Minotaur I

Minotaur I
Minotaur I with NFIRE at MARS
Minotaur I with NFIRE at MARS
Function Small expendable launch system
Manufacturer Orbital Sciences
Country of origin  United States
Height 19.21 metres (63.0 ft)
Diameter 1.67 metres (5 ft 6 in)
Mass 36,200 kilograms (80,000 lb)
Stages 4 or 5
Payload to
580 kilograms (1,300 lb)
Payload to
331 kilograms (730 lb)
Launch history
Status Active
Launch sites Vandenberg SLC-8
Total launches 10
Successes 10
Maiden flight 27 January 2000
First Stage - M55A1
Engines 1 Solid
Thrust 935 kilonewtons (210,000 lbf)
Fuel Solid
Second Stage - SR19
Engines 1 Solid
Thrust 268 kilonewtons (60,000 lbf)
Fuel Solid
Third Stage - Orion 50XL
Engines 1 Solid
Thrust 118.2 kilonewtons (26,600 lbf)
Burn time 74 seconds
Fuel Solid
Fourth Stage - Orion 38
Engines 1 Solid
Thrust 34.8 kilonewtons (7,800 lbf)
Burn time 68 seconds
Fuel Solid

The Minotaur I, or just Minotaur is an American expendable launch system derived from the Minuteman II missile. It is used to launch small satellites for the US Government, and is a member of the Minotaur family of rockets produced by Orbital Sciences Corporation.

Minotaur I rockets consist of the M55A1 first stage and SR19 second stage of a decommissioned Minuteman missile. The Orion 50XL and Orion 38, from the Pegasus rocket, are used as third and fourth stages. A HAPS upper stage can also be flown if greater precision is needed, or the rocket needs to be able to manoeuvre to deploy multiple payloads. It can place up to 580 kilograms (1,300 lb) of payload into a 185-kilometre (115 mi) low Earth orbit at 28.5 degrees of inclination.

There have been ten launches of the Minotaur I, all successful. Initially Minotaur I launches were conducted from Space Launch Complex 8 at the Vandenberg Air Force Base. Starting with the launch of TacSat-2 in December 2006, launches have also been conducted from Pad 0B at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport on Wallops Island.

Launch history

Date (UTC) Rocket Flight Payload Launch pad Trajectory Result
January 27, 2000 03:03:06 Minotaur I 1 JAWSat (P98-1) (FalconSat1 / ASUSat1 / OCSE / OPAL) Vandenberg SLC-8 LEO Success
July 19, 2000 20:09:00 Minotaur I 2 MightySat II.1 (Sindri, P99-1) / MEMS 2A / MEMS 2B Vandenberg SLC-8 LEO Success
April 11, 2005 13:35:00 Minotaur I 3 XSS-11 Vandenberg SLC-8 LEO Success
September 23, 2005 02:24:00 Minotaur I 4 Streak (STP-R1) Vandenberg SLC-8 LEO Success
April 15, 2006 01:40:00 Minotaur I 5 COSMIC (FORMOSAT-3) Vandenberg SLC-8 LEO Success
December 16, 2006 12:00 Minotaur I 6 TacSat-2 / GeneSat-1 MARS LP-0B LEO Success
April 24, 2007 06:48 Minotaur I 7 NFIRE MARS LP-0B LEO Success
May 19, 2009 19:55 Minotaur I 8 TacSat-3 MARS LP-0B LEO Success
February 6, 2011 12:26 Minotaur I 9 NROL-66 Vandenberg SLC-8 LEO Success
June 30th, 2011 03:09 Minotaur I 10 ORS-1 MARS LP-0B LEO Success


Minotaur I Rocket Launch at NASA Wallops, June 30, 2011. See table (above) for details.

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