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TacSat-2/Minotaur Mission December 11, 2006

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TacSat-2/Minotaur Mission December 11, 2006. All Hands Briefing November 16, 2006. Wallops Orbital Launch History. Worldwide: 20 Scout missions (Wallops) 9 Pegasus (1 mobile from Canary Islands) 1 Conestoga (Wallops) 1 Athena (mobile from Kodiak, AK)

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TacSat-2/Minotaur Mission

December 11, 2006

All Hands Briefing

November 16, 2006

wallops orbital launch history
Wallops Orbital Launch History
  • Worldwide:
    • 20 Scout missions (Wallops)
    • 9 Pegasus (1 mobile from Canary
    • Islands)
    • 1 Conestoga (Wallops)
    • 1 Athena (mobile from Kodiak, AK)
  • Two most recent orbital ground launches from Wallops Island:
    • Oct 1995 Conestoga
    • Dec 1985 Scout-G
  • The first launch involving the Mid-Atlantic Regional Space Port (MARS) and their Pad 0B
the minotaur rocket
The Minotaur Rocket
  • 4 Rocket motor stages
    • 2 refurbished Minuteman II stages
    • 2 commercial Orbital Sciences Corp. stages
  • 69 feet tall vehicle
  • 5 feet wide
  • 5 previous Minotaur launches were from Vandenberg AFB
  • 450 Minuteman Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs) were in service: highly reliable

Minuteman launch from silo

Minuteman in silo

tacsat 2 spacecraft
TacSat-2 Spacecraft
  • Developed by the Air Force Research Laboratory (Albuquerque, NM) – 814 pounds
  • Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration:

1. Rapid Design, Build, Test with a launch-ready spacecraft within 15 months

2. Responsive Launch, Checkout, Operations to include launch within one week of a callup

3. Militarily Significant Capability includes images sent directly to the theater

tacsat 2 inertial stellar compass
TacSat-2 Inertial Stellar Compass
  • Draper Laboratory’s miniaturized star camera and gyro system enables a spacecraft to continuously determine its attitude or the direction in which it is pointing.
  • Funded by NASA's New Millennium Program
genesat 1 secondary spacecraft
GeneSat-1 Secondary Spacecraft
  • NASA Ames Research Center experiment (10 pounds)
  • Fully automated, miniature spaceflight system provides life support for small living things
  • Looks for genetic changes in bacteria during spaceflight.
  • Knowledge may contribute to safe, long-duration space missions by humans
cleared hazard areas
Cleared Hazard Areas

Nominal flight path

wallops uses a flight termination system to protect the public
Wallops uses a Flight Termination System to protect the public
  • If the rocket is going outside the cleared hazard areas it will be destroyed.
    • Multiple data sources (electronic and visual) provide data to the NASA Range Safety Officer to make the decision
  • Small explosive charges on each stage break up the rocket and the debris falls in the cleared hazard areas.

Flight Termination System


Radar & TelemetryTracking

Minotaur I

Command Transmitter

Range Control Center

If the flight limits are violated, The Range Safety Officer will destroy the rocket.

launch day
Launch Day
  • Launch Window: 7 AM - 10 AM; like any launch, the launch date could slip. Launch days are Dec. 11 – 20.
  • 10-minute trajectory from launch to orbital insertion
  • Viewing – NASA has no official viewing site; however, we recommend:
    • Visitor Center for NASA Families
    • Assateague Island open to the public at 6 a.m. (Southern end of Assateague Island will be closed to vehicles and pedestrians)
keeping track of the mission
Keeping Track of the Mission
  • Before launch
    • Launch Status Line (757-824-2050)
  • Day of launch countdown status – There are several ways to keep track of the countdown on launch day
    • 760 AM (range of 5 to 10 miles from Visitor Center)
    • (running status of count)
    • Local radio stations will provide updates (WESR, WVES, WCTG – thus far)
what s next
What’s Next?
  • April 2007: Near Field InfraRed Experiment (NFIRE) - (Minotaur I)
  • October 2007: TacSat-3 (Minotaur I)
darpa falcon
  • AirLaunch QuickReach
    • Approaching flight-demonstration decision
    • If confirmed, 1st flight from WFF in 2008
    • Orbital rocket deployed from C-17
  • SpaceX Falcon
    • 1st flight failure in early 2006, from Kwajalein
    • 2nd flight scheduled in December
    • Spacecraft is WFF-built technology, Demo2
      • Autonomous Flight Safety System
      • Low-Cost TDRSS Transmitter
  • Hypersonic Test Vehicle
    • Flight Test 3 & 4 scheduled from WFF
    • Probably launched on a Minotaur 1 in 2008
nasa exploration
NASA Exploration
  • WFF Mobile Range likely to provide the reentry tracking & data services for CEV return from orbit
  • WFF to manufacture components of the Low-Impact Docking System
  • WFF partnering with LaRC to demonstrate inflatable aeroshells as decelerators for atmospheric reentry
  • WFF may serve as launch site for high altitude CEV abort testing mission in 2012
  • Lunar missions carrying landers and orbiting communications satellites may be launched on Minotaur V vehicles launched from WFF