Northrop Grumman Celebrates 50 Years of Performance, Innovation and Discovery in Space
Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC - News) is celebrating 50 years of performance, innovation and discovery in space during 2007 with special observances that are continuing this week during the Space Foundation's 23rd National Space Symposium in Colorado Springs, Colo.
The company's Space Technology sector dates its "50 Years in Space" anniversary to the stand-up of Space Technology Laboratories (STL) by The Ramo-Woodridge Corporation in 1957 with Dr. Simon Ramo as its president -- a move that anticipated the space era even before the USSR's Sputnik. The company eventually became part of TRW Inc., and then Northrop Grumman.
Operating from the same Space Park campus in Redondo Beach, Calif., where Northrop Grumman's Space Technology sector is headquartered today, STL became one of the country's premier space electronics companies, posting a number of technological ``firsts.'' In recognition of Dr. Ramo's achievements at STL and throughout his career, the Space Foundation on April 11 will present him with its highest honor, the General James E. Hill Lifetime Space Achievement Award.
"We have been successful because we employ the best and brightest and then apply advanced technology and systems engineering expertise to solve the really complex technological problems for our customers, resulting in systems that deliver high performance and great value -- systems that live beyond their specified design goals," said Alexis Livanos, corporate vice president and president of Northrop Grumman Space Technology. "This has always been our trademark -- our DNA -- and it will continue to distinguish our company from the competition going forward."
The company kicked off its 50 Years in Space celebration in March with a ceremony featuring tributes to Dr. Ramo from Ronald D. Sugar, chairman and chief executive officer of Northrop Grumman; Livanos; and Dr. Jean-Lou Chameau, president of California Institute of Technology. As part of the observance, the street serving as the main entrance into Space Park was renamed Simon Ramo Blvd. in Dr. Ramo's honor.
Northrop Grumman's history in space is a litany of space and defense breakthroughs, beginning as NASA's first contractor, responsible for building and launching Pioneer 1. Since then, the company has delivered more than 200 satellites to government customers, establishing a solid reputation for performance.
Space milestones include:
Northrop Grumman today is involved in space exploration, supporting the intelligence community, environmental/climate change monitoring, and worldwide communications missions for military and civilian organizations. Four key research and development areas include advanced microelectronics and semiconductor materials for integrated circuits; communications; high-energy lasers; and space technologies ranging from propulsion systems to cryocooler subsystems.
- The first NASA spacecraft built by an industrial partner (Pioneer 1 -- 1958)
- The first digital spacecraft telemetry system (for Explorer VI -- 1959)
- The first three-axis controlled spacecraft (Orbital Geophysical Observatory -- 1964)
- The first global commercial communication satellite system (Intelsat III -- 1969)
- The Lunar Module Descent Engine, which landed the first astronauts on the moon (1969)
- The first close-up pictures of Jupiter (Pioneer 10 -- 1973)
- The first close-up pictures of Saturn (Pioneer 11 -- 1979)
- The first man-made object to leave the solar system (Pioneer 10 -- 1983)
- The first Tracking and Data Relay Satellite, one of the largest and most complex communications satellites of its day. The first TDRS was launched almost 24 years ago, and all six are still in operation today, having logged more than 100 years of service.
- The first Defense Support Program (DSP), which has now exceeded 22 satellites and 36 years of operation, demonstrating exceptional longevity -- nearly four times the design life requirement.
- The first fully functional Very High Speed Integrated Circuit, a breakthrough in microelectronics technology (1983) and the first aerospace company to insert gallium arsenide chip technology into consumer wireless communication systems.
Northrop Grumman Corporation is a $30 billion global defense and technology company whose 122,000 employees provide innovative systems, products, and solutions in information and services, electronics, aerospace and shipbuilding to government and commercial customers worldwide.