November 19, 2013
Hertz Fellow David Thompson’s Orbital Sciences, Reaches Milepost: 25th Overall Launch of the Minotaur Family of Rockets; Payload Includes First Ever Satellite Built by High School Students
Orbital Sciences Corporation, the company led by Hertz Fellow David W. Thompson, will reach yet another milepost in the launch of its Minotaur rocket this evening, November 19. The launch will be the 25th overall launch of the Minotaur family of rockets and it carries the most satellites ever launched aboard a single rocket. Among the 29 satellites on board is the first ever satellite to be launched into space that has been built by high school students.
Students designed and built the TJ3 Sat and Orbital provided technical and financial assistance to the program. The primary payload for the ORS-3 mission is the U.S. Air Force STPSat-3 spacecraft. The rocket will also deploy 28 cubesats (discrete, scalable 1 kg1 100 x 100 x 100 mm cuboid spacecraft units) and carry three non separating tertiary payloads. The students’ TJ3 Sat is among the 28 cubesats.
The launch of a Minotaur I rocket for the U.S. Air Force ORS-3 mission is the sixth Minotaur launch from the NASA Wallops Flight Facility and the second Minotaur launch from Wallops in the last three months. The planned launch window is 7:30-9:15 pm EST. The launch, from ignition to delivery of the satellites in orbit, will take less than twelve-and-a-half minutes with a targeted 500 km circular orbit at an inclination of 40.5 degrees.
The launch will bring to 74 the total number of satellites boosted into orbit aboard Minotaur rockets since the program’s first flight in 2000. More information about the students’ TJ3 Sat can be found by visiting http://www.orbital.com/NewsInfo/MissionUpdates/MinotaurI_ORS-3/TJ3Sat/.