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Taurus (U)

Overview (U):

(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.

Description (U):

(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.

User Impact (U):

(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.

Programmatics (U):

(U) Operational.

Images (U):

This Table Is Unclassified.

Related Initiatives (U):
GEOSAT Follow-OnGeodetic/Geo-Physical Satellite Follow-on (GFO)
Rocket System Launch ProgramRocket System Launch Program
Western RangeWestern Range
This Table Is Unclassified.

Related Requirements (U):None.

Related Categories (U):
Launch VehiclesLaunch Vehicles
This Table Is Unclassified.

Road Map Placements (U):

This Table Is Unclassified.

Requirements, Funding and Additional Hotlinks (U):

Launch Vehicles-NASA History
SMC-Fact Sheets
This Table Is Unclassified.

Lead Office (U):

(U) Air Force.

(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

Point of Contact (U):

(U) Maj Steve Buckley, SMC/TE, Open Phone: DSN 246-0185.

Date Of Information (U):

(U) 29 October 1997

(U) Road Map Production Date: 12 July 1999

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