DULLES, Va., Oct. 12 /PRNewswire/ -- Orbital Sciences Corporation (NYSE: ORB) announced today that it was recently awarded a $24 million development task order by the United States Army Space and Missile Defense Command (USASMDC) for the Short Range Air Launch Target program. The objective of USASMDC's program is to develop and launch four Navy Area Theater Ballistic Missile (TBMD) Short Range Air Launch Targets in support of the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization (BMDO) Targets Program. Orbital was selected for this task order in a competitive bidding process with two other companies. Earlier this month, Orbital announced that it had won a $22 million contract for Phase II of the Liquid Booster Development Program also from USASMDC.

The air-launched target missile will be transported to an area over the ocean aboard a C-130 cargo aircraft. Once at the correct location, the target missile will be extracted from the C-130 using parachutes and stabilized in descent, then its rocket motor will be ignited. This launch method allows target missions to be carried out from locations and directions where no ground-based launch range exists. This capability has already been successfully demonstrated by USASMDC.

The Short Range Air Launch Target vehicle will utilize surplus ICBM solid rocket motors for its propulsion. The target vehicle trajectories will be less than 500 kilometers and will support the Navy Area Wide missile defense program. Orbital's target vehicles already support such programs as Patriot PAC-3, Navy Theater Wide and Ground-Based Mid-Course Defense System. The program will be carried out by Orbital's Launch Systems Group at its engineering and manufacturing facility in Chandler, Arizona.

Commenting on the award, Mr. Ronald J. Grabe, Executive Vice President and General Manager of Orbital's Launch Systems Group, said, "We are extremely pleased to have been selected by USASMDC to perform the Short Range Air Launch Target missions. Orbital looks forward to building upon the successful relationship previously established with USASMDC on the STORM ballistic target and Consolidated Theater Target Services programs."

Orbital is one of the world's most experienced companies in designing, producing and operating rockets that use an air-launch method. In the past 12 years, the company has performed 33 air-launched missions involving satellite launch, target and test bed operations.

Orbital develops and manufactures affordable space systems, including satellites, launch vehicles, and advanced space 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: Barron Beneski, Public and Investors Relations of Orbital
Sciences Corporation, +1-703-406-5528, or beneski.barron@orbital.com .
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SOURCE Orbital Sciences Corporation

CONTACT: Barron Beneski, Public and Investors Relations of Orbital Sciences Corporation, +1-703-406-5528, or beneski.barron@orbital.com/