Talos/Terrier MK70/Oriole Test Launch

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After two scrubbed launch attempts early in September, Research Range Services (RRS) personnel successfully supported tracking a new three-stage vehicle configuration – Talos Terrier Oriole (TATEOR) – in the early morning hours of September 22, 2012.

This Oriole test launch was to verify performance and dynamic stability of the vehicle stack using an Oriole motor as the third stage. The mission also provided a test flight for the 20 Mbit MV encoder, a digital spin system, and the U.S. Air Force Altitude Prediction, Reporting and Accuracy (APRA) experiment.

The mission was critical to test the vehicle configuration as it is a possible replacement of current sounding rocket high-altitude vehicles. Vehicle anomalies have caused an increase in ballistic dispersion related to the third stage sustainer and subsequent concern for potential “hand off conditions” for fourth-stage ignition.

To test this configuration, multiple first-flight test innovations were included in the vehicle design. Most notably, the Oriole motor, normally a second-stage component, was flown as a third stage while the Terrier MK70 – a standard booster motor, was used as the vehicle’s second stage.

Full launch range data acquisition and tracking instrumentation at Wallops Flight Facility supported this launch.

RRS data collected during the mission included radar, telemetry, optical, command and control, and meteorological operations. This data, as well as other services, validated the vehicle’s performance, allowing for its use in upcoming launch campaigns.

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