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Orbital Receives $11M Order For Minotaur Space Launch Vehicle USAF

A Minotaur on the pad
Dulles - Oct 03, 2003
New Order Represents the Fourth Minotaur Rocket Currently Under Firm Contract Orbital Sciences Corporation said Thursday that the U.S. Air Force has exercised an option order for a Minotaur space launch vehicle under the 10-year Orbital/Suborbital Program-2 (OSP-2) contract that was awarded to the company earlier this year.

The Minotaur order is the first to be placed under the OSP-2 contract, which is valued at up to $475 million over 10 years on an indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity basis. The new order increases the launch manifest for the Minotaur program to four missions to be carried out over the next two years.

This most recent Minotaur space launch vehicle ordered by the Air Force is scheduled to launch a classified payload in 2005. In addition, Orbital is currently under firm contract to carry out three other Minotaur missions, including N-FIRE and XSS-11, both of which are scheduled to be launched in 2004, and COSMIC, scheduled for launch in 2005.

"We are very pleased to have the opportunity to conduct cost-effective military space missions for the Department of Defense," said Mr. Ron Grabe, Orbital's Executive Vice President and General Manager of its Launch Systems Group. "The Minotaur program represents an efficient use of government assets and commercial technology to provide low-cost, operationally responsive and reliable launch services for U.S. government customers."

Orbital originally developed the four-stage Minotaur rocket under the Air Force's OSP-1 contract, which was awarded to the company in 1997. The Minotaur vehicle uses government-supplied Minuteman II rocket motors that serve as the vehicle's first and second stages. The rocket's third and fourth stages, as well as its guidance and control system, use technology from Orbital's highly reliable Pegasus XL commercial rocket program.

Orbital has carried out two previous Minotaur missions, both of which were fully successful. In January 2000, Minotaur made its successful debut with the launch of the JAWSAT spacecraft. Later in 2000, the second Minotaur rocket successfully launched the MightySat-II satellite into low-Earth orbit. Both missions were conducted from launch facilities at Vandenberg Air Force Base (VAFB), CA.

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Lockheed Martin To Develop High Altitude Airship for Missile Defense
Akron - Sep 30, 2003
The Missile Defense Agency today awarded Lockheed Martin a $40 million design and risk reduction contract as the next phase of the advanced technology concept demonstration to deliver a high altitude airship (HAA) prototype in 2006.

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