It's always tough when we lose someone who's serving our country. But it happens. And that was the case last week when a C-130J crashed after takeoff in Afghanistan. Six U.S. airmen, including one from Pensacola, were killed.
Five civilian contractors were also aboard the cargo plane that crashed Oct. 2 at Jalalabad Airfield. The Pensacola airman was Nathan Sartain, 29, who was assigned to the 66th Security Forces Squadron, Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass.
The cause of the crash is still under investigation. The six airmen were part of the 317th Airlift Group of the 455th Air Expeditionary Wing based at Bagram Airfield about 30 miles north of Kabul.
On a far brighter note, I hope you had a chance to take a look at the most recent issue of the 8-page Gulf Coast Aerospace Corridor/Gulf Coast Reporters’ League newsletter that was published Tuesday.
One of the stories was about the inaugural last month of the Airbus plant in Mobile, Ala. I went to the inaugural along with photographer Michelle Thomas. Airbus is still months away from finishing its first jetliner at the plant, but it's fascinating to see it take shape.
You can take a look at the progress and get a sense of how the planes are made by taking a look at the story and photos. (Post)
We also had a story on the Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport. Since Hurricane Katrina back in 2005, the airport has undergone $200 million in renovation work to improve, including a terminal twice as big as it was before the devastating storm. Take a look at the story by Melissa Scallan. (Post)
In another story, Lisa Monti wrote about NASA's Space Grant program, a leader in STEM education before STEM became cool. The states with a piece of the Interstate 10 aerospace corridor have a combined four NASA consortiums that can help the region prepare the next generation for exciting careers in the final frontier. Monti's feature story tells you more about the NASA program. (Post)
Finally, I wrote about the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition’s involvement in a NASA robotics program. IHMC is fascinating, not matter what project you want to write about, but this one really piqued my interest.
When humanoid robots one day build living and working quarters on Mars for astronauts, it's likely they'll owe much of their capabilities to cutting-edge computer programs developed by scientists from Pensacola's IHMC. We tell you about Valkyrie and Atlas, the robot that won IHMC second place in an international robotics competition. (Post)
Jacobs Technology, Tullahoma, Tenn., was awarded an estimated $85.4 million modification to exercise the option on a previously awarded contract for additional technical and engineering acquisition support services. Work will be performed at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., and is expected to be complete by Oct. 18, 2016. Air Force Test Center, Eglin Air Force Base, is the contracting activity.