Orbital ATK Set to Launch Minotaur C Rocket Carrying SkySat and Dove Spacecraft for Planet
31 October 2017
Orbital ATK, a global leader in aerospace and defense technologies, today announced it is in final preparations to launch the company’s Minotaur C rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, on October 31 at approximately 2:37 p.m. PDT. The Minotaur C will carry Planet’s SkySat and Dove spacecraft, which will capture medium and high resolution multispectral imagery of Earth at unprecedented scale and frequency for the commercial market. Approximately 12 minutes into flight the ten Planet spacecraft will deploy into their targeted sun synchronous orbit 310 miles (500 kilometers) above the Earth.
“We are looking forward to launching Planet’s spacecraft, which will provide incredible data for commercial use,” said Rich Straka, Vice President and General Manager of Orbital ATK’s Launch Vehicles Division. “The Minotaur C provides an excellent low-cost option for small to medium spacecraft providers.”
The Minotaur C rocket is an all commercial vehicle capable of launching payloads up to 3,500 lbs. The Minotaur C space launch vehicle is a variant of the Minotaur product line designed to support U.S. government and commercial customers. Minotaur C employs four Orbital ATK solid rocket motors as its propulsion system, all of which have been flown dozens of times and are thoroughly flight-proven in various combinations on the company's other small space launch vehicles, including Pegasus, Taurus and Minotaur, as well as on the Orbital Boost Vehicle (OBV) long-range missile defense interceptor.
The constellation of seven SkySats, soon to be 13, is the world’s largest commercial fleet of high-res satellites operating in space. Together, the Dove and SkySat network of remote sensing satellites deliver a global information feed to businesses, governments, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) around the world.
Live coverage of the Minotaur launch will be available at www.orbitalatk.com starting 20 minutes before liftoff. Details about the mission can also be found on the website.