NASA Wallops Minotaur Launch Is On Schedule

Minotaur Rocket Launching July 15 from NASA Wallops

NASA (July 2, 2020) … A Minotaur IV rocket carrying a classified payload for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) is scheduled for launch July 15, 2020, from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. The U.S. Space Force (USSF) Space and Missile Systems Center’s Launch Enterprise Program is providing the launch services for this mission.

The launch vehicle, built and operated by Northrop Grumman, is scheduled for liftoff from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport’s (MARS) Pad 0B on Wallops Island.

The launch may be visible along the U.S. east coast. In addition, the mission will be streamed live beginning at 8:30 a.m. on the Wallops YouTube channel.

The NASA Visitor Center at Wallops will not be open for this mission.

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Minotaur IV trajectory

Mission information, including photos, will be available following the launch on the NRO, NASA Wallops, and Northrop Grumman websites, and their respective Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts.

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This mission, named NROL-129, will be the first USSF mission from Wallops Flight Facility and the NRO’s first dedicated launch from Wallops.

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Minotaur being covered back up in gantry due to lightning issues on Monday July 13 .. photo Les Bowman

The NRO is the Intelligence Community element and a Department of Defense agency responsible for developing, acquiring, launching, and operating America’s intelligence satellites to meet the national security needs of the nation.

The 78-foot tall Minotaur IV launch vehicle consists of three solid-fueled motors from decommissioned Peacekeeper ICBMs and a commercial solid rocket upper stage.

NROL-129 is the first Minotaur mission from Wallops since 2013 and the second orbital launch from the MARS launch pads in 2020. Minotaur rockets have been launched from Wallops for nearly 14 years.

Keith Koehler
NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility

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DSF … Watching a solid fuel rocket is fun, these are incredibly fast, do not blink because unlike Antares, which takes a tick to climb these solid fuel rockets are gone. If you are taking pictures you have to be Johnny on the spot, or you will miss it. We hope to have great pictures and video. See you at no where near the pad for this one.

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Minotaur IV on the pad ready for launch at NASA Wallops .. photo Lew Bowman

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