Orbital Sciences Corporation : ORBITAL-BUILT SORCE HELIOPHYSICS SCIENCE SATELLITE CELEBRATES TEN YEARS IN ORBIT
2013-01-25 15:25:53 -
For Immediate Release
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Barron Beneski (703) 406-5528
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ORBITAL-BUILT SORCE HELIOPHYSICS SCIENCE SATELLITE CELEBRATES TEN YEARS IN ORBIT
-- SORCE Doubles Duration of Original Mission Benefitting Solar and Earth
-- NASA Spacecraft Continues to Deliver Critical Solar Data to Science Community
(Dulles, VA 25 January 2013) -- Orbital Sciences Corporation (NYSE: ORB), one of
the world's leading space technology companies, today announced that the company
is celebrating the tenth anniversary of the launch and successful operation of
the company-built Solar and Radiation Climate Experiment (SORCE) satellite. Ten
years ago today, SORCE was launched into orbit aboard Orbital's Pegasus rocket
in a mission that originated from Cape Canaveral, Florida. The original plan
for the SORCE mission was to provide continuous solar climate science and Earth
atmospheric data for five years. Ten years later, the program's Mission
Operations Center at the University of Colorado's Laboratory for Atmospheric and
Space Physics (LASP) is still receiving valuable data that is shared with the
science community worldwide.
"The SORCE mission is an ideal example of how academia, government and industry
can partner to advance science investigations and our understanding of the world
around us. The Principal Investigator model for developing and operating high-
value science missions has proven to be very successful on programs like SORCE
and NASA-funded Explorer-class missions," said Mr. Rob Fulton, Orbital's Vice
President of Business Development and the original Program Manager for SORCE.
"The SORCE program is an excellent example of this model, with the spacecraft
and overall mission doubling the duration originally planned for the program."
Scientists who study the Sun and Earth's environment use SORCE data in
conjunction with other measurements to track and analyze the connection between
solar changes and atmospheric or climate changes on Earth.
The SORCE science mission and the instruments aboard the spacecraft were
conceived, designed and built by LASP. The project's funding and oversight is
provided by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. For more information about the
SORCE mission, go to lasp.colorado.edu/sorce/index.htm
The SORCE spacecraft is based on Orbital's LEOStar satellite platform. It was
selected by LASP to host the sensitive instruments that record the Sun's energy
and measure all wavelength spectrums. The satellite also carries other
instruments that record the level of radiation entering and leaving Earth's
atmosphere. This type of data is valuable to the heliophysics and atmospheric
science communities to better understand how solar events affect climate change
The SORCE satellite will soon be joined by other Orbital-built LEOStar
spacecraft like LDCM (Landsat-8), which will be launched in several weeks, and
ICESat-2, which is now in production, in providing long-term continuous data
records to help us better understand Earth's environment. In addition, Orbital's
satellite platforms are also well suited for future government weather missions
such as the Joint Polar Satellite System-2 (JPSS-2), the JPSS Free Flyer-1 and
the U.S. Air Force's Weathersat Follow-on.
"The LEOStar family of satellite platforms is ideally suited to the current
budget realities our government customers are facing. We are able to offer them
an affordable and highly-reliable satellite with which to carry out their
essential missions in an efficient and cost-effective manner," said Mr. Fulton.
"These attributes are a primary reason that Orbital has been selected for six of
the last nine Explorer missions and that we are teamed with three of the current
five finalists under the current selection process."
Orbital is one of the world's most experienced companies in the design,
development and manufacture of a wide range of satellite products. In its 30-
year history, Orbital has built nearly 150 satellites that have supported
customer missions ranging from Earth and space science, military and
intelligence, and commercial communications for domestic and international
customers. Later this year, Orbital-built satellites will pass 1,000 years of
cumulative on-orbit experience.
Orbital develops and manufactures small- and medium-class rockets and space
systems for commercial, military and civil government customers. The company's
primary products are satellites and launch vehicles, including low-Earth orbit,
geosynchronous-Earth orbit and planetary exploration spacecraft for
communications, remote sensing, scientific and defense missions; human-rated
space systems for Earth-orbit, lunar and other missions; ground- and air-
launched rockets that deliver satellites into orbit; and missile defense systems
that are used as interceptor and target vehicles. Orbital also provides
satellite subsystems and space-related technical services to U.S. Government
agencies and laboratories.
More information about Orbital can be found at www.orbital.com. Follow
the company on Twitter @OrbitalSciences.
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Note to editors: A high-resolution photo of the SORCE satellite in development
at Orbital's Dulles, VA manufacturing facility is available at:
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