WALLOPS ISLAND, Va., April 24 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — An Air Force Minotaur 1 rocket was successfully launched at 2:48 a.m. EDT today from the NASA Wallops Flight Facility, Va.

The four-stage rocket carried the Defense Department’s Missile Defense Agency’s (MDA) Near Field Infrared Experiment (NFIRE) satellite.

This was the second Minotaur 1 launch from Wallops in just over four months. The previous mission on Dec. 16, 2006, carried the Air Force Research Laboratory’s TacSat-2 satellite.

“This launch again demonstrates the unique capabilities of the Wallops Flight Facility, which includes the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport, to efficiently support the placing of satellites into Earth orbit. NASA is particularly appreciative of the support provided by the US Coast Guard, US Fish & Wildlife, Virginia Marine Resource Commission, and state and county security and emergency preparedness organizations,” said Dr. John Campbell, Director of the NASA Wallops Flight Facility.

“Working with the Air Force, MDA, and their contractors, the preparation for this launch and the launch itself went very smoothly,” Campbell said. “We are pleased to have supported this mission.”

The next Minotaur 1 rocket launch from Wallops is currently scheduled for December 2007.

For information about the NASA Wallops Flight Facility and its mission, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/wallops.