Encyclopedia Astronautica
OBV



taur9417.jpg
Taurus
Taurus - COSPAR 1994-017
American anti-ballistic missile. Suborbital booster for the US Missile Defense Agency's Ground-based Midcourse Defense system's EKV ballistic missile kill vehicle. The basic OBV consisted of the upper three stages and guidance system from the Taurus orbital launch vehicle (essentially a wingless Pegasus-XL). The OBV was launched from an open pad; the operational version was to be silo-launched.

Orbital Sciences Corporation was selected by The Boeing Company in December 2001 to design, develop and test a boost vehicle for the U.S. Missile Defense Agency's (MDA) Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) program. It was one of two sources selected, the other being Lockheed with its Boost Vehicle Plus (BV-Plus). The GMD System was a key element of the layered architecture of MDA's Ballistic Missile Defense System for defending the United States, its Armed Forces overseas and its allies against limited ballistic missile attacks.

GMD began advanced development in 1998 with a $1.6 billion contract to Boeing. The GMD system was based on technologies pioneered by MDA in the 1980's and 1990's. By 2004 the research and development program had conducted several ground and flight tests to verify system performance against long-range ballistic missile targets. Boeing, as the prime contractor, was responsible for the development, test and integration of all the GMD elements, including Ground Based Interceptor (GBI), X-Band Radar Prototype, Battle Management, Command, Control and Communications systems, Upgraded Early Warning Radars and interfaces to the Defense Support Program.

The GMD System was designed to intercept and destroy hostile ballistic missiles during their midcourse phase of flight, before their reentry into the Earth's atmosphere. The GMD 64-kg Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle (EKV) employed "hit-to-kill" technology to detect, discriminate and destroy an incoming missile's warhead using only force of impact, or kinetic energy. The EKV was to be delivered to the exoatmospheric endgame conditions by the GBI boost vehicle (6 km/s velocity within three minutes to a position 2300 km in front of the incoming target warhead).

The Orbital Sciences Corporation Boost Vehicle (OBV) was a three-stage solid motor rocket system developed for the GBI boost vehicle. Orbital's boost vehicle was successful in its first three flight tests conducted in February and August 2003 and January 2004. The OBV design was based on Orbital's highly successful lineage of small satellite launch vehicles - Pegasus, Taurus and Minotaur - offering several advantages that made it an affordable, low-risk approach for the GBI boost vehicle, including: 20+ years of boost vehicle experience; 100% use of commercial rocket motors with proven track records; low costs associated with shared hardware; configuration was START Treaty compliant; built under fully ISO-9001 and AS9100 compliant production processes.

Under the OBV contract, Orbital modified Pegasus, Taurus and Minotaur system designs and was to verify the resulting GMD boost vehicle's performance and operational features in a series of nine demonstration and test flights that began in early 2003. This included participation in eight GMD Integrated Flight Test (IFT) exercises through 2006. The IFT development test program was intended to demonstrate the ability of GMD System elements to work together as an integrated system. The contract also included the manufacture of eighteen GMD boost vehicles through 2005 for emplacement at Fort Greely, Alaska and Vandenberg AFB, California. As designed, this limited defensive capability would later be expanded to enhance overall test infrastructure and system maturation. Orbital was also given long lead material authority for six additional boost vehicles.

Success Rate: 100.00%. Launch data is: continuing.

AKA: Orbital Boost Vehicle; Taurus-Lite; GMD boost vehicle.
Status: Active.
Gross mass: 22,700 kg (50,000 lb).
Height: 16.80 m (55.10 ft).
Diameter: 1.27 m (4.16 ft).
Span: 1.27 m (4.16 ft).
Thrust: 441.00 kN (99,140 lbf).
Apogee: 2,000 km (1,200 mi).
First Launch: 2003.02.06.
Last Launch: 2010.12.15.
Number: 10 .

More... - Chronology...


Associated Countries
See also
  • missile Guided self-propelled military weapon (as opposed to rocket, an unguided self-propelled weapon). More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • OSC American manufacturer of rockets, spacecraft, and rocket engines. Orbital Sciences Corporation, USA. More...

Bibliography
  • McDowell, Jonathan, Jonathan's Space Home Page (launch records), Harvard University, 1997-present. Web Address when accessed: here.

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...
  • Kwajalein The US military base located on this Pacific island group has major tracking facilities and is near the impact area for dummy warheads fired by ICBM's from Vandenberg AFB. It is a key test location for anti-ballistic missile systems. More...

Associated Stages
  • Orion 50 Solid propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 3,370/345 kg. Thrust 118.20 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 292 seconds. More...
  • Pegasus-3 Solid propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 985/203 kg. Thrust 34.57 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 293 seconds. More...

OBV Chronology


2003 February 6 - . 21:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg 576E. Launch Vehicle: OBV. LV Configuration: OBV 1.
  • BV-6 Boost Vehicle Test Flight - . Nation: USA. Agency: OSC. Apogee: 1,810 km (1,120 mi). Successful first launch of the prototype of the three-stage version of the Taurus launch vehicle being developed by Orbital Sciences for Boeing for use in the Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system. The vehicle launched the dummy payload on a trajectory over the Pacific Ocean, reaching an altitude of 2100 km and traveling 6500 km down range.

2003 August 16 - . 18:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg LF23. Launch Pad: LF23?. Launch Vehicle: OBV. LV Configuration: OBV 2.
  • BV-6 Missile Defense Interceptor Booster test. - . Nation: USA. Agency: OSC. Apogee: 1,874 km (1,164 mi). The Orbital Sciences Corperation booster was successfully tested with a mock EKV after a one-day launch delay. Shock and vibration environments were measured and compared to previous test levels. Preliminary analyses suggest that the new booster produced lower than expected vibrations at the EKV.

2004 January 27 - . 02:23 GMT - . Launch Site: Kwajalein. Launch Complex: Kwajalein Meck. Launch Vehicle: OBV. LV Configuration: OBV 3.
  • IFT-13B [EKV Mock-up] test - . Nation: USA. Agency: OSC. Apogee: 272 km (169 mi). Launch delayed from October 2003. This system-level test of the Orbital Sciencesí boost vehicle launched the rocket carrying a simulated EKV from Kwajalein Atoll against a simulated target coming from Vandenberg AFB, Calif. IFT-13B was not an intercept attempt. Included in this test was the latest version of the GMD programís fire control software, which was being built by Northrop Grumman and which performed as expected in this test.

2004 July 22 - . Launch Site: Fort Greely. Launch Vehicle: OBV.
  • First GBI Deployment at Fort Greely - . Nation: USA. Summary: The first Ground-Based Interceptor was lowered into a silo at Fort Greely, Alaska. Five additional interceptors were to be deployed in Alaska by the end of September..

2004 November 11 - . Launch Site: Fort Greely. Launch Vehicle: OBV.
  • GBI Deployment at Fort Greely - . Nation: USA. Summary: The sixth ballistic missile interceptor was installed in its silo at Fort Greely, Alaska, two months behind the mid-year schedule. An additional eight to ten were to be emplaced in 2005, for a total of 14-16..

2004 December 10 - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Vehicle: OBV.
  • GBI Deployment at Vandenberg - . Nation: USA. Summary: The first of two operational anti-ballistic missiles to be deployed during 2005 at Vandenberg AFB was lowered into its underground silo. This marked the first installation in the continental United States..

2004 December 15 - . 06:01 GMT - . Launch Site: Kwajalein. Launch Vehicle: OBV. FAILURE: Launch abort; anti-ballistic missile never left silo..
  • IFT-13C Launch Abort - . Mass: 55 kg (121 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: MDA. Launch abort - booster shut down in silo. Missile target, launched from Alaska, impacted in Pacific Ocean. Delayed from January, August, November, December 9 and 12. The failed attempt was later said to be due to a very minor software glitch which created a gap in the flow of electronic messages between the flight computer and the interceptor's thrust vector controller. Five flight tests of the system were scheduled for 2005, including at least two attempted intercepts. The IFT-13c test was expected to be repeated as early as mid-February. IFT-14 was planned for March or April.

2005 February 17 - . Launch Site: Kwajalein. Launch Vehicle: OBV. FAILURE: Launch abort - booster shut down in silo..
  • IFT-14 launch attempt. - . Mass: 55 kg (121 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: MDA. Delayed from October 2004. Missile Defense Technology / EKV Prototype planned intercept attempt. The interceptor failed to leave the silo. As in IFT-13C, Orbital Sciencesí booster, carrying Raytheonís production kill vehicle, was supposed to fly from Kwajalein and hit a target coming out of Kodiak, Alaska. The system shut itself down just a few seconds before launch. Arms that held the interceptor in the silo did not fully retract, and the launch software aborted the mission. MDA failure analysis resulted in a redesign of the launch mechanism and improved quality control.

2005 December 14 - . 03:04 GMT - . Launch Site: Kwajalein. Launch Complex: Kwajalein Meck. Launch Vehicle: OBV. LV Configuration: OBV 4.
  • FT-1 EKV Prototype ABM test - . Nation: USA. Agency: OSC; MDA. Apogee: 1,800 km (1,100 mi). Summary: Launch delayed from late 2004. Successful test of hit-to-kill anti-ballistic missile homer, although no target was intercepted..

2006 September 1 - . 17:39 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg LF23. Launch Pad: LF23?. Launch Vehicle: OBV. LV Configuration: OBV 5.
  • FT-2 - . Nation: USA. Agency: OSC; MDA. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

2007 September 28 - . 20:16 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg LF23. Launch Pad: LF23?. Launch Vehicle: OBV. LV Configuration: OBV 6.
  • FTG-03a - . Nation: USA. Agency: OSC; MDA. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

2008 December 5 - . 20:21 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Vehicle: OBV.
  • MDA FTG-05 - . Nation: USA. Agency: MDA. Class: Military. Type: Anti-satellite system.

2010 January 31 - . 23:45 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Vehicle: OBV.
  • FTG-06 EKV - . Nation: USA. Agency: MDA. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi). Summary: Interceptor.

2010 June 6 - . 22:25 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Vehicle: OBV. LV Configuration: GBI.
  • BVT-1 - . Nation: USA. Agency: MDA. Apogee: 300 km (180 mi). Summary: Test launch.

2010 December 15 - . 20:03 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg LF23. Launch Vehicle: OBV.
  • FTG-06A KV - . Nation: USA. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi). Summary: ABM test..

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