23 September 2009

Rocket boosters to stop at Indian Island during transport for space program

News from Peninsula Daily News
By Jeff Chew

INDIAN ISLAND -- Three rocket boosters that will be used in a 2010 launch from Kodiak Island will stop off at Naval Magazine Indian Island late this month.

The Navy base in Port Townsend Bay will assist the Air Force Space Command's Space Development and Test Wing at Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico in transporting the rocket boosters.

The three motors, which will use rocket fuel, will be shipped from Hill Air Force Base, Utah, to Naval Magazine Indian Island, said Tonya Racasner, Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center media relations representative, based in El Segundo, Calif., who did not specify which day the motors are expected to arrive at the base.

The three rocket motors -- which range in weight from 107,000 pounds for the first stage motor to 17,500 pounds for the third stage motor -- will be transported to Indian Island over the road on commercial heavy haulers.

They will then be loaded at the Naval Magazine pier onto a commercial shipping barge with a deck of about 27,000 square feet for transportation to Kodiak Island, a trip that will take between eight and 14 days, depending upon the weather.

The rocket motors will be installed at the Kodiak Launch Complex starting in early 2010 for the launch planned for May 2010.

The rocket motors are retired Peacekeeper Intercontinental Ballistic Missile stages that will be used as the first three stages of a Minotaur IV space launch vehicle for the Department of Defense Space Test Program S26, Racasner said.

"The solid rocket motors will be stored and transported in containers specifically designed for motor transportation in accordance with Department of Transportation and Defense Transportation Regulations and will be under the supervision of the Air Force and the U.S. Army's Surface Deployment and Distribution Command," the Air Force said in a prepared statement.

Naval Magazine Indian Island "is involved because they are the only Northwestern port with the infrastructure and expertise to support such a large ordnance shipment," Racasner said.

No fuel will be transported with the rocket motors.

Space Test Program

The Department of Defense Space Test Program S26 will launch seven experimental satellites investigating the space environment, space effects on satellite components and satellite guidance and control.

"The U.S. Department of Defense Space Test Program has a 41-year history and is charged with providing access to space to the U.S. space community for scientific and experimental projects that demonstrate a potential military" use, Racasner said.

It will be the 26th small launch vehicle mission for the program.

The Minotaur family of space launch vehicles is built for the Space Development and Test Wing's Launch Test Squadron by Orbital Sciences Corporation, using a combination of commercial and retired Peacekeeper and Minuteman II ICBM hardware.

More information on the Minotaur IV can be found at the Orbital Sciences Corporations' Web site at tinyurl.com/orbitalminotaur.

Besides Naval Magazine Indian Island, several government and commercial operations are participating in the transport of the rocket motors, including the Air Force Ogden Air Logistics Center's 309th Missile Maintenance Wing and the Army's Surface Deployment and Distribution Command.

1 comment:

The Yellow Porcupine said...

AADC has yet to release any sort of formal announcement about launches in 2010.