REDONDO BEACH, Calif., Dec. 16, 2008 -- A comprehensive Mission Operations Readiness (MOR) review of the National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS) Preparatory Project (NPP) was successfully completed last month. The largest review of the overall NPOESS configuration to date, the MOR focused specifically on NPP's operational readiness and progress to launch.

U.S. Government customers representing NASA, NOAA, the Department of Defense along with representatives of Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC), Raytheon Co. (NYSE:RTN) and Ball Aerospace (NYSE:BLL) attended the three-day review at NOAA's Satellite Operations Facility in Suitland, Md. They assessed the program's flight concept of operations, project management, operations and sustainment plans, safety and mission assurance, system design, technical management, training and product validation and other aspects of the program.

NPP is a risk reduction mission for NPOESS, and will be the first major element of the next generation U.S. Earth observation system when it is launched in 2010. NPP science instruments will provide essential data to bridge climate measurements coming from NASA's Earth Observation System research satellites, and the launch of the operational NPOESS system is planned for 2013.

"This review was the most far-reaching and detailed review of operations that we've had," said Dave Vandervoet, vice president for Civil Systems Division for Northrop Grumman's Space Technology sector. "Strengths and weaknesses were identified, but most importantly, the MOR determined that NPP's overall operations readiness is sound and that this satellite will perform its required mission."

"The NPP Mission Operations review covered three days with over 1,000 pages of material presented to a very experienced review panel," said Ken Schwer, NASA NPP program manager, "Since the NPP MOR was the first NPOESS review with all organizations, agencies, and contractors involved, it can easily be considered the biggest review in the history of NPOESS. The review resulted in no show stoppers for the team to press ahead with their plans, and found that the ground system was mature with very good technical management and communications throughout the NPP/NPOESS organizations."

Northrop Grumman Corporation is the prime contractor for NPOESS, responsible for overall system design and development, system engineering and integration, instrument acquisition and spacecraft assembly, test, and enterprise operations and sustainment. Raytheon Co. provides the ground systems -- command, control and communications, and mission data processing -- and system engineering support. Ball Aerospace is the prime contractor for the NPP spacecraft.

NPP has been undergoing compatibility tests with sensor engineering development units or actual flight units and with the ground system. Three sensors have been delivered for integration onto NPP, and additional testing is being performed to reduce risk until the remaining two sensors are delivered.

Northrop Grumman Corporation is a global defense and technology company whose 120,000 employees provide innovative systems, products, and solutions in information and services, electronics, aerospace and shipbuilding to government and commercial customers worldwide.

  CONTACT:  Sally Koris
          Northrop Grumman Space Technology