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US Air Force launches tactical satellite

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WALLOPS ISLAND, VIRGINIA (BNS): A US Air Force military reconnaissance satellite was successfully launched early on Thursday morning after a delay of over 24 hours.

Carried atop a USAF Minotaur 1 rocket, the ORS-1 tactical satellite soared into the night sky from NASA’s Launch Range at the Wallops Flight Facility and the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport in Virginia at 11:09 p.m. EDT Wednesday (0309 GMT Thursday).

“We are very pleased to continue our support to the US Air Force and the Operationally Responsive Space Office (ORS) with today’s successful launch,” said Bill Wrobel, director of NASA’s Wallops flight Facility.

“This is the fourth Minotaur 1 launch from Wallops since December 2006 and we look forward to collaborating with the Air Force and ORS on future projects,” the NASA official said.

A previous attempt to launch the satellite on Tuesday evening as per its original schedule was put off following stormy weather at the launch site.

The ORS-1 will be the US Department of Defense Operationally Responsive Space Office’s first operational satellite.

The spacecraft will be used to deliver tactical surveillance and reconnaissance imagery directly to US troops on the battlefield. It will have a lifespan of one to two years.

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