Watch the Minotaur I launch from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility

Originally published at: Watch the Minotaur I launch from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility | Boing Boing


Watching a rocket launch is on my bucket list.


These solid rocket boosters really go quick. Watching this thing accelerate off the launch pad, it’s really moving quickly compared to liquid fuel rockets. A bit of research indicates that the Minotaur I has a TWR of 2.6 so it’s pulling 2.6 G right off the pad. Compare this to Falcon 9 which has 1.4.

I should add that this is a bigger difference than it appears. Upwards acceleration (after overcoming gravity) on the minotaur will be 1.6G (15.7m/s^2) compared to 0.4G (4m/s^2).


I just fired off a missile myself.


I wholeheartedly recommend you do, it’s quite the experience. Though I will say that if significant travel is required (e.g. a flight) for you to get to a launchpad, a) make sure it’s a larger rocket, say NASA’s new SLS for instance and b) plan a few days for weather scrubs, they always happen when you don’t want them to.


Might be waiting a while for that one to launch. You’d have better luck hitting a Falcon 9 Starlink launch since they are so frequent these days.


Normally I would agree (absolutely nothing wrong with a Falcon 9 or Falcon Heavy launch!), but NASA does seem to be keeping to their time schedule pretty well for getting the SLS ready by some time this winter-ish.

I’m also overly optimistic per the core stage stacking video NASA released yesterday :smiley:


Dang, that went up FAST!


It will be something to see for sure but that program has never shown an ability to keep to even the most pessimistic schedule. Between problems with the green run and failed components in Orion (that I believe they are not replacing), I will only believe that things are getting close when I see it roll out to the launch pad.

From what I’m reading there is an additional 4 months of risk factored time that puts launch closer to March 2022. Either way it has been a long time coming and will be the launch event of the year when it does happen.


Mission control yourself.


It’s too bad the Shuttle fleet is retired. I got to see one launch in person in the 90’s and it was friggin’ amazing!

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That sure answered a lot of my questions. Your average rocket launch almost looks like a steam train leaving the station. I know they are travelling fast and gaining speed but I wondered why they appeared quite as slow as they do - thought it must have been to do with film angles. But this one really took of like a rocket. Very impressive.


Certainly liquid fuel rockets tend to start out with very low acceleration. The acceleration increases as the fuel is burned and they get lighter. Think of it this way, if you have a rocket that starts out with high acceleration, you could instead make the fuel tanks a little longer and the rocket a little heavier. Then you could go further/faster on the first stage.

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Really that’s true of all types of rocket, no matter what fuel they use, though you are correct that that high initial acceleration seems to indicate an opportunity to make the rocket a bit bigger. That being said, the minotaur is based on an ICBM which has high initial acceleration as a feature not a bug.

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Makes sense. For ICBMs it is important to get away from the launch site to avoid enemy counterstrike ICBMs. Of course for really high acceleration, you can look to the old Sprint ABM system.

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I hadn’t seen that video about the Sprint before, that was really cool.

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