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Saturday, December 16, 2006

NASA Wallops Demonstrates Capabilities with Successful Rocket Launch

The NASA Wallops Flight Facility demonstrated its quick response capabilities with the successful launch this morning of an U.S. Air Force Minotaur 1 rocket from the east coast of Virginia.

The rocket was launched at 7:00 a.m. (EST) carrying the Air Force Research Laboratory's TacSat-2 satellite and NASA's GeneSat-1microsatellite.

"Since being selected by the Space and Missile Systems Center Space Development and Test Wing as the launch site a mere seven months ago, Wallops personnel met all launch goals. Wallops personnel definitely have a 'can do' attitude and they did whatever was necessary to get the job done," said John Campbell, director of the Wallops Flight Facility. "As we have been doing throughout our 61-year history, the Wallopsstaff responded quickly and efficiently to the country's launch needs,"Campbell said.

"It was truly a team effort and an honor for the Facility towork with all the participants to support this successful launch," he adds.

The satellites were launched on the four-stage Minotaur I launchvehicle contracted by the Space and Missile Systems Center through OrbitalSciences Corporation's Launch Systems Group. The mission was conducted fromthe Mid- Atlantic Regional Spaceport's launch pad on the south end of Wallops Island.

Two Minotaur 1 rockets are scheduled for launch in 2008 from Wallops carrying the Near-Field Infrared Experiment (NFIRE) satellite in April andthe TacSat-3 satellite in October. Both missions will use the spaceport's launch pad.

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