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May 3, 2013

News Briefs May 3, 2013

NASA, Navy sign agreement on carrier landings

The Navy will pay NASA nearly $2 million a year to conduct field carrier landing practice at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on Virginia’s Eastern Shore.

Using the facility will allow the Navy to stop sending some Norfolk-based squadrons to Jacksonville, Fla. to conduct practice there.

NASA announced details of the agreement May 2. The Navy says E-2 Hawkeye and C-2 Greyhound aircraft will conduct up to 20,000 passes annually at the site.

The money will go toward upgrading the facility’s airfield and conducting repairs. The Navy has also agreed to reimburse NASA for support services it uses during training.

The flights are expected to begin this fall after the Navy finishes making improvements to the airfield, including installation of lighting to simulate the deck configuration aboard an aircraft carrier. AP

Pentagon recommends Kirtland, N.M., program closure

New Mexico’s U.S. senators are promising to fight the Pentagon’s plans to close a Kirtland Air Force Base space program to deal with the federal budget squeeze.

The Albuquerque Journal reports the Operationally Responsive Space Office employs about 100 people and was set up to develop small, cheap satellites for the military.

The program would be absorbed by a California base.

During a Senate Armed Services hearing last week, the head of Air Force Space Command, Gen. William Shelton, defended the program.

Democratic Sen. Tom Udall’s office said the Air Force has failed to justify the closure. His New Mexico colleague, Sen. Martin Heinrich, called the cuts, penny-wise and pound-foolish.

A Kirtland spokeswoman told the paper it would be premature to speculate how the closure will affect the base. AP

Company IDs seven killed in Afghanistan plane crash

A U.S. cargo plane company has released the names of seven people killed when one of its planes crashed in Afghanistan, and investigators are trying to discover why it went down right after takeoff.

Orlando, Fla.,-based National Air Cargo says six of the seven victims killed in the April 29 crash on the grounds of Bagram Air Base were from Michigan and one was from Kentucky. All were U.S. citizens.

The Boeing 747-400 was destined for Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.

The Afghanistan Ministry of Transportation and Commercial Aviation is leading the investigation. America’s National Transportation Safety Board is also investigating the crash alongside the ministry.

The Federal Aviation Administration and Boeing also are participating in the probe.

NATO is discounting Taliban claims of responsibility for the crash.

The victims were navigator Jamie Brokaw, 33; pilots Brad Hasler, 34, and Jeremy Lipka, 37; first officer Rinku Summan, 32; loadmaster Michael Sheets, 36; and maintenance crewman Timothy Garrett, 51. AP

State Department hits Raytheon with $8 million penalty

Raytheon has agreed to an $8 million settlement for violating U.S. arms control regulations.

The State Department says it reached the agreement with Raytheon after uncovering numerous violations.

The violations included inaccurate tracking and documentation of exports and imports of controlled hardware, as well as improper manufacture of certain equipment by the company’s foreign partners.

Raytheon will pay a $4 million fine. An additional $4 million penalty will be suspended on condition that Raytheon uses that money to improve compliance procedures.

Raytheon, based in Waltham, Mass., reported $24 billion in sales last year. AP




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Air Force photograph by TSgt. Terri Praden

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NASA image

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