Encyclopedia Astronautica
Vandenberg SLC8


Minotaur launch complex. Commercial Space Launch Facility, California Spaceport

Longitude: -120.6324 deg.
Latitude: 34.5762 deg.
First Launch: 2000.01.27.
Last Launch: 2006.04.15.
Number: 5 .

More... - Chronology...


Associated Spacecraft
  • 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...
  • STENSAT American technology satellite. One launch, 2000.01.27. Picosat built by built by the AMSAT-NA (Amateur Satellite, North America) group, and carried an amateur radio transponder. More...
  • OCSE American technology satellite. One launch, 2000.01.27. Optical Calibration Sphere Experiment, a 3.5m diameter inflatable sphere built by L'Garde Inc. for calibrating the lasers at the AFRL Starfire Optical Range. More...
  • MEMS American communications technology satellite. 2 launches, 2000.01.27 (Picosat 1) to (Picosat 2). DARPA/Aerospace Corp. MEMS (Micro Electro-mechanical Systems) were 0. More...
  • JAWSAT American technology satellite. One launch, 2000.01.27. The JAWSAT/FalconSat payloads are being developed as a joint effort between the Air Force Academy and Weber State University. More...
  • JAK American technology satellite, launched, 2000.01.27. Three picosatellites (JAK, Thelma, and Louise), developed by the Artemis team of women undergraduates at Santa Clara University, were deployed from the OPAL satellite. More...
  • FalconSat American technology satellite. 3 launches, 2000.01.27 (Falconsat) to 2007.03.09 (Falconsat-3). The JAWSAT/FalconSat payloads were developed as a joint effort between the Air Force Academy and Weber State University. More...
  • ASUSAT American technology satellite. One launch, 2000.01.27. Arizona State University satellite with an Earth imager and an amateur radio transponder. More...
  • OPAL American technology satellite. One launch, 2000.01.27. Stanford University Orbiting Picosat Automated Launcher. More...
  • SA-200 The Spectrum Astro SA-200 satellite bus provided a flexible platform for satellites launched by the Pegasus booster. 4 launches, 2000.07.19 (Mightysat 2.1) to 2009.05.05. More...
  • Picosat American tether technology satellite. One launch, 2001.09.07. Picosat 7/Picosat 8 were ejected from the Mightysat II.1 satellite. The 0.25 kg satellites were connected by a 30 m tether and were deployed a year after launch. More...
  • XSS American rendezvous technology satellite. 2 launches, 2003.01.29 (XSS-10) and 2005.04.11 (USA 165). More...
  • USA 185 American earth magnetosphere satellite. One launch, 2005.09.23. Classified research satellite, said to carry instruments to characterise the space environment in a sun-synchronous orbit. More...

Associated Launch Vehicles
  • Minotaur 1 American all-solid orbital launch vehicle. Orbital launch vehicle consisting of a surplus Minuteman M55A1 first stage, Minuteman SR19 second stage, and new Orion 50XL third stage, Orion 38 fourth stage, and optional HAPS fifth stage for velocity trim and multiple payload deployment. Payload 580 kg to an 185 km, 28.5 degree orbit from Cape Canaveral; 310 kg to a 740 km sun-synchronous orbit from Vandenberg. More...

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...

Vandenberg SLC8 Chronology


2000 January 27 - . 03:03 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC8. LV Family: Minotaur. Launch Vehicle: Minotaur 1. LV Configuration: Minotaur 1 1.
  • JAWSAT - . Payload: P98-1. Mass: 64 kg (141 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF AFMC. Manufacturer: Weber. Class: Technology. Type: Navigation technology satellite. Spacecraft: JAWSAT. USAF Sat Cat: 26061 . COSPAR: 2000-004A. Apogee: 805 km (501 mi). Perigee: 753 km (468 mi). Inclination: 100.1976 deg. Period: 100.36 min. Summary: Joint USAF Academy/Weber State Satellite. Payloads included a plasma experiment, a particle detector, and a technology test..
  • Picosat 1 - . Mass: 0 kg ( lb). Nation: USA. Agency: DARPA. Manufacturer: Aerospace. Class: Technology. Type: Navigation technology satellite. Spacecraft: MEMS. USAF Sat Cat: 26080 . COSPAR: 2000-004H. Apogee: 779 km (484 mi). Perigee: 733 km (455 mi). Inclination: 100.2000 deg. Period: 100.00 min. Deployed by the OPAL satellite on February 7 at 0334:16 GMT. Picosat 1 and 2 were each 0.25 kg DARPA/Aerospace Corp. MEMS (Micro Electro-mechanical Systems) picosatellites, each carrying intersatellite communications experiment and connected by a 30-m tether.
  • OCSE - . Payload: Optical Calibration Sphere. Mass: 22 kg (48 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF SOR. Manufacturer: L'Garde. Class: Technology. Type: Navigation technology satellite. Spacecraft: OCSE. Decay Date: 2001-03-05 . USAF Sat Cat: 26062 . COSPAR: 2000-004B. Apogee: 711 km (442 mi). Perigee: 677 km (421 mi). Inclination: 100.2240 deg. Period: 98.57 min. Optical Calibration Sphere Experiment, a 3.5m diameter inflatable sphere built by L'Garde Inc. for calibrating the lasers at the AFRL Starfire Optical Range. The 0.48m long 0.41m diameter OCSE canister was ejected from the JAWSAT stack; 42 seconds later, with the canister clear of the other payloads, the canister door opened and 10 seconds after that inflation of the sphere began. The canister remains attached to the inflated sphere. Once inflated, the sphere's material becomes rigidized
  • Louise - . Mass: 68 kg (149 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: SCREEM. Manufacturer: Santa Clara. Class: Technology. Type: Navigation technology satellite. Spacecraft: JAK. USAF Sat Cat: 26092 . COSPAR: 2000-004K. Apogee: 781 km (485 mi). Perigee: 731 km (454 mi). Inclination: 100.2000 deg. Period: 100.00 min. Three picosatellites (JAK, Thelma, and Louise), developed by the Artemis team of women undergraduates at Santa Clara University, were deployed from the OPAL satellite. Mass 0.5 kg; size around 0.1-0.2m. Carried a VLF wave experiment. Ejected from OPAL on February 12; unfortunately no data was received thereafter.
  • Thelma - . Mass: 68 kg (149 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: SCREEM. Manufacturer: Santa Clara. Class: Technology. Type: Navigation technology satellite. Spacecraft: JAK. USAF Sat Cat: 26091 . COSPAR: 2000-004J. Apogee: 767 km (476 mi). Perigee: 723 km (449 mi). Inclination: 100.2000 deg. Period: 99.70 min. Three picosatellites (JAK, Thelma, and Louise), developed by the Artemis team of women undergraduates at Santa Clara University, were deployed from the OPAL satellite. Mass 0.5 kg; size around 0.1-0.2m. Carried a VLF wave experiment. Ejected from OPAL on February 12; unfortunately no data was received thereafter.
  • Picosat 2 - . Mass: 0 kg ( lb). Nation: USA. Agency: DARPA. Manufacturer: Aerospace. Class: Technology. Type: Navigation technology satellite. Spacecraft: MEMS. USAF Sat Cat: 26080 . COSPAR: 2000-004H. Apogee: 779 km (484 mi). Perigee: 733 km (455 mi). Inclination: 100.2000 deg. Period: 100.00 min. Deployed by the OPAL satellite on February 7 at 0334:16 GMT. Picosat 1 and 2 were each 0.25 kg DARPA/Aerospace Corp. MEMS (Micro Electro-mechanical Systems) picosatellites, each carrying intersatellite communications experiment and connected by a 30-m tether.
  • ASUSAT - . Mass: 5.00 kg (11.00 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF AFMC. Manufacturer: Arizona. Class: Technology. Type: Navigation technology satellite. Spacecraft: ASUSAT. USAF Sat Cat: 26065 . COSPAR: 2000-004E. Apogee: 809 km (502 mi). Perigee: 754 km (468 mi). Inclination: 100.2009 deg. Period: 100.40 min. Summary: Arizona State University satellite with an Earth imager and an amateur radio transponder..
  • Falconsat - . Mass: 52 kg (114 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF AFMC. Manufacturer: USAF Colorado Springs. Class: Technology. Type: Navigation technology satellite. Spacecraft: Falconsat. USAF Sat Cat: 26064 . COSPAR: 2000-004D. Apogee: 810 km (503 mi). Perigee: 754 km (468 mi). Inclination: 100.2003 deg. Period: 100.41 min. Summary: USAF Academy satellite, carried the CHAWS-LD (Charging Hazards and Wake Studies-Long Duration) experiment to measure spacecraft charging effects in LEO..
  • OPAL - . Payload: Orbiting Picosat Launcher. Mass: 13 kg (28 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF AFMC. Manufacturer: Stanford. Class: Technology. Type: Navigation technology satellite. Spacecraft: OPAL. USAF Sat Cat: 26063 . COSPAR: 2000-004C. Apogee: 808 km (502 mi). Perigee: 754 km (468 mi). Inclination: 100.1991 deg. Period: 100.39 min. Stanford University Orbiting Picosat Automated Launcher. Carried an acclerometer, a magnetometer, and six small picosatellites - Picosat 1 and 2, Stensat, and the Artemis triplets (JAK, Thelma, and Louise). The first two were deployed on February 7 at 0334:16 GMT. OPAL transmitter problems delayed the initial release.
  • JAK - . Mass: 1.00 kg (2.20 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: SCREEM. Manufacturer: Santa Clara. Class: Technology. Type: Navigation technology satellite. Spacecraft: JAK. USAF Sat Cat: 26093 . COSPAR: 2000-004L. Apogee: 763 km (474 mi). Perigee: 716 km (444 mi). Inclination: 100.2000 deg. Period: 99.60 min. Three picosatellites (JAK, Thelma, and Louise), developed by the Artemis team of women undergraduates at Santa Clara University, were deployed from the OPAL satellite. . JAK is the initials of the infant son of the Artemis' team's advisor Mass 0.2 kg; size around 0.1 - 0.2m. Carried a VLF wave experiment. Ejected from OPAL on February 11; unfortunately no data was received thereafter.
  • STENSAT - . Mass: 0 kg ( lb). Nation: USA. Agency: AmSat. Manufacturer: STENSAT. Class: Technology. Type: Navigation technology satellite. Spacecraft: STENSAT. USAF Sat Cat: 26094 . COSPAR: 2000-004M. Apogee: 783 km (486 mi). Perigee: 734 km (456 mi). Inclination: 100.2000 deg. Period: 100.00 min. Summary: Picosat. Built by built by the AMSAT-NA (Amateur Satellite, North America) group, and carried an amateur radio transponder. Ejected from OPAL on February 11; unfortunately no data was received thereafter..

2000 July 19 - . 20:09 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC8. LV Family: Minotaur. Launch Vehicle: Minotaur 1. LV Configuration: Minotaur 1 2.
  • Mightysat 2.1 - . Payload: SA-200B. Mass: 120 kg (260 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF STP. Manufacturer: Gilbert. Class: Surveillance. Type: Military surveillance satellite. Spacecraft: SA-200. Decay Date: 2002-11-12 . USAF Sat Cat: 26414 . COSPAR: 2000-042A. Apogee: 581 km (361 mi). Perigee: 547 km (340 mi). Inclination: 97.7835 deg. Period: 95.86 min. Mightysat 2.1, also known as Sindri, used a Spectrum Astro SA-200B satellite bus. The spacecraft carried a hyperspectral imager for earth imaging and spectroscopy, as well as satellite technology experiments such as advanced solar arrays. An Aerospace Corp./DARPA picosatellite experiment, consisting of two small boxes connected by a deployable tether, was deployed later. Similar picosats were deployed on the previous Minotaur launch in January 2000.
  • Picosat 7/8 - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF AFSPC. Class: Technology. Type: Navigation technology satellite. Spacecraft: Picosat. Decay Date: 2002-07-11 . USAF Sat Cat: 26929 . COSPAR: 2000-042C. Apogee: 286 km (177 mi). Perigee: 266 km (165 mi). Inclination: 97.8000 deg. Period: 90.00 min. Picosat 7/Picosat 8, were ejected from the Mightysat II.1 satellite on September 7 at 1939 UTC into a 511 x 539 km x 97.8 deg orbit. The 0.25 kg satellites were connected by a 30 m tether and were cataloged as a single object. Mightysat II.1 (Sindri) was launched in July 2000, and the deployment of the picosats was planned for a year after launch.

2005 April 11 - . 13:35 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC8. LV Family: Minotaur. Launch Vehicle: Minotaur 1. LV Configuration: Minotaur 1 3.
  • USA 165 - . Payload: XSS-11. Mass: 145 kg (319 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF RL. Manufacturer: Lockheed. Class: Technology. Type: Rendezvous technology satellite. Spacecraft: XSS. USAF Sat Cat: 28636 . COSPAR: 2005-011A. Apogee: 872 km (541 mi). Perigee: 840 km (520 mi). Inclination: 98.8000 deg. Period: 102.10 min. Delayed from November 9, 2004; January 19, March 18, 2005. Military Autonomous Rendezvous Technology. It tested navigation technologies for rendezvous that directly measured relative position to the target satellite. It was have to rendezvoused with several defunct American satellites. However it was only known to have conducted operations with its own Minotaur upper stage

2005 September 23 - . 02:24 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC8. LV Family: Minotaur. Launch Vehicle: Minotaur 1. LV Configuration: Minotaur 1 4.
  • USA 185 - . Payload: Streak STP-R1. Mass: 417 kg (919 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: DARPA. Manufacturer: C4. Class: Earth. Type: Magnetosphere satellite. Decay Date: 2006-06-28 . USAF Sat Cat: 28871 . COSPAR: 2005-037A. Apogee: 318 km (197 mi). Perigee: 295 km (183 mi). Inclination: 96.3000 deg. Period: 90.70 min. Summary: Delayed from May, June, July, 2005. Classified research satellite, said to carry instruments to characterise the space environment in a sun-synchronous orbit..

2006 April 15 - . 01:40 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC8. LV Family: Minotaur. Launch Vehicle: Minotaur 1. LV Configuration: Minotaur 1 5.
  • Formosat 3A FM6 - . Mass: 70 kg (154 lb). Nation: Taiwan. Agency: NSPO. Manufacturer: OSC. Class: Technology. Type: Navigation technology satellite. Spacecraft: MicroStar. USAF Sat Cat: 29047 . COSPAR: 2006-011A. Apogee: 538 km (334 mi). Perigee: 496 km (308 mi). Inclination: 72.0000 deg. Period: 95.00 min. FORMOSAT-3 consisted of six small 62 kg Orbcomm-type satellites with GPS receivers which were to measure atmospheric conditions by studying the effect of the atmosphere on GPS satellite signals passing through it. The satellites, also known as COSMIC (Constellation Observing System for Meteorology, Ionosphere and Climate), each raised their orbits over several months, all but one reaching operational orbits of around 770 x 840 km by September 2007.
  • Formosat 3B FM1 - . Mass: 70 kg (154 lb). Nation: Taiwan. Agency: NSPO. Manufacturer: OSC. Class: Technology. Type: Navigation technology satellite. Spacecraft: MicroStar. USAF Sat Cat: 29048 . COSPAR: 2006-011B. Apogee: 541 km (336 mi). Perigee: 500 km (310 mi). Inclination: 72.0000 deg. Period: 95.00 min.
  • Formosat 3C FM5 - . Mass: 70 kg (154 lb). Nation: Taiwan. Agency: NSPO. Manufacturer: OSC. Class: Technology. Type: Navigation technology satellite. Spacecraft: MicroStar. USAF Sat Cat: 29049 . COSPAR: 2006-011C. Apogee: 681 km (423 mi). Perigee: 567 km (352 mi). Inclination: 72.0000 deg. Period: 97.20 min.
  • Formosat 3D FM3 - . Mass: 70 kg (154 lb). Nation: Taiwan. Agency: NSPO. Manufacturer: OSC. Class: Technology. Type: Navigation technology satellite. Spacecraft: MicroStar. USAF Sat Cat: 29050 . COSPAR: 2006-011D. Apogee: 538 km (334 mi). Perigee: 496 km (308 mi). Inclination: 72.0000 deg. Period: 95.00 min. Summary: Became stuck in intermediate 675 x 750 km due to solar panel failure..
  • Formosat 3E FM4 - . Mass: 70 kg (154 lb). Nation: Taiwan. Agency: NSPO. Manufacturer: OSC. Class: Technology. Type: Navigation technology satellite. Spacecraft: MicroStar. USAF Sat Cat: 29051 . COSPAR: 2006-011E. Apogee: 538 km (334 mi). Perigee: 496 km (308 mi). Inclination: 72.0000 deg. Period: 95.00 min.
  • Formosat 3F FM2 - . Mass: 70 kg (154 lb). Nation: Taiwan. Agency: NSPO. Manufacturer: OSC. Class: Technology. Type: Navigation technology satellite. Spacecraft: MicroStar. USAF Sat Cat: 29052 . COSPAR: 2006-011F. Apogee: 542 km (336 mi). Perigee: 497 km (308 mi). Inclination: 72.0000 deg. Period: 95.00 min.

2010 April 23 - . 23:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC8. LV Family: Minotaur. Launch Vehicle: Minotaur 4. LV Configuration: Minotaur 4L.
  • HTV-2a - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 100 km (60 mi). Summary: Hypersonic test.

2011 February 6 - . 12:26 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC8. LV Family: Minotaur. Launch Vehicle: Minotaur 1.
  • USA 225 - . Payload: RPP. Nation: USA. Class: Technology. Type: Technology satellite. USAF Sat Cat: 37364 . COSPAR: 2011-006A. Summary: National Reconnaissance Office Rapid Pathfinder Program technology satellite, probably placed in polar orbit..

2011 August 11 - . 14:45 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC8. LV Family: Minotaur. Launch Vehicle: Minotaur 4. LV Configuration: Minotaur 4 Lite.
  • HTV-2b - . Nation: USA. Apogee: 100 km (60 mi). Summary: Test mission. Hypersonic glider was launched from Vandenberg across the Pacific. The mission ended prematurely with loss of signal three minutes into the glider's free flight..

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