The Air Force launched the battlefield imaging satellite atop a four-stage, solid-fuel 70-foot-tall Minotaur 1 rocket, the largest ever launched from the Delmarva peninsula. The launch, which happened shortly after 11 p.m., was expected to be visible across the Mid-Atlantic region, with past launches seen as far away as New York, South Carolina and West Virginia.
The launch initially had been scheduled for June 28 but was postponed because of thunderstorms, according to NASA officials. On Wednesday, the launch was delayed by about an hour due to technical issues.
The ORS-1 is the first operational version of the Air Force's Operationally Responsive Space satellite series. The satellites are designed to provide battlefield commanders with space-based observational capabilities.
This satellite was conceived, designed, built and readied for launch in just 30 months.