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The Mission

Rocket: Minotaur 1
Payload: ORS 3
Date: Nov. 19, 2013
Time: 8:15 p.m. EST (0115 GMT)
Site: Pad 0B, Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport, Wallops Island, Va.

Mission Status Center

Launch story

List of payloads

Launch events timeline

Ground track

Launch visibility

Minotaur 1 brochure

ORS 3 fact sheet

Minotaur 1 payloads
Posted: November 18, 2013

NOTE: The Minotaur 1 rocket will deliver 29 spacecraft into orbit. The largest payload is STPSat 3, built by Ball Aerospace and Technologies Corp., which is about the size of a mini-refrigerator. The other 28 passengers are CubeSats. The payloads will be released in a 500-kilometer (310-mile) circular orbit with an inclination of 40.5 degrees. The total payload mass is about 400 kilograms, or 883 pounds.

Payloads 883 pounds total mass
STPSat 3
  • The STPSat is a standard interface vehicle for the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center, Space Development & Test Directorate (SMC/SD). It is sponsored by the Space Test program and built by Ball Aerospace. The STPSat-3 spacecraft will support five payloads. The payloads for STPSat 3 will include:
  • iMESA-R (Integrated Miniaturized Electrostatic Analyzer Reflight), a U.S. Air Force Academy mission designed to measure plasma densitiesand energies
  • J-CORE (Joint Component Research), a space phenomenology mission sponsored by the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL)/EO Countermeasures Technology Branch (RYMW) & Army Space and Missile Defense Command (SMDC)
  • SSU (Strip Sensor Unit), an AFRL Directed Energy (RD) experiment to provide risk reduction through on-orbit testing
  • SWATS (Small Wind and Temperature Spectrometer), a Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) mission to provide in-situ measurements of the neutral and plasma environment to characterize the Earth's ionosphere and thermosphere
  • TCTE (TSI Calibration Transfer Experiment), a NASA/NOAA mission to collect high accuracy, high precision measurements of Total Solar Irradiance to monitor changes in solar irradiance incident at the top the Earth's atmosphere with TCTE instrument provided by the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics.
Prometheus (8 satellites)
  • Prometheus is a DoD funded CubeSat system technology development and demonstration. Los Alamos National Labs (LANL) is developing the Prometheus system with the dual objective of evaluating new low-cost development and operations methodologies while also assessing the operational utility that can be provided with CubeSat technology. The Prometheus system consists of CubeSats along with supporting ground and field segment equipment, all designed as an integrated system. LANL is serving as the primary builder and system integrator and will perform on-orbit system checkout, test, and evaluation.

  • The Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Horus CubeSat picosatellite is a second generation miniature satellite based on the Colony II CubeSat Bus developed by Boeing for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO). This mission is a pathfinder to assess performances of the Space-based Telescopes for Actionable Refinement of Ephemeris (STARE) concept. The STARE concept is a constellation of low cost nano-satellites in low-earth orbit dedicated to the observation of space debris in conjunction with a ground-based infrastructure for maintenance, coordination and data processing. Each nano-satellite in the constellation is capable of recording an optical image of space objects (debris or assets) at various range and relative velocities as scheduled by the ground infrastructure based on their closest approach distance (typically less than 1000m). The ground infrastructure processes the data received from multiple observations of the objects and reduces the positional uncertainty on the probability of collision to a level typically less than 100m, warranting taking actions such as moving assets. The Horus CubeSat intends to demonstrate the space segment performances (imaging sensor performances) of this concept as well as the performances of the post-processing of the data.

  • Co-developed by the ORS Office and SMDC, the ORSES satellite is a 3U CubeSat designed to provide communications and data capabilities for underserved tactical users. The ORSES satellite is physically based on the SMDC-ONE satellite that flew in December 2010 and on the OUTSat mission with an upgraded communication radio and encryption. The ORS Office independently developed the Vulcan Wireless Software Defined Radio (SDR) and the Raytheon Gryphon Type-I NSA certified encryption for first flight demonstration on the ORS-3 Mission. The SDR and Type-I encryption will provide significant performance and security upgrades to any future CubeSat mission.

ORS Tech (2 satellites)
  • Responding to the needs of U.S. Government sponsors for smaller spacecraft to more effectively utilize access to space, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (JHU/APL) has created a flexible and modular multi-mission nano-satellite spacecraft architecture for low-cost execution of critical missions. Under the pathfinder Multi-Mission Bus Demonstration (MBD) program, two triple (3U) CubeSat hardware prototypes have been developed. The ORS Tech 1 & 2 mission will validate a robust end-to-end system architecture, CONOPS, and key enabling nano-satellite technologies for future missions.

SENSE (2 satellites)
  • A SMC/XR 3U CubeSat that assess nanosat utility for space weather-characterize, GPS radio occultation, in-situ ion neutral composition and ionospheric UV nightglow.

  • Ho'oponopono (University of Hawaii) a 3U CubeSat will demonstrate the feasibility of a 3U CubeSat supporting orbital radar calibration capabilities to the United States Air Force by providing a source for radar interrogations, as well as collecting, disseminating, and forwarding ephemeris data.

  • KySat-2 (Kentucky Space Consortium) a 1U CubeSat technology demonstrator that builds upon the resources developed under the original KySat-1 mission. This means a predominately education outreach mission for K-12 students within the Commonwealth of Kentucky. KySat-2 will feature upgraded components developed and built by Kentucky Space and its partner insitutions. The s/c will additionally conduct an experiment looking at the effect of the space environment on a novel chemical solar cell coating.

  • DragonSat-1 (Drexel University) Drexel University's first 1U CubeSat will be a technology demonstration of an in-house gravity-gradient boom design. In addition, the satellite will carry a CMOS camera for Earth imaging purposes.

  • NPS-SCAT (Naval Post Graduate School) A 1U CubeSat that will measure solar cell degradation over a period of time. The SCAT satellite is a solar cell array tester using the CubeSat form factor. SCAT measures the characteristics of solar cells and how they degrade over time in the space environment. SCAT focuses on using COTS components to the largest extent possible: C&DH, S-band comms and EPS. Mission Utility and Intelligence needs: NPS-SCAT represents the initial capability permitting involvement in more complicated projects in the future, projects such as Space Situational Awareness and others.

  • The NSF Firefly is a 3U CubeSat with a mass of 4.0 kg. It consists of a Pumpkin structure and Flight Motherboard with MSP430 microcontroller, a Clyde Space Electrical Power System with Li-Ion batteries, a commercial variant of the Colony I radio AstroDev, Surrey SGR-O5 GPS receiver, and custom experiment section containing a photodiode, radio receiver and gamma ray detector for studying lightning. It utilizes 450 MHz for command uplink and 400.15 MHz for downlink. It has two deployables: a pair of tape measure antennas for communication, and a motor-driven gravity gradient boom/VLF radio antenna. Both deployables are restrained by monofilament burn wires.

  • Trailblazer (University of New Mexico) A 1U CubeSat that will serve as proof of concept missions for Space Plug-and-play Architecture (SPA) as well as Space Weather science research. It is designed to show how a variety of commercial parts can be modified to perform on an open source bus architecture. In addition, it is flying a dosimeter as well as a 3D conformal printed circuit board serving as an IMU.

  • ChargerSat-1 (University of Alabama-Huntsville) a 1U CubeSat student satellite development project to design, build, test, and operate an orbital picosatellite. The primary focus of the UAH CubeSat investigation is: To demonstrate passive nadir axis stabilization for picosatellite attitude control, to improve solar power collection for picosatellite operations and to improve communications for picosatellite operations.

  • Vermont Lunar CubeSat (Vermont Technical College) is a 1U CubeSat that will test their navigation system using NASA Goddard's GPS Enhanced Onboard Navigation System (GEONS) with a Novatel GPS and star tracker camera. This system would be used on a follow up ion drive triple CubeSat to navigate to the Moon.

  • COPPER (St.Louis University) a 1U CubeSat that will capture payload post-separation sequence in longwave infrared. The results will automatically identify radiation effects on the payload and provide beneficial data to be used on future missions.

Black Knight 1
  • Black Knight-1 (West Point) a 1U CubeSat that will demonstrate an experimental passive attitude control and dampening system. Secondarily, the satellite will take digital pictures and transmit while in orbit. The results of this experiment will give cadets operational knowledge and experience with satellite development and design.

  • SwampSat (University of Florida) a 1U CubeSat that will demonstrate rapid retargeting and precision pointing maneuvers using miniaturized control moment gyroscopes.

  • CAPE-2 (University of Louisiana-Lafayette) a 1U CubeSat that will serve as a proof of concept for satellite busses and software defined radio in order to get local schools interested in space science. Payloads include parrot repeater, text to speech, digipeater.

  • TJ3Sat (Thomas Jefferson High School) a 1U CubeSat that will provide access to resources for research in space education.Its secondary mission is to collect data on satellite systems in order to produce an operational satellite to substantiate the educational resources.

AFSS (Non-separating)
  • A collaborative effort between ORS and its partners to develop and demonstrate an Autonomous Flight Safety System (AFSS) that uses on-board tracking and processing to terminate an errant launch vehicle.

SoM/DoM (Non-separating)
  • The highly modular and scalable "dragNET" de-orbit module payload provided by MMA Design under an AFRL SBIR contract is a passive aerodrag de-orbit system that will de-orbit both the STPSat-3 spacecraft and MinotaurI launch vehicle upper stage at end of life. Upon initiation and deployment of the" dragNET" at end of life, a lightweight compact stowed thin membrane expands to 14m2 deployed area to increase drag of the vehicle and to significantly decrease de-orbit time to meet the 25-year DoD requirement.The mission objectives will demonstrate and qualify immediate (end of the launch mission) and delayed (after two to three years of satellite operations) capability of the dragNET De-orbit Module system. The demonstrations will prove and qualify system capability and overall utility to de-orbit space assets.

Data source: U.S. Air Force/Orbital Sciences Corp.

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