Minotaur II

The Minotaur II is an expendable launch vehicle that launches from Vandenberg Air Force Base Launch Facility 06. The Minotaur II is manufactured by Orbital Sciences Corporation. The first launch of the Minotaur II occurred on May 28th, 2000. To clarify, the Minotaur II has two different configurations; the Minotaur II and the Minotaur II+. The Minotaur II was active up until March of 2007. Since 2007, the Minotaur II+ has been in use. As of May 2009, the rocket has had a total of 8 launches that have all been successful. Moreover, as of 2018 the Minotaur II is still active. Additionally, the Minotaur II is 19.21 meters long (63 feet), while having an unusual diameter of 1.67 meters (5 feet 6 inches). Altogether, the Minotaur II has a mass of roughly 36,201 kilograms (79,810 pounds).The Minotaur II can carry an impressive payload of  1,400 kilograms (3,100 pounds) or 400 kilograms (880 pounds) depending on the intended orbit. The rocket uses two stages that are from decommissioned Minuteman missiles. The Minotaur II also has an optional third stage. The first stage uses an M55A1 engine that creates 792kN of thrust (178,048 pounds of thrust). Secondly, the second stage uses a SR19-AJ1 engine that produces 268kN of thrust (60,000 pounds of thrust). Similarly, the third stage has three different options. The first third stage uses an M57A1 that produces 76kN of thrust (17,085 pounds of thrust). The second third stage option uses an SR-73-AJ that produces 89.6kN of thrust (20,142 pounds of thrust). Lastly, the final third stage option uses an Orion 50XL that produces 160.6 kN of thrust (36,104 pounds of thrust) for an extra heavy payload.

270px-Minotaur-2_1

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