Press Release

MCLEAN, VA – (Aug 4, 2010) – SES WORLD SKIES, U.S. Government Solutions today announced the delivery of the Commercially Hosted Infrared Payload (CHIRP) sensor assembly to Dulles, VA-based satellite manufacturer, Orbital Sciences Corporation (NYSE: ORB). The sensor will be installed on SES-2, an SES WORLD SKIES communications satellite currently in production.

The arrival of the sensor developed by Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) represents an important milestone for Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) in their objective to test the potential of wide field-of-view, staring infrared sensors for a range of Overhead Persistent Infrared (OPIR) missions.

Michael Felix, Program Manager at SAIC, explained that the CHIRP sensor features a telescope that can view a quarter of the earth from geosynchronous orbit. The CHIRP sensor is equipped with a four megapixel focal plane array manufactured by Teledyne that is sensitive in both short wave and medium wave infrared.

Prior to shipment, the sensor completed a calibration campaign at the Utah State University Space Dynamics Laboratory (SDL) in Logan, UT. Major Craig Phillips, CHIRP Program Manager at SMC, stated, “We are excited about the measured sensitivity of the instrument at SDL. Wide field-of-view sensors improve detection and collection by continuously staring over a wide area of interest which is key for meeting future OPIR requirements. Furthermore, wide field-of-view staring sensors eliminate the need for mechanical gimbals, thereby simplifying spacecraft installation and mission management.”

The next step for the CHIRP sensor will be a series of electrical interface tests. Brent Armand, Program Manager at Orbital explained, “We will test the CHIRP sensor with a set of electronics known as the Secondary Payload Interface (SPI). The SPI is a key enabler for hosting military payloads because it provides a secure, two-way communication channel to the government payload through a standard commercial telecommunication transponder. After checking the electrical interfaces, Orbital and SAIC technicians will mount the sensor to the earth-facing panel of the satellite for full-up spacecraft mechanical and thermal testing.”

Timothy Deaver, Vice President of Hosted Payloads at SES WORLD SKIES, U.S. Government Solutions said that the launch window for this mission is expected to open in the second half of 2011. “We look forward to demonstrating in space how hosting government payloads on commercial satellites can provide cost effective means for experimenting with new technologies. Down the road, we envision a variety of operational military missions can be served by special purpose payloads hosted on commercial spacecraft.”

About SES WORLD SKIES, U.S. Government Solutions

SES WORLD SKIES, U.S. Government Solutions, a subsidiary of SES WORLD SKIES, is exclusively focused on meeting the satellite communications needs of the U.S. Government. Leveraging more than three decades of experience in the government SATCOM market, SES WORLD SKIES, U.S. Government Solutions offers robust and secure satellite-based communications solutions. Supported by SES’s fleet of 44 satellites offering comprehensive global coverage, SES WORLD SKIES, U.S. Government Solutions offers highly reliable fixed, transportable and on-the-move capacity.

About Orbital Sciences Corporation

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 exploration 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 U.S. Government agencies and laboratories. More information about Orbital can be found at

About Science Applications International Corporation

SAIC is a FORTUNE 500® scientific, engineering, and technology applications company that uses its deep domain knowledge to solve problems of vital importance to the nation and the world, in national security, energy and the environment, critical infrastructure, and health. For more information, visit SAIC: From Science to Solutions®


SES WORLD SKIES, U.S. Government Solutions
Nicole Robinson, 703-610-0972

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