Orbital Selected As Industry Partner For Scientific Satellite To Detect Black Holes by Caltech/JPL
-- NASAs NuSTAR Spacecraft Planned for Launch in 2011 --
(Dulles, VA 2 October 2007) – Orbital Sciences Corporation (NYSE: ORB) announced today that it has been selected by the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) to design, manufacture, integrate and test the Nuclear Spectroscopic Array (NuSTAR) scientific satellite. The NuSTAR satellite is part of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Small Explorer series of smaller-sized spacecraft designed to carry out highly productive Earth and space science investigations. The astrophysics mission of the NuSTAR observatory is to use high-energy X-rays to detect black holes and other energetic phenomena in the universe. It is scheduled for launch in 2011 and is designed to bridge the gap in astrophysics missions between the 2009 launch of the Wide-field Infrared Surveyor Explorer and the 2013 launch of the James Webb Space Telescope.
“Caltech and JPL’s selection of Orbital as the prime industrial contractor for the NuSTAR spacecraft continues our long and distinguished history of providing NASA with reliable and cost-effective scientific satellites under the Small Explorers program,” stated Mr. Mike Miller, Orbital’s Senior Vice President for Science and Technology Satellite Programs.
The NuSTAR program is being led by Principal Investigator Dr. Fiona Harrison of Caltech. Its mission is to help scientists answer fundamental questions about the universe, such as: How are black holes distributed throughout the cosmos? How were the elements of the universe created? What powers the most extreme active galaxies? With answers to these and other questions, NuSTAR will expand our understanding of the origins and destinies of stars and galaxies.
Mr. David Oberg, Orbital’s NuSTAR Program Director, said, “The NuSTAR program will benefit from utilizing Orbital’s proven LEOStar-2 spacecraft bus design. NuSTAR will be the seventh satellite to be based on this platform, taking advantage of a growing heritage of excellent in-orbit performance from previous missions.” Other LEOStar-based satellites that Orbital has designed and built for previous NASA scientific missions include SORCE, GALEX and AIM.
Orbital develops and manufactures small rockets and space systems for commercial, military and civil government customers. The company’s primary products are satellites and launch vehicles, including low-orbit, geosynchronous-orbit and planetary spacecraft for communications, remote sensing, scientific and defense 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 offers space-related technical services to government agencies and develops and builds satellite-based transportation management systems for public transit agencies and private vehicle fleet operators.
More information about Orbital can be found at http://www.orbital.com
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