Press Release

NASA/Northrop Grumman Team Receives the National Space Club’s Jackson Award for TDRSS

By SpaceRef Editor
March 22, 2004
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NASA’s
Goddard Space Flight Center and Northrop Grumman Corporation
have been awarded the National Space Club’s 2004
Nelson P. Jackson Aerospace Award for a system that has
enhanced earth-to-space communications for more than 20
years.

The Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System (TDRSS), built
by the company’s Space Technology sector, is a communication
signal relay system, transmitting voice, television, and
digital and analog data between user satellites and their
control centers on Earth. The system is capable of transmitting
and receiving data from customer satellites over their entire
orbit, compared to 15 percent previously provided by ground
stations, greatly enhancing the productivity of space assets.

When the first satellite was launched in 1983, it was the
largest and most sophisticated communications satellite
ever built. Five additional Northrop Grumman-built satellites
were subsequently launched successfully through 1995, and
all are still on-orbit and functioning, serving human Earth-orbiting
and robotic science missions, other national projects and
commercial users.

“We are profoundly honored to receive this prestigious award
on behalf of the many men and women who have contributed,
over the last 25 years, to the success of this revolutionary
space communications capability,” said Phil Liebrecht, Goddard’s
associate director and program manager for Mission Services.

“The Jackson award reflects the very successful and long-standing
Northrop Grumman/NASA partnership that has produced TDRSS
and many other systems that benefit the nation,” said Wes
Bush, president, Northrop Grumman Space Technology. “These
satellites were built to provide 39 years of cumulative
on-orbit service but have already provided more than double
that amount. This demonstrated reliability continues to
provide exceptional value to our customer and system users.”

The Nelson P. Jackson Award was named in honor of the National
Space Club’s founder and past president. It is presented
annually to recognize exceptional teamwork between government
and industry in the missile, aircraft and space fields.
This year’s honor marks the seventh time Northrop Grumman
Space Technology has shared and/or won the Jackson Aerospace
Award.

Northrop Grumman was responsible for design, fabrication,
test and launch of the TDRSS spacecraft, ground and spacecraft
systems integration, as well as ground terminal hardware
and software. Goddard Space Flight Center’s Mission Services
Program Office is responsible for planning, development
and implementation of NASA’s worldwide near-Earth space
communications networks, including the management of the
operations and development of the TDRSS and the Space Network.
The ground station complex is located in White Sands, N.M.

Northrop Grumman Space Technology, based in Redondo Beach,
Calif., develops a broad range of systems at the leading
edge of space, defense and electronics technology. The sector
creates products for U.S. military and civilian customers
that contribute significantly to the nation’s security and
leadership in science and technology.

SpaceRef staff editor.