Northrop Grumman’s 78-foot-tall Minotaur IV expendable launch system is lifting off from NASA’s Wallops Island flight facility in Virginia. The launch is the first Minotaur IV launch from Virginia’s Space Coast and the first National Reconnaissance Office launch using the Minotaur IV system.
Today’s Minotaur IV launch is also the first use of the expendable launch system since August 2017. The system has been used for a total of seven launches since April 2010, and one to two additional launches are already planned. NASA says the next launch from Wallops Flight Facility will be sometime in mid-August.
Minotaur rockets are created using decommissioned MX Peacekeeper intercontinental ballistic missiles created in the late 80s and early 90s.