Minotaur I Launch Successful

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A Minotaur I rocket successfully put a defense satellite into orbit this evening in a spectacular nighttime launch from Wallops Island, Virginia.

The Air Force’s Operationally Responsive Space Office’s ORS-3 mission included a record number of spacecraft — 29 — on one launch vehicle. The Minotaur’s primary payload — the Space Test Program Satellite-3 (STPSat-3), an Air Force technology-demonstration mission — was successfully deployed on schedule.

The rocket also included 28 CubeSats, including 10 built by student teams across the country. One of those spacecraft was the first satellite ever built by high school students to be launched into space.

Deployment of the Cubesats were due to take place when the vehicle was out of range of tracking stations. We’re still awaiting word on how the deployments went.