2011 11:15 AM »
Exact T-0 is 12:26:00 UTC

Offline William Graham

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Re: Minotaur I - NROL-66 - Feb 5, 2011
« Reply #37 on: 02/06/2011 11:16 AM »
T-10 minutes and counting

Offline William Graham

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Re: Minotaur I - NROL-66 - Feb 5, 2011
« Reply #38 on: 02/06/2011 11:17 AM »
FTS is on internal power

Offline William Graham

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Re: Minotaur I - NROL-66 - Feb 5, 2011
« Reply #39 on: 02/06/2011 11:19 AM »
FTS armed

Offline William Graham

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Re: Minotaur I - NROL-66 - Feb 5, 2011
« Reply #40 on: 02/06/2011 11:20 AM »
Management has given their final go for launch.

Offline William Graham

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Re: Minotaur I - NROL-66 - Feb 5, 2011
« Reply #41 on: 02/06/2011 11:21 AM »
T-5 minutes

Offline William Graham

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Re: Minotaur I - NROL-66 - Feb 5, 2011
« Reply #42 on: 02/06/2011 11:21 AM »
Transferring to internal power

Offline William Graham

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Re: Minotaur I - NROL-66 - Feb 5, 2011
« Reply #43 on: 02/06/2011 11:23 AM »
Range is go

Offline William Graham

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Re: Minotaur I - NROL-66 - Feb 5, 2011
« Reply #44 on: 02/06/2011 11:24 AM »
T-120 seconds, automated sequence now controlling the rest of the countdown
« Last Edit: 02/06/2011 11:24 AM by GW_Simulations »

Offline William Graham

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Re: Minotaur I - NROL-66 - Feb 5, 2011
« Reply #45 on: 02/06/2011 11:25 AM »
T-1 minute

Offline William Graham

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Re: Minotaur I - NROL-66 - Feb 5, 2011
« Reply #46 on: 02/06/2011 11:26 AM »
T-0

Offline William Graham

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Re: Minotaur I - NROL-66 - Feb 5, 2011
« Reply #47 on: 02/06/2011 11:26 AM »
Launch has occurred

Offline William Graham

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Re: Minotaur I - NROL-66 - Feb 5, 2011
« Reply #48 on: 02/06/2011 11:26 AM »
Max-Q

Offline William Graham

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Re: Minotaur I - NROL-66 - Feb 5, 2011
« Reply #49 on: 02/06/2011 11:27 AM »
First stage has separated successfully

Offline Jason1701

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Re: Minotaur I - NROL-66 - Feb 5, 2011
« Reply #50 on: 02/06/2011 11:32 AM »
Second stage separated, third stage finished burn.
« Last Edit: 02/06/2011 11:34 AM by Jason1701 »

Offline William Graham

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Re: Minotaur I - NROL-66 - Feb 5, 2011
« Reply #51 on: 02/06/2011 11:32 AM »
Now in the coast between stage 3 burnout and separation. Flight continues to go well.

Offline Paul Adams

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Re: Minotaur I - NROL-66 - Feb 5, 2011
« Reply #52 on: 02/06/2011 11:34 AM »
From here in Las Vegas, I caught it shortly before first stage burn-out and also saw second stage ignition through burn out. A clear but windy night here.

« Last Edit: 02/06/2011 11:34 AM by Paul Adams »
It's all in the data.

Offline Jason1701

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Re: Minotaur I - NROL-66 - Feb 5, 2011
« Reply #53 on: 02/06/2011 11:37 AM »
Media blackout.

EDIT: Heh, it looks like SFN went a little too far on their coverage. They've deleted the last few entries and replaced them with the blackout notice.
« Last Edit: 02/06/2011 11:38 AM by Jason1701 »

Offline JosephB

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Re: Minotaur I - NROL-66 - Feb 5, 2011
« Reply #54 on: 02/06/2011 11:40 AM »
Media blackout.

EDIT: Heh, it looks like SFN went a little too far on their coverage. They've deleted the last few entries and replaced them with the blackout notice.
The last few must have been pretty bland though?

Offline Jason1701

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Re: Minotaur I - NROL-66 - Feb 5, 2011
« Reply #55 on: 02/06/2011 11:44 AM »
Media blackout.

EDIT: Heh, it looks like SFN went a little too far on their coverage. They've deleted the last few entries and replaced them with the blackout notice.
The last few must have been pretty bland though?

Just second/third stages and coast. They're now saying what "would" happen during a "normal" ascent.

Offline robertross

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Re: Minotaur I - NROL-66 - Feb 5, 2011
« Reply #56 on: 02/06/2011 01:51 PM »

Okay, why wasn't this thread in the live section?  :(
« Last Edit: 02/06/2011 02:04 PM by Andy USA »
Remembering those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our rights & freedoms, and for those injured, visible or otherwise, in that fight.

Offline Andy USA

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Re: Minotaur I - NROL-66 - Feb 5, 2011
« Reply #57 on: 02/06/2011 02:04 PM »
Why would it be? There wasn't a webcast.

Reminder of William's article.

http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2011/02/live-orbitals-minotaur-i-californian-launch-nrol-66/
« Last Edit: 02/06/2011 02:05 PM by Andy USA »

Offline robertross

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Remembering those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our rights & freedoms, and for those injured, visible or otherwise, in that fight.

Offline Andy USA

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Re: Minotaur I - NROL-66 - Feb 5, 2011
« Reply #59 on: 02/06/2011 02:32 PM »
Chris must have thought they'd be webcast and he's forgotten to remove that redirect when there wasn't one and he's away for the day with army duty.

I'll have to send him a moderator warning about his mistake there :D

Offline craigcocca

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Re: Minotaur I - NROL-66 - Feb 5, 2011
« Reply #60 on: 02/06/2011 04:48 PM »
Whether or not there is a webcast, I think this stuff should be in the Live section if we have any kind of first hand information on the launch.  I can tell you that I was awake at 4:26 local this morning reading updates in this thread on my iPad while watching the launch in my backyard, because this is the first place I always come to for launch information...
-- Craig

"Why don't you fix your little problem and light this candle..."

Offline marsavian

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Re: Minotaur I - NROL-66 - Feb 5, 2011
« Reply #61 on: 02/06/2011 07:00 PM »
Amateur video


Offline edkyle99

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Re: Minotaur I - NROL-66 - Feb 5, 2011
« Reply #62 on: 02/07/2011 03:04 AM »
To me, the story here is that this was the fourth NRO launch in just over four months, with two more planned during the next two months.  Two of those launches were performed by big, expensive Delta 4 Heavies.  Hard telling what they're up to, but this remarkable NRO launch surge really *is* the U.S. space program right now. 

 - Ed Kyle

Offline Ben the Space Brit

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Re: Minotaur I - NROL-66 - Feb 5, 2011
« Reply #63 on: 02/08/2011 07:32 AM »
Amateur video

Something very big comes loose at about 0:50.  Was that a staging event?

Further to Jason1701's earlier post, it just goes to show how difficult it is to maintain secrecy in the Internet media age.  Once, a near-total blackout could be guaranteed because no matter how many people saw it, there would be very little chance to compare note.  Now, enough observers with a degree of observational skill can be networked through the Internet so that it is possible for them to get a good estimate of NROL-66's final orbital inclination and even orbital altitude from observations of the Minotaur-I's behaviour.  Remember how well X-37B flt1 was tracked?

It must be a nightmare for the DoD's security people to maintain any degree of confidentiality about space ops these days!


[edit]
Forgot to mention: Well done to all the guys at OSC at VAFB! From what little we know, it was a completely routine flight (which is the sort you want, of course).
« Last Edit: 02/08/2011 07:34 AM by Ben the Space Brit »
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Online jacqmans

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Re: Minotaur I - NROL-66 - Feb 5, 2011
« Reply #64 on: 02/08/2011 07:38 AM »
ORBITAL SUCCESSFULLY LAUNCHES MINOTAUR I ROCKET FOR U.S. AIR FORCE

-- 20th Mission Continues Rocket Program's Perfect Launch Record Over
11-Year Period --

(Dulles, VA 7 February 2011) -- Orbital Sciences Corporation (NYSE: ORB),
one of the world's leading space technology companies, today announced that
it successfully launched a U.S. Government payload aboard a Minotaur I
rocket in a mission that originated from Vandenberg Air Force Base (VAFB),
CA on February 5, 2011.  The launch was the 20th for the Minotaur family of
launch vehicles since 2000, all of which have been successful.   Of the 20
total missions, nine have been carried out by the Minotaur I space launch
vehicle configuration.

"For just over a decade, the Minotaur program has proven to be an
extraordinary success for the U.S. Air Force.  By efficiently utilizing
surplus government-owned rocket motors, combined with commercial upper
stages, avionics and integration processes, the Orbital/Suborbital Program
has been an exceptional value for government customers, launching 30
satellites into orbit and nine payloads on suborbital trajectories," said
Mr. Ron Grabe, Orbital's Executive Vice President and General Manager of
its Launch Systems Group.

"As we enter a period of tight government budgets, Orbital is ready to
answer the Department of Defense's call for greater affordability,
accountability and reliability with the fully developed Minotaur product
line.  We are also extending the Minotaur product line to the civilian
space sector with the upcoming introduction of the Minotaur V high-energy
launcher for NASA's LADEE lunar mission, which is scheduled for launch in
2013."

About Orbital's Minotaur Product Line

Orbital's Minotaur product line was developed under the U.S. Air Force's
Orbital/Suborbital Program (OSP).  The initial five-year OSP contract was
awarded to Orbital in 1997, while the follow-on 10-year OSP-2 contract was
received in 2003.  The Minotaur I space launch vehicle used in the recent
launch from VAFB is the original member of Orbital's Minotaur product line,
which includes both space launch vehicles and long-range suborbital
vehicles for missile defense and other specialized missions.

Minotaur vehicles are the only proven launchers currently capable of
supporting the Department of Defense's evolving ORS launch requirements and
are also specifically designed to be capable of launching from all major
U.S. spaceports, including government and commercial launch sites in
Alaska, California, Florida and Virginia.

All Minotaur rockets share standardized avionics and subsystems, mature
industrial processes and experienced personnel to make them reliable and
cost effective.  The Minotaur I space launch configuration combines
Orbital's commercial launch vehicle technologies, including upper stage
rocket motors, structures, avionics and other elements, with
government-supplied lower-stage rocket motors to create responsive,
reliable and low-cost launch systems for U.S. government-sponsored
spacecraft.  It can place up to 1,300 lbs. into low- Earth orbit.

In addition to the Minotaur I space booster, Orbital's Minotaur product
line also includes:

"     Minotaur II - A three-stage suborbital rocket used as a target
vehicle for testing U.S. missile defense systems and related missions;

"     Minotaur III - A three-stage suborbital rocket, Minotaur III can
deliver suborbital technology demonstration payloads of up to 6,500 lbs. or
serve as a target vehicle for testing U.S. missile defense systems and
similar missions;

"     Minotaur IV - Introduced and flown three times in 2010, the Minotaur
IV is a heavier-lift four-stage space launch vehicle using retired
Peacekeeper rocket motors, capable of launching U.S. government-sponsored
satellites weighing up to 3,800 lbs. into low-altitude orbit; and

"     Minotaur V - An enhanced-performance version of the Minotaur IV space
launch vehicle that will be used to launch government satellites into
higher-energy orbits for missions related to space exploration and other
activities beyond low-Earth orbit.  The first launch of the Minotaur V is
NASA's LADEE lunar mission in 2013.

# # #

Note to Editors: High-resolution images of Minotaur rockets are available
at:
http://www.orbital.com/NewsInfo/ImagesMultimedia/Images/SpaceLaunch/index.shtml


Offline TitanFan

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Re: Minotaur I - NROL-66 - Feb 5, 2011
« Reply #65 on: 02/24/2011 04:19 AM »
A little late on this one, I know, but here's a shot I took of the NROL-66 launch.  Hope you all like it :)



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Offline baldusi

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Re: Minotaur I - NROL-66 - Feb 5, 2011
« Reply #66 on: 02/24/2011 04:12 PM »
Beautiful!! Congratulations!
I love photography, but have never had a chance to take a picture of a launch, much less a night launch. I've seen from the EXIF data that you used bulb, and an exposure of 91s at ISO 100. That's how long it took to clear the frame? Seeing that it had some clouds, may be the sky wasn't that nice, but 30s at ISO 400 gives, almost the same Dynamic Range on a 7D and 1/3stop brighter background. In fact, the natural ISO of the modern Canon is 200, so lowering the ISO only gives you longer exposure time.
BTW, shouldn't there be a sticky on how to photograph a launch?
« Last Edit: 02/24/2011 04:13 PM by baldusi »

Offline TitanFan

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Re: Minotaur I - NROL-66 - Feb 5, 2011
« Reply #67 on: 02/25/2011 04:15 AM »
Beautiful!! Congratulations!
I love photography, but have never had a chance to take a picture of a launch, much less a night launch. I've seen from the EXIF data that you used bulb, and an exposure of 91s at ISO 100. That's how long it took to clear the frame? Seeing that it had some clouds, may be the sky wasn't that nice, but 30s at ISO 400 gives, almost the same Dynamic Range on a 7D and 1/3stop brighter background. In fact, the natural ISO of the modern Canon is 200, so lowering the ISO only gives you longer exposure time.
BTW, shouldn't there be a sticky on how to photograph a launch?

First off, thank you so much...I'm glad you liked the picture.  Getting comments like yours makes doing this all worthwhile for me.  Aviation and rocket launch photography are my main passions.

Secondly, yeah, it only took about 90 seconds to clear the frame. That little Minotaur scoots, boy!  I was trying for a wider shot to track the vehicle's southern trajectory, but my lens (28 mm) was just too powerful, even from 12 miles away.  This was my first real attempt with the Canon 7D camera, as I had just got it a week earlier.  At the time I took this shot, it was either this lens or my big 200-500 mm air show lens, but I've since purchased a Tokina 11-16 mm wide angle lens that I'm going to shoot the Taurus XL Glory launch with.  I went with ISO 100 and f/10 on the advice of a buddy of mine who is a professional photographer, and I also repeated the settings I used with my Olympus EVolt E500 camera when I shot the Delta II Cosmo/Skymed launch back in November.

I do agree with you that a sticky thread with how to photograph a launch (especially night launches) would be beneficial.

BTW, the above shot would not have been possible without the help of LA Daily News Aerospace Photographer Gene Blevins, who I happened to run into up on the hill where I was shooting this launch. He lended me an extra Canon shutter remote he had in his truck.  Mine was on order, but hadn't showed up in the mail in time for this launch.  Without his help, it would've been only a 30 second exposure...LOL

« Last Edit: 02/25/2011 04:31 AM by TitanFan »
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Offline baldusi

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Re: Minotaur I - NROL-66 - Feb 5, 2011
« Reply #68 on: 02/25/2011 12:21 PM »
There are other ways to slow down the exposure, you can use iso 200 and an x2 ND filter. That gives you exactly the same exposure, but at the native ISO of the chip which gives you slightly more dynamic range. There's a nice experiment to do, with the wider lens. You can put the camera in multishot  continuous 15s shots at ISO 400 and then merge them in postprocessing. It could be a real nice series.

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Re: Minotaur I - NROL-66 - Feb 5, 2011
« Reply #69 on: 02/25/2011 02:39 PM »
A little late on this one, I know, but here's a shot I took of the NROL-66 launch.  Hope you all like it :)

Stunning. Great job! Thanks for sharing.
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Re: Minotaur I - NROL-66 - Feb 5, 2011
« Reply #70 on: 02/26/2011 02:30 AM »
There are other ways to slow down the exposure, you can use iso 200 and an x2 ND filter. That gives you exactly the same exposure, but at the native ISO of the chip which gives you slightly more dynamic range. There's a nice experiment to do, with the wider lens. You can put the camera in multishot  continuous 15s shots at ISO 400 and then merge them in postprocessing. It could be a real nice series.

Yeah, and doing something like that would give me some more practice in Photoshop too.  I may have to give that a try :).
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Re: Minotaur I - NROL-66 - Feb 5, 2011
« Reply #71 on: 02/26/2011 02:30 AM »
A little late on this one, I know, but here's a shot I took of the NROL-66 launch.  Hope you all like it :)

Stunning. Great job! Thanks for sharing.

Thank you!  Glad you like it :).
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Re: Minotaur I - NROL-66 - Feb 5, 2011
« Reply #72 on: 09/07/2011 04:25 PM »
I don't think this has been reported elsewhere (really doesn't belong in this backwater thread, but don't know where else to put it).

-The NRO used Orbital Science’s Minotaur I to launch the Rapid Pathfinder vehicle – our existence proof for the fielding of Small Satellites
-Rapid Pathfinder went from program design review to launch ready in less than two years at a cost of less than $20M 
-Small, low-cost bus carrying advanced technology component payloads
- 95% heritage parts; 20x20x20 inches and 519 pounds with payload
- Launched advance dosimeters to characterize the space environment from a 1,200 kilometer orbit



Attached is a picture of the satellite.

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Re: Minotaur I - NROL-66 - Feb 5, 2011
« Reply #73 on: 09/07/2011 04:42 PM »
Very interessting. Where did you find this?

Offline Blackstar

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Re: Minotaur I - NROL-66 - Feb 5, 2011
« Reply #74 on: 09/07/2011 05:10 PM »
NRO website.

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Re: Minotaur I - NROL-66 - Feb 5, 2011
« Reply #75 on: 09/07/2011 05:12 PM »
NRO website.

Thank you very much for the PDF, it has some other interesting things in it.

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Re: Minotaur I - NROL-66 - Feb 5, 2011
« Reply #76 on: 02/09/2012 01:37 AM »
According to the Note verbale dated 26 July 2011 from the Permanent Mission of the United States of America to the United Nations (Vienna) addressed to the Secretary-General,
( http://www.oosa.unvienna.org/pdf/reports/regdocs/ser625E.pdf ) the orbit of 37364 2011-006A USA-225 and three other objects from that launch is given as 90.0 deg, 1202x1230 km, 109.7 min.

Source
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Re: Minotaur I - NROL-66 - Feb 5, 2011
« Reply #77 on: 01/11/2014 06:38 PM »
At the Jan 2014 American Astronomical Society meeting I had a nice chat with Dom Conte and Chris Clark at their Millennium Space Systems booth. See  http://millennium-space.com  - the Rapid Pathfinder satellite launched in Feb 2011 was
built by them using their Aquila M1 bus, and it is still operating. Millennium's factory is in Torrance, California (with a new
facility in El Segundo nearly ready) and their control center is in nearby Manhattan Beach.

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