DULLES, Va., Aug. 2 /PRNewswire/ -- Orbital Sciences Corporation (NYSE: ORB) announced today that it has been awarded a seven-month contract, worth up to $11 million, by The Boeing Company to develop a concept for an Alternative Boost Vehicle (ABV) for the country's Ground-Based Midcourse Defense Segment (GMDS), formerly the National Missile Defense (NMD) program. Under the contract, Orbital will support Boeing in establishing requirements and conducting initial development efforts for an ABV that would meet the missile defense system's specifications.

Orbital's ABV concept is based on a derivative of the company's flight- proven Pegasus, Taurus and Minotaur space launch vehicles, which would be modified to be ground-launched from a missile silo. Based on its experience with over 135 successful space and suborbital launch missions completed over the past 15 years, Orbital believes that its concept could offer the U.S. missile defense program significant performance, reliability and cost advantages over other potential ABV systems.

Orbital's current effort will culminate in a proposal to Boeing to develop and manufacture flight test vehicles and to produce fully integrated boost vehicles for deployment. If Orbital's concept is selected, the resulting production program would involve development and deployment of about 50 vehicles.

Mr. David W. Thompson, Orbital's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, said, "We are honored to be selected to participate in this important aspect of America's missile defense program. This initiative is a major defense priority for our nation and Orbital looks forward to the opportunity to apply our vast experience and proven expertise to this vital endeavor."

The Boeing Company is under contract to the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization (BMDO) to serve as the prime contractor and overall systems integrator of the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense Segment. Boeing has overall responsibility for development and integration of all elements of the GMDS program.

Mr. Ronald J. Grabe, Executive Vice President and General Manager of Orbital's Launch Systems Group, stated, "The Alternative Boost Vehicle study contract is a major milestone in Orbital's growth strategy to expand our Department of Defense business beyond our traditional product lines of space launch vehicles and ballistic missile targets. With our role in the program, BMDO and Boeing have recognized that Orbital's core competencies of producing cost-effective and highly reliable launch systems could be a major contributor to the success of the program."

Orbital develops and manufactures affordable space systems, including satellites, launch vehicles, sensors and electronics, and advanced systems. Orbital is also involved with satellite-based networks that provide wireless data communications and high-resolution Earth imagery to customers all around the world.

More information about Orbital can be found at http://www.orbital.com .

CONTACT: Media: Barron Beneski, +1-703-406-5000, or
beneski.barron@orbital.com; or Investors: Timothy Perrott, +1-703-406-5997, or
perrott.tim@orbital.com, both of Orbital Sciences Corporation.
                    MAKE YOUR OPINION COUNT -  Click Here

SOURCE Orbital Sciences Corporation

CONTACT: Media: Barron Beneski, +1-703-406-5000, or beneski.barron@orbital.com; or Investors: Timothy Perrott, +1-703-406-5997, or perrott.tim@orbital.com, both of Orbital Sciences Corporation/