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Northrop Grumman's Scalable Space Inertial Reference Unit Selected for BepiColombo Mission

WOODLAND HILLS, Calif., Sept. 9, 2009 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Northrop Grumman Corporation's (NYSE:NOC) Scalable Space Inertial Reference Unit (Scalable SIRU(tm)) has been selected by EADS Astrium GmbH for use aboard the BepiColombo mission to Mercury.

Northrop Grumman's Navigation Systems Division will provide its space-qualified, flight-proven Scalable SIRU(tm) for use on the Mercury Planetary Orbiter spacecraft. The Scalable SIRU(tm) is an inertial reference system that supplies critical data that enables the stabilization, pointing and attitude control of satellites and space vehicles.

BepiColombo is a collaborative mission between the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). Its goal is to explore the planet Mercury, which presents unique challenges due to the planet's close proximity to the Sun. The Mercury Planetary Orbiter will study Mercury's surface and internal composition to help scientists better understand the planet and its formation. The BepiColombo mission is scheduled to launch in 2013 and arrive at Mercury in 2019, where it will spend one to two years gathering data.

"We are very pleased to be supporting BepiColombo," said Gorik Hossepian, vice president of Navigation and Positioning Systems for Northrop Grumman's Navigation Systems Division. "Our Scalable SIRU offers performance and reliability that is vital to this type of space-based venture."

Northrop Grumman's Scalable SIRU(tm) is the industry standard for high precision, long life attitude control solutions supporting commercial, government and civil space missions. Scalable SIRU(tm) missions include earth observation, communications, and science applications in low earth orbit, geostationary, and deep space mission profiles. Northrop Grumman's Hemispherical Resonating Gyro technology installed in the Scalable SIRU(tm) has reached over 13 million operating hours in space without a mission failure.

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:  Gina Piellusch
          Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems
          (818) 715-2285
          gina.piellusch@ngc.com

          Ken Beedle
          Northrop Grumman Corporation (London)
          +44 (0) 207 747 1910
          +44 (0) 7787 174092
          ken.beedle@euro.ngc.com