REDONDO BEACH, Calif., Dec. 2, 2009 -- Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) will help the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) design a spacecraft "bus" with plug-and-play capability to reduce cost and schedule in developing future space systems.

Northrop Grumman has been awarded an initial $500,000 task order for a six-month study under the AFRL's Plug-and-Play Spacecraft Technologies program. The company will deliver the study to the AFRL's Space Vehicles Directorate at Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M. The task order was awarded under an indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity (ID/IQ) contract with a ceiling of $200 million.

The spacecraft "bus" is the infrastructure that serves as the platform for carrying the payload and other mission-oriented equipment. Payload components could be changed in and out without a major spacecraft redesign.

"Plug-and-play capability could change the way spacecraft are built by shortening industry's response time to customers' mission requirements," said Steve Hixson, vice president of Advanced Concepts-Space and Directed Energy Systems for Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems. "It will provide a standard interface for different payload components, much like a laptop computer that immediately recognizes new hardware when it's plugged in."

Northrop Grumman recently demonstrated its rapid response capability, with NASA's Lunar CRater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS). Northrop Grumman delivered the spacecraft for launch in just 27 months using standardized structural elements; commercial-off-the-shelf hardware, sensors and components; flight-proven payload instruments and sophisticated risk management. In October, LCROSS successfully impacted the moon in support of NASA's search for evidence of water ice that could serve as a resource for future lunar outposts.

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.

  CONTACT:  Cyndi Wegerbauer
          Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems