A new update to the story of LMP-103s, the "greener" alternative to hydrazine links to Space.com's Orbital ATK's 'Frankenstein' Minotaur C Rocket Blasts Off on Halloween.
Orbital ATK's Minotaur C lifted off from Space Launch Complex 576E at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California at 5:37 p.m. EDT (2:37 p.m. local time, 2137 GMT).
About 15 minutes later, the rocket deployed six SkySat Earth-imaging satellites and four Dove cubesats for the commercial imaging company Planet. "Liftoff of Minotaur C, carrying the SkySat and Dove satellites for Planet," Sean Wilson, director of corporate communications for Orbital ATK, said during a live webcast of the launch. [Gallery: Planet Labs Photos of Earth from Space]
The six SkySats appear to be SkySat-2 numbers 6 through 11 according to Gunter's Space Page. Most Dove's are deployed in larger groups, why only four on this launch? Just tests for comparison to SKySats? Perhaps this is an unusual orbit for them? Or perhaps they will be "watching" the SkySats deploy? (slightly related: Could a spy satellite image another satellite?).
below: A suite of SkySat and Dove satellites is encapsulated into the payload fairing of an Orbital ATK Minotaur-C rocket prior to launch. Credit: Orbital ATK, from Space.com.
below: (Earlier launch, for scale) SkySats 4 through 7 take their places atop the Vega VV07 payload adapter – Photo: Arianespace/ESA/CNES/Optique Video du CSG, from Spaceflight101.