Company’s Ground-Launched Rocket to Carry U.S. Department of Energy’s MTI Satellite

Orbital Sciences Corporation announced today that it is in final preparations for the next launch of
its Taurus® rocket, which will carry an experimental satellite for the U.S.
Department of Energy (DOE) into orbit on Monday, February 28.
The available
launch window for the mission extends from 1:23 a.m. to 1:50 a.m. (PST).
schedule is subject to final preparations and testing, as well as acceptable
weather conditions at the Vandenberg Air Force Base (VAFB), California launch
site at the time of the mission.

On board Orbital’s four-stage ground-launch Taurus rocket will be DOE’s
Multispectral Thermal Imager (MTI) satellite, which carries a sophisticated
telescope that collects images of the Earth, during the day and at night, in
15 spectral bands ranging from visible to long-wave infrared.
The unique
imaging instrument was designed and built by a government/industry team led by
Sandia National Laboratories and was calibrated in a special facility at Los
Alamos National Laboratory.
It gives the MTI satellite the ability to “see”
reflected and thermally radiated electromagnetic waves not visible to the
human eye with performance parameters previously achievable only in laboratory
settings. To learn more about the MTI satellite and its mission, visit the
“news” section at on the Internet.

On launch day, the Taurus rocket will be prepared for its mission during a
four-hour countdown procedure.
Following a final launch decision, the vehicle
will ignite its first stage rocket motor, lift off and follow a pre-programmed
launch sequence controlled by its onboard flight computer.
A little more than
12 minutes after liftoff, Taurus will deliver the MTI spacecraft into a Sun-
synchronous orbit approximately 310 nautical miles (575 kilometers) above the

Orbital developed the ground-launched Taurus vehicle to provide a cost-
effective, reliable means of launching satellites weighing up to 3,000 pounds
into low-Earth orbit, or up to 800 pounds into geosynchronous Earth orbit.
Taurus incorporates advanced structural and avionics technology proven on
Pegasus and other operational launch systems.
It is also designed for easy
transportability, offering customers rapid-response launches from a wide range
of locations.

Including its debut flight in 1994, Orbital’s Taurus rocket has carried
out four previous space missions, all of which have been successful.
The most
recent Taurus launch occurred on December 20, 1999, when the rocket deployed
two satellites — the KOMPSAT satellite for the Republic of Korea and the
ACRIMSAT satellite for NASA.

Orbital is one of the largest space technology and satellite services
companies in the world, with 1999 revenues targeted to exceed $900 million.
The company, which is headquartered in Dulles, Virginia, employs over 5,200
people at its major facilities in the United States, Canada and several
overseas locations. Orbital is the world’s leading manufacturer of low-cost
space systems and products, including satellites, launch vehicles, electronics
and sensors, satellite ground systems and software, and satellite-based
navigation and communications products.
Through its ORBCOMM and ORBIMAGE
affiliates and ORBNAV subsidiary, Orbital is also a pioneering operator of
satellite-based networks that provide data communications, high-resolution
imagery and automotive information services to customers all around the world.