Press Release

Orbital Completes New Satellite Manufacturing Facility At Company’s Dulles, Virginia Campus

By SpaceRef Editor
May 2, 2000
Filed under

New 125,000 Square Foot Facility is the Largest Satellite Plant in the Eastern United States

About 20 Satellites to Be Built and Tested in New SMF During Next Two Years

The largest U.S. satellite
manufacturing facility (SMF) east of the Mississippi River is now ready for
occupancy, Orbital Sciences Corporation announced today. Located
in Dulles, Virginia, about 30 miles west of Washington, DC, Orbital’s new
125,000 square foot state-of-the-art facility will house all of the company’s
satellite manufacturing, assembly and testing activities. Orbital is the
world’s leading manufacturer of innovative small satellites that are used in a
wide range of low-Earth orbit (LEO) and geostationary (GEO) communications,
remote imaging and scientific missions.
The company’s customers include
numerous U.S. and international commercial enterprises and government
agencies. Over the past 15 years, Orbital has designed, built, delivered and
launched over 85 satellites, which have amassed over 300 years of in-orbit

“This new facility, one of the most modern in the world, is emblematic of
Orbital’s commitment to producing the industry’s most reliable, affordable and
innovative small- and mid-size satellites for our customers,” said Mr. Robert
R. Lovell, Orbital’s Executive Vice President and General Manager of its Space
Systems Group (SSG). “The consolidation of our satellite manufacturing
operations at one state-of-the-art facility will help us further improve our
already strong project management, operational efficiency and quality control
processes. We expect that the new SMF will result in a better working
environment for our employees and better products for our customers,” he

Orbital’s new SMF will include a 40,000 square foot “high-bay” area that
will house a full suite of environmental test equipment used to simulate the
rigorous conditions of a satellite’s launch sequence and its operation in
space. The facility will also be home to two large “clean rooms,” totaling
over 25,000 square feet, in which satellites are kept during assembly,
integration and check-out phases. A new satellite command and control ground
station for Orbital’s ORBIMAGE affiliate’s OrbView-3 and -4 high-resolution
imaging satellites will also be incorporated into the complex later this year,
which will include office space for engineers, technicians and administrative
staff who will work in the building.

Among the satellite programs that Orbital now has under way at other
facilities that will be moved to the Dulles SMF is N-Star C, a GEO mobile
communications satellite platform, scheduled for launch in 2002, for a well-
known Japanese customer, NTT DoCoMo. In addition to pursuing GEO satellite
projects, which is an emerging market niche for Orbital’s satellite
capabilities, the company will also perform work on numerous LEO satellites at
the SMF. Among near-term LEO satellite projects to be housed in the SMF are
several scientific spacecraft for NASA, including two known by the acronyms
SORCE and QuickTOMS, as well as up to 15 additional ORBCOMM satellites that
may be added to the 35 in-orbit spacecraft in ORBCOMM’s wireless data
communications network.

The SMF is a centerpiece of Orbital’s Dulles, Virginia campus expansion
designed to accommodate the company’s fast-growing business. In addition to
the SMF, Orbital has recently completed two new 90,000 square foot buildings
containing office, laboratory, administrative and employee amenity space. With
an additional 160,000 square foot office building now under construction for
completion in 2001, Orbital is planning about a three-fold increase in the
size of its Dulles campus, which occupies over 70 acres, both in terms of
employees and facilities. Orbital’s Dulles facilities will increase to over
600,000 square feet and its employees based at Dulles will increase to nearly
2,000 over the next year.

Orbital is one of the largest space technology and satellite services
companies in the world, with 1999 total enterprise revenues of about $915
million. The company, which is headquartered in Dulles, Virginia, employs
about 5,500 people at major facilities in the United States, Canada and
several overseas locations. Orbital is the world’s leading manufacturer of
low-cost space systems, including satellites, launch vehicles, electronics and
sensors, satellite ground systems and related digital infrastructure. Its
Magellan subsidiary is a pioneer in satellite-based navigation and
communications products for consumer and industrial markets. Through its
ORBCOMM and ORBIMAGE affiliates and ORBNAV subsidiary, Orbital is also a major
operator of satellite-based networks that provide data communications, high-
resolution imagery and automotive information services to customers all around
the world.

SpaceRef staff editor.