DULLES, Va., Feb. 28 /PRNewswire/ -- Orbital Sciences Corporation (NYSE: ORB) announced today that the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center has awarded the company a $5 million contract for the Quick Reaction Launch Vehicle-2 (QRLV-2) program. QRLV-2 is the first task order executed under the Air Force's Sounding Rockets Program-2 (SRP-2) indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contract, which allows Orbital and three other qualified companies to compete for up to $96 million in task order launch services.

For the QRLV-2 program, Orbital will design, produce, integrate and launch a single-stage, guided suborbital rocket. Orbital's Launch Systems Group, which is responsible for the company's space and suborbital launch programs, will carry out the QRLV-2 activities at its engineering and manufacturing facility in Chandler, Arizona. The launch itself is planned for March 2002 from the Kodiak Launch Complex in Alaska.

"We are extremely pleased that the Air Force selected us in a highly competitive procurement to perform the first launch services task order under the SRP-2 contract," said Mr. Ronald J. Grabe, Executive Vice President and General Manager of Orbital's Launch Systems Group. "We look forward to building on the successful relationship we developed with the Air Force under SRP-1 and in providing them with additional highly reliable launch services."

The Air Force's Sounding Rockets Program supplies target vehicles that are used to test interceptor missiles and are also used by other U.S. Department of Defense agencies for special-purpose missions. The SRP-2 contract is a follow-on to the Air Force's SRP-1 contract under which Orbital competed for and won task orders to provide nine Navy Theater Wide (NTW) target vehicles, the atmospheric intercept test-1 (ait-1) vehicle, and the Quick Reaction Launch Vehicle-1 (QRLV-1), which is scheduled for launch in March 2001 from the Kodiak Launch Complex.

Since its founding in 1982, Orbital has been one of the most active commercial launch companies in the world. Orbital has carried out 144 launches with its family of suborbital rockets and Pegasus, Taurus and Minotaur space launch vehicles. These include 107 suborbital launches and 37 space launch missions.

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, or Investors: Timothy Perrott, 703-406-5997, or perrott.tim@orbital.com, both of Orbital Sciences Corporation/