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Northrop Grumman-Built NPOESS Instrument Achieves Key Milestone; ATMS Approved for Manufacturing and Production

REDONDO BEACH, Calif., July 20, 2009 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- An instrument being built by Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) for the National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS) has completed a key production milestone, Manufacturing Readiness Review (MRR). The successful MRR clears the way for the company to start manufacturing and production of the Advanced Technology Microwave Sounder (ATMS).

The ATMS instrument is the second flight model and is slated to fly on the first NPOESS satellite in 2014. The first ATMS was completed in 2005 and has been integrated on the NPOESS Preparatory Project (NPP) satellite, which is scheduled to launch in January 2011.

"The successful MRR is an important milestone for NPOESS, providing the start of production for one of the key NPOESS operational weather sensors," said Dave Vandervoet, NPOESS program manager for Northrop Grumman's Aerospace Systems sector. "The Flight 2 development has proceeded smoothly and follows in the success of the Flight 1 instrument."

ATMS will provide critical microwave data, including atmospheric temperature and moisture profiles, to support weather forecasting for the operational NPOESS system. Also developed and built by Northrop Grumman are the Radio Frequency Front End Modules, which are a key component enabling ATMS to cover broad microwave frequencies. The instrument senses microwaves from 23 to 183 Ghz across 22 channels.

"Our experience in creating the ATMS engineering development unit and delivering the NPP flight unit shows our capability to support NPOESS," said Steve Opel, ATMS program manager for Northrop Grumman's Electronic Systems sector. "Completing this important review demonstrates our readiness to begin production."

Northrop Grumman is building the ATMS Flight 2 instrument under contract to the NPOESS Integrated Program Office. NPOESS will provide the nation with critical operational weather and climate monitoring capability for military and civilian users through 2025

Northrop Grumman Corporation is a leading global security company whose 120,000 employees provide innovative systems, products, and solutions in aerospace, electronics, information systems, shipbuilding and technical services to government and commercial customers worldwide.

CONTACT:  Sally Koris
          Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems
          (310) 812-4721
          cell: (310) 567-5279
          sally.koris@ngc.com