Orbital Sciences Passes Spacecraft Milestone

Dawn SpacecraftCredit :  NASA

Dawn Spacecraft
Credit : NASA

Orbital Press Release:


— Company’s 30-Year History Includes 146 Satellites Built and Launched,
With 81 Currently in Full Operations —

(Dulles, VA 11 March 2013) – Orbital Sciences Corporation (NYSE: ORB), one
of the world’s leading space technology companies, today announced that it
recently achieved a significant space operational milestone. The fleet of
satellites that Orbital designed, built and, in some cases, launched
recently marked 1,000 years of cumulative in-orbit operational experience.
This achievement has been accomplished by only four other companies since
the dawn of the space age. Today, 81 of the 146 total spacecraft Orbital
built over the last 30 years are fully operational, fulfilling their
missions for customers in the fields of commercial communications, Earth
and space science, national security, commercial imaging and others. Each
day, these active spacecraft add over two and a half months to the
company’s cumulative in-orbit operating experience.

“This milestone is a testament to the robust design of Orbital’s satellite
platforms and the rigorous testing process that each spacecraft undergoes
prior to launch,” said Mr. David W. Thompson, Orbital’s President and Chief
Executive Officer. “Throughout Orbital’s 30-year history, our focus has
been on designing and building space systems that offer our customers an
ideal combination of performance, affordability and, most important of all,

The 146 satellites built by Orbital and its predecessor companies have been
deployed into low-, medium- and geosynchronous-altitude orbits, as well as
into higher-energy Earth-escape trajectories. Of the satellites
constructed by the company, 77 were built and launched for commercial
communications and imaging customers and 69 were contracted by and
delivered to government customers, such as NASA, the U.S. Department of
Defense, and several international government customers. Orbital built its
satellite design and manufacturing business not only through internal
investments, but also through a series of strategic acquisitions that
brought important technical capabilities, modern facilities and a talented
workforce into the company, whose experience has added to Orbital’s legacy.

Several Orbital-built spacecraft have recently reached noteworthy
milestones. These include:

Landsat 5 and LDCM (Landsat 8) Remote Sensing Satellites – The Landsat 5
satellite was recently honored by Guinness World Records as the longest
operating Earth observation satellite after nearly 29 years in space, far
outliving its original three-year design life. Completed and launched in
1984, the satellite was officially retired by the U.S. Geological Survey in
December 2012. More recently, the Orbital-built Landsat Data Continuity
Mission (LDCM) satellite was launched into orbit in February 2013 and is
now undergoing in-orbit testing before being placed into service and
rechristened Landsat 8, extending the 40-year history of this pioneering
Earth observation program.

Dawn Planetary Exploration Spacecraft – Dawn is the second interplanetary
spacecraft built by Orbital. Following its launch in September 2007 and a
nearly four-year journey to the main asteroid belt located between Mars and
Jupiter, Dawn returned never-before-seen images of Vesta, one of the
largest asteroids in the solar system, providing scientists with valuable
clues to how the planets were formed. Dawn uses advanced ion propulsion,
an innovative system that enabled it to reach its destination and to become
the first spacecraft to orbit one body, Vesta, and then travel to and orbit
another body, the nearly planet-size Ceres, where it will arrive in early
2015 and conduct another six months of observations. In total, Dawn will
have traveled about three billion miles when its mission is complete in
three years.

Azersat/Africasat-1 Commercial Communications Satellite – As an example of
Orbital’s end-to-end satellite system capabilities, Orbital designed, built
and tested the Azersat/Africasat-1 commercial communications satellite for
the Republic of Azerbaijan. With its launch in February 2013, Azerbaijan’s
Ministry of Communications and Information Technologies for the first time
will soon be able to provide its citizens and government organizations with
a modern, nationwide and international communications infrastructure based
on the capabilities of Orbital’s 5-kilowatt geosynchronous satellite that
carries 36 active C- and Ku-band transponders. Orbital also designed and
built the ground-based command and control network and provided pre-launch
satellite operations training for a staff of Azerbaijani engineers.

About Orbital

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 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 government agencies and laboratories. More information about
Orbital can be found at http://www.orbital.com.

About the Author:

Post a Comment