An Air Force Minotaur 1 rocket carrying the Air Force Research Laboratory’s TacSat-3 satellite and two secondary payloads, NASA’s PharmaSat microsatellite and NASA’s CubeSat Technology Demonstration experiments, is scheduled to launch from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility, Virginia, on the evening of May 5th during a launch window beginning at 8:00 p.m. EDT.
The TacSat-3 launch will be the third Minotaur vehicle launched from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport’s launch pad 0B on the southern end of Wallops Island, Wallops Flight Facility. Air Force Space Command’s Space and Missile Systems Center’s Space Development and Test Wing at Kirtland AFB, New Mexico, has overall management of the mission. Contracted by the Space Development and Test Wing through Orbital Sciences Corporation’s Launch Systems Group, the Minotaur I is a 69-foot high, five-foot wide, four-stage vehicle using residual Minuteman II first and second stages in combination with the upper two stages shared with Orbital’s Pegasus XL and Taurus XL commercial space launch vehicles. In addition to the Air Force’s SDTW and AFRL, other mission participants include NASA and the Hawk Institute in Pocomoke City, Maryland. Col. Scott Handy, the Mission Director, said, “We are excited about this mission because it will demonstrate our capability to launch new satellites quickly and cost effectively. SDTW, along with Air Force Research Laboratory, are leading the TacSat-3 joint development, launch and operations teams.”