REDONDO BEACH, Calif., Feb. 25, 2010 -- Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) will showcase its innovative hardware design for NASA's International X-Ray Observatory (IXO) during the premier conference of the world's leading high energy astrophysicists. IXO is the next generation X-ray telescope slated for development by the space agency.

The design's public debut will be at the conference of the American Astronomical Society's High Energy Astrophysics Division at the Hilton Waikoloa Village on Hawaii's big island March 1-4, 2010.

"To create this concept design, our Northrop Grumman team draws on our considerable experience building and operating Chandra and other NASA premier astrophysics observatories, such as the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory and the James Webb Space Telescope," said Bob Burke, vice president of Civil and Military Systems for Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems. "Our perfect record pioneering the technology of deployable space structures is also a significant capability that can assure the success of the IXO mission."

The IXO design features an optical bench concept that has the potential to increase the telescope's focal length while staying within current mass and stability requirements. An instrument and system layout increases the telescope's field of view. The deployable optical bench concept uses only technologically mature components and flight-proven elements that reduce cost and risk. The overall design is based on existing elements, can be fully tested on the ground and does not require any new technology.

The company's hardware display will feature a 1/10 th -scale model of the deployment structure, including a prototype of a telescoping boom, similar to that used for the Webb telescope's sunshield deployment. The Webb deployment design has successfully completed a review certifying that it meets mission requirements.

Three of the company's scientists will present papers at the conference: Dr. Rolf Danner will speak on "Enhancing the International X-ray Observatory," Dr. Suzi Casement will present "A Tower Concept for the Off-Plane X-ray Grating Spectrometer for the International X-ray Observatory," and Dr. Charles Lillie will deliver "Design Concepts for the Generation-X Mission."

A successor to the Chandra X-ray Observatory, the International X-ray Observatory (IXO) features a collecting area 50 times larger than Chandra's. IXO will let scientists see objects that are farther away and observe in detail what happens close to the event horizon of black holes, where gas and dust are heated to extreme temperatures under the crushing forces of gravity.

IXO, a joint effort of NASA, the European Space Agency and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, combines a large X-ray mirror with powerful new instrumentation that will explore the high energy Universe. IXO could be launched as early as 2021.

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

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          Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems
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