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Acquisition to strengthen position in satellite business

Washington, US: Orbital Sciences has acquired General Dynamics’ satellite manufacturing business. It will strengthen its position in upcoming competitions to build medium-class low-orbiting satellites for U.S. government customers, in both the national security and civil arenas, according to Orbit’s officials. It was USD 55 million all-cash deal.

David W. Thompson, chairman and chief executive of Dulles, Va.-based Orbital, said in an interview with Space News, “Over the next one to two years I think there will be several promising opportunities that this will make us much more capable of pursuing and much more competitive for winning.” He added that there are six to seven government opportunities over the next 18 months, representing USD 1.25 billion to USD 1.5 billion worth of business, that Orbital will be able to address as a result of the acquisition.

Thompson continued that Orbital’s national security business has been its fastest growing in the past two years and one of the attractive features of the General Dynamics operation is that 80 percent of its employees are cleared for highly classified work. But in the coming years the business mix is expected to be fairly balanced between civil and national security customers, with NASA poised to increase spending on scientific satellites, especially for Earth observation.

Formerly known as Spectrum Astro, General Dynamics’ satellite division currently is part of GD Advanced Information Systems and is located in Gilbert, Arizona. The company builds small to medium-size satellites, primarily for U.S. government customers but also for the occasional commercial client. Some of its recent satellites include NASA’s Fermi astronomy telescope, the Near Field Infrared Experiment (NFIRE) satellite for the U.S. Missile Defence Agency and the GeoEye-1 commercial imaging satellite for GeoEye of Dulles.

Source:  Space News