REDONDO BEACH, Calif., Feb. 14, 2004 (PRIMEZONE) -- The 22nd Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC)-built Defense Support Program (DSP) satellite was successfully launched today by the U.S. Air Force from Cape Canaveral Air Station.

A Titan IVB rocket and Inertial Upper Stage payload delivery vehicle carried the satellite into a geosynchronous orbit. DSP 22 joined the existing constellation on-orbit to give the nation advance warning of ballistic missile launches and other events.

"With the successful launch of DSP 22, the long-standing cornerstone of the nation's early warning system just got stronger," said Peggy Paul, Northrop Grumman DSP program manager. "The men and women of the DSP team take great pride in seeing another one of our products called into service to meet the Air Force's current requirements and respond to evolving threats."

Prior to the launch, the Central Florida Chapter of the Air Force Association named Northrop Grumman a General Bernard A. Schriever Fellow of the Aerospace Education Foundation in recognition of DSP's sustained record of outstanding support to the Air Force over the past 34 years.

Since the first DSP's launch in 1970, the DSP spacecraft and infrared sensor have gone through five designs to improve capability, survivability and life expectancy. The spacecraft have demonstrated remarkable reliability, exceeding their specified design lives by nearly 250 percent. Northrop Grumman's Space Technology sector is responsible for building the spacecraft and integrating the sensor, and Northrop Grumman's Electronic System sector provides the primary infrared payload as well as the strategic and tactical mission processing.

Northrop Grumman is one of the nation's leading missile defense prime contractors. The company was recently awarded a multibillion dollar contract by the Department of Defense's Missile Defense Agency to serve as prime contractor for the Kinetic Energy Interceptor and is also prime contractor for the Space Tracking and Surveillance System missile tracking system.

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