Boeing engineer faces espionage charge in FBI sting

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A Boeing satellite engineer is under arrest for selling sensitive information to what he believed to be a Russian agent.

The FBI arrested Gregory Allen Justice Thursday on charges of economic espionage and violation of the Arms Export Control Act. Justice, an engineer who worked at Boeing Satellite Systems, provided thumb drives with satellite information to an FBI agent posing as a Russian spy.

Justice claimed he needed the money from selling the information to pay for his wife’s medical bills, but gave much of the money to another woman. [Los Angeles Times]


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A U.S. Navy satellite launched last month has suffered an undisclosed problem.The Navy said Friday it had halted the orbit-raising maneuvers for the Mobile User Objective System (MUOS) 5 satellite because of an anomaly encountered after launch. Neither the Navy nor the satellite’s manufacturer, Lockheed Martin, provided more details about the problem. MUOS-5 launched on an Atlas 5 June 24, and was scheduled to reach geostationary orbit July 3. [SpaceNews]

A Soyuz carrying three people docked with the International Space Station early Saturday. The Soyuz MS-01 spacecraft docked with the Rassvet module at 12:06 a.m. Eastern Saturday, a little more than two days after launch from Baikonur. The spacecraft ferried to the station Anatoly Ivanishin, Takuya Onishi and Kate Rubins to the station for a six-month stay, joining the two Russians and one American already there. [SPACE.com]

The French space agency CNES supports an extension of the ISS but is skeptical about the cost benefits of reusable rockets. CNES President Jean-Yves Le Gall said Friday he expects the European Space Agency, the only ISS partner yet to endorse an extension of the station to 2024, to finally do so at a ministerial meeting in December. Le Gall said that the Ariane 6 vehicle under development now would be cost competitive if it was operating today, but said it wasn’t clear that efforts by SpaceX and others to develop reusable systems would be able to lower launch costs. He also said he expected the European Commission to eventually approve plans by CNES to sell its stake in Arianespace to Airbus Safran Launchers, giving that joint venture a majority stake in the launch services provider. [SpaceNews]

Providers of terrestrial and satellite broadband will face off at an FCC meeting this week. The Thursday meeting will discuss sharing of portions of Ka-band spectrum between satellite systems and proposed terrestrial 5G wireless systems. The chairman of the FCC, Tom Wheeler, has encouraged satellite companies to “get on the train” and cooperate in sharing agreements, even as satellite companies have argued for priority in those bands to protect their investments in systems that use them. ViaSat had has taken steps to support the FCC’s approach, but warned last week the commission’s plans “puts new 5G operations ahead of licensed satellite.” [SpaceNews]

China’s second space lab module is at the spaceport for a launch in September. Chinese officials said the Tiangong-2 module arrived at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre on Saturday to begin preparations for a mid-September launch. Once in orbit, it will be able to support two astronauts for stays of up to 30 days, starting with the Shenzhou-11 mission scheduled for launch in October. [Xinhua]

Molly Macauley, a prominent space economist, was killed Friday night. Police in Baltimore said that Macauley was walking her dogs near her home in the city around 11 p.m. Friday night when she was stabbed. She was taken to a nearby hospital, where she died. Police said they did not have a suspect or a motive for the attack. Macauley had specialized in studying the economics of the space industry, in particular Earth observation. At the time of her death she was vice president for research and a senior fellow at Resources for the Future, and also served on the steering committee for the ongoing Earth sciences decadal study by the National Academies. [SpacePolicyOnline]

Aerojet Rocketdyne will expand its facilities at the Stennis Space Center to support work on its AR1 engine. The company announced early Monday that assembly and testing of the engine will take place at its Stennis facility currently used for the RS-25 and RS-68 engines. The expanded facility will be the company’s center of excellence for large liquid rocket engine assembly and test. The company is developing the AR1 as a potential successor to the RD-180. [Aerojet Rocketdyne]

Despite developing a new spaceport in Russian territory, the country has no plans to abandon use of the Baikonur Cosmodrome. Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said Friday that Baikonur, in Kazakhstan, was a “common project” of the two countries, and would not be abandoned even as Russia makes use of its new spaceport at Vostochny in the Russian Far East. A long-term development plan for Baikonur should be complete by the end of this year, he said. [TASS]

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