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Wed, Jun 25, 2003

L-1011 to Launch Pegasus-Lifted Orbiter

Mission Will be 34th Flight of Air-Launched Rocket

Orbital Sciences Corporation is all set to launch the OrbView-3 high-resolution imaging satellite that the company designed and built for Orbital Imaging Corporation aboard a Pegasus(R) rocket, scheduled to launch tomorrow (Thursday, June 26).

The flight will originate from Vandenberg Air Force Base (CA). The available launch window for the OrbView-3 mission extends from 2:50 p.m. to 3:04 p.m. (EDT). This operational schedule is subject to the completion of final pre-launch activities, as well as acceptable weather conditions at VAFB at the time of the launch.

Ten minutes, from release to first orbit.

The powered flight sequence for the OrbView-3 mission will take approximately 10 minutes, from the time the Pegasus rocket is released from the L-1011 carrier aircraft to the time that the satellite is deployed into orbit. Orbital plans to launch the 304-kilogram OrbView-3 spacecraft into an initial "parking" orbit, from which the spacecraft will be maneuvered into its final operational orbit 470 kilometers above the Earth, inclined at 97 degrees to the equator.

About Pegasus:

Pegasus is the world's leading launch system for the deployment of small satellites into low-Earth orbit. Its patented air-launch system, in which the rocket is launched from beneath Orbital's Stargazer, L-1011 carrier aircraft over the ocean, reduces cost and provides customers with unparalleled flexibility to operate from virtually anywhere on Earth with minimal ground support requirements. Pegasus is the world's only small launch vehicle to have earned NASA's Category 3 certification, which allows the U.S. space agency to launch its most valuable payloads aboard the rocket.

The Category 3 certification is achieved through a long-term record of highly reliable launch services, such as the current record of 19 consecutive successful Pegasus missions carried out since 1997.

The OrbView-3 mission will be the 34th flight of the Pegasus rocket and the third of four planned missions in 2003. Earlier this year, Orbital successfully launched two company-built scientific satellites for NASA in separate missions. In January, Orbital launched NASA's SORCE satellite aboard Pegasus and, in April, another Pegasus rocket delivered NASA's GALEX satellite into orbit. Following the OrbView-3 mission, Orbital plans to launch the SciSat satellite for NASA/Kennedy Space Center and the Canadian Space Agency later this summer.

FMI: www.orbital.com

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