The only version of the Pegasus launch vehicle currently offered is the Pegasus XL. The designation indicates the extended length compared to the original Pegasus configuration.

Pegasus missions are assigned a unique number based on the order of contract exercise. This number is used for unique hardware and documentation tracking purposes. At launch they are assigned a mission number based upon the actual sequence of launch. Many Pegasus launch vehicles also receive a unique name. For example, the Pegasus which launched Brazil’s SCD-1 satellite was named Santos Dumont in honor of the pioneering Brazilian aviator.

The carrier Stargazer is named for the first starship of Captain Picard from the Star Trek television series.


Orbital reported in 2002 that typical prices for Pegasus XL launches are between $15 and $25 million, depending on contract terms and conditions, launch site, and services required. NASA reported it spent $19.6 million to launch the WIRE satellite on Pegasus in 1999, and budgeted $15 million for the HETE-2 launch in 2000, although these amounts may include additional launch expenses incurred by NASA beyond the price paid to Orbital.

Pegasus was originally developed with more than $45 million in private funding and a $8.4 million contract from DARPA for the first launch plus options on future launches. Alliant Techsystems invested $30 million in the development of the Orion series of solid motors for Pegasus.


The first Pegasus launch occurred in 1990. The Pegasus XL first flew in 1994. The original Pegasus configuration is no longer available. Pegasus launch services are available commercially to customers around the world. U.S. government launch services are available through agreements with the U.S. Air Force and with NASA through the SELVS contract run by NASA Kennedy Space Center.

Pegasus has demonstrated a peak flight rate of 5–6 per year and can support a nominal flight rate of 8 per year with sufficient market demand. On a surge basis, Pegasus is capable of launches less than 30 days apart, supporting a flight rate greater than 12 per year. Pegasus has a dual payload attach fitting (DPAF) available to support flight of two small comanifested payloads.