Wednesday, April 11, 2007
Virginia Commercial Launch Pad Commences Second Orbital Campaign in Mere 4-Month Period
The commercial Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport has commenced the launch campaign for the Minotaur-1 orbital spacecraft NFIRE set for 4 AM EDT, Saturday, April 21 from the Virginia Eastern Shore Wallops Island.
NFIRE is a project of the Department of Defense Missile Defense Agency. MDA is funding the flight. The payload will test experimental equipment to gather data on exhaust plumes from rocket launches for military space defense systems. DoD has purchased launch services from the Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority.
The spaceport is conducting its second launch in just slightly four months following the very successful first December 16 orbital launch of the TacSat-2 aboard an Orbital Sciences Corporation configured Minotaur booster.
The Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport is seeking to market launch services to the military, NASA, and commercial sectors. A study is now underway for NASA COTS vendors to use the Virginia launch facility to boost supplies to orbital space stations. The runway and launch pads may also be possible suborbital tourism spacecraft launch facilities in the future.
Virginia's state legislature recently enacted a Spaceflight Liability and Immunity Act to boost prospects of commercial launch firm use of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport.