CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. â July 22, 2013 â Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) sponsored an event July 20 to recognize the historical accomplishments of the company's Lunar Module team on the 44th anniversary of the first manned lunar landing.
Held at the Kennedy Space Center, the event was organized by former Grumman Aerospace Corporation employees who worked on the Lunar Module. There were more than 200 attendees, including elected officials, former astronauts, and members of science- and space-related educational organizations.
"It is important to acknowledge the men and women whose dedication and passion for exploring space led to the success of the Lunar Module," said Rick Matthews, vice president, manufacturing operations, and director, Manned Aircraft Design Center of Excellence, Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems. "We continue to build upon that foundation of success, remaining a leader in space technology today, with revolutionary products such as the James Webb Space Telescope and the Space Tracking and Surveillance System."
NASA selected the company to design and develop a Lunar Module for the Apollo spacecraft in November 1962. Over the course of 10 years, employees designed and built 12 Lunar Modules. The first successful lunar landing took place July 20, 1969, and, while the world watched, astronaut Neil Armstrong took mankind's first steps on the moon. The Lunar Module also served as the "lifeboat" that helped rescue the crew of Apollo 13. Overall, the Lunar Modules, which carried astronauts and scientific payloads to and from the surface of the moon, considerably increased the scope of various Apollo missions.
Bob Watkins, retired vice president and assistant base manager for Grumman at the Kennedy Space Center during the Apollo program, served as the event's emcee. He reminisced about the Lunar Module team that worked tirelessly to ensure its success. "The first lunar landing was a monumental milestone in human space exploration," he stated. "All of us retirees are proud to have been a part of that historic feat."
In addition to Grumman, Northrop Grumman legacy companies contributing to the mission's success included: TRW, which developed the lunar excursion module descent engine and provided critical software; the defense and electronics business of Westinghouse, which manufactured the camera used to broadcast images from the lunar surface to Earth; Dalmo-Victor, which designed the S-band 2-Gigahertz high-gain antennas that made live-image transmission possible from the moon's surface; Litton Systems, Inc., which produced flush-mounted antennas that transmitted and received all S-band signals during near-Earth operation and served as backup for the high-gain antenna in deep space; and Northrop, which provided the Earth landing system that included the space vehicle recovery parachutes for Apollo 11 as well as Northrop-built T-38A Talon jet aircraft extensively used by NASA as trainers for astronauts.
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