Encyclopedia Astronautica
Taurus



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Taurus
Taurus - COSPAR 1994-017
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Taurus
Credit: Orbital Sciences Corporation
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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.

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.

LEO Payload: 1,363 kg (3,004 lb) to a 185 km orbit at 28.50 degrees. Payload: 431 kg (950 lb) to a GTO. Failures: 1. Success Rate: 85.71%. First Fail Date: 2001-09-21. Last Fail Date: 2001-09-21. Launch data is: continuing. Launch Price $: 20.000 million in 1999 dollars.

Stage Data - Taurus

  • Stage 1. 1 x Castor 120. Gross Mass: 53,020 kg (116,880 lb). Empty Mass: 4,211 kg (9,283 lb). Thrust (vac): 1,606.594 kN (361,177 lbf). Isp: 286 sec. Burn time: 83 sec. Isp(sl): 229 sec. Diameter: 2.36 m (7.74 ft). Span: 2.36 m (7.74 ft). Length: 10.70 m (35.10 ft). Propellants: Solid. No Engines: 1. Engine: Castor 120. Status: In Production. Comments: Modification of Peackeeper ICBM first stage.
  • Stage 2. 1 x Taurus-1. Gross Mass: 13,242 kg (29,193 lb). Empty Mass: 1,088 kg (2,398 lb). Thrust (vac): 484.909 kN (109,012 lbf). Isp: 285 sec. Burn time: 73 sec. Diameter: 1.27 m (4.16 ft). Span: 1.27 m (4.16 ft). Length: 7.60 m (24.90 ft). Propellants: Solid. No Engines: 1. Engine: Pegasus-1. Status: In Production. Comments: Pegasus stage 1 without the wings and stabilisers.
  • Stage 3. 1 x Pegasus-2. Gross Mass: 3,370 kg (7,420 lb). Empty Mass: 345 kg (760 lb). Thrust (vac): 118.199 kN (26,572 lbf). Isp: 292 sec. Burn time: 73 sec. Isp(sl): 240 sec. Diameter: 1.27 m (4.16 ft). Span: 1.27 m (4.16 ft). Length: 2.65 m (8.69 ft). Propellants: Solid. No Engines: 1. Engine: Pegasus-2. Status: In Production.
  • Stage 4. 1 x Pegasus-3. Gross Mass: 985 kg (2,171 lb). Empty Mass: 203 kg (447 lb). Thrust (vac): 34.568 kN (7,771 lbf). Isp: 293 sec. Burn time: 65 sec. Isp(sl): 240 sec. Diameter: 0.97 m (3.18 ft). Span: 0.97 m (3.18 ft). Length: 2.08 m (6.82 ft). Propellants: Solid. No Engines: 1. Engine: Pegasus-3. Status: In Production.

Status: Active.
Gross mass: 73,030 kg (161,000 lb).
Payload: 1,363 kg (3,004 lb).
Height: 27.90 m (91.50 ft).
Diameter: 2.36 m (7.74 ft).
Thrust: 1,286.40 kN (289,194 lbf).
Apogee: 185 km (114 mi).
First Launch: 1989.12.21.
Last Launch: 2009.02.24.
Number: 2 .

More... - Chronology...


Associated Countries
Associated Spacecraft
  • DARPASAT American technology satellite. One launch, 1994.03.13, USA 102. GPS receiver and data processor technology tests. More...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • TOMS-EP American earth atmosphere satellite. One launch, 1996.07.02. 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...
  • Orbview American civilian surveillance satellite. 2 launches, 2001.09.21 (Orbview-4) and 2003.06.26 (Orbview 3). 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...

Associated Engines
  • Castor 120 Thiokol solid rocket engine. 1650 kN. Isp=280s. Motor similar in size to the Peacekeeper missile stage 1 motor; filled the gap between Castor 4A and the large segmented motors. First flight 1989. More...
  • Pegasus-3 Hercules solid rocket engine. 34.6 kN. Isp=287s. Upper stage engine for Pegasus, Pegasus XL, Taurus. First flight 1989. More...
  • Pegasus-1 Hercules solid rocket engine. 484.9 kN. Isp=285s. Used on Pegasus, Taurus. First flight 1989. More...
  • Pegasus-2 Hercules solid rocket engine. 118.2 kN. Isp=290s. Used on Pegasus, Taurus. First flight 1989. More...

See also
  • Taurus Pad-launched launch vehicle using Pegasus upper stages and Castor-120 first stage. 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.
  • JPL Mission and Spacecraft Library, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, 1997. Web Address when accessed: here.
  • Hesse, Walter J and Mumford, Nicholas VS Jr;, Jet Propulsion for Aerospace Applications - Second Edition, Pitman Publishing, New York, 1964.
  • NASA GSFC Orbital Parameters,
  • McDowell, Jonathan, Launch Log, October 1998. Web Address when accessed: here.
  • NASA/GSFC Orbital Information Group Website, Web Address when accessed: here.
  • Space-Launcher.com, Orbital Report News Agency. Web Address when accessed: here.

Associated Launch Sites
  • Wallops Island Small NASA launch site for sounding rocket launches and occasional Scout launches to orbit. Air launches are conducted from the Drop Zone Wallops Island, 37.00 N 72.0 W. With the last orbital launch in 1985 and the decline in sounding rocket launches, Wallops fell into near-disuse as a launch center. Its fortunes revised with the establishment of Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport in 2005 and orbital launches resumed in 2010. More...
  • 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...

Taurus Chronology


1989 December 21 - . 20:06 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Honest John. Launch Vehicle: Taurus. LV Configuration: Taurus-S NASA 12.43WT.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 10 km (6 mi).

2009 February 24 - . 09:55 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg 576E. LV Family: Pegasus. Launch Vehicle: Taurus. LV Configuration: Taurus s/n T8. FAILURE: Payload fairing did not separate..
  • OCO - . Mass: 407 kg (897 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: McLean. Spacecraft: OCO. Summary: Orbiting Carbon Observatory..

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