Grumman Corporation’s Space Technology sector,
along with scientists from the Smithsonian Astrophysical
Observatory and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was
awarded Marshall Space Flight Center’s Public Service Group
Achievement Award for their work on the Chandra X-ray Observatory
Mission Planning and Review Team. Marshall Center Group
Achievement Awards are given in recognition of outstanding
accomplishments, which have been made through coordinating
many individual efforts and have contributed significantly
to the accomplishment of the mission of Marshall Center.

In making the award, NASA said, “Mission planning has been
a key element in the outstanding science production and
unparalleled success of the world’s most powerful X-ray
observatory.” The agency commended the group for “outstanding
service and dedication provided in effectively and efficiently
scheduling the science mission observations of the Chandra
X-ray Observatory.”

“We are truly honored to be among those receiving this award,”
said Leon McKendrick, Chandra program manager for Northrop
Grumman. “As Chandra’s prime contractor, we work closely
with the scientists and astronomers to help them achieve
their goals and maximize the science coming from this national
facility. It is a privilege to continue working with NASA
on this outstanding program.”

Built by Northrop Grumman Space Technology, the Chandra
X-ray Observatory was launched in 1999. The Observatory
has produced a steady stream of remarkable discoveries on-orbit,

– An unprecedented view of a super-massive black hole devouring
material in the Milky Way;

– The discovery of a pulsating hot spot of X-rays in the polar
regions of Jupiter’s upper atmosphere and uncovered evidence the
X-ray source is not arising from the region of Jupiter where
previously believed;

– The first positive identification of two active giant black holes
in an extraordinarily bright galaxy, which shows that massive black
holes can grow through mergers in the centers of galaxies.

The agency said the Observatory has achieved a viewing efficiency
that exceeds its goals, while accommodating mission unique
concerns such as challenging radiation and thermal environments.
Additionally, the team has been very innovative in developing
tools to assist the mission planning process.

Northrop Grumman Space Technology is a system of systems
prime contractor and a leader in the design and development
of spacecraft systems for space science and remote sensing

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