REDONDO BEACH, Calif., March 22, 2004 (PRIMEZONE) -- NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center and Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) have been awarded the National Space Club's 2004 Nelson P. Jackson Aerospace Award for a system that has enhanced earth-to-space communications for more than 20 years.
The Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System (TDRSS), built by the company's Space Technology sector, is a communication signal relay system, transmitting voice, television, and digital and analog data between user satellites and their control centers on Earth. The system is capable of transmitting and receiving data from customer satellites over their entire orbit, compared to 15 percent previously provided by ground stations, greatly enhancing the productivity of space assets.
When the first satellite was launched in 1983, it was the largest and most sophisticated communications satellite ever built. Five additional Northrop Grumman-built satellites were subsequently launched successfully through 1995, and all are still on-orbit and functioning, serving human Earth-orbiting and robotic science missions, other national projects and commercial users.
"We are profoundly honored to receive this prestigious award on behalf of the many men and women who have contributed, over the last 25 years, to the success of this revolutionary space communications capability," said Phil Liebrecht, Goddard's associate director and program manager for Mission Services.
"The Jackson award reflects the very successful and long-standing Northrop Grumman/NASA partnership that has produced TDRSS and many other systems that benefit the nation," said Wes Bush, president, Northrop Grumman Space Technology. "These satellites were built to provide 39 years of cumulative on-orbit service but have already provided more than double that amount. This demonstrated reliability continues to provide exceptional value to our customer and system users."
The Nelson P. Jackson Award was named in honor of the National Space Club's founder and past president. It is presented annually to recognize exceptional teamwork between government and industry in the missile, aircraft and space fields. This year's honor marks the seventh time Northrop Grumman Space Technology has shared and/or won the Jackson Aerospace Award.
Northrop Grumman was responsible for design, fabrication, test and launch of the TDRSS spacecraft, ground and spacecraft systems integration, as well as ground terminal hardware and software. Goddard Space Flight Center's Mission Services Program Office is responsible for planning, development and implementation of NASA's worldwide near-Earth space communications networks, including the management of the operations and development of the TDRSS and the Space Network. The ground station complex is located in White Sands, N.M.
Northrop Grumman Space Technology, based in Redondo Beach, Calif., develops a broad range of systems at the leading edge of space, defense and electronics technology. The sector creates products for U.S. military and civilian customers that contribute significantly to the nation's security and leadership in science and technology.
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