Orbital Sciences Corporation
announced today that BSAT-2a, the first of three geostationary
(GEO) satellites that the company plans to deliver to customers in 2001, has
arrived at its launch site in Kourou, French Guiana.
From Kourou, the
satellite will be launched aboard an Ariane 5 rocket into a geosynchronous
orbit at 110 degrees East longitude.
The BSAT-2a satellite was built by
Orbital for Japan’s Broadcasting Satellite System Corporation (B-SAT) as the
first of a pair of direct-to-home digital television broadcasting platforms.
Orbital expects the BSAT-2b satellite to be launched later this year.

Over the next several weeks, engineers from B-SAT, Orbital and Arianespace
will work together to integrate the satellite with the launch vehicle and
perform an extensive series of detailed tests to ensure that the combined
systems of the satellite and rocket are properly working together.

“We are very pleased to have reached this important milestone in the BSAT-
2 satellite program,” said Dr. Ali Atia, President of Orbital’s communications
satellite group.
“At the same time that we are preparing to launch and
commission BSAT-2a, we are also focusing our efforts on completing, testing
and delivering the BSAT-2b satellite for launch later this year.”

Orbital is also working on another GEO satellite program, the N-STAR c
communications spacecraft for Japan’s NTT DoCoMo.
On that program, Orbital is
partnered with Lockheed Martin Corporation, the prime contractor, to provide
the satellite platform, perform the integration of the payload with the
satellite bus, conduct pre-and post-shipment testing and arrange for launch

The BSAT-2 and N-STAR c satellites are based on Orbital’s “STAR” family of
smaller GEO satellite platforms, which are able to accommodate most types of
commercial communications payloads.
The STAR design is an attractive
alternative to the larger, more costly GEO satellites offered by the
industry’s traditional suppliers.
The STAR satellites are smaller and are
significantly less costly to acquire and launch, a perfect fit for customers
in the early stages of building their business or established companies that
wish to add incremental capacity to their network.

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 approximately $915 million.
company, headquartered in Dulles, Virginia, employs about 4,500 people at
major facilities in the United States, Canada and several overseas locations.

Orbital is one of the world’s leading manufacturers 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.
More information about Orbital can be found at http://www.orbital.com .