Dulles VA (SPX) Jul 02, 2010
Orbital Sciences has announced it has received two separate orders from NASA to launch scientific satellites on its industry-leading small rockets, Pegasus XL and Taurus XL.
These contracts bring the total Pegasus and Taurus orders to 55 vehicles since the first Pegasus was purchased in 1988. Taken together, the two rockets have launched or will boost a total of 35 NASA scientific and technology demonstration spacecraft on 30 missions since 1990.
Orbital is scheduled to launch the Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph (IRIS) spacecraft in December 2012 aboard a Pegasus XL rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
IRIS is a NASA Small Explorer (SMEX) mission to measure the Sun's flow of energy through the dynamic region in the solar corona and heliosphere to help scientists better understand the effects of solar energy release processes on Earth.
The planned 2012 launch will be the rocket's 45th mission since its initial flight in 1990 and the second Pegasus launch scheduled for that year, following the launch of the Orbital-built NuSTAR scientific satellite in February 2012.
In a separate contract, NASA tapped the company's Taurus XL launch vehicle to boost the Orbital-built OCO-2 environmental monitoring satellite into orbit. OCO-2 will provide critical space-based data on carbon dioxide in the Earth's atmosphere.
A Taurus XL rocket, also launched from Vandenberg, will deliver the OCO-2 satellite into a 705 km sun-synchronous polar orbit where it will join NASA's "A Train" constellation of Earth monitoring scientific satellites.
The launch, currently scheduled for early 2013, will represent the 10th flight of a Taurus rocket since its first launch in 1994. The next scheduled Taurus launch will boost the Orbital-built Glory satellite into low-Earth orbit for NASA in the fourth quarter of 2010.
"Pegasus and Taurus have been the workhorses of the small launch market for reliable missions to orbit for two decades. With these two new missions, plus those already on the manifest, we expect that will continue to be the case for years to come," said Mr. Ron Grabe, Orbital's Executive Vice President and General Manager of the Launch Systems Group.
"With NASA's planned budget increases for small and mid-class science satellites, which deliver high value and are well suited to fast development cycles, Orbital is prepared to support NASA with both spacecraft and the rockets that launch them into orbit to help provide the global science community with important data about the world in which we live."
Share This Article With Planet Earth
Launch Pad at Space-Travel.com
Six Astrium Satellites Launched In A Month
Kourou, French Guiana (SPX) Jun 28, 2010
Following the second successful Ariane 5 launch this year - six satellites built by Astrium have now been launched within a month: COMSATBw-2 and ASTRA 3B on 21 May, Arabsat 5B by a Proton launcher on 4 June, TanDEM-X by Dnepr on 21 June and now Arabsat 5A and COMS by Ariane 5 tonight. The six satellites include three commercial communications satellites (Arabsat 5A and 5B, and ASTRA 3B), ... read more
Orbital Rockets Selected To Launch Two NASA Scientific Satellites|
Arianespace To Launch Argentine Satellite Arsat-1
Six Astrium Satellites Launched In A Month
Ariane rocket places two satellites into orbit
Opportunity To See More Detail At Crater Destination
Spirit Standing By At Troy
Rocky Mounds And A Plateau On Mars
NASA Instrument Will Identify Clues To Martian Past
India Hopes To Launch Chandrayaan-2 By 2013
Building A Better Robot Arm For Lunar Rovers
The Earth From The Moon
Moon Whets Appetite For Water
Course Correction Keeps New Horizons On Path To Pluto
Scientists See Billions Of Miles Away
System Tests, Science Observations And A Course Correction
First Directly Imaged Planet Confirmed Around Sun-Like Star
VLT Detects First Superstorm On Exoplanet
Earth-Like Planets May Be Ready For Their Close-Up
Plentiful And Potential Planets
NASA Tests Engine Technology To Assist With Future Space Vehicle Landings
Aerojet Propellant-Saving Xenon Ion Thruster Exceeds 30,000 Hours
India To Relaunch GLSV Within One Year
Low Density Aluminum Contributes Falcon 9 Success
China Sends Research Satellite Into Space
China eyes Argentina for space antenna
Seven More For Shenzhou
China Signs Up First Female Astronauts
Students Record Spellbinding Video Of Disintegrating Spacecraft
Deep Impact Spacecraft To Make Last Swing By Earth On Way To Second Comet
Earth To Lend Helping Hand To Comet Craft
Japan lab finds trace of gas in deep space asteroid pod
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2010 - SpaceDaily. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement|