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January 11, 2013

News Briefs: January 11, 2013

Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel releases annual report

 

The Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel has released its 2012 annual report.

This report is based on the panel’s 2012 fact-finding and quarterly public meetings; center visits and meetings; direct observations of NASA operations and decision-making; discussions with NASA management, employees, and contractors; and the panel members’ past experiences. The report highlights issues that could have an impact on safety.

Congress established the panel in 1968 after the Apollo 1 fire to provide advice and make recommendations to the NASA administrator on safety matters.

For more information about the ASAP and to view its 2012 report, visit http://oiir.hq.nasa.gov/asap/index.html.

 

France affirms nuclear arms despite military cuts

 

France’s president says the country will maintain its costly nuclear arsenal despite looming military budget cuts, saying the weapons are essential for national defense.

President Francois Hollande said Jan. 9 that global security threats have made nuclear weapons essential for France, which is the only country in continental Europe to have them.

The statement came in Hollande’s annual New Year’s greeting to soldiers. The president says “it’s a deterrent force that allows us protection against all threats and allows us to play a strong role on the world stage.”

France’s military is facing a tighter budget in coming years, and has already pulled its soldiers from the costly and unpopular war in Afghanistan. AP

 

Air Force delays impact statement on F-35s

 

The Vermont National Guard says the United States Air Force has delayed the release of a final environmental impact statement on plans on where to base its next-generation fighter jet, the F-35, until the spring.

The Air Force says it needs to update the document to include 2010 census data for all six locations being considered.

The Vermont National Guard was notified Jan. 9. The delay will push back a decision on where the F-35s will be based.

The Air Force says it expects to start basing the F-35s at the first location in 2015. AP

 

Russia: New nuclear submarine enters service

 

The Russian Navy has hoisted its flag on a new nuclear powered submarine that will form a key part of the country’s future nuclear deterrent.

President Vladimir Putin congratulated the crew of the Yuri Dolgoruky submarine during a conference call Jan. 10.

The submarine’s construction started in 1995 but was slowed down by a post-Soviet economic meltdown and it wasn’t until 2009 when it finally entered sea trials. The submarine’s commissioning was delayed further by problems with the new Bulava intercontinental ballistic missile intended to arm it.

The Bulava suffered a string of failures during tests that dragged on for years, raising doubts about the future of the most expensive military project in Russia’s post-Soviet history. Recent tests, however, have been successful, allowing the navy to finally commission the submarine. AP

 




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