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Minotaur launches Air Force satellite
Posted: Mon, Apr 11, 2005, 9:07 PM ET (0107 GMT)
Minotaur launch (OSC) A Minotaur launch vehicle, in its first flight in nearly five years, placed an experimental Air Force satellite into orbit Monday morning. The Minotaur lifted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California at 9:35 am EDT (1335 GMT), carrying the XSS-11 experimental satellite. Air Force officials reported that the satellite had been successfully placed into the desired orbit. The satellite will be used by the Air Force Research Lab to test autonomous navigation and rendezvous technologies. During the spacecraft's mission, slated to last 12 to 18 months, XSS-11 will rendezvous with up to seven spent rocket stages or dead spacecraft. The launch is the first for the Minotaur, a vehicle comprised of former Minuteman ICBM and Pegasus stages, since the vehicle's first two flights in early and mid 2000. Two more Minotaur launches are scheduled for later this year.
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