|Minotaur launches TacSat-2 & GeneSat-1 from Wallops Island, VA
12/16/06 ~ 7:00am
Homepage Launch Photos
A 69-foot Orbital Sciences Corporation Minotaur rocket launches 11 minutes before sunrise from
Wallops Island, Virginia, a small NASA facility on the Atlantic Ocean. The rocket carries the
TacSat-2 applications testbed spacecraft for the US Air Force and a small 10 pound NASA science
satellite called GeneSat-1 that will study E-Coli in space as its prime objective. The mission
was the first successful orbital launch from the island since 1985 when the last Scout rocket
flew (an experimental rocket attempted to launch in 1995 but failed seconds into flight, and a
few air-launched Pegasus rockets took off by plane from the island since, but were launched well
out over the Atlantic).
Wallops Island has dozens of medium to large antenna dishes dotting it which are used for many
applications such as weather, radar and tracking. One is seen here, two miles from the launch pad.