Orbital ATK's space launch vehicles are the industry standard for boosting small and medium payloads to orbit. Our innovative Pegasus® rocket is launched from the company's "Stargazer" L-1011 carrier aircraft and has proven to be the industry's small space launch workhorse, having conducted 42 missions from six different launch sites worldwide since 1990. Antares, Orbital's newest space launch vehicle, provides medium-class space launch for payloads weighing up to 8,000 kg.
Our Minotaur ground-launched rockets combine Pegasus upper stages with either government-supplied or commercially available first-stage rocket motors to boost larger payloads to orbit. Our Minotaur IV, V & VI rockets combine decommissioned Peacekeeper rocket motors with proven Orbital ATK avionics and fairings to provide increased lifting capacity for government-sponsored payloads. Minotaur-C, is a commercial Minotaur option for NASA and launch non-government-sponsored payloads.
The three-stage Pegasus is used to deploy small satellites weighing up to 1,000 pounds into low-Earth orbit. Pegasus is carried aloft by our Stargazer L-1011 aircraft to approximately 40,000 feet over open ocean, where it is released and free-falls five seconds before igniting its first stage rocket motor. With its unique delta-shaped wing, Pegasus typically delivers satellites into orbit in a little over 10 minutes.
Under the U.S. Air Force Orbital/Suborbital Program-3 (OSP-3) contract, Orbital ATK integrates, tests and provides space launch services for the Minotaur I, IV, V, and VI family of rockets. Employing a combination of U.S. government-supplied rocket motors and Orbital ATK's proven commercial launch technologies, the Minotaur family of launchers provides low-cost and reliable access to space for government-sponsored payloads. Orbital ATK also offers a commercial Minotaur option for NASA and launch customers unable to meet government sponsorship requirements.
Designed to provide responsive and low-cost access to space, Antares is a two-stage vehicle (with optional third stage) that provides low-Earth orbit (LEO) launch capability for payloads weighing over 8,000 kg. The Antares design has been upgraded with newly-built RD-181 first stage engines to provide greater payload performance and increased reliability.
Next Generation Launch System
Orbital ATK is developing a new family of intermediate-and large-class space launch vehicles capable of launching national security, science and commercial payloads. Common subsystems with Orbital ATK’s other programs enable synergies that reduce technical risk, provide cost savings, and increase stability when launch rates fluctuate.