Minotaur IV

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Minotaur IV
Minotaur-4-Lite HTV-2a 2.jpg
Launch of the first Minotaur IV Lite
FunctionExpendable launch system
ManufacturerNorthrop Grumman (Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems)
Cost per launch$50 million[1]
Height23.88 meters (78.3 ft)
Diameter2.34 meters (7 ft 8 in)
Mass86,300 kg
Payload to LEO1735 kg (28.5 deg, 185 km)
Associated rockets
DerivativesMinotaur V
Launch history
Launch sitesSLC-8, Vandenberg AFB
LP-1, Kodiak
SLC-46, Cape Canaveral
Total launches6
First flight22 April 2010
First stage – SR-118
Engines1 Solid
Thrust2,200 kN (490,000 lbf)
Second stage – SR-119
Engines1 Solid
Thrust1,365 kN (307,000 lbf)
Burn time54 seconds
Third stage – SR-120
Engines1 Solid
Thrust329 kN (74,000 lbf)
Burn time62 seconds
Fourth stage (Baseline) – Orion 38
Engines1 Solid
Thrust32.2 kN (7,200 lbf)
Burn time67.7 seconds
Fourth stage (Optional) – Star-48V
Engines1 Solid
Thrust68.6 kN (15,400 lbf)
Burn time84.1 seconds

Minotaur IV, also known as Peacekeeper SLV and OSP-2 PK is an active expendable launch system derived from the LGM-118 Peacekeeper ICBM. It is operated by Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems, and made its maiden flight on 22 April 2010, carrying the HTV-2a Hypersonic Test Vehicle.[2][3][4] The first orbital launch occurred on 26 September 2010 with the SBSS satellite for the United States Air Force.

The Minotaur IV vehicle consists of four stages and is capable of placing 1,735 kilograms (3,825 lb) of payload into a Low Earth orbit (LEO).[5][6] It uses the first three stages of the Peacekeeper missile, combined with a new upper stage. On the baseline version, the fourth stage is an Orion 38. However a higher performance variant, designated Minotaur IV+, uses a Star-48V instead. A three-stage configuration (no Orion-38), designated the Minotaur IV Lite, is available for Suborbital trajectories. The Minotaur IV has also been flown with multiple upper stages. A five-stage derivative, the Minotaur V, made its maiden flight on 7 Sep 2013.

Minotaur IV launches will be conducted from SLC-8 at Vandenberg Air Force Base, LP-0B at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport, SLC-46 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and Kodiak Launch Complex Pad 1 of the Kodiak Launch Complex.

Launch history[edit]

Flight No. Date/Time (UTC) Variant Launch Site Payload Trajectory Outcome Remarks
1 22 April 2010
Minotaur IV Lite Vandenberg SLC-8 HTV-2a Suborbital Success Successful launch, but payload failed
2 26 September 2010[7]
Minotaur IV Vandenberg SLC-8 SBSS SSO Success
3 20 November 2010
Minotaur IV HAPS Kodiak LP-1 STPSat-2
LEO Success STP-S26 launch. Included a Hydrazine Auxiliary Propulsion System (HAPS) to take the vehicle to a secondary orbit after placing payloads into the primary orbit.
4 11 August 2011
Minotaur IV Lite Vandenberg SLC-8 HTV-2b Suborbital Success Successful launch, but payload failed
5 27 September 2011
Minotaur IV+ Kodiak LP-1 TacSat-4 LEO Success First Minotaur IV+ launch
6 26 August 2017
Minotaur IV / Orion 38 Cape Canaveral SLC-46 ORS-5 LEO[9] Success Ran in a 5-stage configuration, using an extra Orion 38 motor to put ORS-5 in to an equatorial orbit.

Planned launches[edit]

Date/Time (UTC) Variant Launch Site Payload Trajectory Remarks
March 2020[10] Minotaur IV MARS LP-0B NROL-129
TBD Minotaur IV Vandenberg SLC-8 TacSat-5 LEO Might launch on a Minotaur I
TBD Minotaur IV Lite Vandenberg SLC-8 CSM Suborbital


The third Minotaur IV launch, which was also known as STP-S26, deployed eight payloads. The 26th small launch vehicle mission in STP's 40-year history of flying DoD space experiments,[11] STP-S26 was intended to extend previous standard interface development efforts, implementing a number of capabilities aimed at enabling responsive access to space for small experimental satellites and payloads. STP-S26 launched at 01:45 UTC on 20 November 2010 from the Kodiak Launch Complex. The launch facility contractor was Alaska Aerospace Corporation (AAC). The payloads were released in a 650-kilometer (400 mi) orbit, before the HAPS upper stage was demonstrated by deploying two ballast payloads into a 1,200 km (750 mi) orbit.

The primary objective of the STP-S26 launch was to deploy STPSat-2, whilst demonstrating the ability of the Minotaur IV to carry additional payloads, by deploying FASTSAT, FASTRAC, RAX, O/OREOS and FalconSat-5. A Hydrazine Auxiliary Propulsion System upper stage was flown aboard the Minotaur to demonstrate its ability to deploy payloads to multiple orbits, however only mass simulators were deployed after the HAPS burn.

The launch marked the first flight of a STP-SIV (Standard Interface Vehicle) satellite, the first use of the Multi Mission Satellite Operations Center Ground System Architecture (MMSOC GSA), the first flight of the Minotaur IV's Multi-payload Adapter (MPA), the first use of a HAPS to obtain multiple orbits on a Minotaur IV flight, the first Minotaur launch from Kodiak Launch Complex (KLC), and the first deployment of CubeSats from a Minotaur IV viaPoly-PicoSatellite Orbital Deployers (P-Pods).[11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Stephen Clark (November 18, 2010). "Minotaur rocket poised to send research to new heights". Spaceflight Now.
  2. ^ "Orbital Successfully Launches First Minotaur IV Rocket for U.S. Air Force" (Press release). Orbital Sciences Corporation. April 27, 2010.
  3. ^ "Air Force Space Officials Prepare To Launch First Minotaur IV". Air Force News Service. April 16, 2010. Archived from the original on July 29, 2012.
  4. ^ Graham, William (April 22, 2010). "First Minotaur IV launches with Hypersonic Test Vehicle". NASAspaceflight.com.
  5. ^ "Minotaur IV Fact Sheet" (PDF). Orbital Sciences Corporation. 2010. Retrieved 2009-03-04.
  6. ^ Krebs, Gunter. "Minotaur-3/-4/-5 (OSP-2 Peacekeeper SLV)". Gunter's Space Page. Retrieved 2009-03-04.
  7. ^ a b Schaub, Michael B.; Schwartz, Patrick C. "Launches". Mission Set Database. NASA/Honeywell-TSI. Archived from the original on 20 March 2009. Retrieved 23 April 2010.
  8. ^ Hope, Dan. "DARPA Readies Hypersonic Aircraft for Mach 20 Launch Test". Retrieved 10 Aug 2011.
  9. ^ Clark, Stephen. "Minotaur rocket selected to launch military satellite in 2017". Spaceflight Now.
  10. ^ Clark, Stephen. "AEHF satellite arrives in Florida for first of nearly 20 Space Force launches this year – Spaceflight Now". Spaceflight Now. Retrieved 14 January 2020.
  11. ^ a b Brinton, Turner. "Air Force's STP-S26 Mission Loaded with New Technologies". SPACENEWS. Retrieved 8 December 2016.

External links[edit]