HomeNewsArticle Display

TacSat2, Minotaur 1 Launch Successful

A Minotaur I rocket lifts off carrying the TacSat-2 micro satellite as well as NASA's GeneSat-1 spacecraft Dec. 16 from NASA's Wallops Island Flight Facility near Wallops Island, Va. Featuring approximately 11 onboard experiments, TacSat-2, administered by the Air Force Research Laboratory's Space Vehicles Directorate at Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., serves as the forerunner for rapid, responsive satellite production, launch and operation. (U.S. Air Force photo/Michael P. Kleiman)

A Minotaur I rocket lifts off carrying the TacSat-2 micro satellite as well as NASA's GeneSat-1 spacecraft Dec. 16 from NASA's Wallops Island Flight Facility near Wallops Island, Va. Featuring approximately 11 onboard experiments, TacSat-2, administered by the Air Force Research Laboratory's Space Vehicles Directorate at Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., serves as the forerunner for rapid, responsive satellite production, launch and operation. (U.S. Air Force photo/Michael P. Kleiman)

Wallops Island, Va. -- The Air Force Research Laboratory's TacSat-2 satellite and NASA's GeneSat-1 microsatellite were successfully launched aboard an Air Force Minotaur 1 rocket today from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility on the east coast of Virginia.

As the rocket left pad OB at 7 a.m. (EST), it made history as the first Minotaur vehicle launched from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS) and the first demonstration of a new 61-inch diameter fairing for this launch vehicle.

The mission combined the efforts of the Air Force's Space Development and Test Wing in partnership with the Air Force Research Laboratory, NASA, the Orbital Sciences Corporation and the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport.

The launch successfully demonstrated the Air Force's commitment to Operationally Responsive Space capabilities as well as an expanding application of the "Back to Basics" philosophy of acquisition being implemented by Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center Commander Lt. Gen. Michael Hamel under the guidance provided by Dr. Ron Sega, Under Secretary of the Air Force. TacSat-2 was developed quickly, cost effectively and is loaded with experiments designed to test cutting-edge capabilities to support the tactical warfighter. Integration of the TacSat-2 satellite with the Minotaur launcher happened in less that seven months--providing insight into other Operationally Responsive Space concepts about the utility of rapid integration and launch of these types of systems.

"We're very pleased with today's successful launch and the superb performance of the entire team who made it happen. Putting two satellites in orbit in less than seven months at a new launch facility presented unique challenges overcome only by hard work, attention to detail and a tremendous team effort from all of our mission partners. I, in particular, am extremely proud of this team and its impressive accomplishments," said Col. Sam McCraw, TacSat-2/Minotaur 1 Mission Director and Commander, Space Test Group, Space Development and Test Wing, Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M..

Initially set for Dec. 11, the launch was delayed until the TacSat-2 micro satellite's software issues were resolved and it had been cleared for launch.

The Space and Missile Systems Center is the U.S. Air Force's center of acquisition excellence for acquiring and developing military space systems. Its portfolio includes the Global Positioning Systems Wing, Military Satellite Communications Systems Wing, Defense Meteorological Satellite Program Systems Group, Space Launch and Range Systems Wing, the Air Force Satellite Control Network & Launch Network Systems Group, Space Based Infrared Systems Wing, Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Systems Wing, Space Superiority Systems Wing and Space Development and Test Wing. SMC manages more than $60 billion in Contracts, has an annual operating budget of $7.8 billion (FY06) and employs more than 6,800 people worldwide.