REDONDO BEACH, Calif., May 29, 2003 (PRIMEZONE) -- Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) has been selected to be the industry partner for the Eclipse mission by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and Dr. John Trauger, the Eclipse Principal Investigator.

Eclipse is a proposed mission to perform the first sensitive imaging of nearby planetary systems using a high-contrast optical telescope and coronagraphic camera. This three-year mission, proposed by Trauger, is intended to provide fundamental information on planetary systems around the Sun's nearest neighbors.

Eclipse will be proposed as a mission for NASA's series of Discovery missions, lower-cost, highly focused planetary science investigations designed to enhance our understanding of the solar system. The technology and science derived from Eclipse could pave the way for NASA's future space science missions, such as Terrestrial Planet Finder.

"We're pleased to be partnering with Dr. Trauger and JPL on this important mission," said Greg Davidson, director of civil space for Northrop Grumman's Space Technology sector. "Our experience building and integrating spacecraft for NASA's astronomical observatories, combined with JPL's success on Discovery missions, makes us a formidable team."

As the industry partner, Northrop Grumman will build the Eclipse spacecraft and integrate the payload. JPL will have overall project management responsibility. As Principal Investigator, Trauger has the responsibility for defining the mission's scientific objectives and instrument payload and ensuring that mission objectives are met. Kodak will provide the 1.8-meter telescope.

NASA's Office of Space Science will select Discovery missions to begin formulation studies in early 2004, followed by the selection of one or more missions for flight. If selected, Eclipse is expected to be launched in 2009.

Northrop Grumman's Space Technology sector, headquartered in Redondo Beach, Calif., is a leader in the development of satellites and space systems for space science and remote sensing missions.

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  CONTACT:  Sally Koris
          Northrop Grumman Space Technology
          (310) 812-4721