NASA has awarded Orbital Sciences a contract to help the agency send an ionosphere-monitoring satellite to orbit in mid-2017 by using the company’s Pegasus rocket.
Orbital said Monday it also started production work on the Ionospheric Connection Explorer satellite at a facility in Dulles, Virginia under a contract won in 2013.
The company is contracted to design, build and test ICON for the space agency as well as provide launch support services.
NASA will use the Orbital rocket to launch the spacecraft from Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands.
The company also provided air-launched rockets for the 2012 liftoff of NASA’s Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array spacecraft and other U.S. scientific research satellites between 2002 and 2008.