Space Park Facilities A Historic Aerospace Site
By Daniel Baxter
December 16, 2011 - In a ceremony on Wednesday, the
American Institute of Aeronautics & Astronautics (AIAA)
designated Northrop Grumman Corporation's Space Park
facilities in Redondo Beach, Calif., a Historic
Space Park opened in 1961, originally housing Space
Technology Laboratories, a subsidiary of the Ramo-Wooldridge
Corporation. The company became part of TRW Inc. in
1963. In 2002, Northrop Grumman purchased TRW, and the
site now is a key part of Northrop Grumman Aerospace
AIAA established the Historic Aerospace Site designation in 1999 to recognize and preserve noteworthy and significant contributions made in aeronautics and astronautics.
In honoring Space Park, the AIAA recognized the site's heritage as a location where more than 100 of the world's most technically challenging satellites, rocket engines, astronomical observatories and high-power lasers were designed and built, and noted its employees' penchant for solving difficult problems and developing breakthrough programs.
Park is where 'firsts' happen, and it's most gratifying that
AIAA has recognized and honored our history of innovation," said
Jeff Grant, sector vice president and general manager, Northrop
Grumman Space Systems. "From our development of Pioneer 10, the
first spacecraft to leave the solar system, to the Defense
Support Program satellites, America's first line of missile
defense, our reputation is well earned."
addition to Pioneer 10 and the Defense Support Program, Space
Park has been the birthplace of achievements of great
significance for space exploration and national security,
descent engine for the Apollo Lunar Excursion Module that
lowered U.S. astronauts to the moon's surface and brought the
Apollo 13 astronauts safely back to Earth after a spacecraft
- Six of
NASA's Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System satellites,
called the backbone of NASA's space-to-ground communications for
Earth-orbiting space shuttles and satellites.
Development of the first intercontinental ballistic missiles,
including Atlas, Titan, and most recently Minuteman.
instrument packages that performed the Martian biological
experiments searching for life aboard the two Viking landers.
Today, Space Park
employs more than 7,000 people working on a new generation of space
systems on the cutting edge of technology. Current programs either
on-orbit or still undergoing integration and test include:
- The Aura and
Aqua Earth Observing System satellites that are helping scientists
understand the causes and effects of global climate change.
- NASA astronomy
spacecraft such as the Chandra X-ray observatory, which was deployed
from a space shuttle in 1999 and continues to shed new light on black
holes and dark matter.
- The James Webb
Space Telescope, NASA's next-generation space telescope.
- The Space
Tracking & Surveillance System demonstration satellites that are showing
the advantages the high ground of space brings to missile defense
through the revolutionary use of infrared sensors.
military satellite communications through payloads for the Milstar and
Advanced Extremely High Frequency satellites.
- All of the U.S.
military's most powerful (megawatt-class) lasers that have unequivocally
proven the lethality of defense at the speed of light.
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