orbital atk launch
A Minotaur IV ORS-5 launch. Courtesy of Orbital ATK

The spaceflight company Orbital ATK will celebrate Halloween Tuesday with a rocket launch. The company is scheduled to launch a Minotaur C rocket from the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California Tuesday afternoon PDT.

The launch was scheduled for a 2:37 p.m. PDT launch window, or 5:37 p.m. EDT. The Minotaur C will take a SkySat and Dove satellites to space for the company Planet. Those craft will capture medium and high resolution images of Earth from space at an “unprecedented scale and frequency for the commercial market,” according to Orbital ATK.

About 12 minutes after launch the ten craft will be deployed into the targeted sun synchronous orbit about 310 miles above the Earth.

The Minotaur C rocket is capable of launching payloads that weigh up to 3,500 pounds and is a slight variation of the larger Minotaur rockets. The Minotaur C is made up of four Orbital ATK rocket motors. Once the craft launch they will be adding to a network of remote sensing satellites that will deliver global information for businesses, governments and non-governmental organizations around the world, according to Orbital ATK.

There are currently 271 Dove satellites that have previously been deployed and are operational at this time. Those satellites collect more imagery than any other commercial provider. Additionally there are 7 SkySats a number that will increase to 13 after the successful launch and deployment of Tuesday’s payload. The rocket and its payload were on the launch pad at Vandenberg on Monday night ready for the Tuesday launch assuming the weather and the pre-launch checks went according to plan.

Tuesday’s launch will be the 27th launch of a Minotaur rocket, the previous 26 of which have been successful over the 17 years that the company has been launching the commercial use rockets.

There will be a live stream of the launch available on the Orbital ATK website. The live feed of the launch will begin about 20 minutes before the launch window is scheduled to open. This launch follows a successful launch by Orbital ATK competitor, SpaceX that occurred on Monday. That launch was done using one of the the company’s Falcon 9 rockets and the first stage of that rocket was then recovered although it landed while flaming.