Space Leadership Northrop Grumman Space Leadership Northrop Grumman

Space Legacy

Space Leadership Northrop Grumman - Astronaut


Until it's not.

Space Leadership Northrop Grumman - Cygnus

Beyond the Moon

In the 1970s, TRW was a leader in NASA’s space science program. Launched in 1972, Pioneer 10 was the first satellite to fly through the asteroid belt, the first to provide close-up images of Jupiter and the first to leave our solar system.

With the Cold War well under way, our heritage companies met the country’s need for reliable early warning of missile attacks. In 1970, we launched the first Defense Support Program (DSP) spacecraft, a critical element in the nation’s nuclear deterrent force for decades.

Click to find out more about Pioneer 10

The Space Race Heats Up Again

Rising tensions between the U.S. and Soviet Union defined the early 1980s. The Reagan Administration and the DoD announced a major upgrade of U.S. strategic forces, opting to deploy the Peacekeeper (MX) ICBM, as well as a new generation of military satellites. At NASA, the workforce and facilities were geared toward routinely launching the Space Shuttle and deploying large satellites from its payload bay. Northrop Grumman’s heritage companies played a vital role in the nation’s civil and military space programs during this time.
NASA Space Shuttle Solid Rocket Boosters
Thiokol built the solid rocket boosters for every Space Shuttle flight (NASA photo)
Orbital Pegasus Air Launched Rocket
Orbital Sciences developed the world’s first commercial rocket – the air launched Pegasus
TRW-built Compton Gamma-Ray Observatory
TRW built six Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System (TDRSS) satellites for NASA (NASA photo)
TRW built six Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System (TDRSS) satellites for NASA
A sister to the planned Hubble Space Telescope, the TRW-built Compton Gamma-Ray Observatory was the most complex astrophysical payload ever placed into orbit at the time

A Consolidated Effort

The fall of the Berlin Wall in the early 1990s and the so-called “peace dividend” that followed, led to a reduction in U.S. defense spending and a consolidation of the aerospace industry. During this time, the bulk of the heritage companies that make up the space business of today’s Northrop Grumman began to join forces.
Space-Based Infrared System (SBIRS)
As a subcontractor on the Space-Based Infrared System (SBIRS), Northrop Grumman provided the payload, conducted systems integration, and supports ground mission processing and system engineering
Chandra X-ray Observatory
TRW-built Chandra X-ray Observatory reveals a wealth of new discoveries, including some of the most distant objects ever seen in the universe
GEOStar geosynchronous communications satellites
During the 1990s, Orbital’s GEOStar family of highly affordable geosynchronous communications satellites allowed commercial operators to expand service and replace vintage satellites nearing end of life

Advancing Human Discovery

From providing astronauts with vital supplies aboard the International Space Station to discovering new exoplanets and the origins of our universe, Northrop Grumman technologies continue to advance human discovery every day. The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) has already discovered new exoplanets and supernovae, while the James Webb Space Telescope will study every phase in the history of our universe — from the Big Bang to the formation of life-supporting solar systems.
Northrop Grumman Cygnus spacecraft at International Space Station
Developed under a NASA Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) agreement with NASA, Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus spacecraft routinely delivers cargo to astronauts aboard the ISS (NASA photo)
NASA TESS Spacecraft
The Northrop Grumman-built TESS is the first-ever satellite to perform an exoplanet survey of nearly the entire sky
Northrop Grumman NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope
Northrop Grumman is currently leading the industry team of NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) – the largest, most complex and powerful space telescope ever built

What does Northrop Grumman do in Space?