Revenue Falls, But Profit Improves at Orbital Sciences

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GLASGOW, Scotland — Satellite, rocket and missile-defense vehicle manufacturer Orbital Sciences on July 18 said declines in its satellite and space-launch businesses pushed total revenue down by 10 percent for the three months ending June 30 compared to the same period last year.

Dulles, Va.-based Orbital reported increases in operating income and net profit, and said operating income in its satellite and space systems division was 11.3 percent of revenue for the period, compared to 8.2 percent a year ago, despite the sharp drop in revenue. The company said it was able to produce satellites for less cost than it had earlier expected.

Orbital said it plans to launch the Cygnus cargo carrier on its first demonstration mission to the international space station in September. A second Cygnus mission — the first of eight paid cargo runs Orbital is making under a $1.9 billion NASA Commercial Resupply Services contract — is scheduled for November or December. Both launches will be aboard Orbital’s new Antares rocket operated from Wallops Island, Va.

The company reported total revenue of $333.1 million for the three months ending June 30. The Satellites and Space Systems division posted revenue of $93.8 million, a drop of 28 percent from the same period a year ago, partly because of “delayed awards of new commercial satellite contracts,” Orbital said.

Higher revenue in the quarter from science and Earth observation satellites was overmatched by the decline in the commercial telecommunications satellite division.

Orbital’s Launch Vehicles division reported a 6 percent increase in revenue, to $134 million, as increased business in providing missile defense interceptor vehicles more than compensated for the drop in business for Orbital’s space launch vehicles.

The company specifically cited lower revenue from its Commercial Resupply Services contract with NASA as a reason for the 12 percent decline, to $116.6 million, in the company’s Advanced Space Programs division.