Orbital ATK is known for being ahead of its time, but for once it might be right on the money. Iconoclastic, visionary, sober, failed, successful—these and many other adjectives have aptly described the Dulles, Virginia-based aerospace and defense company founded 35 years ago. And for its stakeholders, including cofounder and CEO David Thompson, another will be added to the list: valuable. On Sept. 18, Northrop Grumman and Orbital announced that the former will buy the latter in a ...

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