Status Report

U.S. Air Force declares the Orbital-built TSX-5 satellite Functional Ahead of Schedule

By SpaceRef Editor
July 11, 2000
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Orbital Sciences Corporation announced today that the U.S. Air Force recently declared the Tri-Service Experiments Mission 5 (TSX-5) "fully functional" nearly two weeks earlier than the scheduled 30-day in-orbit "checkout" period. Orbital played a major role in the TSX-5 mission, which is testing new advanced space technologies.  Orbital not only designed, built and integrated the 250-kilogram satellite and provided ground control support, but also successfully launched the small spacecraft into its targeted orbit aboard the company’s air-launched Pegasus rocket on June 7, 2000.   Following the launch, satellite engineers from the Air Force and Orbital conducted a series of initial in-orbit evaluation tests to ensure that the main operating systems of the TSX-5 spacecraft were working as expected.  The Air Force recently concluded that the performance of the satellite has met all checkout criteria ahead of schedule, allowing full mission operations for the two onboard experiments to begin earlier than planned.   "The TSX-5 mission continues our tradition of supplying reliable spacecraft platforms for Air Force space technology programs such as APEX, REX II and the STEP series," said Mr. Robert R. Lovell, Executive Vice President and General Manager of Orbital’s Space Systems Group. "Naturally, we are very pleased that the Air Force has determined that the satellite is operating flawlessly.  We now look forward to assisting the Air Force with mission operations over the life of this program."   "We are thrilled that the first Pegasus mission of 2000 has been such a success for the Air Force," added Mr. Ronald J. Grabe, Executive Vice President and General Manager of Orbital’s Launch Systems Group. "With 15 consecutive successful missions over the past three years, the reliability and growing depth of experience of the Pegasus launch system is unmatched in its class."   Orbital is one of the largest space technology and satellite services companies in the world, with 1999 total enterprise revenues (including revenues from unconsolidated affiliates) of about $915 million. The company, headquartered in Dulles, Virginia, employs approximately 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 around the world.                                       # # #   Notes to editors:   * High-resolution images of the TSX-5 satellite, suitable for publication, are available on Orbital’s web site at

SpaceRef staff editor.