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January 6, 2014

News Briefs – January 6, 2014

Florida space center home to secret spacecraft

Kennedy Space Center will be the testing site for a top-secret Air Force space plane.

Boeing is working on the spacecraft, and the company announced Jan. 3 that it will convert a former space shuttle building for the X-37B orbital test vehicle program.

An undisclosed number of workers will recover, refurbish and relaunch the 29-foot(8.8-meter)-long unmanned spacecraft.

The Air Force launched the most recent flight of the unmanned spacecraft from Florida’s Space Coast more than a year ago.

It was the second flight for the original X-37B space plane. The craft circled the planet for seven months in 2010. A second X-37B spacecraft spent more than a year in orbit.

The mystery machines are about one-quarter the size of NASA’s old space shuttles and can land automatically on a runway. AP

 

U.S. Marines delay women fitness test as half fail

More than half of female U.S. Marines in training can’t do three pullups, the minimum standard that was supposed to take effect with the new year. That has led the Marine Corps to delay the requirement that’s part of the process of integrating women into combat jobs.

The delay has led to sharp debate in the military over whether women have the physical strength for some military jobs, as service branches move toward opening thousands of combat roles to them in 2016.

Marine Corps Commandant Gen. James Amos wants training officials to “continue to gather data and ensure that female Marines are provided with the best opportunity to succeed,” Capt. Maureen Krebs, a Marine spokeswoman, said Thursday.

Starting with the New Year, all female Marines were supposed to be able to do at least three pullups on their annual physical fitness test and eight for a perfect score. The requirement was tested in 2013 on female recruits at Marine Corps Recruit Depot in South Carolina, but only 45 percent of women met the minimum, Krebs said.

The belief is that pullups require the muscular strength necessary to perform common military tasks such as scaling a wall, climbing up a rope or lifting and carrying heavy munitions. AP




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