First HTV-2 to Launch Aboard First Minotaur IV

Air Force and industry personnel are slated to launch today from Vandenberg AFB, Calif., Orbital Sciences Corp.’s first Minotaur IV—an amalgam of three decommissioned Peacekeeper ICBM stages and one built commercially by OSC—in its “Lite” configuration with only the three Peacekeeper stages to boost DARPA’s new gliding air vehicle, known as HTV-2 for hypersonic test vehicle-2. Lockheed Martin designed HTV-2 for DARPA to validate technologies needed for hypersonic speeds of Mach 20 and above. DARPA expects the first HTV-2 to separate from the Minotaur in the upper atmosphere, descend into the atmosphere, and glide across the Pacific Ocean at more than 13,000 mph, reaching its impact point in the ocean north of the Kwajalein Atoll in less than 30 minutes. (Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center release; OSC product page; DARPA HTV-2 fact sheet; HTV-2 FAQ)