News Column

New Northrop space assembly facility will add engineering jobs ; $20M site consolidates, expands programs at Linthicum campus

July 15, 2014

ZOE READ; By ZOE READ zread@capgaznews.com

Northrop Grumman will hire dozens of engineers after it completes construction of its new Space Assembly and Test facility in Linthicum next year.

Company and elected officials broke ground on the $20 million facility on Monday. The 25,000-square-foot building will consolidate space payload integration work now at smaller facilities on the campus near BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport.

"Over the last five years, the space business has grown," said Scott Lee, vice president of integrated sensor programs.

"There are areas where funds have been cut back (in government). Space can't become one of them," he said.

Northrop Grumman has designed and produced payloads, sensors, systems and solutions for use in space for more than 50 years. It produced the Gemini Rendezvous Radar Pod, and the facility in Linthicum produced the Apollo 11 lunar camera that broadcast man's first steps on the moon.

Current projects include the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program, the Defense Support Program, the Space-Based Infrared System and the James Webb Space Telescope.

As payload technology has become more advanced, Northrop Grumman needed a bigger facility, Lee said. The new building will allow Northrop Grumman to expand production and allow work on more than one program at a time.

Northrop Grumman will hire 80 engineers and technicians, about 30 to 40 of which will be new jobs. Patriot Contractors of Owings Mills will build the facility, creating work for 150 construction workers.

"A lot of our people live in Anne Arundel County, so it's a great opportunity for future job creation," Lee said.

Northrop Grumman is the largest private employer in the county and in Maryland, with more than 7,000 people on the payroll.

U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin said space technology is an important development in the state. NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center is a major employer in Greenbelt. He was joined at the event by U.S. Reps. C.A. "Dutch" Ruppersberger and John Sarbanes.

"This region is committed to the task of leading the world in (space technology)," Cardin said.

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Source: Capital (Annapolis, MD)


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