TS News - Pegasus Completes First Mission For NASA

TELE-satellit News, 3 July 1996

Pegasus Completes First Mission For NASA
  VANDENBERG AFB, California, USA, 96/07/03 (TS) -- Orbital Sciences
Corporation said today its Pegasus XL air-launched rocket successfully
carried out its first mission for the NASA on Tuesday morning 12:46 am PDT
(0746 UTC), when it carried the Total Ozone Mapping Spectrometer Earth Probe
(TOMS-EP) satellite into orbit.

  The satellite was in orbit just eight minutes after launch. Orbital also
designed and built the TOMS instrument, that will provide ozone layer data
to scientists around the world. TOMS-EP is part of NASA's Mission to Planet
Earth initiative, designed to gather data on the world's environment.

  After an eight minute flight, Pegasus deployed the TOMS spacecraft into
its proper 345 by 953 kilometer (214 by 593 mile) orbit, inclined at 97.4
degrees announced the company. First signals received from the satellite
indicate all is running according to plan.

  "Tonight's launch was of particular importance to Orbital," said Mr. James
R. Thompson, Orbital's Executive Vice President and General Manager, Launch
Systems Group. "It was our first launch for NASA, one of our most important
and valued customers, and it was a double mission for Orbital in that we
built both the rocket and the TOMS instrument. we look forward to the next
three Pegasus launches for NASA this year, and are proud to be part of this
important environmental research effort."

   The launch was similar to all previous West Coast Pegasus flights, except
that it was the first one conducted in darkness. After flying from
Vandenberg Air Force Base, California to the launch point approximately 60
miles offshore, Pegasus XL was released from the company's L-1011 (Tri-Star)
carrier aircraft at an altitude of approximately 38,000 feet. A five second
horizontal free fall was followed by launch vehicle ignition.  Using an
on-board propulsion system, the satellite will ultimately position itself in
a 312 mile circular sun-synchronous orbit.

(c)TELE-satellit 1996. All rights reserved.

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