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Minotaur IV launch scheduled

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- A Minotaur IV rocket is scheduled to launch from Space Launch Complex-8 here Sept. 25 at 9:41 p.m. PDT.

The Minotaur IV will launch the Space-Based Space Surveillance satellite, a first-of-its-kind satellite that can detect and track orbiting space objects, including potential threats to our space assets and orbital debris. "This groundbreaking satellite is the first to track objects in space from space," said Lt. Col. Tim Harris, 1st Air and Space Test Squadron commander. "The launch of the SBSS satellite continues a tradition of successful teaming between the 30th Space Wing and its launch customers."

Existing tracking systems on the ground suffer distortion as they scan through the atmosphere. "SBSS won't suffer the same disadvantage," said Harris. In fact, orbit tracking capability is expected to be 10-times more accurate with this satellite."

The Minotaur IV-Lite 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.

This launch is a combined effort between the 30th SW, Orbital, The Boeing Company, Ball Aerospace and the Space and Missile Systems Center.

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