The Pegasus integrates three Orion solid rocket motors, developed by
Hercules Aerospace, with a composite delta wing to create the world's only air-launched
commercial rocket. The vehicle, which is 57 feet long and weights approximately
52,000 lb at ignition, is carried aloft by Orbital's L-1011 carrier craft to 40,000
feet. A final systems check is performed and the Pegasus vehicle is released.
After a few seconds of free fall, the Pegasus Orion 50S XL first stage motor is ignited
and the vehicle accelerates out of the Earth's atmosphere. Two additional Orion
solid motors are used to place the satellite into its desired orbit.
The Pegasus launch vehicle was
developed in the late 1980's to serve both as a small launcher for US Governmental
agencies and to launch Orbital's ORBCOMM satellites. Since its initial flight April
5th, 1990, the Pegasus and Pegasus XL rockets have flown a total of 27 missions (as of May
1999). It's unique air-launch system provides a tremendous amount of operational
flexibility, allowing the Pegasus to efficiently service any inclination as well as launch
from a diverse range of launch sites. In 1991, to increase payload performance, OSC
initiated the Pegasus XL program that used stretched first and second stages.
Structural and avionics upgrades were also incorporated. Since its entry into
service, the majority of flights have been Pegasus XL missions.
20301 Century Boulevard
Germantown, MD 20874
|Point of Contact
||Vandenberg, CA (35.0
deg. N Latitude)
Kennedy Space Center, FL (28.6 deg. N Latitude)
Wallops Island, VA (37.9 deg. N Latitude)
(OPTIONAL) Alcantara, Brazil (2 deg. N Latitude)
(HISTORICAL) Canary Islands, Spain (30 deg. N Latitude)
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Payload User's Guide