|English: The integrated NuSTAR observatory, including the instrument and spacecraft, at Orbital Sciences Corporation (OSC) in Dulles, Virginia on June 29, 2011. The observatory is being prepared for environmental testing, including testing in a thermal vacuum chamber and vibration testing. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
RICHMOND – Governor Bob McDonnell tonight congratulated the Department of Defense and Orbital Sciences Corporation on launch of the ORS-3 Mission from Virginia’s spaceport, the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS), at Wallops Island, Virginia. The launch took place at 8:15 p.m. on November 19, 2013, from MARS Pad 0B.
Speaking about the launch, Governor McDonnell said, “Virginia is honored to have played a role in another successful launch. I commend the Department of Defense and the Orbital Sciences Corporation for their efforts. The Commonwealth stands ready to continue its support of future missions.”
The Virginia Secretary of Transportation, Sean Connaughton, said, “Virginia continues to strongly support the aerospace industry and is proud to have played a key role in launching this important mission for the Nation.”
Dale Nash is the Executive Director of the Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority, or ‘Virginia Space,’ which owns and operates MARS. After launch, from the Range Control Center on Wallops, Dale commented, “Virginia Space is proud to be part of the ORS-3 team. This was the 6th Minotaur launched from MARS, and the 2nd Minotaur that we’ve launched in just over two months. I am pleased with the exceptional performance of the MARS personnel and facilities.”
29 total satellites were launched in the mission (the most ever aboard a single U.S. rocket). The primary payload for the ORS-3 Mission is the U.S. Air Force STPSat-3 satellite. In addition, the rocket deployed 28 cubesats. Among them is TJ3Sat, the first satellite built by high school students.
Additionally, at their other pad, Virginia Space has a manifest to launch eight cargo resupply missions to the International Space Station (ISS) onboard the new Antares launch vehicle built by Orbital Sciences Corporation, a Virginia corporation. Antares launches from the new MARS Pad 0A, which has already launched two Antares missions earlier this year. The next Antares to launch from Virginia’s spaceport to the space station is scheduled for December 2013.
Virginia plays a key role in National Security, as one of only four states in the United States that is licensed by the FAA Office of Commercial Space Transportation to launch to orbit. Virginia will continue to strongly support the aerospace industry throughout the Commonwealth.