Orbital Completes Minotaur IV Launch Vehicle Pathfinder Operations at Vandenberg Air Force Base.-- Rocket Assembly, Ground Operations Procedures and Range Safety Requirements Planned, Rehearsed and Reviewed by Orbital and U.S. Air Force Officials --
DULLES, Va. -- Orbital Sciences Corporation Orbital Sciences Corporation (OSC, though commonly referred to as Orbital) is a Dulles, Virginia company which specializes in satellite launch and manufacture. Its Launch Systems Group is heavily involved with missile defense launch systems. (NYSE NYSE
See: New York Stock Exchange :ORB) today announced that it has completed the full-scale "pathfinder" ground operations of the Minotaur IV space launch vehicle in preparation for its inaugural flight that is currently scheduled to take place in early 2009. The ground testing activities included the assembly of a full-scale Minotaur IV rocket, using inert rocket motors and flight-qualified structures to fully validate all interfaces with the booster, ground support equipment and facility structures. The pathfinder operations were overseen by representatives from the U.S. Air Force organizations that will play critical roles in the Minotaur IV launch operations. These include the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center Based out of Los Angeles Air Force Base in California, the Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) is a part of Air Force Space Command of the United States Air Force. Its mission is to conduct research and development of U.S. military outer space and missile systems. , the U.S. Air Force Space and Development Test Wing, and 30th Space Wing based at Vandenberg Air Force Base Vandenberg Air Force Base, U.S. military installation, 3,456 acres (1,399 hectares), SW Calif., near Lompoc; chief Pacific coast launch site for military satellites. (VAFB VAFB Vandenberg Air Force Base (California)
VAFB Virginia Farm Bureau ) in California. The Spaceport space·port
An installation for sheltering, testing, maintaining, and launching spacecraft. Systems International launch pad at VAFB will be the launch site for all three Minotaur IV missions planned in 2009.
"The completion of our pathfinder ground operations test is a major step forward as we proceed toward the inaugural launch of the Minotaur IV launch vehicle," said Mr. Lou Amorosi Amorosi is a comune (municipality) in the Province of Benevento in the Italian region Campania, located about 45 km northeast of Naples and about 30 km northwest of Benevento. As of 31 December 2004, it had a population of 2,931 and an area of 11.0 km². , Orbital's Vice President with responsibility for its entire Minotaur launch vehicle product line. "In conjunction with our customers and partners that will play vital roles during actual launch operations, we are taking a very methodical and comprehensive approach to ensuring that all aspects of the launch vehicle preparations, ground operations and range safety systems are meticulously planned, rehearsed and reviewed."
The completion of the pathfinder testing activities is a critical milestone in the development of the Minotaur IV launch vehicle. It serves as a rehearsal of all hazardous lifting operations, a fit-check for all vital rocket and ground interfaces, a final test of the mission's ground support equipment, and a checkout of vehicle integration procedures. The extensive pre-launch activities also enhance training of the launch crew and facility personnel.
Prior to beginning the pathfinder operations, procedures for all hazardous operations were approved by range safety officials and the ground support equipment involved in the procedures was proof-tested to range safety standards Safety standards are standards designed to ensure the safety of products, activities or processes, etc. They may be advisory or compulsory and are normally laid down by an advisory or regulatory body that may be either voluntary or statutory. prior to use. The pathfinder operation was the final test of new Minotaur IV structures, which had recently been fully-qualified to military-standard levels.
During the pathfinder, the various vehicle stages and components were transported, assembled and stacked at the launch site. Once the vehicle was fully assembled, a day-of-launch shelter rollback was rehearsed. Subsequent to those operations, abort (1) To exit a function or application without saving any data that has been changed.
(2) To stop a transmission.
(programming) abort - To terminate a program or process abnormally and usually suddenly, with or without diagnostic information. operations were also rehearsed and timed before the vehicle was de-stacked and transported back to the integration facility.
The ground operations also included rehearsal of spacecraft encapsulation (1) In object technology, the creation of self-contained modules that contain both the data and the processing. See object-oriented programming.
(2) The transmission of one network protocol within another. procedures within the launch vehicle fairing. The Minotaur IV design provides for separate spacecraft encapsulation, which is an enabling procedure for Operationally Responsive Space (ORS ORS oral rehydration salts.
Oral Rehydration Solution (ORS)
A liquid preparation developed by the World Health Organization that can decrease fluid loss in persons with diarrhea. ) missions, by streamlining the time and sequence of spacecraft encapsulation. Spacecraft can be selected for launch, mated, encapsulated and transported to the launch site independent of other launch vehicle or range operations.
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 This is a list of space launch vehicles sorted by country/operator in alphabetical order, commercial vehicles are listed under their corresponding country.
Note to Editor: A high-resolution image of the Minotaur IV pathfinder vehicle is available on Orbital's web site at: http://www.orbital.com/images/high/Minotaur-IV_Launchpad.jpg