Orbital Sciences has launched US Navy’s Tactical Satellite-4 (TacSat-4) into Earth orbit aboard its Minotaur IV space launch vehicle from Kodiak launch complex in Alaska, US.

TacSat-4 will provide ten ultra-high-frequency channels and allow forward-deployed troops to communicate from obscured regions using existing hand-held radios without the need to stop and point an antenna towards the satellite.

The satellite is an experimental spacecraft that will test advances in satellite communications and the use of special orbits to augment current communication satellites.

Minotaur IV is a four-stage space launch vehicle that uses flight-proven propulsion, avionics and other subsystems.

The TacSat-4 launch was the fifth Minotaur IV flight and the 23rd overall mission for the Minotaur product line over the last 11 years, all of which have been successful.