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Northrop Grumman Set To Acquire Orbital ATK For $9.2 Billion

Northrop Grumman
Northrop Grumman

Northrop Grumman announced plans to purchase private space company Orbital ATK, an aerospace and defense company headquartered in Virginia, for more $9.2 billion.

The proposed deal includes a provision to assume $1.4 billion of Orbital ATK’s debt. The transaction is expected to close in the first half of 2018 and is subject to regulatory approval.

"The acquisition of Orbital ATK is an exciting strategic step as we continue to invest for profitable growth," said Wes Bush, Northrop Grumman CEO. Once the acquisition is complete, Orbital ATK will become its own sector of the company.

"We look forward to welcoming Orbital ATK’s talented employees to Northrop Grumman," said Bush.

David Thomas, CEO of Orbital ATK, said the move will help strengthen Orbital ATK and its workforce. "Our employees will also benefit from greater development and career opportunities as members of a larger, more diverse aerospace and defense enterprise," he said.

Orbital ATK has a contract with NASA to ship supplies to the International Space Station on its Cygnus capsule, launched by the company's Antares rocket from Wallops, Virginia. After one of those mission's failed shortly after lift-off, Orbital ATK relied on United Launch Alliance, another private space firm, and its Atlas V rocket to loft the supplies into orbit from Cape Canaveral. Orbital ATK has since redesigned the rocket and returned it safely to flight last year.

The private firm also has contracts with NASA to supply solid rocket boosters for the agency's Space Launch System rocket.

While the acquisition will expand Northrop Grumman’s market share in the aerospace industry, it’s no stranger to space tech. Grumman Aerospace Corporation, an earlier company that later became part of Northrop Grumman, built the Apollo Lunar Module that helped astronauts laund on the moon.

Northrop Grumman is now working with NASA to build the James Web Space Telescope that is set to launch October 2018.

Brendan Byrne is WMFE's Assistant News Director, managing the day-to-day operations of the WMFE newsroom, editing daily news stories, and managing WMFE's internship program.

Byrne also hosts WMFE's weekly radio show and podcast "Are We There Yet?" which explores human space exploration.
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