Friday, August 30, 2013

Space-based Gravitational-wave Observatory telescope contract

NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC), Greenbelt, Md., plans to issue a Request for Proposal (RFP) for the Space-based Gravitational-wave Observatory mission next month.

The purpose of the procurement is to build and deliver a feasible prototype telescope that meets the preliminary science requirements,” NASA said in contract documents posted on the Federal Business Opportunities website. “The resultant contract will support GSFCs Science and Exploration Directorate. This competitive procurement will result in a Firm Fixed Price contract. This contract will have an anticipated period of performance of approximately 10 months from the effective date. This procurement will be a full and open competition.”

The anticipated release date of the RFP is Sept. 12, with proposals due on Oct. 11.

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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

New program management and engine order for F-35

Brian Chappel has been appointed vice president and program manager for the Northrop Grumman Corp. F-35 Lightning II program. Northrop Grumman is principal partner to Lockheed Martin on the F-35.

Chappel will be responsible for directing and overseeing cost, schedule, technical matters, quality and customer satisfaction for the production of the aircraft's center fuselage.

Most recently, Chappel was vice president of Business Management and chief financial officer for the company's Advanced Development Programs business unit. Since joining the company from the U.S. Air Force in 1993, Chappel has served in leadership positions for such functions as business development, proposals, contracts, pricing and program business operations. He also has held several leadership positions on the National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System program.

Chappel earned a bachelor's degree in aerospace engineering from PennsylvaniaState University and a master's degree in business administration from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Engine order

In related news, the Department of Defense and Pratt & Whitney have reached an agreement in principle for a production contract for the sixth lot of F135 propulsion systems to power the F-35 Lightning II. The low rate initial production (LRIP) contract covers 38 total engines.

Cost details will be released when the LRIP 6 contract is finalized; however, in general, the unit prices for the 32 common configuration engines, which are used to power both the conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL) aircraft and the aircraft-carrier variant, reduced in LRIP 6 by roughly 2.5 percent compared to the previous LRIP 5 contract for 35 engines,” Pratt & Whitney said in a press release. “The unit prices for the six short takeoff and vertical landing (STOVL) aircraft engines reduced in LRIP 6 by roughly 9.6 percent compared to the previous LRIP 5 contract for three STOVL engines.”

"Driving down cost is critical to the success of this program,” said Lt. Gen. Chris Bogdan, F-35 Program Executive Officer.

The 38 total engines in the sixth lot contract include 36 install engines and two CTOL whole spare engines. The new contract will also include the first propulsion systems for Italy and Australia.

To date, Pratt & Whitney has delivered 107 production engines. Deliveries of LRIP 6 engines will begin in the fourth quarter of this year. The F135 engine has powered 3,548 flights and 5,432 flight test hours, with 27,243 development and flight test hours completed. The F-35B STOVL aircraft have accomplished more than 600 vertical landings.

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Monday, August 26, 2013

Pershing sells entire stake in JC Penny, 39 million shares

Pershing Square Capital Management, L.P., announced Monday they are selling 39,075,771 shares of J.C. Penney Company, Inc. (NYSE: JCP) common stock owned by them. “J.C. Penney will not receive any proceeds from the sale of the shares by the selling stockholders in this offering,” Pershing said in a press statement.

The offering will be made under J.C. Penney's registration statement on Form S-3 filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Citigroup is acting as sole bookrunning manager and underwriter for the offering.

JCP shares are down 46 percent over the last 52 weeks (Aug. 27, 2012 to Aug. 26, 2013). This year alone, the stock is down 32 percent, closing Monday at $13.35 per share, down one percent for the day. JCP has a 52-week low of $12.34 and a high of $32.55.

Pershing Square Capital Management, L.P., based in New York City, is an SEC registered investment advisor to private investment funds. Pershing Square manages funds that are in the business of trading - buying and selling - securities and other financial instruments. Funds managed by Pershing Square have long positions in stock and other financial instruments tied to the performance of J.C. Penney's stock.

Disclaimer: This post is provided for information purposes only and should not be used as the basis for any investment decision. I am neither licensed nor qualified to provide investment advice. Keith Stein has no position in any stocks mentioned in this post. DCNewsroom has no position in any of the stocks mentioned in this post.

Alaska Airlines launches Portland/Atlanta nonstop service

Alaska Airlines inaugurated nonstop service between Portland, Ore., and Atlanta on Monday.

"With these new flights to Atlanta, our Portland-area customers will enjoy nonstop service to a great southeastern city as well as connecting opportunities throughout North America via our partner Delta Air Lines' hub there," said Joe Sprague, Alaska Airlines' vice president of marketing, in a company press release. "Alaska Airlines has added eight new routes from Portland within the last 12 months as we continue our expansion from the Rose City, which includes new service to Dallas-Fort Worth on Sept. 16."

Alaska is offering a one-way fare of $149 to celebrate the new service. “Fares must be purchased by Wednesday, require a 14-day advance purchase, and are valid for travel from Sept. 9 through Nov. 20,” the airline said.

Alaska Airlines, a subsidiary of Alaska Air Group, serves 95 cities through an expansive network.

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