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May 14, 2007 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
Four teams and some strange machines competed for $250,000 from NASA, but all walked away empty-handed. NASA's Regolith Excavation Challenge invited teams to build machines for digging mock moon dirt, or regolith, in a competition held in a 1-ton sandbox Saturday. But all the teams fell well short of the winning requirement of 330 pounds of regolith deposited in a container in 30 minutes.
May 5, 2007 | From Times Wire Reports
The lawyer for former NASA astronaut Lisa Nowak was granted an additional 60 days to consider filing a claim that Nowak was insane when she drove across the country in a diaper reportedly to try to kidnap her romantic rival. At a hearing in Orlando, Circuit Judge Marc Lubet also granted defense lawyer Donald Lykkebak's request for copies of tapes recorded of Nowak at the time of her arrest. He was given the extra time to review those tapes. Nowak will be tried beginning Sept.
April 22, 2007 | From Times Wire Reports
An "average" job review led a space engineer to buy a gun, then kill a co-worker he blamed for the appraisal and himself at NASA's Johnson Space Center, police said. The engineer, Bill Phillips, 60, left rambling notes saying his victim, David Beverly, 62, had called him stupid. Phillips, a contract employee at NASA for Pasadena-based Jacobs Engineering Group Inc.
April 22, 2007 | Michael Cabbage, Orlando Sentinel
With only three years remaining before the space shuttle fleet's planned retirement, NASA managers have begun tackling the thorny issues that will dictate the program's end. Critical facilities must be overhauled to support planned manned missions to the moon. Billions of dollars' worth of obsolete shuttle hardware must be disposed of.
April 21, 2007 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
NASA will try to launch four shuttle flights in 2007 to continue building the International Space Station, managers for the U.S. space agency said Monday. The targeted launch dates are June 8 for Atlantis, Aug. 9 for Endeavour, Oct. 20 for Discovery and Dec. 6 for Atlantis. NASA officials also announced dates for two of next year's flights, although more shuttle missions are expected in 2008, including one to repair the Hubble Space Telescope.
April 21, 2007 | From Times Wire Reports
A NASA contract worker took a handgun inside an office building Friday at the Johnson Space Center and fatally shot a hostage before killing himself, police said. A second hostage escaped with minor injuries. The gunman was able to take a snub-nosed revolver past NASA security and barricade himself in the Houston building, which houses communications and tracking systems for the space shuttle, authorities said.
April 16, 2007 | From Times Wire Reports
NASA paid $26.6 million to family members of the astronauts who died on the space shuttle Columbia in 2003, documents obtained by the Orlando Sentinel show. The space agency got money for the settlement through a congressional appropriation in 2004, a spokesman said, adding that NASA had not previously disclosed the settlement to protect the privacy of the families.
April 14, 2007 | John Johnson Jr., Times Staff Writer
A command sent to the wrong computer address caused a cascade of events that led to the loss of the Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft in November, NASA investigators reported Friday. The error by ground controllers in Denver caused the spacecraft to mistakenly think its solar panels were stuck. By trying to free them, one of its onboard batteries overheated, eventually causing a loss of power. The spacecraft, which had orbited Mars for 10 years, was given up for lost Jan. 28.
April 6, 2007 | From the Associated Press
NASA's top watchdog routinely tipped off department officials to internal investigations, and it quashed a report related to the Columbia shuttle explosion to avoid embarrassing the agency, investigators say. A report by the Integrity Committee, a federal board that investigates inspectors general, found that Inspector General Robert Cobb "created an appearance of a lack of independence." The report was completed Jan.
March 8, 2007 | Lianne Hart, Times Staff Writer
Astronaut Lisa Marie Nowak, charged with attempted kidnapping after confronting a rival for another astronaut's affections at an Orlando, Fla., airport last month, was fired by NASA on Wednesday. She is the first astronaut ever dismissed by the space agency. NASA's decision does not reflect the agency's belief in her guilt or innocence, spokesman James Hartsfield said.
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