Re-Entry: Minotaur I Upper Stage

Photo: ATK
Photo: ATK

The Upper Stage of a Orbital Sciences Minotaur I Rocket re-entered the atmosphere in February 2018 after over a decade in orbit.

NORAD ID: 29053
Origin: USA
Object: Minotaur I Fourth Stage
Type: Orion 38 Solid Rocket Motor
Mass: 102kg (inert)
Inclination: 40.5°
Launched: April 15, 2006 – 01:40 UTC
Launch Vehicle: Minotaur I
Launch Site: Vandenberg, California, USA

Launch the FormoSat-3 (COSMIC) Constellation

Re-Entry Prediction: February 3, 2018 – 10:31 UTC +/-14 Min.
Re-Entry Zone: Unknown

Technical Description: Serving as a fourth stage on Minotaur I is an ATK Orion 38 solid rocket motor which measures 1.34 meters in length and 0.97 meters in diameter.

It weighs 872.3 Kilograms when loaded with 770.2 Kilograms of QDL-1 propellant. Orion 38 operates at a pressure of 45.5 bar to create an average thrust of 32.7 Kilonewtons, peaking at 36.9 Kilonewtons. It also uses an electromechanical Thrust Vector Control System to gimbal the engine nozzle by up to 5 degrees for pitch and yaw control.

Re-Entry Orbit
Image: Spaceflight101/Orbitron