Press Release

Northrop Grumman to Help NASA Define Space Exploration Architecture

By SpaceRef Editor
September 8, 2004
Filed under , ,

Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) has been selected by NASA
to help define the architecture of space transportation
systems that will allow astronauts to travel initially to
the moon, and later to Mars and beyond during the next few

The collaboration with NASA is part of the company’s ongoing
effort to help the nation define the smartest, most cost-effective
way to design, implement and sustain the nation’s Vision
for Space Exploration.

As part of a $6 million concept exploration and refinement
(CE&R) contract awarded by NASA’s Office of Exploration
Systems, Northrop Grumman will help NASA define the “system
of systems” architecture for Project Constellation, a constellation
of human and robotic space transportation systems, launch
vehicles and related in-space and lunar infrastructure required
to ferry astronauts to and from the moon and Mars.

The contract, which includes approximately $3 million for
a six-month base period and an option worth approximately
$3 million, also includes development of an initial concept
for the Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV), the first space
transportation system planned for Project Constellation’s
system-of-systems architecture.

“Northrop Grumman’s systems integration skills, technology
innovation and fundamental attention to mission success
have made the company a trusted provider of complex space
systems to NASA for more than 40 years,” said Gary Ervin,
a vice president for the company’s Integrated Systems’ sector.
“Today marks the beginning of the next significant chapter
in that legacy as we begin building an affordable, reliable
and sustainable foundation for what promises to be the most
exciting era yet in the nation’s history of space exploration.”

According to Doug Young, Northrop Grumman’s lead executive
for Project Constellation, the study contract will involve
an unusually large amount of collaboration — as much as
two days per week — among NASA, Northrop Grumman and other
aerospace contractors who have been awarded CE&R study contracts.

“We’ll be working closely with our aerospace industry colleagues
to flesh out a basic ‘community view’ of the Project Constellation
architecture, with an emphasis on the portion of the architecture
that defines and sets requirements for the transportation
of humans to and from the moon,” explained Young. “This
‘big picture’ view of the architecture will also help define
the basic functional role of the CEV within the Project
Constellation architecture.” NASA and the contractor teams
will then use that consensus view of the CEV’s functional
role, he added, to derive the vehicle’s basic operational

“Function” refers to the role that the CEV plays within
the architecture (e.g. ‘transports humans from Earth to
space destinations’), whereas “requirements” refer to specific
capabilities required (e.g. ‘must carry at least X passengers’).

Young considers the CE&R study contract to be perhaps the
single most important decision-making process in the nation’s
space-exploration future.

“The challenge here is to define a system-of-systems architecture
that’s technically achievable and economically feasible
well into the future,” he explained. “We’re not just defining
a single-point-in-time solution, but rather a concept that
has to survive and successfully evolve through many political,
economic and technological cycles.”

The concept exploration and refinement study contract is
expected to lead to a request for proposals during the first
quarter of 2005 to define and develop the CEV.

Northrop Grumman brings to the Vision for Space Exploration
a wealth of experience designing, producing, and integrating
large, high precision space systems both manned and unmanned.
From the early Pioneer family of satellites and the Lunar
Module, to NASA’s current Chandra X-ray Observatory and
its Aqua and Aura earth observation satellites, the company
has answered the nation’s most challenging space missions
with an unmatched record in reliability, innovation and
on-orbit performance. This legacy of success is reinforced
by Northrop Grumman’s demonstrated expertise in developing
and integrating large mission-driven systems for the U.S.
government, including the B-2 stealth bomber, the Global
Hawk aerial reconnaissance system and major elements of
the ballistic missile defense system.

The company today has more than 20,000 employees devoted
to space-related projects.

Northrop Grumman Corporation is a global defense company
headquartered in Los Angeles, Calif. Northrop Grumman provides
technologically advanced, innovative products, services
and solutions in systems integration, defense electronics,
information technology, advanced aircraft, shipbuilding
and space technology. With 125,000 employees, and operations
in all 50 states and 25 countries, Northrop Grumman serves
U.S. and international military, government and commercial


Brooks McKinney, APR

Northrop Grumman Corporation

(310) 331-6610

Jim Hart

(310) 331-3616

SpaceRef staff editor.