SAN DIEGO, Sept. 7, 2004 (PRIMEZONE) -- Ninety-eight panels and paper sessions in 11 technical tracks will explore the accomplishments and challenges involved in realizing the potential of space at the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics' (AIAA) SPACE 2004 Conference and Exposition set for Sept. 28-30, 2004, at the San Diego Convention Center. Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) is the corporate sponsor.

"The panelists and presenters in these sessions are at the forefront of the country's scientific and technological efforts in space, making this year's technical program one of the best ever," said Sonya Sepahban, technical program chair and vice president and deputy of technology development for Northrop Grumman's Space Technology sector.

A sampling of the top-level technical sessions includes:

  --  Astronauts from Apollo missions, Skylab, the Space Shuttle,
      the International Space Station, and the Russian Space
      Station Mir will lead the panel on Human Enabled Exploration.
      They will join key scientists and engineers in discussing
      the role of humans in space research and exploration, and
      their integration with robotic systems.

  --  Two panels will feature presentations and discussions with
      scientists and engineers from the Mars Exploration Rovers
      Team.  They will describe the challenges and successes in
      each phase of the landing sequence, technical hurdles
      facing future missions, instrument development, advanced
      technology, and results from the mission.

  --  Led by Christine Anderson, program director, Military
      Satellite Communications Joint Program Office, the Space
      Communications panel will examine how the armed forces are
      addressing the growing needs for communications-on-demand
      in a network-centric environment.

  --  The need to infuse technology into space systems, and the
      challenges of inserting new capabilities, will be discussed
      by a panel of government program managers, industry technology
      leaders, government technology development laboratories, and
      advocates for transformation.
 

Technical tracks span science, technology and policy in two primary categories: Major Missions and Markets - (military space missions, human space flight and exploration, space science and robotic missions, earth science and environmental space missions); and Key Enablers (space access and nuclear propulsion, orbital systems and operations, ground operations of space assets, enabling technologies, strategic planning and policy, education and workforce development and space economics). A complete list of technical sessions and papers can be found on the conference's Web site at www.aiaa.org/space2004 .

AIAA's SPACE 2004 Conference and Exposition is sponsored and organized by Northrop Grumman this year. Program support is provided by NASA and the U.S. Department of Defense. Space News is the media sponsor, and the California Space Authority is a participating sponsor.

Northrop Grumman Corporation is a global defense company headquartered in Los Angeles, Calif. Northrop Grumman provides technologically advanced, innovative products, services and solutions in systems integration, defense electronics, information technology, advanced aircraft, shipbuilding and space technology. With 125,000 employees, and operations in all 50 states and 25 countries, Northrop Grumman serves U.S. and international military, government and commercial customers.

  CONTACT:  Jeff Magaha
          AIAA
          (703) 264-7621 
          jeffreym@aiaa.org 

          Bob Bishop 
          Northrop Grumman 
          (310) 812-5227 
          bob.j.bishop@ngc.com