A minotaur rocket with payloads for the Department of Defense and universities successfully blasted into orbit November 19, with Connecticut residents treated to a spectacular view of its ascent to orbit.
Watchers on the Connecticut shoreline and higher elevations were treated to a spectacular view of a similar launch in September, when a probe destined for the moon lifted off from the same facility on a NASA mission. Tuesday’s launch was at a higher trajectory giving those North of the shoreline an opportunity to see it lift off.
Watch the prior launch from Westbrook, Connecticut:
The rocket is carrying a payload for the Department of Defense’s “Operationally Responsive Space” program, testing new technologies to help lower the cost of putting military and other satellites in orbit. The spacecraft contains 28 tiny ‘cubesats’ that will deploy from the vehicle once it achieves orbit. Some of them are student projects from a number of universities.
The Minotaur platform is built on former minuteman missiles and can place payloads of up to 1300 pounds into low-Earth orbit.