Sunday, February 06, 2011

Military payload launches into low earth orbit

An Orbital Sciences rocket lifted off this morning from it's California launch site on a military satellite delivery flight.

The 63-foot tall Minotaur I launched from Vandenberg, AFB at 7:26 a.m. EST (4:26 a.m. local time) today from Space Launch Complex-8.

The launch carried the small National Reconnaissance Office's 66 (NROL-66) spacecraft for the U.S. military into low earth orbit.

"I am extremely proud of the large group of professionals that came together to launch this rocket," stated 30th Space Wing commander Colonel Richard Boltz moments after the launch.

"The 30th Space Wing and its mission partners have a long history of successful Minotaur launches and we are proud to continue that history again here today," Col. Boltz added.

The secret payload looks to have made a successful arrival into a polar earth orbit located between 200 to 500 miles high.

The Minotaur I is made up of solid fueled first and second stages of a Minuteman II missile. The Orion third and fourth stage are also solid fueled.

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