REDONDO BEACH, Calif., July 20, 2005 (PRIMEZONE) -- Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) has delivered the fluid-transfer and propulsion systems to Boeing Phantom Works in Seal Beach, Calif., for the Orbital Express mission, which is designed to demonstrate the various technologies required for autonomous satellite servicing while on-orbit.
The Orbital Express Advanced Technology Demonstration is a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency program with the objective of demonstrating the capability to autonomously service satellites while on-orbit. Boeing is the prime contractor and Northrop Grumman is one of the team members.
"The ability to refuel and upgrade spacecraft on-orbit, or to move stranded satellites into their correct orbits, could represent a revolutionary change in space operations for both commercial and military users," said Tom Romesser, vice president of Technology Development for Northrop Grumman Space Technology. "Our deep experience in spacecraft propulsion systems will help ensure the success of this demonstration project, which holds great potential for space exploration."
The Boeing team will build the Autonomous Space Transfer and Robotic Orbiter (ASTRO) satellite and, with a surrogate serviceable satellite named NextSat (built by team member Ball Aerospace), will conduct an on-orbit demonstration of autonomous satellite servicing, with launch set for 2006.
The Northrop Grumman-provided hardware onboard ASTRO will demonstrate autonomous transfer of hydrazine propellant, a type of liquid rocket fuel, to and from the NextSat spacecraft, in addition to providing the propulsion needed for six-degree-of-freedom vehicle control. The fluid-transfer payload aboard the NextSat spacecraft allows a variety of client configurations to be simulated over multiple on-orbit fluid-transfer demonstrations.
The program contractor team comprises Boeing (ASTRO vehicle, automated rendezvous and docking, system prime), Ball Aerospace (NextSat spacecraft), Northrop Grumman (fluid-transfer system, servicing-vehicle propulsion system), MDAssociates (servicing-vehicle robotic arm), Starsys Research (capture mechanism), and Draper Laboratory (mission-manager software).
Northrop Grumman develops a broad range of systems at the leading edge of space, defense and electronics technology for U.S. government and civilian customers. These products contribute significantly to the nation's security and leadership in science and technology.
CONTACT: Bob Bishop Northrop Grumman Space Technology (310) 812-5227 (310) 567-4919 email@example.com