A Minotaur I rocket on late Wednesday carried ORS-1, the Defense Department’s first Operationally Responsive Space satellite into space from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on Virginia’s eastern shore. The rocket lifted off at 11:09 p.m. US East Coast time. ORS-1 is designed to provide overhead imagery to commanders in Southwest Asia, enhancing battlespace awareness. It carries a customized version of the SYERS-2 sensor resident on U-2 reconnaissance aircraft.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.