DULLES, Va., Feb. 27 /PRNewswire/ -- Orbital Sciences Corporation (NYSE: ORB) announced today that Dr. Antonio L. Elias, Senior Vice President and General Manager of the company's Advanced Programs Group, was recently elected to the U.S. National Academy of Engineering. Dr. Elias was recognized by the prestigious research and advisory institution for "conception and execution of a new generation of Earth-orbit transportation systems." He joins a distinguished group of 74 U.S. members and eight foreign associates elected this year for making significant contributions to engineering theory and practice and for pioneering new technologies.

Dr. Elias has worked for Orbital since 1987 in a number of key management and technical roles. He currently leads the company's advanced space vehicle technology efforts, including the development of reusable launch technologies for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA's) X-34 rocketplane and the support of an initiative to develop a crew return vehicle (CRV), or emergency "lifeboat," for astronauts manning the International Space Station.

Dr. Elias is perhaps best know for his leadership in the design, production and operation of Orbital's air-launched Pegasus rocket, the world's first privately developed space launch vehicle. In 1991, President Bush awarded Orbital's Pegasus team the country's highest honor in the field of technological achievement, the National Medal of Technology. Since its debut in 1990, Pegasus has become the world's most successful small launch vehicle, deploying over 70 satellites into orbit on its first 30 missions.

Prior to joining Orbital, Dr. Elias was a faculty member at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where he held the Boeing Chair in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics. During the 1970's, he worked on the design of the Space Shuttle Orbiter avionics system at Draper Laboratory, originating the guidance strategy currently used for Shuttle landings.

Dr. Elias holds B.S., M.S., E.A.A. and Ph.D. degrees from MIT. He is a Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and was awarded its 1991 Aircraft Design Award and its 1992 Engineer of the Year Award. Dr. Elias has also been awarded the American Astronautical Society's 1992 Brouwer Award and the National Air and Space Museum Trophy. He has authored several publications and patents, and is a licensed radio amateur, commercial pilot and flight instructor.

Orbital is one of the largest space technology and satellite services companies in the world, with 1999 total enterprise revenues (including revenues from unconsolidated affiliates) of approximately $915 million. The company, headquartered in Dulles, Virginia, employs about 4,500 people at major facilities in the United States, Canada and several overseas locations.

Orbital is one of the world's leading manufacturers of low-cost space systems, including satellites, launch vehicles, electronics and sensors, satellite ground systems and related digital infrastructure. Its Magellan subsidiary is a pioneer in satellite-based navigation and communications products for consumer and industrial markets. Through its ORBCOMM and ORBIMAGE affiliates and ORBNAV subsidiary, Orbital is also a major operator of satellite-based networks that provide data communications, high-resolution imagery and automotive information services to customers all around the world.

More information about Orbital can be found at http://www.orbital.com . SOURCE Orbital Sciences Corporation

CONTACT: Media: Barron Beneski, 703-406-5000, or beneski.barron@orbital.com; Investors: Timothy Perrott, 703-406-5997, or perrott.tim@orbital.com; both of Orbital Sciences Corporation/