WASHINGTON — The U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory’s experimental TacSat-3 satellite launched successfully May 19 aboard a Minotaur 1 rocket from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at NASA’s Wallops Island Facility in Virginia, according to a May 19 Air Force press release.
The TacSat-3 satellite, built by Alliant Techsystems of Minneapolis, is designed to demonstrate a hyperspectral sensor whose operations can be directly controlled by troops in the field. The satellite separated from the rocket fairing and was properly placed into orbit, the release said.
NASA’s PharmaSat microsatellite and NASA’s CubeSat Technology Demonstration experiments were also put into low Earth orbit by the Minotaur 1 vehicle, which was assembled by Orbital Sciences Corp. of Dulles, Va. The rocket, which is based in part on excess ICBM hardware, now has eight launches under its belt, all successful.