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Northrop Grumman Chandra Group Honored; Group Receives NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center Award for Mission Planning Excellence

Press Release From: Northrop Grumman Corporation
Posted: Friday, August 1, 2003

Northrop Grumman Corporation's Space Technology sector, along with scientists from the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was awarded Marshall Space Flight Center's Public Service Group Achievement Award for their work on the Chandra X-ray Observatory Mission Planning and Review Team. Marshall Center Group Achievement Awards are given in recognition of outstanding accomplishments, which have been made through coordinating many individual efforts and have contributed significantly to the accomplishment of the mission of Marshall Center.

In making the award, NASA said, ``Mission planning has been a key element in the outstanding science production and unparalleled success of the world's most powerful X-ray observatory.'' The agency commended the group for ``outstanding service and dedication provided in effectively and efficiently scheduling the science mission observations of the Chandra X-ray Observatory.''

``We are truly honored to be among those receiving this award,'' said Leon McKendrick, Chandra program manager for Northrop Grumman. ``As Chandra's prime contractor, we work closely with the scientists and astronomers to help them achieve their goals and maximize the science coming from this national facility. It is a privilege to continue working with NASA on this outstanding program.''

Built by Northrop Grumman Space Technology, the Chandra X-ray Observatory was launched in 1999. The Observatory has produced a steady stream of remarkable discoveries on-orbit, including:

- An unprecedented view of a super-massive black hole devouring material in the Milky Way;

- The discovery of a pulsating hot spot of X-rays in the polar regions of Jupiter's upper atmosphere and uncovered evidence the X-ray source is not arising from the region of Jupiter where previously believed;

- The first positive identification of two active giant black holes in an extraordinarily bright galaxy, which shows that massive black holes can grow through mergers in the centers of galaxies.

The agency said the Observatory has achieved a viewing efficiency that exceeds its goals, while accommodating mission unique concerns such as challenging radiation and thermal environments. Additionally, the team has been very innovative in developing tools to assist the mission planning process.

Northrop Grumman Space Technology is a system of systems prime contractor and a leader in the design and development of spacecraft systems for space science and remote sensing missions.

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