HOUSTON, Dec. 14, 2005 (PRIMEZONE) -- Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC), whose association with Houston began more than four decades ago during the Apollo program, is expanding its Houston operation to support the growing role of NASA's Johnson Space Center in developing the nation's next generation of human space exploration systems.
The expansion has the potential to bring 200 to 300 high-tech production, engineering and management jobs to the region, while offering opportunities for local small, woman- and minority-owned businesses to become suppliers to a Northrop Grumman-led space exploration team.
That team, which includes Houston-based Boeing NASA Systems as Northrop Grumman's principal subcontractor, is currently under contract developing requirements and a conceptual design for NASA's planned Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV), a successor to the space shuttle that will enable human exploration of the moon, Mars and beyond in coming decades.
More than a half-dozen Houston-area small businesses support the team's work on this Phase 1 CEV contract. If NASA selects the team to support the CEV development and production phase, the list of Houston-based suppliers could more than double. NASA expects to select a CEV prime contractor by summer 2006.
"Since the early 1960s, Northrop Grumman has played significant roles in the success of Houston's human spaceflight, oil exploration and information technology markets," said Jim Reinhartsen, president of the Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership (BAHEP). "Their participation and expanding interest in the economic development of Bay Area Houston will have a positive, 'trickle down' effect on our local service economy while helping to grow local small businesses that offer products and services relevant to human space exploration."
On Nov. 28, Northrop Grumman moved into a new 6,000-square-foot office complex it has leased near Johnson Space Center. The facility, which serves as the company's Houston headquarters, currently supports approximately 25 employees. Michael Lembeck, a former NASA official, serves as the director of operations for the new office. He is also a member of the BAHEP board of directors.
Northrop Grumman is also investing in Houston's space education community. In November, the company signed a three-year agreement with Space Center Houston to become the name sponsor for the center's giant-screen theater. The theater is used not only to present space-related educational films, but also as a venue for community events.
Northrop Grumman and Boeing joined forces earlier this year to pursue the human space transportation elements of NASA's Constellation Systems, the space agency's architecture of human and robotic space systems, launch vehicles and lunar infrastructure required to conduct space exploration missions. The CEV is the first human spaceflight system planned under Constellation Systems.
In addition to its expanding role in human space exploration, Northrop Grumman continues to support Houston's information technology (IT), marine services and homeland security market segments. For example, the company manages Houston's public safety service center, which supports the city's 911 emergency call system. Northrop Grumman also provides IT network maintenance and support services to commercial and government clients throughout Houston and south Texas.
For the region's shipping and energy markets, Northrop Grumman provides field service and support for navigation and communications systems used aboard tankers, container ships and cruise ships visiting ports on the Gulf Coast. Through Northrop Grumman subsidiary Vinnell Corporation, the company staffs a Department of Homeland Security Citizenship and Immigration Services office performing data collection, data capture, and fee processing; mail operations; file operations; documentation preparation; quality control; and project management.
Northrop Grumman Corporation is a global defense company headquartered in Los Angeles, Calif. It provides technologically advanced, innovative products, services and solutions in systems integration, defense electronics, information technology, advanced aircraft, shipbuilding and space technology. With more than 125,000 employees, and operations in all 50 states and 25 countries, the company serves U.S. and international military, government and commercial customers. Today, more than 20,000 of Northrop Grumman's employees are devoted to space-related projects.
CONTACT: Brooks McKinney, APR Northrop Grumman Integrated Systems (310) 331-6610 office (310) 864-3785 cell firstname.lastname@example.org