18 March 2011

Taurus XL Failure Investigation Could Delay TacSat-4 Launch at Kodiak Launch Complex

Fri, 18 March, 2011     By Turner Brinton  

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Defense Department this month shipped an experimental satellite communications payload and its spacecraft platform to the Kodiak Launch Complex in Alaska, where they were mated in preparation for launch as early as May 5, a Navy official said March 14.
However, the launch date for the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL)-developed TacSat-4 satellite could be affected by an investigation into the March 4 launch failure of a Taurus XL rocket, said Mike Hurley, head of spacecraft development at NRL. The Minotaur 4 vehicle that will carry TacSat-4 to orbit shares some hardware in common with the Taurus XL; both vehicles are built by Dulles, Va.-based Orbital Sciences Corp.
In addition, the military may decide to launch the ORS-1 operational surveillance satellite ahead of TacSat-4 if it is ready in time, the Air Force has said. Although ORS-1 is launching from California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base, both launch campaigns share some personnel. 
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