Thursday, November 14, 2013

Video: Two comets make rare double flyby of Mercury this month

Consider it a cosmic coincidence: On Nov. 18-19, two comets (ISON and Encke) are going to fly by the planet Mercury in quick succession. NASA's MESSENGER spacecraft will have a front-row seat for the rare double flyby.

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Lockheed Martin cutting 4,000 positions and closing several US facilities

Lockheed Martin announced Thursday that it will close and consolidate several of its U.S. facilities and reduce its workforce by 4,000 positions as part of its effort to increase the efficiency of its operations and improve the affordability of its products and services. “These actions are in response to continued declines in U.S. government spending,” the company said in a press statement.

By mid-2015, the corporation plans to close its operations in Newtown, Pa.; Akron, Ohio; Goodyear, Ariz.; and Horizon City, Texas; and four buildings on its Sunnyvale, Calif., campus. The facility closures will result in the elimination of 2,000 positions and ongoing operational efficiency initiatives will result in the elimination of an additional 2,000 positions in the company's Information Systems & Global Solutions (IS&GS), Mission System and Training (MST), and Space Systems business areas by the end of 2014.

As part of the consolidation, all program work and some employees will transition to other Lockheed Martin facilities, creating operational efficiencies and reducing costs. Space Systems and IS&GS will transition work to its Denver, Colo. and Valley Forge, Pa. facilities. The corporation is reviewing potential sites to transition the MST work, including its facilities in Owego, N.Y. and Orlando, Fla., and expects to finalize plans in early 2014.

"In the face of government budget cuts and an increasingly complex global security landscape, these actions are necessary for the future of our business and will position Lockheed Martin to better serve our customers,” said Marillyn Hewson, Lockheed Martin chief executive officer and president.

Since 2008, Lockheed Martin has reduced overhead costs, cut capital expenses, removed 1.5 million square feet of facility space and made the difficult decision to reduce its workforce from 146,000 employees to 116,000.

The facility closures announced Thursday will further reduce the corporation's operational footprint by nearly 2.5 million square feet of facility space and lower overhead costs. Affected employees will receive job placement assistance and severance benefits to assist their transition.

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Monday, November 11, 2013

Navy renews AAR airlift support contract

Global aerospace and defense contractor AAR announced Monday that the Military Sealift Command (MSC) has exercised a second one-year renewal option for the company's airlift division to ferry critical supplies to U.S. Navy ships in the Western Pacific and Indian Oceans, and the Arabian Gulf.

MSC is the leading provider of ocean transportation for the Navy and the U.S. Department of Defense, operating approximately 110 ships daily around the globe. Under the agreement, AAR will support MSC's vertical replenishment program, delivering supplies to support combatant ships at sea.

The contract renewal is valued at approximately $15 million, and includes the use of four helicopters, personnel, and operational and technical support services.

The original contract, awarded to AAR in 2011, included a one-year initial base period, three one-year options and an additional 11-month option for an estimated total value of $77 million.

AAR provides expeditionary airlift services in support of contingency operations worldwide. The company currently operates a fleet of more than 50 fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft to transport personnel, supplies, and mail for the U.S. Department of Defense in Afghanistan and the Western Pacific.

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JetSuite expands service to the Caribbean

JetSuite, a private jet charter company headquartered in Irvine, Calif., has expanded service to include non-stop flights to popular locations in the Caribbean just in time for the holiday travel season.

Passengers can now fly non-stop from the east coast to St. Maarten, Anguilla, Turks and Caicos, as well as Nassau and Eleuthera in The Bahamas on the JetSuite Edition Citation CJ3. These six-passenger aircraft can fly up to 2,000 miles, and offer free onboard WiFi, increased interior comfort and speeds up to 480 miles per hour.

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