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Launch Facts

The satellite will be launched by a Pegasus rocket to an altitude of approximately 550 kilometers, or about 340 miles.

Pegasus rocket being dropped from the planeFirst flown in 1990, Pegasus is a three-stage rocket which is carried aloft by an L-1011 "Stargazer" aircraft to a point approximately 40,000 feet over open ocean. There it is released and then free-falls in a horizontal position for five seconds before igniting its first stage rocket motor. With the aerodynamic lift generated by its delta wing, the small rocket achieves orbit hundreds of miles above the Earth in approximately ten minutes.

The satellite will circle the globe in a polar orbit once every 98 minutes, travelling at a rate of about five miles per second.

Find out more about the Pegasus Launch Vehicle at the Orbital Access Web site.

8 April 1999
Center for Space Physics
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