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Taurus

by Jean-Jacques Serra
In 1989 OSC was selected by DARPA to design the Standard Small Launch Vehicle (SSLV). This solid 4-stage rocket called Taurus is made of the first stage of the MX and the 3 stages of Pegasus. The base stage, called stage-0, is a Thiokol TU 903 of 8.4 m long, 2.34 m diameter and 48 tons. It delivers the 3 Pegasus stages at 38000 m altitude at 2030 m/s.

In the future (standard type), the stage-0 will be a Thiokol Castor 120 which is a MX motor modified to provide a weaker acceleration (6.5 G max). Taurus is 27.5 m in height and can launch 1.36 tons in LEO.

Taurus II is a two-stage launch vehicle for medium-class payloads of up to 5,400 kg. First has a liquid-fuelled AJ26 provided by Yuzhnoe (Ukraine). The second stage is a Castor 30 (shortened Castor 120). An optional 3rd stage is planned. Renamed Antares in late 2011.

In Nov 2014, after the latest failure, it was decided to discontinue the use of AJ26 and use alternative launchers in the meantime to provide ISS cargo.

Taurus versions


Prototype (with MX) Taurus
Standard Type (with Castor-120) Taurus-120
stretched standard type Taurus-120XL
stretched standard type with strap-ons Taurus-120XL/S

Taurus launches


# Launch id Payload Launch Date Site Type Status/Comment (orbit in perigee x apogee x inclination x period)
1 94017 A: USA 101
B: USA 102
13 Mar 1994 at 22:32 UT V 576E Proto 540 km x 560 km x 105°
2 98007 A: GFO 1
B: Orbcomm FM 3
C: Orbcomm FM 4
D: Celestis 2
10 Feb 1998 at 13:20 UT V 576E Castor-120 775 km x 108°
3 98055 A: Stex
3 Oct 1998 at 10:04 UT V 576E Proto  
4 99070 A: Kompsat 1
B: Acrimsat
C: Celestis 3
21 Dec 1999 at 07:12 UT V 576E Castor-120  
5 00014 MTI 12 Mar 2000 at 09:29 UT V 576E Proto  
6 n/a QuickTOMS
Orbview 4
Celestis 4
21 Sep 2001 at 18:49 UT V 576E Castor-120 failure: second stage veered off course at T+83 seconds. Problem with the vector control actuator.
7 04018 Rocsat 2 20 May 2004 at 17:47 UT V 576E 3210 729 x 743 km x 99°
8 n/a OCO 24 Feb 2009 at 09:55 UT V 576E 3110 Failure: payload failed to separate
9 n/a Glory
E1P (Explorer 1 Prime, Montana State University)
KySat 1 (Kentucky Space)
Hermes (University of Colorado)
04 Mar 2011 at 10:09 UT V 576E 3110 Failure: fairing failed to separate.
10 17068 A: Skysat 13
B: Skysat 12
C: Skysat 11
D: Skysat 10
E: Skysat 9
F: Skysat 8
4x Flock 3M
31 Oct 2017 at 21:37 UT V 576E 3210 Launched also called Minotaur-C (rebranded Taurus-XL)


Antares (Taurus 2) launches


# Launch id Payload Launch Date Site Type Status/Comment (orbit in perigee x apogee x inclination x period)
1 13016 A: Cygnus Mass Simulator (3770 kg)
B: Dove 1
C: PhoneSat v1a
D: PhoneSat v1b
E: PhoneSat v2asat_phonesat_v1
21 Apr 2013 at 21:00 UT W 0A 110  
2 13051 Cygnus Orb D1 18 Sep 2013 at 14:58 UT W 0A 110 288 x 256 km x 51.6°
3 14003 Orb 1
Carries nanosatellites to be deployed by ISS
9 Jan 2014 at 18:07 UT W 0A 120 ISS cargo
4 14039 Orb 2
Carries nanosatellites to be deployed by ISS
13 Jul 2014 at 16:52 UT W 0A 120 ISS cargo
5 n/a Orb 3
Was carrying nanosatellites to be deployed by ISS
28 Oct 2014 at 22:22 UT W 0A Castor 30XL Failure: exploded 6 seconds after lift-off. Maybe because of the AJ26 turbopump
6 16062 Cygnus CRS5 17 Oct 2016 ar 23:40 UT W 230  
7 17071 Cygnus CRS8 12 Nov 2017 at 12:19 UT 230  
8 18046 Cygnus CRS9 21 May 2018 at 08:44 UT 230  
9 18092 Cygnus CRS10 17 Nov 2018 at 09:01 UT 230  
Launches from Wallops Island

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