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Northrop Grumman Awarded Five Study Contracts For NextGen Astronomy Missions

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by Staff Writers
Redondo Beach CA (SPX) Apr 04, 2008
Northrop Grumman is a partner on five contracts awarded by NASA to investigate concepts for next-generation space telescopes. The concepts include a powerful successor to the Hubble Space Telescope, three planet finding missions, and a futuristic x-ray space telescope.

The study results will be submitted for consideration to the scientific community during the upcoming National Academy of Science's Astronomy and Astrophysics Decadal Survey, which sets priorities for future astrophysics missions. The five contracts include:

- A mission to identify new materials and design problems involved in the construction of a 52-foot diameter space telescope called the Advanced Technology Large Aperture Space Telescope (ATLAST). Northrop Grumman is teamed with Principal Investigator Marc Postman of the Space Telescope Science Institute.

- A mission to image nearby Earth-sized worlds using large telescopes with multiple instruments and separate "starshade" spacecraft to block the light from these exoplanets's host stars. This study, called New Worlds Observer, will build on research already performed by Northrop Grumman with Principal Investigator Webster Cash of the University of Colorado.

- A mission called Actively-Corrected Coronagraphs for Exoplanet System Studies (ACCESS) to directly image giant planets around nearby stars using a medium-size coronagraph. Northrop Grumman's Space Technology sector is teamed with Principal Investigator John Trauger of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

- A mission called Generation-X to create the next generation of extremely precise and large optics for X-ray astronomy. Northrop Grumman Space Technology is teamed with Principal Investigator Roger Brissenden at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.

- A mission called Dilute Aperture Visible Nulling Coronagraph Imager (DAViNCI) for exoplanet exploration using multiple telescopes and a specially designed visible nulling interferometer to detect Earth-like planets. Northrop Grumman Space Technology is working with Principal Investigator Michael Shao of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

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Space invaders: 'Armed men' seize Moscow planetarium
Moscow (AFP) March 26, 2008
Armed men on Wednesday seized the Moscow Planetarium, a futuristic silver dome on a valuable plot of land, as a long-running property dispute came to a head, the building's director said.







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