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Minotaur I launch scheduled

(Courtesy graphic)

(Courtesy graphic)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- A Minotaur I rocket is scheduled to launch from Space Launch Complex-8 here Feb. 5 at 4:26 a.m. PST.

The rocket will be carrying a national security payload for the National Reconnaissance Office.

Technicians from the 1st Air and Space Test Squadron here executed emplacement of the rocket's lower and upper stack in recent weeks supporting a schedule that was compressed due to delays in the recent Delta IV Heavy launch at SLC-6.

"I'm proud of the work our team has accomplished in support of this unique mission," said Lt. Col. Timothy Harris, 1st ASTS commander and Air Force launch director for the mission. "NRO's desire to demonstrate and integrate new technologies fits right in with our unique ability to launch Minotaur I and Minotaur IV rockets at SLC-8."

The 1st ASTS provides space lift maintenance technicians, mission assurance, mission management, booster and payload processing facilities for SLC-8 launches.

Showcasing the 30th Space Wing's ability to press on and focus on getting the mission done, stacking of the rocket occurred just hours after the launch of the Delta IV Heavy Jan. 20. said Harris.

Col. Richard Boltz, 30th Space Wing commander is the launch decision authority.

The launch is a combined effort of more than 200 personnel from the 30th Space Wing, NRO, Orbital Sciences Corporation, and Space and Missiles Center.