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Orbital 

(Dulles, VA 24 October 2012) — Orbital Sciences Corporation (NYSE: ORB),
one of the world’s leading space technology companies, today announced that
the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) Space Vehicles Directorate
has awarded the company a $32 million contract to develop an experimental
maneuverable spacecraft platform that will be capable of hosting multiple
payloads and operating in low- and geosynchronous orbit. The five-year
contract began in the third quarter of 2012.

The Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) Secondary Adapter (ESPA)
Augmented Geostationary Laboratory Experiment (EAGLE) is AFRL’s newest
space flight program. It will consist of an ESPA-based spacecraft bus
(EAGLE Platform) and a suite of payload experiments. Capable of launching
aboard any EELV variant, the EAGLE Platform will use a six-port standard
ESPA ring as part of its structure, thereby improving launch access to
geosynchronous orbit, as well as providing a cost-effective modular
platform that could be used for geostationary transfer orbit (GTO) or
enabling payload hosting for low-orbit operations. Orbital expects its
EAGLE platform design will be capable of hosting up to six payloads for a
period of at least one year in geosynchronous orbit. The EAGLE Platform
may also carry significant quantities of propellant, depending on the
eventual launch vehicle selection and orbit maneuverability requirements.

image credit: Orbital

The customer’s initial design requirements were to be able to accommodate
four payloads, but our innovative design allowed us to package all of the
required equipment inside the ESPA ring, which opened up two additional
ports, allowing for a total of six payloads to be flown,” said Mr. Jean
Floyd, Orbital’s Senior Vice President and Deputy General Manager for
Advanced Programs. “By leveraging our flight-tested and reliable
components, we delivered a system design that will provide our customer
with exceptional value by exceeding their initial requirements.”

Orbital’s family of fully-developed small- and medium-size spacecraft for
low- and geosynchronous-orbit is ideally suited for a variety of national
security applications, ranging from operational and experimental systems to
technology demonstrations. Previous successful missions have included the
C/NOFS satellite for the Air Force, the NFIRE satellite for the U.S.
Missile Defense Agency (MDA) and the MiTEx satellite for DARPA. Orbital
spacecraft have also been used as vital precursors of future operational
systems by retiring significant technical risks, such as for MDA’s
STSS-ATRR satellite. -Orbital Press Release

These spacecraft platforms and innovative development capabilities,
combined with Orbital’s comprehensive product line of small- and
medium-class launch vehicles and systems integration expertise, are
enabling the company to offer U.S. government customers lower-cost,
responsive approaches to missions of national importance.

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