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Orbital Joins Space Plane Consortium.


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Space Plane Consortium.
Orbital Joins Space Plane Consortium: Image credit: NASA.

Three aerospace firms announced today that they’re teaming up to supply NASA with a proposal for its Orbital Space Plane: Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and Orbital Sciences. NASA will choose between this consortium and Boeing in August 2004 for who will build the new spacecraft. NASA will require the winning team to provide a completed spacecraft that can serve as a rescue vehicle for the International Space Station by 2008, and then actually transfer crew to and from the station by 2012.

Lockheed Martin Corporation (NYSE: LMT) announced today that Orbital Sciences Corporation (NYSE: ORB) will join the Lockheed Martin/Northrop Grumman team that is competing for full-scale development of NASA's Orbital Space Plane (OSP). Lockheed Martin will lead the team as the system prime contractor. Northrop Grumman's role will be as principal teammate while Orbital Sciences Corporation will serve as teammate and subcontractor. NASA is expected to choose a prime contractor team by August 2004 for full-scale development of an OSP.

"I am very pleased that our companies have agreed to combine our capabilities on this extremely important program for NASA," said Michael Coats, vice president of Lockheed Martin Space Systems' Advanced Space Transportation programs. "Together, we will be able to design, develop and provide whole systems integration and build a safe, reliable and credibly cost-effective Orbital Space Plane for NASA. With the combination of Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and Orbital Sciences, we will bring to bear the most significant concentration of space flight experience and expertise that NASA can rely upon in developing the next human space flight system."

The Orbital Space Plane system will provide a crew rescue capability for the International Space Station by 2008 and two-way crew transfer capability by 2012. The OSP will be launched into space aboard an Atlas V or Delta IV launch vehicle system.

"We are very happy to be joining the Lockheed Martin team," said G. David Low, vice president and deputy general manager of Orbital's Advanced Programs Group. "The Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and Orbital Sciences team collectively brings a wealth of experience to the OSP program. We are looking forward to continuing our contribution to this next human space flight vehicle as part of a strong team. Together, we are committed to making it safe, simple and soon."

Headquartered in Dulles, Va., Orbital develops and manufactures small space systems for commercial, civil government and military customers. The company's primary products are satellites and launch vehicles, including low-orbit, geostationary and planetary spacecraft for communications, remote sensing and scientific missions; ground- and air-launched rockets that deliver satellites into orbit; and missile defense boosters that are used as interceptor and target vehicles. Orbital also offers space-related technical services to government agencies and develops and builds satellite-based transportation management systems for public transit agencies and private vehicle fleet operators.

Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company, headquartered near Denver, Colo., is one of the major operating units of Lockheed Martin Corporation. Space Systems Company designs, develops, tests and manufactures a variety of advanced technology systems for space and defense. Chief products include space launch systems, defense systems, interplanetary and science spacecraft, spacecraft for commercial and government customers, fleet ballistic missiles and missile defense systems.

Headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, Lockheed Martin employs about 125,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture and integration of advanced technology systems, products and services. The Corporation reported 2002 sales of $26.6 billion.




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