Orbital Sciences Corporation
, though commonly referred to as
) is a company which specializes in
launch and manufacture. Its
Launch Systems Group is heavily involved with missile defense
Orbital formerly owned ORBIMAGE (now GeoEye
and the Magellan line of GPS
they are now divested (the latter to Thales
). Orbital's NYSE ticker symbol is ORB.
It has its
headquarters in the Dulles area of
County, Virginia, United States.
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
- 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
Primary Facility Locations
Satellite launch vehicles
- STAR 2 platform
- At its
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 11 were built on the STAR 2 platform.
- " Contact Information." Orbital Sciences Corporation.
Retrieved on September 25, 2009.