Minotaur 5’s Debut Launch To Send LADEE Mission To Moon

Space News (9/15, Brinton) reports Orbital Sciences Corp. “will launch a NASA lunar orbiter in 2012 aboard a five-stage Minotaur 5 rocket, which is based in part on excess ICBM hardware, under a contract option exercised by the US Air Force, the company announced Sept. 14.” The rocket will launch NASA’s Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) spacecraft, which “will orbit the Moon to determine the global density and composition of the lunar atmosphere.” The article notes this is the Minotaur 5’s “debut” mission. The AP (9/14) notes the “mission is currently scheduled for launch in May 2012 from Wallops Island.”