Space Launch

Space Launch

Northrop Grumman has conducted nearly 100 space launch missions, boosting hundreds of satellites into space.

Northrop Grumman built the world’s first privately-developed space launch vehicle. Since then, we have conducted nearly 100 space launch missions with our Pegasus®, Minotaur™ and Antares™ space launch vehicles, boosting hundreds of satellites into space.

A rocket on launch pad at sunrise in front of a partial blue lit sky as sun comes up


Designed to provide responsive and low-cost access to space, the Antares rocket is a two-stage vehicle that provides low-Earth orbit (LEO) launch capability for payloads weighing up to 8,000 kg. The rocket’s upgraded design features newly-built RD-181 first stage engines to provide greater payload performance and increased reliability.

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A rocket blasting off from launch pad in front of a cloudy blue sky


Under the U.S. Space Force Space and Missile Systems Center’s Small Launch and Targets Division Orbital Services Program-4 (OSP-4), Northrop Grumman integrates, tests and provides space launch services for the Minotaur I, IV, V, VI and C family of rockets.

Employing a combination of U.S. government-supplied rocket motors and the company’s proven commercial launch technologies, the Minotaur rocket family provides low-cost and reliable access to space for government-sponsored payloads. To date, our Minotaur rockets have completed 28 missions out of every major U.S. spaceport, demonstrating the vehicle’s unique versatility and reliability.

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A rocket blasting off in blue sky with a plume


The three-stage Pegasus rocket is used to deploy small satellites weighing up to 1,000 pounds (454 kg) into low-earth orbit. Pegasus is carried aloft by our Stargazer L-1011 aircraft to approximately 40,000 feet over open ocean, where it is released and free-falls for five seconds before igniting its first stage rocket motor. With its unique delta-shaped wing, Pegasus typically delivers satellites into orbit in a little over 10 minutes. First flown in 1990, Pegasus has conducted 45 missions launching nearly 100 spacecraft.

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