Under a new five-year program for the 2011-2015 period, NASA intends to stimulate the development of advanced technologies and new business models, building the foundation for 21st Century solar system exploration, Earth climate monitoring and environmental protection, and next-generation aerospace workforce inspiration and education. By working in innovative new partnerships with U.S. industry and academic institutions, NASA will maintain America's leadership in space while also contributing substantially to our country's economic well-being.
"In its first time at bat, the Obama Administration hit the ball out of the park in setting this new direction for NASA," commented Mr. David W. Thompson, Orbital's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. "As a commercial partner to the space agency for over 25 years, Orbital is very excited about this new course for America's civil space program."
The company cited several aspects of NASA's proposed new direction that it believes are particularly favorable:
- Extension of U.S. participation in the International Space Station (ISS) program until at least 2020, with a more aggressive program of scientific research and utilization to be carried out at the multi-national orbital facility;
- Strengthening of NASA's current initiatives in commercial cargo delivery to the ISS, together with exciting new partnerships with private industry to develop and operate commercial astronaut transportation systems for low-orbit missions;
- Increased funding for Earth and space science programs, with special emphasis on accelerated and expanded climate change research missions; and
- Enhanced R&D investments by the space agency in new launch vehicle propulsion and in-space operations technologies and related robotic precursor missions to the Moon, Mars, asteroids and other deep-space destinations.
Orbital also noted that, under NASA's proposed new approach, these objectives can be pursued within realistic and responsible budget levels, reflecting the U.S. Government's tight fiscal outlook in the coming decade.
"Our company has engaged in a half dozen innovative government/industry partnerships with NASA since the early 1980's, creating a range of new launch vehicle and spacecraft technologies and enabling over 70 NASA space missions to be carried out at substantially lower cost to American taxpayers. We look forward to expanding our cooperation with the world's leading civil space agency as it pursues new technological advances and new business models for the new space age," Mr. Thompson added.
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 at http://www.orbital.com.
SOURCE: Orbital Sciences Corporation
Barron Beneski, 703-406-5528
Public and Investor Relations