The Air Force on Wednesday successfully launched the Operationally Responsive Space (ORS-1) prototype satellite from the Minotaur I launch vehicle at the NASA Wallops Flight Facility, Va., the service and contractors said.

ORS-1 represents a new approach to develop low-cost, tactically focused satellites designed to provide battlespace imaging capability to the warfighter. Goodrich [GR], Orbital Sciences [ORB] and ATK [ATK] are the main contractors for the program.

“Words cannot express how proud I am of the entire ORS-1 team,” said Col. Carol Welsch, SMC/SD acting director and ORS-1 mission director. “Our team was able to develop, integrate, test and launch this system in just over 30 months which is a remarkable achievement.”

ORS-1 will be in orbit for 30 days and then handed off to DoD. Its unique design and communications systems will be compatible with current airborne platforms in CENTCOM and therefore a viable addition, the service said (Defense Daily, June 27).

To ensure that a shorter turnaround was successful, off-the-shelf solutions were used, a higher risk posture was taken, a very close partnership between contractor the government was established and the decision making process was streamlined in project implementation under one directorate, the Air Force said.