From: Orbital ATK
Posted: Tuesday, December 9, 2014
Orbital Sciences Corporation (ORB), one of the world’s leading space technology companies, today announced new details in its plans to resume cargo flights to the International Space Station (ISS) and to accelerate the introduction of an upgraded Antares launch vehicle. In formulating its go-forward plans, the company’s primary objective is to fulfill its commitment to NASA for ISS cargo deliveries with high levels of safety and reliability and minimum disruption to schedules. As previously announced, these plans are expected to allow Orbital to accomplish all remaining cargo deliveries under its current Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) contract with NASA by the end of 2016 and with no cost increase to the space agency.
The company’s go-forward plans for the CRS program and Antares launch vehicle include these major elements:
- Atlas V Launch: Orbital has contracted with United Launch Alliance for an Atlas V launch of a Cygnus cargo spacecraft from Cape Canaveral, Florida, in the fourth quarter of 2015, with an option for a second Atlas V launch in 2016 if needed. The Atlas rocket’s greater lift capacity will allow Cygnus to carry nearly 35% more cargo to the ISS than previously planned for CRS missions in 2015.
- Antares Propulsion Upgrade: The company has confirmed its ability to accelerate the introduction of a new main propulsion system for the Antares rocket and has scheduled three additional CRS launches in the first, second and fourth quarters of 2016 using the upgraded vehicle. The greater payload performance of the upgraded Antares will permit Cygnus spacecraft on each of these missions to deliver over 20% more cargo than in prior plans. With necessary supplier contracts now in place, the first new propulsion systems are expected to arrive at the Antares final assembly facility at Wallops Island, Virginia in mid-2015 to begin vehicle integration and testing.
- Wallops Launch Site Repairs: The Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS) has assessed the clean-up, repair and reconstruction work necessary to return the Wallops launch complex to operational status. Current plans call for repairs to be substantially completed by the fall of 2015, with recertification taking place before year end.
The flexibility of Orbital’s Cygnus cargo spacecraft to accommodate heavier cargo loads, together with the greater lift capacity of the Atlas V and upgraded Antares vehicles, will allow the company to complete all currently contracted ISS deliveries in four missions instead of the five previously planned flights over the next two years. In addition, the company’s revised approach is not expected to create any material adverse financial impacts in 2015 or future years as Orbital carries out the CRS cargo delivery and Antares propulsion upgrade programs.
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 exploration 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 research rocket and satellite subsystems and space-related technical services to U.S. Government agencies and laboratories. More information about Orbital can be found at http://www.orbital.com. Follow the company on Twitter @OrbitalSciences.
“Safe Harbor” Statement Under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995
Certain statements in this press release are "forward-looking statements" as defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements include those related to our go-forward plans for the CRS program and the Antares launch vehicle. These statements can be identified by the fact that they do not relate strictly to historical or current facts. Forward-looking statements often include the words "forecast," "expect," "will," "intend," "plan," “to” and words of similar substance. Such forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual financial results or operating performance to be materially different from the forward-looking statement. These risks and uncertainties include factors such as the timing of any future launches; the accounting, financial or commercial impact of the launch failure; the availability of insurance; changes in revenue and cost estimates and/or timing of programs; the potential termination of U.S. Government contracts; unstable geopolitical conditions; supply, modification and testing of components in a timely manner; the performance of our subcontractors, suppliers and other third parties; and the availability of and potential delays in funding or disputes associated with repairs. Additional information concerning these and other factors can be found in Orbital's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Orbital assumes no obligation to update or revise publicly the information in this press release except as otherwise required by law. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements.
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