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Northrop Grumman Corp.

Northrop Grumman aims for space with $7.8-billion bid to buy Orbital ATK

Northrop Grumman aims for space with $7.8-billion bid to buy Orbital ATK

With its $7.8-billion bid to buy Orbital ATK Inc., Northrop Grumman Corp. is betting that the militarization of space and missile defense will get increasing attention — and dollars — from the Pentagon.

Orbital, based in Dulles, Va., has developed several small to medium-sized rockets that can hoist payloads into space. The company also makes small satellites.

Northrop is best known for its bombers, drones and other military equipment. It built the B-2 bomber in Palmdale and has a contract to build the follow-up B-21 fleet, which could eventually cost more than $80 billion. But it also makes satellite components and has manufactured large satellites. The Falls Church, Va.,...

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