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NASA Sounding Rocket Contract For Orbital Sciences

Orbital Sciences : 02 August, 2010  (Application Story)
New Contract expected to result in employment for 150 people at the Wallops Flight Facility
Orbital Sciences has been selected by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) for the prime contractor role on the NASA Sounding Rocket Operations Contract II (NSROC II) program. The indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity NSROC II contract carries a maximum total value of $310 million over its five-year term, with a current expected value of at least $125 million.

Under the NSROC II program, which is primarily centred at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia, Orbital’s Technical Services Division (TSD) will be responsible for planning, coordinating and carrying out sounding Rocket missions from locations in the US and around the world. In addition, Orbital TSD will work with NASA to develop and implement advanced sounding Rocket capabilities to be used on the program. Sounding rockets are smaller-sized launch vehicles that conduct suborbital missions for high-altitude scientific and atmospheric research.

“Orbital’s Technical Services Division is honoured to have been awarded the NSROC II contract,” said Mr John Pullen, Orbital’s Vice President and head of TSD. “Orbital has a long history of supporting NASA’s sounding Rocket program, which provides space scientists and weather researchers with valuable data for their investigations. Orbital was a major contributor to the NSROC I team from 1999 to 2009 and we look forward to our new role in leading the effort for NASA.”

In addition to the NSROC II contract, which the company will begin to execute over the next several months, Orbital has a major launch site development project underway with NASA and the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport to prepare the Wallops Flight Facility to accommodate final assembly and launch operations for the company’s new Taurus II medium-class space launch vehicle and Cygnus™ cargo logistics spacecraft for missions to the International Space Station. Initial Taurus II launches from Wallops are scheduled to begin in 2011.

Once the NSROC II program is fully staffed, together with the company’s employees working on launch site development and Taurus II assembly and check-out, Orbital will employ over 250 people and contractors at Wallops on a day-to-day basis.
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