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mt1-2s.jpg (6673 bytes)Minotaur  

Vehicle Configurations

Vehicle Components

Minotaur Launch Log

Second Minotaur Launch, from Vandenberg with MightSat 2.1 in Pegasus Fairing

Minotaur 1 (formerly just "Minotaur") is a four-stage solid fuel expendable launch vehicle. It combines two surplus Minuteman 2 ICBM booster stages with two Orbital Sciences Pegasus XL upper stages and either a Pegasus XL payload fairing or a larger specialty fairing.  A Pegasus XL avionics assembly, mounted atop Stage 4, provides vehicle guidance and control.  The vehicle can put 640 kg into Low Earth Orbit (LEO). 

Minotaur 1, part of the U.S. Air Force Orbital Suborbital Program, is limited to U.S. government missions that comply with Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty limitations.   It is launched from a basic pedestal platform with a fallback umbilical using minimal support equipment.  Possible launch sites include Vandenberg AFB SLC 567E and SLC 8 (the California Launch Facility); Wallops Island, Virginia; Cape Canaveral SLC 46; and Kodiak Island, Alaska. 

 

mt1NFs.jpg (14297 bytes)Minotaur 1 with Large Fairing at Wallops Island Pad 0B During 2007 NFIRE Launch Campaign

Minotaur 1 first flew in 2000, when two orbital launches were performed from Vandenberg AFB. The first sent JAWSAT and seven microsatellites into a 800 km x 100 deg orbit on January 27.  The second boosted MightySat 2.1 into a 560 km x 98 deg. orbit on July 19. 

Nearly five years would pass before the third Minotaur 1 launch, which lofted the controversial XSS-11 satellite into an 839 x 875 km x 98.8 deg sun synchronous orbit from Vandenberg SLC 8 on March 11, 2005.  XSS-11, built by Lockheed Martin, was designed to test "proximity operations". Another Minotaur 1 orbited Darpa's Streak satellite from the same pad on September 23, 2005.  Streak, at 417 kg Minotaur 1's heaviest payload to date, was inserted into a 296  321 km x 96.3 deg orbit.


mt1ors3.jpg (34914 bytes)Minotaur 1 Configuration for ORS-3 Launch

Beginning in 2006, Minotaur 1 began flying from Wallops Island Pad 0B.  Five of the rocket's 11 launches performed by the end of 2013 had taken place from Wallops Island. 

 
 

 

Vehicle Configurations

  LEO
Payload
(metric tons)
185 km x
28 deg
LEO Payload
(metric tons)
740 km x 98 deg
Configuration LIftoff
Height
(meters)
Liftoff
Mass
(metric tons)
Minotaur 0.640 t 0.340 t M55 + SR19 + Orion50XL + Orion38 19.21 m 36.2 t

 

Vehicle Components

  Stg 1
(M55)
Stg 2
(SR19)
Stg 3
(Orion50)
Stg 4
(Orion38)
Payload
Fairing
Diameter (m) 1.67 m 1.33 m 1.27 m 0.97 m 1.27 m
Length (m) 7.49 m 4.12 m 3.58 m 2.08 m 3.78 m
Propellant Mass (tonnes) 20.785 t 6.237 t 3.915 t 0.782 t  
Empty Mass (tonnes) 2.292 t 0.795 t 0.416 t 0.203 t  
Total Mass (tonnes) 23.077 t 7.032 t 4.331 t 0.985 t ~0.3 t
Engine M55 SR19 Orion50 Orion38  
Engine Mfgr  
     
Fuel Solid Solid
Solid Solid  
Oxidizer  
     
Thrust
(SL tons)
 
     
Thrust
(Vac tons)
80.7 t 27.3 t 15.653 t 3.525 t  
ISP (SL sec) 237 s
     
ISP (Vac sec) 262 s 288 s 290 s 293 s  
Burn Time (sec) 60 s 66 s 73 s 65 s  
No. Engines 1 1 1 1  
Example Launch Timeline
400 nmi x 98.4 deg Sun Synchronous Orbit from Vandenberg 
===================================================
Event                 Time   Altitude  Velocity
                      (sec)  (nmi)     (ft/sec)
----------------------------------------------------
S1 Start               0.0     0.0         0
S1 Sep/S2 Start       60.9    16.4     4,841
S2 Skirt Sep          80.9    27.8     5,950
Fairing Sep          118.3    53.6     9,109
S2 Sep               125.8    59.5     9,622
S3 Start             127.9    61.1     9,590
S3 Burnout           199.8   130.6    18,703
S3 Sep               604.1   396.3    16,136
S4 Start             615.1   397.5    16.124
S4 Burnout           684.6   400.0    24,852
Payload Sep          744.6   400.0    24,852
==================================================

Minotaur 1 Launch Log

                        MINOTAUR 1 ORBITAL SPACE LAUNCH LOG

DATE     VEHICLE           ID      PAYLOAD                 MASS(t) SITE*      ORBIT*
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
01/27/00 Minotaur 1        SLV1    JAWSAT + 7usats          0.23   VA CLF     LEO/P
07/19/00 Minotaur 1        SLV2    Mightysat 2.1            0.124  VA CLF     LEO/S
04/11/05 Minotaur 1        SLV3    XSS-11                   0.2    VA 8       LEO/P
09/23/05 Minotaur 1        SLV4    STP-R1 (Streak)          0.417  VA 8       LEO/P
04/15/06 Minotaur 1        SLV5    Formosat 3A-F            0.42   VA 8       LEO/S
12/16/06 Minotaur 1        SLV6    Tacsat 2                 0.37   WI 0B      LEO
04/24/07 Minotaur 1        SLV7    NFIRE                    0.45?  WI 0B      LEO
05/19/09 Minotaur 1        SLV8    TacSat 3                 0.4    WI 0B      LEO
02/06/11 Minotaur 1        SLV9    NROL-66                 ~0.3    VA 8       LEO/S?
06/30/11 Minotaur 1        SLV10   ORS 1                    0.434  WI 0B      LEO
11/20/13 Minotaur 1        SLV11   ORS 3                    0.40   WI 0B      LEO
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

NOTES:

Minotuar 1 originally named "Minotaur".


*ABBREVIATIONS

 Site Code:

WI = Wallops Island, Virginia, USA 
VA = Vandenberg AFB, CA, USA
CLF = California Launch Facility, renamed SLC 8.

 Orbit Code:

EEO/M = Molynia (12-hr) Elliptical Earth Orbit
FTO = Failed to Orbit
FSO = Failed Suborbital
GTO = Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit
GTO+ = Supersynchronous or High Perigee Transfer Orbit
GTO- = Subsynchronous Transfer Orbit
GTOi = Inclined GTO
GEO = Geosynchronous Orbit
HCO = Heliocentric (solar) Orbit
HTO = High Earth Transfer Orbit
LEO = Low Earth Orbit
LEO/S = Sun Synchronous Low Earth Orbit
LEO/P = Polar Low Earth Orbit
MEO = Medium Earth Orbit
MTO = Medium Earth Transfer Orbit 
SUB = Suborbital

 

 

 

References

Minotaur Users Guide, Orbital Sciences, October 2004
Minotaur 1 Fact Sheet, Orbital Sciences, 2014

 Last Update:  March 19, 2014