Encyclopedia Astronautica
Taurus



taurus.jpg
Taurus
Credit: Orbital Sciences Corporation
Pad-launched launch vehicle using Pegasus upper stages and Castor-120 first stage.

First launch used slightly larger Peacekeeper ICBM first stage instead of Castor-120. Under a 2002 contract from Boeing, Orbital developed a three-stage version of Taurus to serve as the interceptor boost vehicles for the US government's missile intercept system. The firm portion of the company's contract, awarded in early 2002, was valued at $450 million and extended through 2007.

The Taurus rocket offered an affordable, reliable means of launching small satellites into low-Earth orbit. Developed under the sponsorship of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), Taurus was designed for easy transportability and rapid set-up and launch and was a ground-based variant of Orbital's air-launched Pegasus rocket. The four-stage, inertially guided, all solid propellant vehicle could deploy a 1,350-kilogram satellite into low-Earth orbit. Two fairing sizes offered flexibility in designing a particular mission. The addition of a structural adapter allowed launch of multiple payloads.

The Taurus incorporated a simplified integration and test capability that included horizontal integration of the rocket's upper stages and offline encapsulation of the payload within the fairing. The upper stages and the encapsulated cargo were delivered to the launch site, where they were mated. The whole assembly was then stacked on the first stage using a mobile crane.

The Taurus launch system included a complete set of ground support equipment to ensure the ability to operate from austere sites. Taurus was approved for launch from the US Government's Western range at Vandenberg Air Force Base (VAFB), Cape Canaveral Air Station (CCAS) in Florida, Wallops Flight Facility (WFF) in Virginia, and Kodiak Launch Complex, Alaska.

More... - Chronology...


Associated Spacecraft
  • TAOS American military strategic defense satellite. One launch, 1994.03.13, USA 101. TAOS was a technology demonstration satellite whose purpose was to demonstrate autonomous space navigation systems to reduce satellite ground support needs. More...
  • DARPASAT American technology satellite. One launch, 1994.03.13, USA 102. GPS receiver and data processor technology tests. More...
  • Microstar American communications technology satellite. 22 launches, 1995.04.03 (Orbcomm F1) to 2008.10.19 (Formosat 3F). Small satellite bus, specially designed for multiple launch by Pegasus or Taurus family launch vehicles. More...
  • TiPS American tether technology satellite. 3 launches, 1996.05.12 (USA 123) to 1998.10.03 (USA 141). The 53 kg satellite consisted of 2 end masses connected by a 4 km tether. NRO (the National Reconnaissance Office) provided funding for the TiPS project. More...
  • Celestis American burial satellite. 4 launches, 1998.02.10 (Celestis-02) to 2008.08.03 (Celestis-4). Celestis offers the loved ones of the space-smitten deceases the opportunity to have (a portion) of their cremains put into orbit. More...
  • GFO American earth resources radar satellite. One launch, 1998.02.10. GFO was a follow-on to the successful GEOSAT program which flew between 1985 and 1990. GFO was to provide real-time ocean topography data to 65 Navy users at sea and on shore. More...
  • STEX American tether technology satellite. One launch, 1998.10.03. STEX's (Space Technology EXperiments) main equipment was provided by the Naval Research Laboratory. More...
  • ROCSAT Taiwanese earth sea satellite. 3 launches, 1999.01.27 (ROCSAT-1) to 2008.10.01 (ROCSAT 2). Taiwan's ROCSAT (Republic of China Satellites) were built for Taiwan's National Space Program Office. More...
  • ACRIMSAT American solar satellite. One launch, 1999.12.21. The NASA ACRIMSAT satellite was managed by JPL, and measured the integrated solar energy output from 0.2 to 2 microns. ACRIMSAT was built by Orbital Sciences. More...
  • KOMPSAT South Korean communications technology satellite. One launch, 1999.12.21. KOMPSAT was the first joint spacecraft development project for the South Korean aerospace agency KARI (Korea Aerospace Research Institute). More...
  • MTI American military surveillance satellite. One launch, 2000.03.12. The Multispectral Thermal Imager (MTI) was a space-based research and development project sponsored by the U. More...
  • SBD American technology satellite. One launch, 2001.09.21. SBD, the Orbital Corporation Special Bus Design, was a 73 kg test version of an enlarged Microstar bus. More...
  • Orbview American civilian surveillance satellite. 2 launches, 2001.09.21 (Orbview-4) and 2003.06.26 (Orbview 3). More...

See also
  • Pegasus Privately-funded, air-launched winged light satellite launcher. More...

Associated Launch Vehicles
  • ARPA Taurus American all-solid orbital launch vehicle. Four stage version consisting of 1 x TU-904 + 1 x Orion 50 + 1 x Orion 50 + 1 x Orion 38 More...
  • Taurus American all-solid orbital launch vehicle. Pad-launched launch vehicle using Pegasus upper stages and Castor-120 first stage. First launch used slightly larger Peacekeeper ICBM first stage instead of Castor-120. Under a 2002 contract from Boeing, Orbital developed a three-stage version of Taurus to serve as the interceptor boost vehicles for the US government's missile intercept system. The firm portion of the company's contract, awarded in early 2002, was valued at $450 million and extended through 2007. More...
  • Taurus II American orbital launch vehicle. Pad-launched launch vehicle using Pegasus upper stages and a first stage combining a Ukrainian Zenit lower stage fitted with 30-year old surplus Russian N1 moon program rocket engines. More...

Associated Launch Sites
  • Vandenberg Vandenberg Air Force Base is located on the Central Coast of California about 240 km northwest of Los Angeles. It is used for launches of unmanned government and commercial satellites into polar orbit and intercontinental ballistic missile test launches toward the Kwajalein Atoll. More...

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