Fri Feb 22, 2013 6:58pm EST

* Reuters is not responsible for the content in this press release.

For best results when printing this announcement, please click on the link below:




-- Company Completes Final Ground Testing on New Medium-Class Launch Vehicle --

-- Next Program Milestone:  Test Flight From Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at NASA's Wallops
Flight Facility --

(Dulles, VA 22 February 2013) -- Orbital Sciences Corporation (NYSE: ORB), one of the world's
leading space technology companies, today announced it successfully conducted an extended-duration
"hot fire" test of the first stage propulsion system of its new Antares(TM) medium-class rocket. 
Developed over a four-plus-year period, Antares will be used to launch cargo supply missions to
the International Space Station as part of a $1.9 billion contract with NASA.  

The 29-second hot fire test took place at 6:00 p.m. (EST) on February 22, 2013 at the Mid-Atlantic
Regional Spaceport's (MARS) Pad 0A, which was designed and built over the last several years to
accommodate liquid-fuel space launch vehicles.  The primary goals of the test were to ensure that
the launch complex's fueling systems and the Antares stage one test article functioned properly in
a fully operational environment, that engine ignition and shut down commands operated as designed,
and that the dual AJ26 first stage engines and their control systems performed to specifications
in the twin-engine configuration.  The test included a full propellant loading sequence, launch
countdown and engine ignition operation. The pad's high-volume water deluge system flowed
throughout the entire period of the test to protect the pad from damage and for noise suppression.

"Our initial assessment of the test data shows that we were successful in achieving each of the
primary objectives we had hoped to accomplish going into the test," said Mr. Mike Pinkston,
Orbital's Antares Program Manager.  "We will now turn our attention to the next major milestone
for the Antares program, which is the inaugural flight of the rocket.  I know that I speak for the
entire Antares team when I say we are beyond excited to know that our newest rocket will take to
the skies in just a matter of weeks."  

With the hot fire test complete, Orbital will purge and clean the engines of residual propellants
and return the first stage test unit to the vehicle integration facility for full reconditioning. 
Shortly after completing pad and fueling systems post-test inspections and performing any
necessary reconditioning work, Orbital will roll out the first complete two-stage Antares rocket
to prepare it for the test flight, which is expected to take place in approximately six weeks.

Orbital is scheduled to conduct two launches under the Commercial Orbital Transportation Services
(COTS) Space Act Agreement with NASA in 2013.  In addition, the company will launch eight
operational cargo resupply missions to the International Space Station (ISS) using Antares
vehicles from late 2013 through 2016 under the Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) contract with
NASA.  The COTS and CRS flights will launch from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in eastern
Virginia, which is ideally suited for ISS missions, and can also accommodate launches to other
orbits.  In addition, Orbital is currently evaluating its options for development of a west coast
launch site that would enable the Antares rocket to address an even wider range of customer

The Antares medium-class launch system will provide a significant increase in the payload launch
capability that Orbital can provide to NASA, the U.S. Air Force and other customers.  The Antares
rocket will be able to launch up to 14,000 lbs. into low-Earth orbit, as well as lighter-weight
payloads into higher-energy orbits.   Orbital's newest launcher is currently on-ramped to both the
NASA Launch Services-2 and the U.S. Air Force's Orbital/Suborbital-3 contracts, enabling the two
largest U.S. government space launch customers to order Antares for "right-size and right-price"
launch services for medium-class spacecraft.

About Orbital

Orbital develops and manufactures small- and medium-class rockets and space systems for
commercial, military and civil government customers.  The company's primary products are
satellites and launch vehicles, including low-Earth orbit, geosynchronous-Earth orbit and
planetary spacecraft for communications, remote sensing, scientific and defense missions;
human-rated space systems for Earth-orbit, lunar and other missions; ground- and air-launched
rockets that deliver satellites into orbit; and missile defense systems that are used as
interceptor and target vehicles.  Orbital also provides satellite subsystems and space-related
technical services to government agencies and laboratories. More information about Orbital can be
found at http://www.orbital.com http://www.orbital.com/ .  Follow Orbital on Twitter

# # #
Notes to Editors:

Barron Beneski (703) 406-5528
Public and Investor Relations
beneski.barron@orbital.com mailto:beneski.barron@orbital.com 

[Insert links to Hot Fire photos and videos]

Other high-resolution photos and images of Orbital's Antares rocket can be downloaded for
publication at http://www.orbital.com/NewsInfo/ImagesMultimedia/


This announcement is distributed by Thomson Reuters on behalf of Thomson Reuters clients.

The owner of this announcement warrants that:
(i) the releases contained herein are protected by copyright and other applicable laws; and
(ii) they are solely responsible for the content, accuracy and originality of the
information contained therein.

Source: Orbital Sciences Corporation via Thomson Reuters ONE


Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.