Air Force Academy gets $3.6M artificial turf airstrip
The Air Force Academy has a new landing strip for its glider planes carpeted with more than 1.3 million square feet of artificial turf.
The school unveiled the $3.6 million installation March 20.
It’s the equivalent of about 23 NFL football fields or 16 MLS soccer fields.
The gliders don’t have landing gear but skid to a stop on their bellies, so they can’t use hard-surface runways. Officials say the previous natural grass landing strip was bumpier and harder on the gliders.
Artificial turf eliminates the cost of watering and mowing, and pilots can see markings more easily.
Officials say the new surface is expected to last 25 years.
Last year the academy replaced its glider fleet with 19 new aircraft and 11 trailers at a cost of $4.8 million. AP
Lockheed will pay millions to settle suit
Lockheed Martin will pay $15.8 million to settle a lawsuit that it overcharged the government for tools used on military aircraft programs.
The Justice Department says the settlement stems from a 2005 case when a former worker from Tools and Metals Inc. filed suits against the company for overcharging Lockheed.
The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that whistle-blowers Robert Spencer and John Becker will split a $2 million share of the settlement.
Spencer and Becker both filed lawsuits alleging that TMI owner Todd Loftis engaged in price fixing. Loftis was sentenced to seven years in prison for fraud.
The Justice Department said Lockheed acted recklessly by failing to adequately oversee TMI’s charging practices.
Lockheed said it did not engage in inappropriate billing but wanted to close the matter. AP
European rocket launched from South America
A European rocket has launched from South America to resupply the International Space Station.
The Ariane 5 rocket took off early March 23 from the European Space Agency’s launch site in Kourou, French Guiana.
The rocket is placing in orbit an unmanned cargo ship named the “Edoardo Amaldi” in honor of a 20th century Italian physicist regarded as one of the fathers of European spaceflight. The space vehicle is carrying about 7 tons of cargo, including food, clothing, spare parts and propellant for the space station.
NASA says the Edoardo Amaldi is expected to remain at the station through early September. It will then undock and be commanded to deorbit and burn up during re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere over the Pacific Ocean. AP