NASA OIG backs Minotaurs for NASA science missions

A NASA OIG report pushes for NASA to use Orbital Sciences Minotaur rockets, which use surplus ICBM motors, for its science missions: /– Report: NASA could save money with Minotaurs – The Flame Trench /– Review of NASA’s Acquisition of Commercial Launch Services – NASA OIG – Feb.17.11 (pdf)

It would be interesting to see a SpaceX response to the report, especially regarding the IG’s cost estimates for the Falcon 9.

The report notes that low demand is driving the cost of US commercial launchers up. So it recommends an action that will drive demand even lower.

Of course, the true cost of the Minotaur is much higher if the cost of the ICBM motors is included. So using Minotaurs might lower NASA’s current expenditure for science flights but does nothing to encourage development of lower cost launch transport later.


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