DULLES, Va., Aug 6, 2003 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Company's Satellite Manufacturing Business Bolstered by Strong Demand for Low-Earth Orbit Scientific Spacecraft
Orbital Sciences Corporation (NYSE:ORB) announced today that it has been awarded the initial phase of a $25 million satellite manufacturing contract from a university team led by Hampton University (HU) in Hampton, Virginia, with the University of Colorado's Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP) in Boulder, Colorado managing the satellite development for HU. Dr. James M. Russell III of HU is the Principal Investigator of the Aeronomy of Ice in the Mesosphere (AIM) program, with oversight conducted by the Small Explorers Office of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. Under the contract, Orbital will complete the design and development, and will manufacture and test the AIM satellite at the company's Dulles, Virginia satellite manufacturing facility. The NASA-sponsored satellite is scheduled to be delivered in 2006 and will be launched aboard Orbital's Pegasus XL rocket.
"We are exceptionally pleased to be chosen as a major participant in the AIM mission, together with Hampton University, a fellow Virginia-based institution. We are also very pleased to be extending our long-term and productive affiliation with the University of Colorado's LASP, with which we recently teamed on the highly successful SORCE satellite program for NASA," said Mr. Jack Danko, Orbital's Executive Vice President and General Manager of its Space Systems Group.
"Our low-Earth orbit (LEO) satellite manufacturing business has been a mainstay of Orbital's business for many years," Mr. Danko continued. "In the last 20 years, we have built and delivered, or are now in the process of designing and manufacturing, over 95 LEO spacecraft. Orbital's strong experience in this product area, combined with the top-notch engineering and production team working on the AIM program, reflects our intense focus on total customer satisfaction," he concluded.
The scientific mission of the AIM satellite program is focused on the study of Polar Mesospheric Clouds (PMCs) that form about 50 miles above the Earth's surface in the summer months, primarily in the polar regions. The AIM spacecraft will measure PMCs and the thermal, chemical and dynamic environment in which they form in order to determine the connection between PMCs and the meteorology of the polar mesosphere. This connection is important because a significant variability in the yearly number of noctilucent ("glow in the dark") clouds, which are a manifestation of PMCs, has been suggested as an indicator of global climate change.
The data collected by the AIM spacecraft will provide the basis for a rigorous study of PMCs that can be reliably used to study past changes, present trends and the relationship of PMCs to global environmental change. In the end, the AIM mission will expand the study of long-term variability in the Earth's climate.
Orbital develops and manufactures small space systems for commercial, civil government and military customers. The company's primary products are satellites and launch vehicles, including low-orbit, geostationary and planetary spacecraft for communications, remote sensing and scientific missions; ground- and air-launched rockets that deliver satellites into orbit; and missile defense boosters that are used as interceptor and target vehicles. Orbital also offers space-related technical services to government agencies and develops and builds satellite-based transportation management systems for public transit agencies and private vehicle fleet operators.
More information about Orbital can be found at http://www.orbital.com.
SOURCE: Orbital Sciences Corporation
Orbital Sciences Corporation Barron Beneski, 703-406-5528 Beneski.firstname.lastname@example.org
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