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Vandenberg launches Minotaur IV

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. - Team Vandenberg launched a Minotaur IV rocket at 9:41 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 25, 2010, from Space Launch Complex-8 here.The Minotaur IV launched the Space-Based Space Surveillance satellite, a first-of-its-kind satellite that can detect and track orbiting space objects from space. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Andrew Lee)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. - Team Vandenberg launched a Minotaur IV rocket at 9:41 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 25, 2010, from Space Launch Complex-8 here.The Minotaur IV launched the Space-Based Space Surveillance satellite, a first-of-its-kind satellite that can detect and track orbiting space objects from space. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Andrew Lee)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Team Vandenberg launched a Minotaur IV rocket at 9:41 p.m. Sept. 25 from Space Launch Complex-8 here.

The Minotaur IV launched the Space-Based Space Surveillance satellite, a first-of-its-kind satellite that can detect and track orbiting space objects from space.

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

"SBSS will greatly enhance our existing space situational awareness capability, a capability vital to protecting our space-based assets," said Colonel Boltz. "This evening's launch was our third launch in eight days, and I am extremely proud of Team Vandenberg for all the hard work and dedication they've put into these important missions."

This launch was a combined effort between the 30th Space Wing, Orbital Sciences Corporation, The Boeing Company, Ball Aerospace and the Space and Missile Systems Center.

The Minotaur IV launch vehicle provides the ability to deliver payloads up to 3000 kilograms on long range, suborbital trajectories. It utilizes residual Peacekeeper solid rocket motors combined with Orbital's commercial launch vehicle technologies.