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Orbital Appoints J.R. Thompson as President and Chief Operating Officer

DULLES, Va., Oct. 5 , 1999 -- Orbital Sciences Corporation today announced the appointment of Mr. James R. Thompson, Jr. to the newly-established position of President and Chief Operating Officer of the space technology and satellite services company. Previously, he served as Executive Vice President and General Manager of Orbital's Launch Systems Group since 1993 and as the company's Chief Technical Officer from 1991 to 1993. Mr. Thompson also has been a member of Orbital's Board of Directors since joining the company eight years ago.

Mr. David W. Thompson, Orbital's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, said, "I am very pleased that J.R. has accepted this challenging new assignment, in which he will provide strong operational leadership for all of Orbital's business units. The company's tremendous growth and increasing complexity over the past several years, together with our plans for future expansion, make this an appropriate time to strengthen our corporate management team. J.R.'s appointment will allow me to focus more attention on our growth strategies and new initiatives, while also ensuring that Orbital's operational performance will remain among the strongest in the space industry."

Before joining Orbital in 1991, Mr. J.R. Thompson (who is not related to Mr. David W. Thompson) was Deputy Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in Washington, D.C. from 1989 to 1991, where he served as the senior operations executive for the United States government's civil space program. From 1986 to 1989, he was the Director of NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, and from 1983 to 1986, he served as Deputy Director for Princeton University's Plasma Physics Laboratory. Earlier, he spent 20 years with NASA's Marshall Center in various positions, including Associate Director for Engineering and Program Manager of the Space Shuttle Main Engine Project.

Mr. Thompson is a recipient of many prestigious space industry awards, including the National Space Club's Wernher von Braun Space Flight Award, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers' Holley Medal, and NASA's Distinguished Public Service Medal and Distinguished Service Medals. He is a Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and the American Astronautical Society. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Aeronautical Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology and a Master of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Florida.

Orbital also announced that Mr. Ronald J. Grabe, previously Senior Vice President and Deputy General Manager of its Launch Systems Group, has been promoted to head this division as its new Executive Vice President and General Manager, succeeding Mr. J.R. Thompson. Mr. Grabe, a five-year company veteran, has served in a variety of technical, operating, marketing and business development positions at Orbital since joining the company in 1994.

Prior to coming to Orbital, Mr. Grabe was a NASA Astronaut for 15 years, during which time he commanded or piloted four Space Shuttle missions. Earlier, he served as a fighter pilot and test pilot in the U.S. Air Force, attaining the rank of Colonel during his military career. Mr. Grabe holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from the U.S. Air Force Academy and has conducted post-graduate studies as a Fulbright Scholar in Aerodynamics at the Technische Hochschule, Darmstadt, Germany.

Orbital is one of the world's largest space technology and satellite services companies, with 1999 revenues targeted to exceed $900 million. The company, which is headquartered in Dulles, Virginia, employs over 5,200 people at its major facilities in the United States, Canada and several overseas locations. Orbital manufactures low-cost space systems and products, including satellites, launch vehicles, electronics and sensors, satellite ground systems and software, and satellite-based navigation and communications products. Through its ORBCOMM and ORBIMAGE affiliates and ORBNAV subsidiary, Orbital is also a pioneering operator of satellite-based networks that provide data communications, high-resolution imagery and automotive information services to customers all around the world.

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