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Key moments in history at Space Park campus in Redondo Beach

December 14, 2011 |  6:00 am

Spacepark

Northrop Grumman Corp.'s Space Park complex in Redondo Beach is being honored Wednesday in a formal ceremony by the American Institute of Aeronautics & Astronautics.

The professional society, made up of aerospace engineers and scientists, is designating Space Park as a historic aerospace site.

Here are some key moments in its history. 

1960: A 110-acre site is purchased in Redondo Beach for the Space Park site and ground is broken.

1961: Space Park opens its new buildings and facilities for what would become TRW Inc.

1965: TRW supplies descent engines for Apollo moon-landing missions.

1967: Several scenes for an episode of the television show “Star Trek” are filmed at Space Park. The location was chosen for its appearance, as described in "The Star Trek Compendium": “A series of symmetrical buildings, this modern complex provided the ideal surroundings for a colony of the future.”

1978: The first-ever shoot down of a rocket in flight by a high-powered laser occurs with a chemical laser built by TRW for the Navy and the Advanced Research Projects Agency.

1983: Pioneer 10, a robotic space probe to Jupiter becomes the first man-made object to leave the solar system. The probe was launched in 1972.

1994: The first of five Milstar military anti-jam communications satellites is launched, carrying a low-data-rate payload engineered and built by TRW.

1996: A TRW laser shoots down a short-range rocket in flight.

2002: Northrop Grumman acquires TRW. TRW’s operations become Northrop’s Space Technology and Mission Systems sectors.

2005: NASA's James Webb Space Telescope team, of which Northrop Grumman is the prime contractor, completes the initial step in manufacturing all the primary mirrors for the next-generation space observatory's telescope. It is now under development to replace the Hubble Space Telescope. It’s expected to launch in 2014.

A story about the Space Park complex appears in The Times today.

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-- W.J. Hennigan

twitter.com/wjhenn

Photo: TRW Inc.'s Space Park circa 1968. Credit: Northrop Grumman Corp.

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