NASA has awarded Lockheed Martin Cop. a multibillion-dollar contract to design, develop and test the Orion manned spaceship that will replace the shuttles - and eventually return Americans to the moon. Lockheed was selected over a team led by Northrop Grumman Corp. and Boeing Co. Based on several advance stories, this would appear to be an upset - and a huge blow to L.A.-based Northrop, whose CEO, Ronald Sugar, called Orion one of the company's top opportunities in the next year. Updated AP story.
About jobs: Much of the action is likely to be in Houston, close to NASA's Johnson Space Center, and Florida, where the aircraft will be assembled. But this is a huge program and Southern California will probably see at least some subcontract business. Sen. George Runner and his wife, Assemblywoman Sharon Runner, have been pushing for tax credits.