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Orbital Sciences Corporation (OSC, though commonly referred to as Orbital) is a company which specializes in satellite launch and manufacture. Its Launch Systems Group is heavily involved with missile defense launch systems. Orbital formerly owned ORBIMAGE (now GeoEye) and the Magellan line of GPS receivers, though they are now divested (the latter to Thales). Orbital's NYSEmarker ticker symbol is ORB. It has its headquarters in the Dullesmarker area of unincorporated Loudoun Countymarker, Virginiamarker, United Statesmarker.


Orbital was founded in 1982 by David Thompson, Bruce Ferguson and Scott Webster. In 1990, the company successfully carried out eight space missions, highlighted by the initial launch of the Pegasus rocket. In 2006 Orbital conducted its 500th mission since the company’s founding.

In 1997 it spun off its space imaging division Orbital Space Imaging or ORBIMAGE (with Thompson then as chairman). It is now GeoEye.

Business Groups

  • Space Systems Group (SSG)

Orbital is a provider of small- to medium-class satellites. Since the company's founding in 1982, Orbital has delivered over 110 spacecraft to commercial, military and civil customers worldwide. To date, these spacecraft have amassed a total of nearly 630 years of on-orbit operations.

  • Launch Systems Group (LSG)

Orbital's space launch vehicles primarily focus on boosting small payloads to orbit. The Pegasus rocket is launched from the company's "Stargazer" L-1011 carrier aircraft and has proven to be the industry's small space launch workhorse, having conducted 40 missions from six different launch sites worldwide since 1990. The Taurus and Minotaur ground-launched rockets combine Pegasus upper stages with either government-supplied or commercially available first-stage rocket motors to boost larger payloads to orbit. Minotaur IV is the newest addition to Orbital's line of space boosters and combines decommissioned Peacekeeper rocket motors with Orbital avionics and fairings, the Minotaur IV is only available to launch U.S. Government sponsored payloads.

Orbital is also a provider of suborbital launch vehicles for the nation's missile defense systems. In the last 10 years it has conducted nearly 50 launches for the U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA), the Air Force, the Army and Navy to develop, test and enhance U.S. missile defense systems.

  • Advanced Programs Group (APG)

Orbital’s Advanced Programs Group focuses on developing new technologies for human spaceflight, commercial transportation, aeronautical research and space transportation.

  • Technical Services Division (TSD)

Orbital provides engineering, production and technical management personnel primarily for space-related science and defense programs. Typically, it supplies specialized personnel — engineers, scientists, technicians and other professionals — with specific knowledge in the areas that the customer is pursuing. The Orbital employees often work with the customers' technical staff at their facilities.

Primary Facility Locations

Orbital Products

International Space Station Resupply

NASA Constellation Program

Satellite launch vehicles

Experimental vehicles

Missile Defense Systems and Ballistic Target Vehicles

GEO Satellites

STAR 2 platform
At its Dulles, Virginiamarker plant Orbital builds medium-sized spacecraft based on the company's STAR 2 platform. Both payloads of a September 2007 Ariane 5 launch — Optus D2 and Intelsat 11marker were built on the STAR 2 platform.

LEO satellites

Planetary probes

Client Countries

Launch Sites



  1. " Contact Information." Orbital Sciences Corporation. Retrieved on September 25, 2009.
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