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March 2nd, 2011

Orbital And USAF True Patriot...Missile Accomplished (Launch)

The Patriot missile system is designed to detect, target and then hit incoming missiles. Unlike stinger and sidewinder missiles, the Patriot missile system uses its ground-based radar to find, identify and track the targets. An incoming missile could be 50 miles (80.5 kilometers) away when the Patriot's radar locks onto it. At that distance, the incoming missile would not even be visible to a human being, much less identifiable.
[SatNews] Orbital Sciences Corporation enjoyed a success.

Orbital Sciences Corporation (NYSE: ORB) announced today that it successfully launched a Patriot Target Vehicle (PTV) under a direct contract with the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) Space Development and Test Directorate (SD).  The PTV served as an intercept target for the Lower Tier Project Office Patriot missile defense system. The PTV was launched on March 2, 2011 from Fort Wingate Launch Complex-96 into White Sands Missile Range (WSMR) in New Mexico.  It flew a southerly trajectory over New Mexico into WSMR and was intercepted by the Patriot Missile Segment Enhancement (MSE) interceptor system during reentry.  This PTV, known as Juno, was the second of two targets Orbital is under contract to launch in support of the Patriot MSE test and evaluation program.

"We are very pleased to support the U.S. Air Force and the Lower Tier Projects Office with a second successful target launch, culminating in a positive intercept indication," said Mr. Ron Wiley, Senior Vice President of Suborbital Targets Programs at Orbital. "We look forward to supporting future tests for the Space Development and Test Directorate with the PTV, which has demonstrated its performance as a reliable test platform for future SD missions and Patriot engagements."

Orbital developed the PTV target vehicle over a two and a half year period according to specifications that require the vehicle to have selectable reentry dynamic performance. The PTV Juno rocket relied heavily on flight-proven designs from other Orbital launch vehicles, such as the Medium Range Target, Storm target and Pegasus space launch vehicles.

Orbital is one of the United States' most experienced developers and operators of missile defense-related launch vehicles.  The company supports virtually all of the country's major missile defense programs with highly-reliable and cost-effective target vehicles.  In addition to the Patriot program, Orbital's target vehicles are used to test Aegis BMD, MDA's Ground-based Midcourse Defense system (GMD) and THAAD systems. Orbital also produces the "Coyote" ramjet-powered sea-skimming supersonic naval target vehicle used to test the U.S. Navy's ship self-defense systems.