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Barron Beneski (703) 406-5528
(Dulles, VA 21 September 2001) - Orbital Sciences Corporation (NYSE: ORB) announced today that the launch of its Taurus rocket, which was carrying the OrbView-4 satellite for ORBIMAGE and the QuikTOMS satellite for NASA, did not achieve the mission's intended orbit. Approximately one and a half minutes after the Taurus rocket lifted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, an in-flight anomaly was observed during the rocket's second stage powered flight. As a result, Orbital believes the rocket released the satellites at a lower altitude and velocity than intended and that they did not achieve a stable orbit.
Orbital will immediately convene and lead a failure investigation committee that will include representatives from Orbital and ORBIMAGE to determine the cause of today's launch failure. NASA will also lend its expertise to the investigation. Orbital believes that it is likely that it gathered sufficient data during the flight that will enable the company to identify the cause of the failure.
The company stated that it carried risk insurance for the mission.
Orbital develops and manufactures affordable space systems, including satellites, launch vehicles and advanced space systems. Orbital is also involved with satellite-based networks that provide wireless data communications and high-resolution Earth imagery to customers all around the world. More information about Orbital can be found at: http://www.orbital.com