September 16, 2013
Hertz Fellow David Thompson is Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Orbital Sciences Corporation
(Dulles, VA 10 September 2013) - Orbital Sciences Corporation (NYSE:ORB), one of the world's leading space technology companies, today announced it successfully launched its 40th Coyote supersonic sea-skimming target (SSST) vehicle for the U.S. Navy. The mission included consecutive launches of two Coyote missiles from the Pacific Missile Range in Hawaii. Each of the Coyote missiles was rail-launched from the coast, executed their planned flight patterns and provided a successful target presentation for the customer.
"Since the flight test program began in 2003, we have achieved a very high rate of success with the Coyote SSST system," said Orbital's Coyote Program Manager Keven Leith. "Tests of this nature can be costly for customers to conduct from a logistics standpoint. However, the Coyote's low production cost and outstanding operational track record have provided an excellent value for our customers. Our dedicated SSST product team has worked hard to ensure the success of this program."
The Coyote program, managed by the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) at the Patuxent River Naval Air Station in Maryland, launched the first test flight of the unguided target in January 2003. This was followed by six additional test flights, each with increasing capabilities, in 2003 and 2004. In 2005, the vehicle began full operations, now having launched 40 targets to date with an extremely high success rate. Coyote targets have been launched from three ranges including San Nicholas Island, California; Kauai, Hawaii; and Levant, France. Additional launch site capabilities are planned for the future to support the operations of current and new customers.
The design of the Coyote target vehicle integrates a four-inlet, solid-fuel ducted-rocket ramjet propulsion system into a compact missile airframe 18 feet long and 14 inches in diameter. Ramjet supersonic takeover speed is achieved using a decommissioned Navy MK 70 solid rocket motor for the first stage. Rail-launched from naval test and training ranges, the highly maneuverable Coyote has two optional flight trajectories: sea-skimmer and high-altitude. Originally designed as a sea-skimming supersonic target, Coyote has completed 34 low-altitude, Mach 2.5-class flights since 2003. These missions included altitudes as low as 15 feet, maneuverability up to 12 Gs of lateral acceleration, and ranges of up to 55 nautical miles. Introduced three years ago, the high-altitude variant of Coyote has completed six Mach 3.25-class flights since 2010. These included altitudes up to 40,000 feet, power dives at user-specified downward angles, and ranges up to 120 nautical miles.
Coyote Program Overview
Orbital was awarded an initial development contract in 2000 to meet the U.S. Navy's requirement for an affordable SSST system to simulate high-speed anti-ship cruise missiles for fleet training and weapon systems research, development, test and evaluation. Orbital and the Navy completed the development phase of the program with a series of successful test flights between 2003 and 2005.
Since that time, Orbital has received multiple orders from the U.S. Navy and from allied navies. More than 100 units have been ordered to date (including the early development and test vehicles) of which 89 have been delivered to customers. Orbital has supported 40 Coyote launches, which include 10 flight test or demonstration launches and 30 operational missions.
Orbital developed and is manufacturing Coyote vehicles at its launch vehicle engineering and production facility in Chandler, Arizona. Orbital's major subcontractors include Aerojet Rocketdyne in Gainesville, Virginia, and Sacramento, California, for the solid-fuel ducted-rocket motor, and Goodrich Sensors & Integrated Systems in Vergennes, Vermont, for the vehicle's fin actuation system.
Orbital develops and manufactures small- and medium-class rockets and space systems for commercial, military and civil government customers. The company's primary products are satellites and launch vehicles, including low-Earth orbit, geosynchronous-Earth orbit and planetary spacecraft for communications, remote sensing, scientific and defense missions; human-rated space systems for Earth-orbit, lunar and other missions; ground- and air-launched rockets that deliver satellites into orbit; and missile defense systems that are used as interceptor and target vehicles. Orbital also provides satellite subsystems and space-related technical services to government agencies and laboratories. More information about Orbital can be found at http://www.orbital.com.
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