U.S. Company Lands $56 Million Taiwanese Space Contract

Orbital Sciences Corp. of Dulles, Va., has received a $56 million contract from the Taiwanese government to provide development, integration and oversight services for a satellite-based weather forecasting and research program, the company announced.

The contract for the ROC Satellite/Constellation Observing System for Meteorology, Ionosphere and Climate program was awarded by the National Space Program Office of Taiwan, Republic of China.

The COSMIC program will use a constellation of six remote sensing microsatellites to collect atmospheric data for weather forecasting and ionosphere, climate and gravity research.

Orbital's systems group will be responsible for constellation design and analysis, joint development of the spacecraft bus, payload instrument development and oversight of components made by Taiwanese vendors. The company also will provide assistance with system integration, satellite integration and testing in Taiwan, early in-orbit checkout, satellite positioning and mission operations.

Orbital and NSPO are planning to launch the satellites in early 2005. The devices have an expected life span of five years.

The ROCSAT-3/COSMIC program is an international collaboration between Taiwan and the United States that seeks to improve existing weather forecasting and climate monitoring systems.

The satellite constellation will augment the global atmospheric observing systems and provide data for improved forecasting of weather and climate research by providing more than 2,500 atmospheric measurements per day, around the world and in all weather conditions.

"The ROCSAT/COSMIC mission will be the third space mission in the history of Taiwan's national space program and the first to employ a constellation of microsatellites, which is an Orbital specialty," said David Thompson, Orbital's chairman and chief executive officer.

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