-- Deep Space Exploration Spacecraft Providing Data That Is Advancing
Our Understanding of the Origin and Evolution of the Solar System --
-- Orbital Designed, Built and Tested Dawn Spacecraft; Company Also
Supports Ongoing Mission Operations --
DULLES, Va.Mar. 28, 2014--
Sciences Corporation (NYSE: ORB), one of the world s leading space
technology companies, congratulates the Dawn Flight Team, headed by
NASA s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), for its selection as recipients
of the 2014 Smithsonian National
Air and Space Museum (NASM) Trophy
for Current Achievement. This prestigious award recognizes the
accomplishments of the Dawn Flight Team for operating the deep-space
asteroid exploration spacecraft which reached Vesta in mid-2011,
examined the near planet-size asteroid from a low-altitude orbit for
over a year, and continued its journey to explore the dwarf planet
Ceres, which it will reach in early 2015. Dawn was launched from Cape
Canaveral in September 2007.
Orbital designed, built and tested the spacecraft and supports ongoing
mission operations. The Dawn spacecraft incorporates a revolutionary ion
propulsion system developed by NASA, which enables the spacecraft to
continuously accelerate. This key technology made the orbit of two large
solar system bodies possible, the first time it will ever have been done
by one spacecraft on a single mission.
Drawing upon cost-effective and flight-proven spacecraft technology,
Orbital designed and produced the Dawn spacecraft, which measures 20
meters (or 65 feet) wide with its solar panels deployed and incorporates
instruments provided by mission partners from Italy, Germany and the
U.S., at the company s manufacturing and test facilities in Dulles, VA.
Dawn is Orbital s second deep-space planetary mission, following the
Deep Space 1 spacecraft built at the company s Gilbert, AZ operations
and launched in 1999.
About the Dawn Program
Dawn has traveled 4.4 billion kilometers (or 2.7 billion miles) since
launch, reaching the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter and
orbiting its first target. Dawn arrived at Vesta in July 2011. Vesta is
the second most massive body in the main belt, the brightest of the
asteroids, and the only one visible with the naked eye from Earth. The
spacecraft spent over a year orbiting the asteroid, mapping the body and
conducting other remote sensing observations using a suite of science
instruments. Dawn departed from Vesta s orbit in September 2012 and is
currently en-route to rendezvous with the largest asteroid, Ceres, in
early 2015. Dawn will collect similar scientific data at Ceres to what
it gathered at Vesta.
Earth-based studies indicate that these two protoplanets have very
different and complementary compositions, providing clues to the
conditions and processes of planetary formation. Recent observations by
the Herschel Space Observatory confirm the presence of water vapor
surrounding Ceres, making the close-up observations planned by Dawn even
more intriguing for the science community.
Orbital develops and manufactures small- and medium-class rockets and
space systems for commercial, military and civil government customers.
The company s primary products are satellites and launch vehicles,
including low-Earth orbit, geosynchronous-Earth orbit and planetary
exploration spacecraft for communications, remote sensing, scientific
and defense missions; human-rated space systems for Earth-orbit, lunar
and other missions; ground- and air-launched rockets that deliver
satellites into orbit; and missile defense systems that are used as
interceptor and target vehicles. Orbital also provides satellite
subsystems and space-related technical services to U.S. Government
agencies and laboratories. More information about Orbital can be found
Follow the company on Twitter @OrbitalSciences.
Source: Orbital Sciences Corporation
Orbital Sciences Corporation
Barron Beneski, 703-406-5528
and Investor Relations