Press Release

Northrop Grumman Partners With NASA JPL to Co-Develop Jupiter Icy Moons Orbiter

By SpaceRef Editor
September 23, 2004
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Northrop Grumman Partners With NASA JPL to Co-Develop Jupiter Icy Moons Orbiter

Northrop Grumman
Corp. (NYSE: NOC) has been selected to partner with NASA’s Jet Propulsion
Laboratory to develop a preliminary design for the Prometheus Jupiter Icy
Moons Orbiter (JIMO), an electric propulsion vehicle powered by a nuclear
fission reactor. The contract award is for approximately $400 million,
covering work through mid-2008.

JIMO would orbit Jupiter’s three ice-covered Galilean moons — Ganymede,
Callisto and Europa — gathering data to help scientists understand the moons’
origin and evolution, potential for sustaining life, and radiation
environment. These moons are thought to harbor vast oceans beneath their icy

The orbiter would have 100 times more usable onboard power than any
previous probe, enabling its science instruments to gather more and higher
quality data and to send it back to Earth at vastly higher data rates. The
reactor would be developed by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Naval
Reactors, in Washington, D.C.

“This project has the potential to revolutionize space exploration,” said
Wes Bush, president, Northrop Grumman Space Technology. “JIMO’s power system
would pave the way for long-duration, deep-space robotic missions powerful
enough to significantly increase scientific output. We will continue to draw
on the strengths of our team in systems engineering, large-scale integration,
reactor integration and nuclear safety to develop a robust and low-risk

Northrop Grumman’s team is being led by its Space Technology sector and
includes its Newport News, Electronic Systems, Integrated Systems and
Information Technology sectors along with Hamilton Sunstrand and Alliance
Space Systems Inc.

“We look forward to partnering with JPL,” said Craig Staresinich, vice
president, Project Prometheus at Northrop Grumman. “We are bringing together
the best resources from our organizations to make this mission a success.”

The company will develop systems requirements and a preliminary spacecraft
design, building on trade studies and a system concept developed under an
earlier phase of the program.

Following that, the next phase of the contract calls for the full-scale
design, fabrication, integration and test of the space system. JIMO is
expected to launch no earlier than 2015 on its five-to-eight year
interplanetary journey.

Northrop Grumman Space Technology is a leader in the development of
satellites and space systems for science, remote sensing, communications and
military applications. Space Technology is NASA’s prime contractor for the
James Webb Space Telescope, the successor to the Hubble Space Telescope, and
is the prime contractor for the National Polar-orbiting Operational
Environmental Satellite System. Northrop Grumman Space Technology is based in
Redondo Beach, Calif.

SpaceRef staff editor.