Orbital Sciences Corporation announced today that the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Goddard Space Flight Center has recently selected the company to perform five separate spacecraft definition and design studies.  Administered by Goddard’s Rapid Spacecraft Development Office (RSDO), four of these studies may lead to satellite development/production programs for Orbital, which is among several companies awarded similar study contracts.  The 45- to 100-day studies range invalue from $50,000 to $150,000.
"These studies place Orbital in a strong competitive position to compete for follow-on satellite manufacturing contracts," said Mr. Robert R. Lovell, Executive Vice President and General Manager of Orbital’s Space Systems Group. "With more than 85 satellites delivered and deployed, and with capabilities inboth low-Earth orbit and geosynchronous orbit missions, Orbital is among the most experienced and qualified satellite manufacturing companies in the world."
Through the Goddard RSDO, Orbital was previously selected for a five-year contract for design, production and testing of small- and medium-class satellites used in space science, Earth science and advanced technology missions.  This contract allows NASA centers and laboratories, as well as other U.S. Government agencies, to procure a wide range of flight-proven satellites from the company.  It covers six different satellite platforms developed and manufactured by Orbital, including both low-Earth orbit and geosynchronous orbitspacecraft.  Due to its flexible ordering structure, the contract will shorten>NASA’s satellite order-to-delivery cycle to as little as 12 months, permitting it to carry out faster and more effective space missions.
For each of the current studies described below, Orbital is determining how bestto implement specific NASA missions using its RSDO-qualified spacecraft configurations.
* Awarded in January and recently concluded, the Magnetospheric MultiScale (MMS) study explored the use of five identical spacecraft to make extensive measurements of the Earth’s magnetosphere.  These five spacecraft are planned to be launched aboard a Delta rocket in late 2005 and deployed in a tetrahedral formation to comprehensively investigate the spatial and temporal properties of the Earth’s magnetosphere.
* The Gamma-ray Large Area Space Telescope (GLAST) spacecraft accommodation study was awarded to Orbital in May. The mission, considered a follow-on to therecently de-orbited Compton Gamma Ray Observatory, will examine the last poorly-measured regions of the celestial electromagnetic spectrum beginning in 2005.
* The NPOESS Preparatory Program (NPP) is a "bridge" mission to reduce risk andprovide critical data during the transition to NPOESS, a new joint Department ofCommerce/Department of Defense/NASA Earth observation and weather monitoring system. Awarded in June, this study explores concepts for a spacecraft to fly three newly developed NPOESS sensors. The spacecraft is scheduled to be launched in 2005.
* Orbital received the Internet Protocol (IP)-based Satellite Accommodation study from the RSDO in May. This study, managed by NASA’s Glenn Research Center, is taking a preliminary look at the readiness of commercial satellite system architectures and communications technologies to support the needs of NASA’s near-Earth missions over the next 10 to 15 years. Orbital is specifically assessing the changes necessary to its existing RSDO spacecraft configurations to permit routine command and data handling functions to be conducted over the Internet.
* In July, the RSDO selected Orbital as one of four contractors to determine the feasibility of accommodating the Lightweight Rainfall Radiometer (LRR) on boarda qualified spacecraft in two different launch configurations. This study supports the LRR Instrument Incubator Program technology development effort under way at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.
Orbital is one of the largest space technology and satellite services companies in the world, with 1999 total enterprise revenues (including revenues from unconsolidated affiliates) of about $915 million. The company, headquartered inDulles, Virginia, employs about 5,500 people at major facilities in the United States, Canada and several overseas locations.
Orbital is the world’s leading manufacturer of low-cost space systems, including
satellites, launch vehicles, electronics and sensors, satellite ground systems and related digital infrastructure. Its Magellan subsidiary is a pioneer in satellite-based navigation and communications products for consumer and industrial markets. Through its ORBCOMM and ORBIMAGE affiliates and ORBNAV subsidiary, Orbital is also a major operator of satellite-based networks that provide data communications, high-resolution imagery and automotive information
services to customers all around the world.