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Orbital set to launch Minotaur IV rockets for USAF

Minotaur IV space launch vehicle. Photo: Orbital

DULLES, WASHINGTON (BNS): Orbital Sciences Corporation will launch the first of its Minotaur IV rockets in support of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) Hypersonic Technology Vehicle-2 (HTV-2) program on Wednesday.

Minotaur IV will begin a series of launch vehicle system that will highlight Orbital’s position as the most active current developer of new rocket systems in the world.

“The first flight of the Minotaur IV rocket ushers in an all-new capability for the Air Force and other U.S. Government customers at a time when reliable, cost-effective missions are at a premium,” said Mr. Ron Grabe, Orbital’s Executive Vice President and General Manager of its Launch Systems Group in a press release.

“Building on the outstanding record of the 16 previous flights of the Minotaur family, all of which have been successful, we are excited to begin flying the Minotaur IV rocket for our Air Force customer,” he added.

The four other launch vehicles are the Launch Abort System for NASA’s Orion program, the two-stage interceptor booster for the Missile Defense Agency’s Ground-based Midcourse Defence system and the Taurus II medium-class space launch vehicle for NASA and the Air Force’s Minotaur V rocket is scheduled to launch at NASA’s LADEE lunar mission in 2012.

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