Minotaur I Record Satellite Launch Includes First Student Built CubeSat & PhoneSat 2.4

Artist conception of TJ3Sat in orbit. (Credit: Orbital Sciences Corporation)
Artist conception of student-built TJ3Sat in orbit. (Credit: Orbital Sciences Corporation)

WALLOPS ISLAND, Virg. (NASA & OSC PRs) — The United States Air Force Minotaur I rocket scheduled for launch on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. from Virginia will carry a record number of satellites — 29 — into orbit. The rocket will launch a defense test spacecraft and 28 small CubeSats,  including the first satellite designed and built by high school students and PhoneSat 2.4, a second generation smartphone mission.

The Air Force’s Operationally Responsive Space Office’s ORS-3 mission will demonstrate and validate launch and range improvements for NASA and the military. These include automated trajectory targeting, range-safety planning and flight termination systems. The launch also will be part of the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) certification process for the Minotaur rocket. The FAA has licensing authority over American commercial rockets.

The Minotaur’s primary payload is the Space Test Program Satellite-3 (STPSat-3), an Air Force technology-demonstration mission. Thirteen small cubesats aboard are being provided through NASA’s Cubesat Launch Initiative.

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