Minotaur Launch, April 11, 2005
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The Air Force Research Laboratory launched its Experimental Satellite System-11 (XSS-11) satellite from Space Launch Complex 8 at Vendenberg Air Foce Base at 6.35 A.M. PDT this morning. The launch vehicle was a Minotaur, a rocket that is part Minuteman and part Orbital Sciences' Pegasus. The micro-satellite is intended to demonstrate autonomous inspection; rendezvous and docking; repositioning; and techniques for maneuvering around other satellites.
The Minotaur launch vehicle reached the desired orbit about 12 minutes after launch. The XSS-11 micro-satellite separated successfully from the booster and is functioning properly.
As seen from Goleta: the Minotaur launched right at sunrise.
The ignition of the second stage is marked by an increase in the density of the exhaust trail.
The sunlight striking the lower part of its exhaust trail was reddened by atmospheric scattering of the wavelengths at the blue end of the spectrum.
Winds aloft quickly pulled the exhaust trail in various directions.
Link to the Minuteman ICBM History website's page about the Minotaur.
Link to the U. S. Air Force Fact Sheet about the Minotaur.
Link to Orbital Sciences' page about the Minotaur.
Link to the GlobalSecurity.org's page about the Minotaur.
Link to the GlobalSecurity.org's page about the Experimental Satellite System.
Link to the GlobalSecurity.org's article about XSS-11.
Link to the Spaceflight Now's status page for the XSS-11.
More of my Vandenberg AFB launch photography.
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