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Pegasus XL rocket successfully launches satellite into orbit from Vandenberg Space Force Base

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United States Space Force
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United States Space Force

VANDENBERG SPACE FORCE BASE, Calif. - Vandenberg Space Force Base announced a successful rocket launch from their campus early Sunday morning.

The launch involved Northrop Grumman's Pegasus XL rocket which took off at 1:11 a.m. from Vandenberg and quickly carried a satellite into Low Earth Orbit.

Pegasus, the world’s first privately-developed commercial space launch vehicle, is an air-launched, three-staged rocket carried by Northrop Grumman’s specially modified “Stargazer” L-1011 aircraft.

The Space Force explained that the Pegasus is released from Stargazer when it reaches about 40,000 feet above the Pacific Ocean. It then ignites its first stage, beginning its flight carrying the satellite to its intended orbit.

Vandenberg said the event was part of the Tactically Responsive Launch-2 mission for the U.S. Space Force. They said the satellite was readied for launch in record time.

“Today’s successful launch is a clear signal to our strategic competitors that we will not cede access to space,” said Chief of Space Operations Gen. John W. “Jay” Raymond. “When I challenged the Space and Missile Systems Center about a year ago to demonstrate a responsive space capability, they accepted and delivered! The team presented an integrated Space Domain Awareness satellite ready for launch in record time; what normally would have required two to five years, took 11 months."

The launch decision authority for this mission was Col. Robert Long, Space Launch Delta 30 commander. “Our mission partners and Delta 30 team demonstrated the Space Force tactical response capability to launch small satellite payloads within three weeks,” said Long. “It takes a resilient team providing agile services and responsiveness to our launch customers for mission success. I want to thank our launch partners and our Delta 30 team for their efforts providing space access for this important tactical response demonstration.”

Vandenberg said this mission was executed by the Small Launch and Targets Division within the Space and Missile Systems Center's Launch Enterprise.

“Each national security space mission takes unity of effort across multiple teams and organizations. From requirements development to the delivery of assets on orbit, and everything in between; a successful launch is a huge testament to the skill and dedication at SMC and across the Space Force. I’m especially proud of SMC’s ability to provide capability for the nation, our allies and partners, and the warfighter at the speed of relevance,” said Lt. Gen. John F. Thompson, Space and Missile Systems Center Commander and Program Executive Officer for Space.

Space Launch Delta 30 provided launch permission, range safety, area clearing and weather support for the

For more information on this launch from the US Space Force, click here.

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