Minotaur C launches ten small commercial satellites as it is allowed to

by | Nov 3, 2017 | Launches, Seradata News

While Minotaur launch vehicles are not normally allowed to launch commercial space satellites, the Minotaur C, which is actually a variant of Taurus launch vehicle using commercially available solid rocket stages, is allowed to. As such, a Minotaur C-XL (3210) was successfully launched from the Vandenberg launch site on the coast of California on its way to a sun-synchronous low Earth orbit (LEO). The launch took place at 2137 GMT on 31 October 2017.

Aboard were ten satellites. Six were 110 kg Skysat commercial Earth observation satellites as part of a 24 satellite constellation owned and operated as well as being built by Planet using an SSL-designed bus. Four 5 kg 3U CubeSat-class Flock 3M Dove satellites for Earth observation also owned and operated as well as being built by Planet. All the satellites were deployed successfully.

Comment by David Todd:  Orbital ATK was a little naughty to rebrand the latest variant of its very unreliable Taurus rocket series Minotaur-C.  It compounded this trick (which, by the way, also caught out your correspondent for a time) by claiming that the launch was the latest successful flight of the Minotaur series which has a 100% success rate. Still, at least this flight flew successfully.

Minotaur-C launch. Courtesy: Orbital ATK


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