(U) The Taurus launch vehicle is used for launching small, mainly experimental Air Force payloads into Low Earth Orbits (LEO). The Taurus program was developed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to provide a responsive, transportable, inexpensive, adaptable ground launch service for placing payloads into LEO. The Taurus launch vehicle, developed by Orbital (formerly Orbital Sciences Corporation), provides the capability to economically launch small payloads from a bare concrete pad any where in the world, in minimum time.
(U) Taurus incorporates proven technologies derived from Pegasus, Peacekeeper and other operational space systems. The entire vehicle consists of four stages, stage 0 being a Peacekeeper stage 1 or Castor 120 motor, and the other three are modified Pegasus stages. Taurus stands 89 feet long and 50-92 inches in diameter, varying between stages and fairing. The vehicle has two available fairings: a 63 inch fairing with a dynamic payload envelope measuring 130 inches in length and 54 inches in diameter; and a larger 92 inch diameter fairing. Taurus has a gross weight of 150,000 pounds and can place payloads up to 3,000 pounds to LEO and 950 pounds to geosynchronus transfer orbit. Taurus has 3-axis inertial attitude control and an on-board Global Positioning System (GPS) that aids in its navigational accuracy.
(U) Taurus has full access to Vandenberg's wide variety of space launch assets to include radar, control centers, ground support, telemetry recordings, optical instrumentation, facilities, and restricted airspace.
(U) The Small Launch Vehicle Division (SMC/TEBL) located at Kirtland manages the program and is responsible for all mission support requirements.
(U) The Air Force's Taurus program aids in the test and evaluation, R&D, and even operational arena by providing payloads with an inexpensive, reliable ride to space.
|GEOSAT Follow-On||Geodetic/Geo-Physical Satellite Follow-on (GFO)|
|Rocket System Launch Program||Rocket System Launch Program|
|Western Range||Western Range|
|Launch Vehicles||Launch Vehicles|
|SPACE FORCES SUPPORT||SPACE FORCES SUPPORT|
(U) DoD: OASD(C3I), Pentagon, Washington, DC
(U) Service Staff: SAF/AQSD, Pentagon, Washington, DC
(U) Major Command: AFMC, Wright-Patterson AFB, OH
(U) Program Management: SMC/TE, Kirtland AFB, NM
(U) Maj Steve Buckley, Open Phone: DSN 246-0185.
(U) 29 October 1997
(U) Road Map Production Date: 23 June 2001