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Space Force to launch spy satellite on Minotaur IV

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Northrop Grumman will launch a spy satellite for the National Reconnaissance Office from the Mid Atlantic Regional Spaceport in Virginia.

Launch Time: 6:30 PM IST July 15

Launch Site: Pad 0B, Wallops Island, Virginia

About NROL-129

The payload is classified by the National Reconnaissance Office.

Launch Vehicle

Minotaur IV launching spy satellite for US Space Force.
Minotaur IV (Image Credit: Northrop Grumman)

The Minotaur IV has a 10-year launch history spanning six missions to date, with next week’s being the seventh.  All missions have been successful, giving the rocket a coveted and undisputed 100% success rating.

The Minotaur IV is an all-solid fuel rocket derived from the LGM-118 Peacekeeper intercontinental ballistic missile.

Currently owned and operated by Northrop Grumman, the Minotaur IV can take a 1,730 kg payload to low Earth orbit.

The rocket flew for the first time in April 2010 and has launch pads in California, Alaska, Florida, and Virginia.

Its first three stages always remain the same. However, the Minotaur IV’s fourth stage is interchangeable between two versions: The Orion 38 or the Star 48V.

Height: 78.3 ft
Diameter: 7 ft 8 in
Mass: 86,300 kg
Stages: 4
Payload Capacity

  • 1735 kg to LEO (28.5°, 185 km)

Launch History

  • Total Launches: 6
  • Success: 6

First Stage

  • Engine: 1 Solid
  • Total thrust: 2,200 kN.
  • Fuel: Solid

Second Stage

  • Engines: 1 Solid
  • Thrust: 1,365 kN
  • Burn Time: 54 seconds
  • Fuel: Solid

Third Stage

  • Engines: 1 Solid
  • Thrust: 32.2 kN
  • Burn Time: 67.7 seconds
  • Fuel: Solid

Fourth Stage

  • Engines: 1 Solid
  • Thrust: 68.6 kN
  • Burn Time: 84.1 seconds
  • Fuel: Solid

You can read more about the next launches here

Additional Resources:

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