ORBITAL RECEIVES FAA COMMERCIAL SPACE LAUNCH LICENSE FOR TAURUS II COTS DEMONSTRATION MISSION

OrbitalHeader

— Company Secures Required Authorization to Conduct Launch After Extensive
Technical and Management Review —

(Dulles, VA 31 August 2011) — Orbital Sciences Corporation (NYSE: ORB),
one of the world’s leading space technology companies, today announced that
it received a Commercial Space Transportation Launch License from the
Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to conduct the Commercial Orbital
Transportation Services (COTS) program demonstration mission in early 2012.
An expanded license covering the test flight of the company’s Taurus® II
rocket in late 2011 is expected to be granted in the near future.

ASDNews

Firetrench Directory

To secure the license, Orbital was required to submit extensive technical
and program management data to the FAA about its Taurus II rocket and
Cygnus™ spacecraft to ensure that all necessary operational requirements
and safety precautions are met. Among the many items reviewed by the FAA
were the rocket’s planned trajectory, ground tracking procedures, onboard
safety and flight termination systems, and the experience and training of
the launch operations team.

“We are very pleased to have been granted the Commercial Space
Transportation Launch License by the FAA well in advance of our scheduled
launch date in early 2012,” said Mr. Brent Collins, Orbital’s Senior Vice
President and Taurus II Program Manager. “While we are very knowledgeable
of the FAA licensing process because of our extensive experience with
Pegasus and Taurus space launch vehicles, securing the FAA’s approval for a
new rocket system is always challenging because of the rigor of their
oversight. We feel this is a great vote of confidence in our launch
vehicle design, the robustness of its subsystems, the thoroughness of our
processes, and the training and operational experience of our launch team.”

For the COTS demonstration mission, Orbital will launch a Taurus II rocket
carrying an operational Cygnus cargo logistics spacecraft that will
autonomously rendezvous with and operate in close proximity to the
International Space Station (ISS) until it is grappled with a robotic arm
and berthed to the Station. For the earlier Taurus II test flight, an
instrumented Cygnus simulator will be onboard to accurately characterize
the launch environment

About Taurus II

Orbital is developing the Taurus II medium-class space launch vehicle to
boost payloads into a variety of low Earth and geosynchronous transfer
orbits and Earth escape trajectories. Taurus II incorporates proven
technologies from the company’s Pegasus®, Taurus and Minotaur rockets, and
is supported by a “best-in-class” network of suppliers from the U.S. and
around the world.

The Taurus II program currently has a backlog of 10 launches, beginning
with a test launch slated for December 2011, followed by the COTS
demonstration mission in early 2012. COTS is a joint research and
development effort with NASA to develop a space transportation system
capable of safely and reliably supplying the ISS with essential cargo.
Orbital is also under contract with NASA for the Commercial Resupply
Services (CRS) program with an eight-mission, $1.9 billion agreement to
deliver cargo to the ISS from 2012 through 2015.

In addition to its work with NASA on the COTS and CRS programs, Orbital is
also offering the Taurus II rocket to U.S. civil government, military and
commercial customers for dedicated launch services for medium-class
satellites. From its launch site at Wallops Island, Virginia, Taurus II
will be capable of supporting mid-inclination and polar orbiting spacecraft
weighing approximately 13,500 lbs. and 5,500 lbs., respectively. In
addition, Orbital plans to decide in early 2012 on the location of a West
Coast launch site to optimize Taurus II’s performance to high-inclination
orbits.

Leave a Reply