Orbital awarded $39 million satellite contract

Orbital Sciences Corporation has been awarded a contract, valued at approximately $39 million, to design, manufacture and support mission operations of a new NASA atmospheric science satellite.

Orbital Sciences Corporation has announced that it has been selected for a contract, valued at approximately $39 million, by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), to design, manufacture and support mission operations of a new NASA atmospheric science satellite.

As part of the space agency’s Earth System Science Pathfinder (ESSP) small satellite program, Orbital will design, develop and build the Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO) spacecraft at the company’s satellite manufacturing facility over the next four years.

NASA’s ESSP missions are funded up to a total of $175 million, which includes the spacecraft, the onboard science instrument, the launch vehicle and overall mission operations.

NASA’s OCO mission, managed by JPL, intends to provide the first high- resolution global maps of atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations in order to identify the natural and man-made processes that regulate this important greenhouse gas.

The OCO satellite will be based on Orbital’s LEOStar spacecraft platform. The baseline plan for the OCO program calls for the satellite to be launched aboard an Orbital-supplied Taurus space launch vehicle in 2006.