EL SEGUNDO, Calif., April 8 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Northrop Grumman Corporation's (NYSE: NOC) Integrated Systems sector and Dulles, Virginia-based Orbital Sciences Corporation (NYSE: ORB) have been awarded separate, 16-month study contracts by NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center to help refine requirements and operational concepts for NASA's proposed Orbital Space Plane (OSP). Totaling approximately $45 million, the contracts will allow the companies to address, in a coordinated fashion, NASA requirements that the OSP provide a crew rescue capability for the International Space Station (ISS) by 2010 and a two-way crew transport capability by 2012.

Under the new contracts, Northrop and Orbital will work together to help validate NASA's Level 1 OSP requirements and prepare more in-depth cost and performance requirements for the OSP space transportation system. Orbital will also focus on design options for the OSP spacecraft, interfaces to the ISS and OSP flight operations. Northrop Grumman, serving as the system integrator, will consider options for the overall OSP space transportation architecture, with emphasis on the launch vehicle and OSP ground support operations. NASA expects to launch the OSP spacecraft initially on a heavy-lift version of an evolved expendable launch vehicle (EELV) such as a Delta IV or Atlas V rocket.

"These study contracts provide an important extension to work that Northrop Grumman and Orbital Sciences did together last year in proposing options for a crew transfer vehicle and architectures for NASA's second generation reusable launch vehicle (RLV)," said Doug Young, director of space access programs for Northrop Grumman's Integrated Systems sector.

"The advancements we've made in critical RLV technologies coupled with our expertise in large systems integration and spacecraft design position us to help NASA achieve its goal of ensuring safe, affordable and reusable access to space."

David Low, vice president and deputy general manager of Orbital's Advanced Programs Group, said, "Together, Orbital and Northrop Grumman are looking forward to continuing our work with NASA on this important next step in human spaceflight. We are very proud and honored to be playing a key role in helping to shape the future of U.S. human space exploration."

The new contracts call for Orbital and Northrop Grumman to collaborate with NASA in developing a set of Level 2 requirements for the OSP. These requirements, which provide more detailed cost, performance and reliability guidelines for the OSP, do not specify or advocate a preferred OSP system concept. Rather, they become the baseline OSP requirements for all contractors competing to develop and build the OSP. A System Requirements Review to validate the Level 2 requirements is scheduled for late 2003.

Northrop Grumman and Orbital will also define detailed requirements for a specific, system-level OSP space transportation concept. These so-called Level 3 requirements will be presented by the contractors during an OSP System Design Review planned for early 2004. NASA expects to hold a competition to select a contractor team to design, produce, integrate and test the OSP space transportation system later in 2004.

Orbital develops and manufactures space systems for commercial, civil government and military customers. The company's primary products are spacecraft and launch vehicles, including low-orbit, geostationary and planetary spacecraft for communications, remote sensing and scientific missions; ground- and air-launched rockets that deliver satellites into orbit; and missile defense boosters that are used as interceptor and target vehicles. Orbital also offers space-related technical services to government agencies and develops and builds satellite-based transportation management systems for public transit agencies and private vehicle fleet operators.

Northrop Grumman Integrated Systems, headquartered in El Segundo, Calif., is a premier aerospace and defense systems integration enterprise with the capabilities to design, develop, produce and support fully missionized integrated systems and subsystems. Integrated Systems delivers best-value solutions, products and services in support of chosen segments within the broad market areas of battlespace awareness, command and control systems and integrated combat systems.


     Brooks McKinney (Northrop Grumman)      Barron Beneski (Orbital Sciences)
     (310) 331-6610 office                   (703) 406-5528 office
     (310) 864-3785 mobile                   (703) 447-4259 mobile
     bmckinney@northropgrumman.com beneski.barron@orbital.com

SOURCE  Orbital Sciences Corporation; Northrop Grumman Corporation
    -0-                             04/08/2003
    /CONTACT:  Brooks McKinney of Northrop Grumman, +1-310-331-6610, office,
or +1-310-864-3785, mobile, bmckinney@northropgrumman.com; or Barron Beneski
of Orbital Sciences, +1-703-406-5528, office, or +1-703-447-4259, mobile,
    /Web site:  http://www.orbital.com /
    (ORB NOC)

CO:  Orbital Sciences Corporation; Northrop Grumman Corporation; NASA
ST:  Maryland, Virginia, California, Alabama, Florida, Colorado

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3794 04/08/2003 07:46 EDT http://www.prnewswire.com