DULLES, Va., Oct. 30 /PRNewswire/ -- Orbital Sciences Corporation (NYSE: ORB) today announced that it has completed the sale of its Fairchild Defense electronics business unit to a U.S. subsidiary of Smiths Industries plc for approximately $100 million, subject to a working capital adjustment. The sale, which was announced in September, received all necessary U.S. government regulatory approvals. Orbital stated that the proceeds of the sale would primarily be used to improve the company's balance sheet, to reduce overall debt and for general corporate purposes.

"With the completion of the sale of the Fairchild Defense unit, Orbital has taken a significant step forward in our commitment to realize the full value of our businesses for our shareholders," said Mr. David W. Thompson, Orbital's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.

"In 2000, Orbital has been seeking to sharpen our focus on our primary space technology business, as well as aiming to improve our financial position by unlocking hidden value in our non-core business units. The sale of Fairchild Defense moves us closer to achieving both of those goals as we work to position Orbital for improved performance in 2001," Thompson added.

Orbital acquired the Fairchild Defense unit in 1994 as part of its purchase of Fairchild Space and Defense Corporation, based in Germantown, Maryland. Over the past six years, Orbital incorporated the space-related segments of the business into the company's Space Systems Group. The defense electronics business was operated separately as part of Orbital's Electronics and Sensor Systems Group.

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 5,000 people at major facilities in the United States, Canada and several overseas locations.

Orbital is the world's leading manufacturer 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.

To learn more about Orbital and to access the company's recent press releases, visit the company's web site at http://www.orbital.com SOURCE Orbital Sciences Corporation

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