Converted Missile Launches Military Satellite to Track Spacecraft and Debris

A satellite designed to assistance a U.S. troops keep tabs on a ever-growing race of orbiting objects took to a skies atop a converted barb early this morning (Aug. 26).


The Air Force’s Operationally Responsive Space-5 (ORS-5) satellite carried off from Florida’s Cape Canaveral Air Force Station during 2:04 a.m. EDT currently (0604 GMT) atop an Orbital ATK Minotaur IV rocket, that forged a burning orange arc into a sky as it rose.

If all goes according to plan, ORS-5 will settle into a round circuit 372 miles (600 kilometers) over a equator. From this vantage point, a 310-lb. (140 kilograms) satellite will indicate a geosynchronous belt, a segment about 22,300 miles (35,800 km) up that harbors many profitable communications and continue satellites, both supervision and commercial.

Geosynchronous circuit is an appealing end for such qualification since objects there circuit during a same speed that Earth rotates, permitting satellites to float over a same patch of Earth 24/7.

ORS-5, that is also famous as SensorSat, will guard a satellites and space junk in a geosynchronous belt “to assist a U.S. military’s space situational awareness,” Orbital ATK member wrote in a statement. And it will do this on a relations cheap: ORS-5 was grown and launched for reduction than $100 million, Col. Shahnaz Punjani, executive of a Air Force’s Operationally Responsive Space office, pronounced during Orbital ATK’s launch webcast this morning.

ORS-5 was designed and built by a Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Lincoln Laboratory.

The initial 3 stages of a Minotaur IV rocket are subsequent from decommissioned Peacekeeper intercontinental ballistic missiles. These 3 are customarily surfaced by a singular Orion 38 theatre (which is built by Orbital ATK); however, a Minotaur IV that carried off this morning featured dual Orion 38s. The additional one was compulsory to drive ORS-5 to a equatorial perch, Orbital ATK member said.

This morning’s launch was a sixth for a Minotaur IV and a 26th altogether for a Minotaur rocket family, that also includes a flight-proven Minotaur I, II and V vehicles.

The ORS-5 launch was a initial of a Minotaur rocket from Cape Canaveral; all of a prior Minotaur liftoffs occurred from pads in California, Virginia or Alaska.

Follow Mike Wall on Twitter @michaeldwall and Google+. Follow us @Spacedotcom, Facebook or Google+. Originally published on Space.com.


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