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NASA's Northrop Grumman-built Aura Satellite Marks First Anniversary on Orbit

REDONDO BEACH, Calif., July 19, 2005 (PRIMEZONE) -- NASA's Aura Earth Observing System (EOS) satellite, built by Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC), has successfully completed its first year on orbit. Aura was launched on July 15, 2004 from Vandenberg Air Force Base in Calif. on a mission to study the Earth's ozone, air quality and climate.

Since its launch, Aura has provided scientists with global observations of the Earth's atmosphere including measurements of unusual ozone conditions over the Arctic and concentrations of sulfur dioxide following volcanic eruptions in New Guinea. Aura's instruments work synergistically to provide a complete picture of the composition of the Earth's atmosphere, from the troposphere to the stratosphere.

"Aura is fulfilling its promise by providing comprehensive measurements on atmospheric gases and phenomena that affect climate change," said Dana Southwood, Northrop Grumman's Space Technology's Aura program manager. "Our focus from the very start, as it is with every program we undertake, was on mission success and ensuring that Aura would meet and exceed all our customer's expectations. It's great to see Aura fulfilling that promise."

As prime contractor, Northrop Grumman built the Aura spacecraft, integrated the instruments and provided launch and early-operations support. Aura is a fraternal twin to the Northrop Grumman-built Aqua spacecraft, which has been sending data on hydrological processes back to Earth since 2002. Aura is NASA's third and final major EOS satellite and complements the global data collected by the agency's two other EOS satellites, Terra and Aqua.

Aura, Aqua and several other planned missions are a part of NASA's afternoon constellation of satellites, called the "A-train" because they cross the equator shortly after noon. By gathering data on the same spot at virtually the same time, these satellites provide complimentary data sets that enhance the constellation's overall science output.

Aura's instruments include the Microwave Limb Sounder and the Tropospheric Emission Spectrometer, built by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory; the Ozone Monitoring Instrument, developed by the Netherlands Space Agency and the Finnish Meteorological Institute; and the High Resolution Dynamics Limb Sounder, built jointly by NASA and the United Kingdom.

Northrop Grumman Space Technology, based in Redondo Beach, Calif., develops a broad range of systems at the leading edge of space, defense, and electronics technology. The sector creates products for U.S. military and civilian customers who contribute significantly to the nation's security and leadership in science and technology.

CONTACT:  Sally Koris
          Northrop Grumman Space Technology
          (310) 812-4721
          sally.koris@ngc.com