Friday, April 29, 2011

Endeavor launch scrubbed until Monday .

Shuttle launch director Mike Leinbach stated that Endeavour's launch will be no earlier than Monday at 2:33 p.m. EDT. Engineers need that time to troubleshoot an issue that resulted in today’s launch scrub.

During today’s countdown, engineers detected a failure in one of two heater circuits associated with Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) 1. Heaters are required to keep the APUs’ hydrazine from freezing on orbit. Attempts to activate the heater were not successful and engineers now believe the problem might be associated with a Load Control Assembly, which is a switchbox, located in the aft end of Endeavour, or an electrical short in the wires leading into or out of the switchbox.

Endeavour’s external tank will be drained, technicians will enter Endeavour’s aft compartment overnight and by tomorrow afternoon, will put in a platform to gain access to the avionics bay where the Load Control Assembly is located. Once there, they will assess whether they need to remove and replace the switchbox, or fix an electrical wiring short.

Because of this, Leinbach said there will be a minimum 72-hour scrub turnaround.

Engineers and managers will meet this afternoon to further refine their troubleshooting plan. NASA has scheduled a news conference at 4 p.m. to discuss today’s scrub and the plan.

Endeavour set for last flight today ..

Fri, 29 Apr 2011 09:32:07 AM CDT

Space shuttle Endeavour's external tank is fully loaded with more than 500,000 gallons of liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen in preparation for today's 3:47 p.m. EDT launch. Tanking operations began at 6:22 a.m. and concluded at 9:24 a.m.

The countdown has entered a planned 2.5-hour hold at T-3 hours, during which the tank will remain in "stable replenish" mode, the Close Out Crew will prepare the White Room for astronaut arrival, and the Final Inspection Team will conduct its inspections.

Forecasters continue to predict a 70 percent chance of favorable weather for today's launch. The only concerns are low cloud ceilings and high crosswinds at the Shuttle Landing Facility at time of liftoff.

Follow along with Endeavour's countdown milestones on NASA's Launch Blog at

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Second virus infects Iran computer systems

JERUSALEM (JTA) -- Iran has discovered a second computer virus designed to damage government computer systems.

The discovery of the virus, called Stars, was announced Monday by a senior Iranian official, Gholam-Reza Jalali, head of an Iranian cyberdefense agency, according to reports.

Jalali said in a statement that the damage from the virus, which looks like a regular government computer file, has been minimal and that Iranian scientists are currently studying the virus.

The virus was aimed at nuclear facilities, according to the Washington Post, and seems to suggest "a broader campaign by foreign saboteurs to undermine Iran’s atomic energy program."

The computer worm Stuxnet, which some say has set back Iran's nuclear program by several months or years, and which The New York Times reported was a joint project between Israel and the United States, affected some of Iran's computer systems and centrifuges used to enrich uranium after it was released last year.

Iran had to replace 1,000 Stuxnet-damaged centrifuges at its main uranium enrichment plant at Natanz last year, according to the Washington Post.

“The nation should ready itself for the next virus since it is possible that new viruses will be considerably more dangerous than the first,” Jalali said, acknowledging that Stuxnet is still a danger to government computer systems and the country's nuclear program.

#2 senior al-Qaeda leader killed in Afghanistan


International forces in Afghanistan say they have killed their number two insurgent target in the country - senior al-Qaeda leader Abdul Ghani.

The Saudi citizen died in an air strike almost two weeks ago in Kunar province, near Pakistan, Nato-led forces said.

Abdul Ghani, also known as Abu Hafs al-Najdi, ran training camps and planned attacks on tribal leaders and foreigners, the Nato statement said.

Nato estimates some 100 al-Qaeda members still operate in Afghanistan.

The alliance says it has killed more than 25 al-Qaeda leaders and fighters in the past month. There is no independent confirmation of the claim.

Abdul Ghani has been blamed for a number of high-profile attacks - including the death of Malik Zarin, a tribal leader in the east who was a close ally of President Hamid Karzai.

Mr Zarin and nine other people were killed in a suicide attack on the morning of the militant leader's own death.

Abdul Ghani is also accused of mounting attacks against foreigners, including US officials.

The International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) said Abdul Ghani controlled a network of insurgents that targeted security forces outposts throughout Kunar province.

"Abdul Ghani commonly instructed subordinate leaders to conduct kidnapping operations against foreigners... and he was responsible for directing suicide bomb attacks targeting US government officials," Isaf's statement said.

Nato has been pursuing him since 2007. He is also number 23 on a Saudi list of most wanted militants.


Monday, April 25, 2011

Space Dog - the other white meat ...

By Malcolm Moore in Shanghai

Yang Liwei, the 44-year-old military pilot who commanded the Shenzhou Five mission in 2003, revealed the menu on-board the spacecraft in his autobiography, The Nine Levels between Heaven and Earth.

"Many of my friends are curious about what we eat [in space] and think that the astronauts must have some expensive delicacies, like shark's fin or abalone," he wrote. "Actually we ate quite normal food, there is no need to keep it a secret," he added.

He listed a menu including braised chicken, steamed fish and dog meat from Huajiang county in Guangdong, which is famed for its nutritional benefits in China.
A local proverb in the south of China is that "Huajiang dog is better for you than ginseng", referring to the medicinal root that plays a vital role in traditional Chinese medicine.


NATO targeting Gadhafi in bombing raids

Tripoli, Libya (CNN) -- Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi is alive despite what a Libyan government official called a NATO attempt to kill him by bombing his compound, a government spokesman asserted in a defiant statement Monday.

"The message that was sent by NATO in the early hours of this morning was sent to the wrong address," Mussa Ibrahim said in a written statement.
The statement came hours after the sounds of loud explosions and jets pierced through Tripoli's skies and state-run TV reported that airstrikes flattened a building at Gadhafi's compound.

The airstrikes appeared to be some of the heaviest attacks by NATO in the last few weeks as the deadly fighting in Libya rages on.

Libyan state TV said military and civilian casualties resulted from the strike on the Bab el-Azizia compound.

A banner on Libyan state television cited a military source saying that the "crusaders' airstrikes" were targeting both civilian and military targets, resulting in casualties and damage.

It was unclear where Libya's longtime ruler was on Monday.
Meanwhile, despite reports that Gadhafi's forces have withdrawn from the war-torn port city of Misrata, reports of casualties there continue to mount.
Misrata is the scene of some of the deadliest battles of the war as rebels attempt to oust Gadhafi, who has been in power for 42 years.

At least 36 people were killed there on Sunday, rebel spokesman Col. Ahmad Bani told CNN Monday.

Bani says at least one Gadhafi brigade duped a group of opposition fighters on Sunday by raising the rebel flag, then opening fire when the rebels cheered and approached.
"They were happy to see them and they were clapping, and that's when the Gadhafi brigade started shooting," Bani said.


Thursday, April 21, 2011

Mullen accuses Pakistan's ISI having ties to insurgents

The US military's top officer, Adm Mike Mullen, has accused Pakistan's spy agency of having links with militants targeting troops in Afghanistan.

He said Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) had a "long-standing relationship" with a militant group run by Afghan insurgent Jalaluddin Haqqani.

The comments came as he held talks in Islamabad on Wednesday. Pakistani officials are also in the US for talks.

Pakistan routinely rejects charges of collusion with militants.

The BBC's M Ilyas Khan in Islamabad says that US officials have in the past spoken anonymously or in circumspect terms about associations between the Pakistani establishment and insurgents.

But that with this blunt statement Adm Mullen has for the first time claimed a clear link between the two, our correspondent says.

"It's fairly well known that the ISI has a long-standing relationship with the Haqqani network," Adm Mullen told Pakistan's Dawn newspaper.

"Haqqani is supporting, funding, training fighters that are killing Americans and killing coalition partners. And I have a sacred obligation to do all I can to make sure that doesn't happen."

He said the spy agency's support of the network remained at the "core ... and the most difficult part of the relationship" and that he would take it up with Pakistan's army chief Gen Ashfaq Kayani.


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Satellite Mission Control Segment decommissioned

Editors note: If they are looking for a good home for the SATCOM receivers- I know of one.

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Senior Airman Jon Mondragon, 4th Space Operations Squadron, runs a final system check prior to powering down the Satellite Mission Control Segment April 18. The legacy system was officially decommissioned in a ceremony attended by Wing leadership and 4 SOPS squadron members. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Dennis Rogers)
Download HiRes

by Jennifer Thibault
50th Space Wing Public Affairs

4/19/2011 - SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- In a ceremony held April 11, 4th Space Operations Squadron members decommissioned the Satellite Mission Control Subsystem and Air Force Command Post Terminal closing the door on a legacy of operations.

"Today we turn the lights off on the command and control system that has been operating the wing's secured, protected military satellite communication operations for 16 years," said Lt. Col. Douglas Schiess, 4 SOPS commander.

Through the SMCS, 4 SOPS has been operating the Milstar constellation, the Air Force's protected SATCOM system that provides warfighters global, secure, survivable, strategic and tactical communication during peacetime and throughout the full spectrum of conflict.

The SMCS and AFCPT have been providing ground control operations for Milstar since 1995. At that time SMCS was leading technology that outperformed its predecessor, the Mission Control Element. This time, the Advanced Satellite Mission Control Subsystem is taking over the lead and is providing ground control support for both the legacy Milstar and the next generation of protected MILSATCOM weapons systems, the Advanced Extremely High Frequency satellites.

"This is a huge leap forward in capability for both our operators and our end users," said Col. Wayne Monteith, 50th Space Wing commander. "We have proven this capability to provide combat effects to the warfighter much faster. This is a big day for us and it's long overdue."

The commander also recognized the wing's partners in this endeavor.

"We couldn't have done this without the great support from our partners at Headquarters Air Force Space Command, the MILSATCOM program office and the contractors who worked hard to make this transition a reality," said Colonel Monteith.

The ceremony included members outside of Mod 13, as the 148th Space Operations Squadron conducted power down of the unit's fixed constellation control station at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.

Now that the equipment has been turned off, 4 SOPS members are working with local and national museum curators to find the right home for the legacy equipment.

Dead aliens do taste like chicken! Hoax alert!

RT: A video of what was claimed to be a mutilated alien corpse, which scored hundreds of thousands of views on YouTube, has turned out to be fake.
The tiny “dead alien” is just skin from chicken filled with bread, reports the website Police questioned the men who claimed to have found the “body” and they allegedly confessed to creating it themselves.

The chief editor of the local Kabansk-Info newspaper initially thought that it was the body of an infant in the video and alerted the police. Officers immediately started the investigation and identified the alleged author.

They went to his house and asked him about the infant’s body. The scared man reportedly showed a fake alien corpse. It was even painted in “alien colors”. Scolding is the only possible punishment for such a stunt as it cannot be considered a crime, the report says.

The footage was taken near the village of Kamensk in the Russian republic Buryatia, just north of Lake Baikal, the file’s description said.
It showed what appeared to be a humanoid body less than a meter high with a skeletal big-eyed head and thin naked body. One of its legs was missing.
Emotional off-screen comments said the body was found a couple of hours before and was clearly very dead.

Local media reported there were numerous reports of UFO sightings in the area in March, some of them later attributed to bombing training at a nearby military range.
The video was uploaded on YouTube on April 14. Three days later it was translated into English and its popularity skyrocketed in the following days. It beat the one million benchmark on Tuesday.


"JetMan" planning on buzzing Grand Canyon

JetMan" Yves Rossy, the Swiss aviator, engineer, and PopSci favorite whose jet-powered wing has carried him across the English Channel and Lake Geneva, is planning yet another jet-winged feat, his first on U.S. soil. On May 6, Rossy plans to fly through the Grand Canyon in Arizona, notching what is sure to be a number of "firsts" for both Rossy and the Canyon.
The exact point of Rossy's flight has yet to be revealed, but we do know that it will take place somewhere in the Western Grand Canyon area and that during his flight Rossy will pass within 700 feet of onlookers as he negotiates his way through the canyon.

For the uninitiated, Rossy flies a novel jet-powered wing of his own design that straps directly onto his back--his body serves as a kind of rudder to control the thing--and provides thrust via four small engines. While the thrust is significant (Rossy can climb to some degree), it's not enough to get him off the ground, so he has to climb to elevation aboard a plane before jumping and going airborne.
That means on Friday, May 6, Yves Rossy is going to jump out of a plane into the Grand Canyon and then fly through it with jet motors strapped to his back before parachuting to safety. So yeah, it's going to be cooler than the time you went to the Grand Canyon with your grandparents when you were six. Way cooler.

Read more HERE

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Kevlar down under ...

Washington (CNN) -- Whether it's an Army helmet with a thicker shell and better padding, or underwear that can protect a Marine private's privates, the U.S. military is looking at sending the latest gear to Afghanistan so the troops can come home safe and sound.

Next month, the Army is going to start sending the "ballistic boxers" to soldiers in Afghanistan, and the Marines intend for each of their troops there to have four pairs of the "protective undergarments," as they are formally known, before the end of the year.

The heavy silk boxers, which look like shorts that professional cyclists wear, won't stop a bullet or shrapnel from an IED. But the silk can stop small projectiles like those kicked up by an explosion.
"It is expected to prevent fine sands and particles that are thrown up by explosives, so that the tissue wounds are cleaner, less ragged and easier to treat," said Lt. Jamie Larson, a Marines Corps spokesperson. And since the silk is treated with antimicrobial agents, the boxers help protect injured troops from wound infections.

While it may not sound like it affords much protection, silk is actually a very strong fiber, said Brig. Gen. Peter Fuller, who heads the Army office that tests and develops new protective gear. He noted that silk was used by medieval knights "under the mail armor" to protect against wounds from swords and other weapons.

The Marines haven't actually started buying the boxers yet, but the Army has chosen boxers from a company in Northern Ireland called Cooneen Watts & Stone that is already making them for the British military in Afghanistan.

Silk boxers aren't the only step the military is taking to protect the groin.
They are testing various cups that a male soldier will wear over his genitals. One of the cups being considered is made of stainless steel; another is made from high-molecular-weight polyethylene, a plastic that is lighter than Kevlar but better at stopping bullets.

"They all basically work to slow down the fragments. We are looking to prevent penetration of the genitals," said Col. Bill Cole, an Army officer overseeing projects aimed at better protecting soldiers.
In addition, the Army and Marines are looking at undershorts that will have pockets that will hold Kevlar pads to protect the wearer's femoral artery, the main blood vessel to the legs.

While Kevlar may be the answer to protecting arteries and groins, Kevlar helmets may soon be history. Kevlar is a fabric that can, when arranged in multiple layers, stop most bullets.
The Army and Marines are working on upgrading their head protection to the Enhanced Combat Helmet (ECH).

The outer shell is made from the same high-molecular-weight polyethylene plastic being investigated for groin protection. The thicker protective shell would make the helmet lighter than the current Kevlar model. The Army hopes to start giving those to soldiers in Afghanistan by November.


NASA funding possible shuttle successors:

BBC: Nasa has given an indication of the companies it thinks may be closest to offering commercial systems to carry American astronauts into space.

With its shuttles about to retire, the agency has offered $270m (£166m) of funds to four firms to help them mature designs for new orbiting vehicles.

Blue Origin, Boeing, Sierra Nevada Corp and SpaceX hope to sell astronaut "taxi" services to Nasa by mid-decade.

Until then, US crews will have to go to the space station on Russian rockets.

"We are pleased to be completing a significant milestone today in the development of US commercial crew systems, and we are very excited about the future," said Philip McAlister, acting director of commercial spaceflight development at the US space agency.

"We hope someday soon we will see commercial human spaceflight to low-Earth orbit as a robust, vibrant, profit-making, commercial enterprise with many providers and a wide range of public and private users."

The winning companies have a range of concepts under development.

SpaceX, which has garnered much publicity recently, is perhaps the most advanced in its plans. The Hawthorne, California, company has already flown a rocket called Falcon 9 and a capsule called Dragon. It is being offered $75m over the next year if it meets certain targets in advancing Dragon's crew-carrying capabilities.

Boeing's Crew Space Transportation (CST) 100 craft
The long-established Boeing company stands to win the largest award depending on its achievement of goals set by Nasa. Boeing's Houston, Texas, team has a capsule design called CST-100 which could transport up to seven astronauts to the space station. The $92.3m support on offer will help the company get the vehicle through to a key, or preliminary, design review.

Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) of Louisville, Colorado, has already received considerable financial support in Nasa's Commercial Crew Development (CCDev) effort. It is now in line to get a further £80m in the latest round of funding. SNC is developing a shuttle-like vehicle called the Dream Chaser that would launch atop a rocket.

The fourth recipient, Blue Origin, of Kent, Washington, is a company set up by founder Jeff Bezos. Blue Origin has kept much of its space development activity secret, but it has requested funds from Nasa to help it mature systems for a cone-shaped crew vehicle. It has been awarded up to £22m.

Perhaps just as interesting as the companies that have won awards are the companies that have missed out.

These include ATK which makes the solid-fuel rocket boosters (SRBs) that lift the space shuttle off the ground. ATK wants to marry an evolution of these SRBs with the main core stage of Europe's Ariane 5 rocket. The concept, known as Liberty, would be used to launch other companies' capsules and spaceplanes.

SpaceX has already flown its Dragon capsule
ATK will now have to secure funds elsewhere if it wants to carry the Liberty idea forward.

Also missing out on CCDev money is United Launch Alliance (ULA). This is the company that operates Atlas and Delta rockets for the US Air Force and for Nasa.

These vehicles frequently orbit satellites, but ULA believes the rockets could be modified to launch humans also.

Sierra Nevada, Boeing and Blue Origin had all talked about using an Atlas 5 to loft their proposed crew ships.

Where Monday's announcement from Nasa leaves ULA's plans is uncertain. Again, it will need to use its own funds or find a partner if it wishes to continue with the project to man-rate the Atlas and Delta rockets. The CCDev process is not a down-selection, so it is conceivable ULA could get an award in a further round.

"Given enough time and money I am confident that multiple US companies could develop safe, reliable and cost effective commercial crew transportation systems," Mr McAlister said.

"And it is my sincere hope that the companies not selected for award today will continue maturing their systems and making progress on their designs so that they can potentially be available at some point in the future for purchase by Nasa and other customers."

Blue Origin is a space company set up by founder Jeff Bezos
Nasa awarded about $50m in its first round of commercial crew contracts. It plans to substantially increase this funding next year to $850m.

There is still much debate, particularly in the US Congress, about the readiness of the private sector to provide safe crew transportation systems. There are also doubts over whether the procurement strategy will deliver significant savings to the US taxpayer.


Monday, April 18, 2011

NORAD jets responds to aircraft in National Capital Region

April 18, 2011

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. - Two F-16 fighter jets under the direction of North American Aerospace Defense Command scrambled today at approximately 2:30 EST in response to a general aviation aircraft that was out of communication in the National Capital Region.

The fighter jets, from Andrews Air Force Base, intercepted the general aviation aircraft, which then exited the flight restricted area. The fighters then returned to base.

NORAD's mission – in close collaboration with homeland defense, security, and law enforcement partners – is to prevent air attacks against North America, safeguard the sovereign airspaces of the United States and Canada by responding to unknown, unwanted and unauthorized air activity approaching and operating within these airspaces, and provide aerospace and maritime warning for North America. NORAD may be required to monitor, shadow, divert from flight path, direct to land and/or destroy platforms deemed a potential threat to North America.

NORAD is the bi-national Canadian and American command that provides maritime warning, aerospace warning and aerospace control for Canada and the United States. The command has three subordinate regional headquarters: the Alaskan NORAD Region at Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska; the Canadian NORAD Region at Canadian Forces Base Winnipeg, Manitoba; and the Continental NORAD Region at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla.

AEGIS BMD test successful!

KAUAI, Hawaii, April 15, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Lockheed Martin's (NYSE: LMT) Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) system successfully tracked and engaged an intermediate range ballistic missile using data from a remote AN/TPY-2 radar during a test off the coast of Hawaii.

This marked the Aegis BMD system's first engagement against an intermediate range ballistic missile, as well as the first time the system used a launch-on-remote capability, which allows the Aegis BMD system to employ remote sensors to detect threats as early in flight as possible.

The Aegis BMD system fired a Standard Missile using real-time information from a remote sensor prior to the shipboard SPY-1 radar acquiring the inbound ballistic missile.

"The Lockheed Martin-led team has evolved Aegis from an anti-ship missile system to the basis for the U.S. approach to global missile defense," said Lisa Callahan, vice president of maritime ballistic missile defense programs. "With this test, Aegis BMD proves that it can expand the battlespace and destroy ballistic missile threats earlier in their trajectory than ever before."

The USS O'KANE (DDG-77) employed the first generation Aegis BMD configuration to complete this exercise conducted by the Missile Defense Agency, the U.S. Navy and Lockheed Martin. This configuration, which added the capability for ships to defend themselves from short range ballistic missiles in the terminal phase of flight, was certified for operations by the Navy in March 2008.

There are 25 Aegis BMD-equipped ships currently deployed – 21 U.S. Navy ships and four Japanese destroyers. Three additional ships are planned to become BMD-capable this year.

Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin is a global security company that employs about 132,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. The Corporation's 2010 sales from continuing operations were $45.8 billion.

For additional information on Lockheed Martin Corporation, visit:
SOURCE Lockheed Martin

Shuttle workers get pink slips ...

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. — NASA’s prime space shuttle contractor, United Space Alliance, told employees April 15 that half of them will need to find other jobs this summer.

The official notification was long expected, as the shutdown of the 30-year-old shuttle program has been under way for several years.

“We’re starting the process,” USA spokeswoman Kari Fluegel says. “We’ll take self-nominations [for layoffs] first, then determine who else needs to go.”

The company, which has been whittling down its workforce over the past year, currently employs about 5,600 people under the shuttle processing contract in Florida, Texas and Alabama. Up to 2,800 will be laid off this summer, after completion of two final shuttle missions. The cutback will affect 1,850-1,950 employees in Florida, 750-800 in Texas and 30-40 in Alabama.

“We are committed to making this transition as smooth as possible for them,” USA President and Chief Executive Virginia Barnes said. “Though USA will be a significantly smaller company after the space shuttle program is completed, we are optimistic about our future.”

Friday, April 15, 2011

Gadhafi forces using cluster munitions ...

Tripoli, Libya (CNN) -- Forces loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi have fired cluster munitions into residential areas in the besieged western city of Misrata, Human Rights Watch said Friday.

The organization said in a statement that it had seen three cluster munitions explode over the el-Shawahda neighborhood of Misrata on Thursday night. Researchers inspected debris from a cluster submunition and interviewed witnesses to two other apparent cluster-munition strikes, the statement said.

HRW inspected the submunition, which it said had been discovered by a New York Times reporter, and determined that it was a Spanish-produced MAT-120 120mm mortar projectile, which opens in the air and releases 21 submunitions across a wide area.
The submunitions explode on contact, disintegrating into molten metal that can strike people and penetrate armored vehicles, it said.

"It's appalling that Libya is using this weapon, especially in a residential area," said Steve Goose, arms division director at Human Rights Watch. "They pose a huge risk to civilians, both during attacks because of their indiscriminate nature and afterward because of the still-dangerous unexploded duds scattered about."
Most nations have banned their use through the Convention on Cluster Munitions, which became international law in August.

"Libya needs to halt the use of these weapons immediately, and take all steps to ensure that civilians are protected from the deadly remnants they have left behind," Goose said.

Texans riled over Space Shuttle pick cities ..

CNN) -- Texas lawmakers are demanding to know why the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center in Houston was not chosen to be a permanent home of a retired space shuttle.
In a letter to NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, members of the U.S. House of Representatives Texas delegation asked the administrator, "What factors did you use in making your decision?"

NASA announced Tuesday the locations to receive the four remaining space shuttles -- three historic orbiters and the program's test vehicle. The space shuttle Atlantis will be displayed at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida; the Endeavour, at the California Science Center in Los Angeles; the Discovery, at the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Virginia; and the test shuttle Enterprise at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in New York.
During a teleconference after the decision was announced -- with Houston conspicuously not on the list of locations getting retired shuttles -- NASA officials were asked where Houston's bid had failed.

NASA's assistant administrator, Olga Dominguez, whose Strategic Infrastructure Office made the site recommendations said, "Houston did not in any way, shape or form fail. It has always been a critical piece of NASA's shuttle and space program. We just did not have enough to go around, and Houston and JSC (the Johnson Space Center) will always be a critical piece of NASA's space program and of our future."

Dominguez said the locations selected offered the best value to the American public, including domestic and international access. Dominguez said all of her office's recommendations were followed by NASA Administrator Bolden.
The Johnson Space Center is where NASA's Mission Control Center is located and it is the center for human spaceflight research. Because of the important role the Johnson Space Center plays in human space flight, it was not just Texans who were shocked that a space shuttle would not be going to Houston.

But it is 17 members of the Texan House delegation who say in the letter that they are prepared to use their power in Congress, "including legislation to prevent funding of the transfer, to stop this wasteful decision."
NASA had no further response Thursday to the Texas delegation.

The decision the lawmakers seem most concerned about is the one to send test shuttle Enterprise to the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in New York City. The Enterprise currently is on display at the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Virginia. The Enterprise, which never flew in space, will be moved to New York so the Smithsonian can make room for Discovery.
"It defies logic for a shuttle to go to New York City, a place with no connection to NASA. It's like putting the Statue of Liberty in Omaha," Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas, said in a statement.

Housing a space shuttle is not just an honor -- it means money, according to the executive director of New York's Intrepid Museum. Susan Marenoff estimates that once the shuttle is in place, her museum will see an additional 300,000 people and $106 million in economic benefit.

That is a benefit Texans believe is rightfully theirs. Rep. Pete Olson, also a Texas Republican, bluntly reiterated that in a statement, saying, "No city in the world deserves a shuttle more than Houston, certainly not New York."

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

NASA announces shuttle retirement homes

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden on Tuesday announced the facilities where four shuttle orbiters will be displayed permanently at the conclusion of the Space Shuttle Program.

Shuttle Enterprise, the first orbiter built, will move from the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Virginia to the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in New York.

The Udvar-Hazy Center will become the new home for shuttle Discovery, which retired after completing its 39th mission in March.

Shuttle Endeavour, which is preparing for its final flight at the end of the month will go to the California Science Center in Los Angeles.

Shuttle Atlantis, which will fly the last planned shuttle mission in June, will be displayed at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor’s Complex in Florida.

NASA also announced that hundreds of shuttle artifacts have been allocated to museums and education institutions.

Various shuttle simulators for the Adler Planetarium in Chicago, the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum of McMinnville, Ore., and Texas A&M's Aerospace Engineering Department

Full fuselage trainer for the Museum of Flight in Seattle

Nose cap assembly and crew compartment trainer for the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio

Flight deck pilot and commander seats for NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston

Orbital maneuvering system engines for the U.S. Space and Rocket Center of Huntsville, Ala., National Air and Space Museum in Washington, and Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum

Norad Flight Exercise Planned For National Capital Region

North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and its geographical
component, the Continental United States NORAD Region (CONR), will
conduct an exercise, Falcon Virgo 11-07, beginning midnight Tuesday into
early Wednesday morning in the National Capital Region, Washington, D.C.
and Frederick County, Md.

Flights in the National Capital Region are scheduled to take place
between midnight Tuesday and 2 a.m. Wednesday morning. Flights in the
Frederick County, Md., area are scheduled to take place between 4:10
a.m.and 5 a.m. Wednesday morning.

In the event of inclement weather, the exercise will take place the next
day until all training requirements are met.

For more information on Falcon Virgo exercises, please contact CONR
Public Affairs at 850-283-8080, or the NORAD Public Affairs Office at

U.S. Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)

Air France AB380 clips tail of Delta commuter plane

An Air France jumbo jet bound for Paris clipped the tail of a Delta Comair commuter plane while taxiing last night at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport.

There were no injuries, though passengers were startled, and the planes appeared to be damaged.

"It was pretty damned scary," Poppy Lawton, 29, of London, who was aboard the Delta flight, tells the New York Daily News. "You could hear things breaking, almost like glass breaking."

An Air France spokeswoman tells AOL Travel News the Airbus A380 with 495 passengers and 25 crew onboard "was taxiing and the other one (plane) was parking" when the incident occurred around 8:09 p.m.

She says the carrier is cooperating with the National Transportation Safety Board in their investigation. "They are looking into the matter," the Air France spokeswoman says.

The A380 is the world's biggest commercial passenger plane.


Monday, April 11, 2011

Libya - Lets call it a draw?

Washington (CNN) -- After weeks of U.S. and NATO bombardment, about one-third of Moammar Gadhafi's ground armor has been destroyed, as well as most of the fixed air defense sites and aircraft, but a stalemate between government and rebel forces is emerging and could last for some time, according to a senior U.S. official with direct knowledge of the latest military assessments.

The official agreed to speak Monday only on background because of the sensitive nature of the information.

The official said the latest U.S. and NATO view is that both sides essentially remain in their fixed positions -- the rebels near Ajdabiya and the pro-government forces near al-Brega.

"Neither side has the wherewithal to move," the official said.

Rebels do not have the manpower, vehicles or weapons to make major advances. And while Gadhafi's forces continue their attacks, especially in Misrata, the source said they are suffering from a lack of supplies, ammunition and fuel because of airstrikes. The official said that a major ground force movement would put Gadhafi's units in the cross hairs of NATO airstrikes.

That said, the official acknowledged strongly that the onslaught by Gadhafi forces in Misrata has put people there in a dire situation. The official described a military scenario in which the United States and NATO have direct knowledge of civilians being killed but have been unable to act because Gadhafi forces and armor are so mixed with civilian populations, it's become impossible to launch airstrikes against them.

The United States and NATO also think that Gadhafi's forces still have as many as 15,000 shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles, which has resulted in limited use of AC-130 aircraft, which are vulnerable to being shot down as they fly low and slow to engage in the type of precision airstrikes needed in a place like Misrata.

The attacks also have affected Gadhafi's ability to communicate with his commanders. He is still having face-to-face meetings with key associates, the official said, but is largely unable to communicate directly with units in the field. There are still some fiber-optic communications capabilities as well as communications nodes in schools and mosques that are very difficult to strike.

On the other side, another senior U.S. official who is familiar with administration contacts with the opposition said the opposition's leadership seems to be sincere and earnest about its aim of toppling Gadhafi, but the leaders are not as organized as they need to be. They lack a detailed plan.

The rebel military forces and their abilities are "still a bit of a mystery," the officials said. "... Their resources are limited and their strategies and tactics are hard to fathom."

While they are holding on to Ajdabiya for the moment, the senior official said it is hard to imagine them making any further gains toward Tripoli.

Battle begins over Space Shuttles

WASHINGTON - With competition fierce to land a retired space shuttle orbiter, the cities and states vying to bring one home have gotten creative.

Lobbying strategies range from a humble lapel pin to a videotaped sales pitch by a former president. There are pledges of extravagant buildings and millions of visitors if chosen.

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said he'll announce the winners on April 12, the 30th anniversary of the first shuttle flight. The announcement will end years of jockeying by dozens of competitors, but it's also likely to bring more disappointment than celebration.

After all, only three orbiters remain and Discovery is already committed to the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum.

That leaves Endeavour and Atlantis up for grabs, and 29 museums and institutions -- including Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex -- in the race to be a shuttle retirement home, each promoting their site with the energy of a carnival barker.

"That decision will be fair, sir," Bolden told a lawmaker at a recent congressional hearing.

The goal is to house the shuttles where they can be used as educational displays to promote human spaceflight and inspire interest in exploration.

Federal law says the shuttles should retire to places "with an historical relationship with either the launch, flight operations or processing" of the spacecraft.

That would seem to give the edge to KSC, which launched every shuttle mission and landed half of them, and Johnson Space Center in Texas, where mission control is located.

Bolden is expected to be at KSC on April 12 -- the same day he announces his decision -- to celebrate the anniversary of the first flight. He flew four shuttle flights, including one in 1986 with Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Orlando.

"One of the shuttles will have to go to KSC," Nelson said matter-of-factly.

The importance of making sure the shuttles are accessible to as many Americans as possible has come up again and again -- suggesting geographical diversity will play a role in Bolden's decision.

The chairman of the House space committee, Rep. Ralph Hall, R-Texas, has joked with NASA officials that he thinks that's fine -- just so long as Texas gets one.

"It all started there," Hall said of his state. "There's a lot of heroes of this land that are based there or started out there."

Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., pitched the Intrepid aircraft carrier docked at a Manhattan pier. He said the shuttle would join a Mercury space capsule and a supersonic Concorde jet there, and could bring in 1 million extra visitors a year.

Ohio wants to house the Atlantis shuttle at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. President Barack Obama's proposed fiscal 2012 budget includes $14 million for the idea.

"While the budget request is not the last word, it is encouraging that the administration agrees with us," said Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio.

At a House Appropriations subcommittee hearing last month, lawmakers interrupted each other to sell Bolden on their shuttle retirement proposals.

Consider the Museum of Flight in Seattle, which gets 450,000 annual visitors, suggested Rep. Norm Dicks, D-Wash.

Rep. Steve Austria, R-Ohio, offered Bolden a lapel pin saying, "Land the Shuttle in Ohio."

An Alabama Republican recommended a particularly easy approach to the anything-but-easy decision facing Bolden. Maybe the winning state should be chosen alphabetically, offered Rep. Jo Bonner, whose Alabama district recently lost a $35 billion Air Force contract to Boeing in Dicks' district.

Former astronauts also have jumped into the fray.

John Herrington, who commanded a shuttle flight, is leading the Tulsa Air and Space Museum's bid to "Land the Shuttle" in his native Oklahoma.

"I hope Chicago gets the shuttle, and if we do, I'll fly it here myself," said Jim Lovell, a retired astronaut who flew on Apollo 13 and serves on the board of the Adler Planetarium in Chicago -- another contender.

Dicks' push to send a shuttle to Seattle is backed by Bonnie Dunbar, a retired astronaut who flew aboard five shuttle missions and has worked for years supporting the Museum of Flight's bid.

Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland mentioned to Obama last June that his state was the home of Orville and Wilbur Wright as well as astronauts John Glenn, the first man to orbit the Earth, and Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon.

"Ohio should be a site for one of the shuttles," Strickland said in an interview. "The Wright brothers are from Dayton. The shuttle should be in Dayton."

With three Texas locations vying for a shuttle, former President George H.W. Bush recorded a video supporting a new museum building at Texas A&M University near his presidential library.

"Howdy," Bush says in the video. "I invite you to participate in an exciting opportunity to obtain a retired space shuttle and display it in an expansion of the Brazos Valley Museum of Natural History."

Some sites, such as the KSC Visitor Complex, are touting new buildings as an added selling point. The complex plans a $100 million, 64,000-square-foot exhibit to house an orbiter for 1.5 million annual visitors. The shuttle would be displayed as if in flight, with its payload bay doors open.

March Field Air Museum in southern California designed a space-exploration building with retractable doors that could be opened at night so the shuttle would be visible from Interstate 215.

Chicago's Adler Planetarium plans a space pavilion that would frame an orbiter with views of Lake Michigan on one side and Chicago's skyline on the other.

Seattle's Museum of Flight, which already has the first jet version of Air Force One and a Concorde, broke ground last June on a space-gallery building that could house a shuttle.

"We have our fingers crossed," Dicks said.

US Navy wants to blind pirates with lasers!

The US Navy has fired a laser gun from one of its ships for the first time.

Researchers used the high-energy laser (HEL) to disable a boat by setting fire to its engines off the coast of California.

Similar systems had previously been tested on land, however moist sea air presented an extra challenge as it reduces a beam's power.

The navy said that ship-borne lasers could eventually be used to protect vessels from small attack boats.

The US military has been experimenting with laser weapons since the 1970s.

Early systems used large, chemical-based lasers which tended to produce dangerous waste gasses.

More recently, scientists have developed solid state lasers that combine large numbers of compact beam generators, similar to LEDs.

HELs fire

The US Navy system uses a Joint High Power Solid State Laser mounted on deck
Until now, much of the development of HELs has focused on shooting down missiles or hitting land-based targets.

The latest round of tests showed its wider possibilities, according to Peter Morrison from the Office of Naval Research.

"This test provides an important data point as we move toward putting directed energy on warships.

"There is still much work to do to make sure it's done safely and efficiently," he said.

While a weaponised system would likely be restricted to military vessels, merchant shipping has also expressed an interest in laser technogy

Friday, April 8, 2011

Bit of a "row" on Brit Submarine!

One Royal Navy personnel has been killed and another is in a life-threatening condition after a shooting on board nuclear submarine HMS Astute.

A third Royal Navy serviceman was arrested after police were called to Southampton docks where the vessel has been berthed since Wednesday.

The BBC's Jonathan Beale understands that a crew member shot two of his crew mates before being overpowered.


A police spokeswoman said the incident was not linked to terrorism.

'Matter of urgency'
She said there was no public safety risk and the area was sealed off.

BBC News understands the arrested man was handed over to Hampshire police by Ministry of Defence police.

An MOD spokesman said: "Two Royal Navy personnel have been involved in a firearms incident at Southampton docks where HMS Astute is alongside.

"Sadly, one has now died as a result of his injuries. The Royal Navy is now attempting to inform their families as a matter of urgency.

"A third Royal Navy serviceman has been arrested by Hampshire Constabulary and is now in custody."

Defence Secretary Liam Fox said: "I am greatly saddened to hear of this incident and of the death of a Royal Navy service person in this tragic incident.

Largest submarine
"It is right and proper that a full police investigation is carried out and allowed to take its course. My thoughts and sympathies are with those who have been affected and their families."

A spokesman for Southampton City Council confirmed their Mayor Carol Cunio, chief executive Alistair Neill and leader Royston Smith were all on board at the time of the shooting but were not injured in the incident.

They were not available for comment.

Brian Cedar, who lives in Hythe marina, said: "I saw at least six people carry a stretcher off the gangway into a waiting ambulance.

"There were a couple of forensic people who have now left.

"If you can have a shooting like this on a nuclear submarine it is worrying."

A South Central Ambulance spokeswoman said the dead man has passed away at the scene.

All concerned family members are asked to call the MOD's Joint Casualty and Compassionate Centre on 0845 7800 900.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

New force of nature discovered? Is this the God Particle?


A particle accelerator in the US has shown compelling hints of a never-before-seen particle, researchers say.

The find must be more fully confirmed, but researchers at the Tevatron are racing to work through existing data.

If proved, it will be a completely new, unanticipated particle; researchers say it cannot be the much sought-after Higgs boson.

It could also signal a new fundamental force of nature, and the most radical change in physics for decades.

Researchers at the Tevatron formally announced the find on the collaboration's website, after posting an as-yet unreviewed account of the research on the Arxiv repository.

The team was analysing data from collisions between protons and their anti-matter counterparts antiprotons. In these collisions, particles known as W bosons are produced, along with a pair of "jets" of other particles.

It was in these jets that the unexpected "bump" in the team's data came to light, potentially representing a particle that the current understanding of the zoo of subatomic particles - the Standard Model - does not include.

"When you look at the data it's not some disagreement with the Standard Model, it's a nicely formed bump in the distribution that looks really like the kind of bump you'd get if a new particle was being exchanged in this process," said Dan Hooper, a theoretical physicist at Fermilab who was not involved in the research.

'Time will tell'
However, the result is at what is known as the "three-sigma" level of certainty; that means there is still about a tenth of a percent chance that the result is attributable to some statistical fluctuation in the data.

For a formal discovery, the level is traditionally taken to be five-sigma - or about a one-in-a-million chance that the "bump" is just a fluke. However, Dr Hooper said, the result comes from data taken at one of the Tevatron's two detectors, called CDF and DZero.

Results from the D0 detector should confirm or refute the find
"Even without running the machine one more day, they have roughly twice as much data at one of the two experiments, and if you include... DZero, then you have four times as much," he told BBC News.

That means that confirming the result more fully is simply a matter of working through the numbers the team already have to hand. Further, the coming experimental run at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) should provide even more data to confirm or refute the new particle - whatever it is.

All that is clear is that the bump definitely does not represent the unwitting star of high-energy physics, the Higgs boson - the hunt for which has popularly been pitched as a race between the Tevatron and the LHC.

"If it's a real effect, rather than a fluctuation or a mismodelling of the background, it would be much more exciting than a standard model Higgs - or any type of Higgs," said Tony Weidberg, a physicist from Oxford University who works on the LHC's Atlas instrument.

However, he told BBC News that he did not "find this evidence very convincing", though he reiterated that a more definitive answer would be soon in coming.

"I've been doing this for 30 years now, and every few years we get these three-sigma effects - they come and then they go. Time will tell."

Dr Hooper is more optimistic on the basis of the current result alone.

"There's a 0.1% chance that this is a statistical fluke," he said. "Other than that possibility that lingers, this is the most exciting new phyiscs we've learned about in my lifetime."

If it is in fact true, Dr Hooper believes that the mystery particle represents an undiscovered "fundamental force".

"We'd essentially be saying there's a new force of nature being communicated by the particle. We know that there's four forces: electromagnetism, gravity, and the strong and weak nuclear forces. This would be the fifth; every freshman physics class would have to change their textbooks."


Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Breaking : F-18 crashes in California- Crew- dead

(CNN) -- Two crew members on a routine training flight were killed Wednesday when an F/A-18F aircraft crashed near Naval Air Station Lemoore in central California, the U.S. Navy said.

Capt. James Knapp, commanding officer of the station, told reporters the plane, assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron 122, crashed at 12:08 p.m. PT (3:08 p.m. ET) in a private farm field about one half mile west of the property line.

The crash of the two-seat strike fighter, which occurred southwest of Fresno, is under investigation, Knapp said.

The names of the Super Hornet crew, a pilot and weapons system operator, were being withheld pending notification of next of kin.

"I ask that you have your thoughts and prayers for the families, friends and shipmates of these two fine Naval officers," Knapp said. "That you remember they represent the very best of this nation."
An active-duty mechanic not authorized to speak on behalf of the Navy told CNN he witnessed the incident.

He heard the jet flying and suddenly "it got really quiet," he said. The F/A-18F pilot apparently tried to bank left and pull up when the plane crashed into a field, he said. "We didn't see any seats punch out."

The F/A-18 Hornet, an all-weather aircraft, is used as an attack aircraft as well as a fighter, according to the Navy.

The U.S. Navy flew EA-18 Growlers, which are special versions of the F/A-18 fighter designed to jam enemy electronic signals, in the early phase of the no-fly-zone operation imposed upon the Libyan military of Col. Moammar Gadhafi, according to the Navy.

"Quit trying to kill me - best of luck in your reelection campaign - Love Moammar

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi has appealed directly to President Barack Obama to halt what the Libyan leader called "an unjust war," and wished Obama good luck in his bid for re-election next year.

In a rambling, three-page letter to Obama obtained Wednesday by The Associated Press, Gadhafi implored Obama to stop the NATO-led air campaign, which the Libyan called an "unjust war against a small people of a developing country."

"You are a man who has enough courage to annul a wrong and mistaken action," Gadhafi wrote in the letter that was sent to the State Department and forwarded immediately to the White House, according to a U.S. official who has seen the letter. "I am sure that you are able to shoulder the responsibility for that."

"To serving world peace ... Friendship between our peoples ... and for the sake of economic, and security cooperation against terror, you are in a position to keep Nato (NATO) off the Libyan affair for good," Gadhafi wrote.


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

"Missed it by that much" space debris has lousy aim.

Tracking data now indicates that a piece of orbital debris being monitored by Mission Control Houston will not pass close enough to the International Space Station to warrant the Expedition 27 crew members taking safe haven within their Soyuz TMA-20 spacecraft.

Mission Control gave the crew the all-clear at 2:41 p.m. EDT as the space station orbited 220 miles above eastern Asia.

Flight controllers have been monitoring the debris from the Chinese FENGYUN 1C satellite since early this morning, and informed Commander Dmitry Kondratyev at 7:01 a..m. EDT that the station crew would need to begin the shelter procedures if it remained on track.

The time of closest approach was at 4:21 p.m. EDT.

For more information about orbital debris and how the International Space Station team tracks and responds to threats, visit:

Space Junk threatens Space Station

(CNN) -- NASA is monitoring a piece of space junk that could come close enough to collide with the International Space Station, a spokesman for the space agency said Tuesday.

Plans are being made for the station's crew of three to take shelter in the Russian Soyuz capsule if necessary, Kelly Humphries said.
The junk is a piece of a Chinese satellite that was destroyed in 2007. It is expected to be near the space station at 4:21 p.m. ET.

A decision will be made around 3 p.m. whether the crew will need to seek safety aboard the Soyuz.

The current space station team is made up of NASA astronaut Cady Coleman, Russian cosmonaut Dmitry Kondratyev and European Space Agency astronaut Paolo Nespoli.

Monday, April 4, 2011

UK building giant radio telescope farm in Cheshire


Jodrell Bank Observatory in Cheshire has been selected as the headquarters for a project to build the world's biggest radio telescope.

An agreement to run the Square Kilometre Array from Jodrell Bank was signed in Rome by Australia, China, the Netherlands, New Zealand, South Africa, France, Germany, Italy, and the UK.

SKA is designed to answer some key questions about the Universe.

Its location is undecided but could be built in Australia or Southern Africa.

The new headquarters at Jodrell Bank will open in January 2012, superseding the existing project office at the University of Manchester.

The observatory has been responsible for some hugely important astronomical discoveries since it was established after the Second World War, but there have been doubts over its future in recent years due to constant funding worries.

Hosting the project office for the Square Kilometre Array could see 60 jobs created there over the next four years.

Scientists hope their structure will reveal new details about "dark energy", the mysterious negative pressure that appears to be pushing the cosmos apart at an ever-increasing speed.

Professor Richard Schilizzi, director SKA, said: "The move to Jodrell Bank Observatory comes at a crucial time as the project grows from a concept to an international mega-science project.

"The new location and facilities will support the significant expansion that is planned."

The Square Kilometre Array takes its name from the size of its collecting area. But instead of a single radio dish 1km across, it will be made up of thousands of smaller ones.

The total collecting area will be approximately one square kilometre giving 50 times the sensitivity, and 10,000 times the survey speed, of the best current-day telescopes, the SKA project said in a statement.

So far, partners from 20 countries are involved in the 1.5bn euros (£1.3bn) project. Construction could begin by 2016, with the telescope expected to be complete by 2024.

It is hoped the array will reveal how planets and galaxies are born, give clues the nature of dark energy and help to detect signs of alien civilisation


Khalid Sheikh Mohammed to be on trail at GITMO


"We simply cannot allow a trial to be delayed any longer," Attorney General Eric Holder said, in a sharp U-turn.

The Obama administration abandoned plans to try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in a US court, amid fierce opposition.

President Obama recently lifted a freeze on new military terror trials.

He accused the US Congress of harming national security by opposing his plan to close the controversial Cuban prison and try some terror suspects in US civilian courts.

Death penalty
Mr Holder vigorously defended his earlier decision to use US federal courts to try the accused men during a news conference announcing the reversal on Monday.

He said that the US prison system had successfully held hundreds of convicted terrorists, and that the Obama administration would continue to prosecute terror cases in US courts.

Mr Holder blamed Congress for the high profile policy reversal, saying his hands "were tied" by "unwise and narrow" restrictions they had placed on the administration.

But, he said, the Justice Department had been prepared to "bring a powerful case" against Mohammed and his four co-conspirators.

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (centre) had a pre-trial hearing at Guantanamo in December 2008

Mr Holder noted though that the death penalty could be still sought in the case.


Friday, April 1, 2011

The Interceptors Club & Secret Of The Black Manta - for free!

Happy April Fool's - but this is no joke. You can download my e-book free today - as long as you leave me a review. On checkout use the code VD64N and you won't be charged. I have a publisher interested and every download counts. Don't have an e-pub reader! There are plenty of free ones to download and you can also download an adobe pdf version. Enjoy! Free offer expires Sunday.



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