DULLES, Va., Feb. 7 /PRNewswire/ -- Orbital Sciences Corporation (NYSE: ORB) announced today that BSAT-2a, the first of three geostationary (GEO) satellites that the company plans to deliver to customers in 2001, has arrived at its launch site in Kourou, French Guiana. From Kourou, the satellite will be launched aboard an Ariane 5 rocket into a geosynchronous orbit at 110 degrees East longitude. The BSAT-2a satellite was built by Orbital for Japan's Broadcasting Satellite System Corporation (B-SAT) as the first of a pair of direct-to-home digital television broadcasting platforms. Orbital expects the BSAT-2b satellite to be launched later this year.
Over the next several weeks, engineers from B-SAT, Orbital and Arianespace will work together to integrate the satellite with the launch vehicle and perform an extensive series of detailed tests to ensure that the combined systems of the satellite and rocket are properly working together.
"We are very pleased to have reached this important milestone in the BSAT- 2 satellite program," said Dr. Ali Atia, President of Orbital's communications satellite group. "At the same time that we are preparing to launch and commission BSAT-2a, we are also focusing our efforts on completing, testing and delivering the BSAT-2b satellite for launch later this year."
Orbital is also working on another GEO satellite program, the N-STAR c communications spacecraft for Japan's NTT DoCoMo. On that program, Orbital is partnered with Lockheed Martin Corporation, the prime contractor, to provide the satellite platform, perform the integration of the payload with the satellite bus, conduct pre-and post-shipment testing and arrange for launch services.
The BSAT-2 and N-STAR c satellites are based on Orbital's "STAR" family of smaller GEO satellite platforms, which are able to accommodate most types of commercial communications payloads. The STAR design is an attractive alternative to the larger, more costly GEO satellites offered by the industry's traditional suppliers. The STAR satellites are smaller and are significantly less costly to acquire and launch, a perfect fit for customers in the early stages of building their business or established companies that wish to add incremental capacity to their network.
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
/NOTE TO EDITORS: A high-resolution artist's rendering of the BSAT-2a geostationary spacecraft, suitable for publication, is available on Orbital's Web site at: http://www.orbital.com/News/Images/Satellites ./
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