Southern California breaking news and trends

Jets over LA: US Air Force defense training to take place over city's skies

A US Air Force F-16 roars down the runwa

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A U.S. Air Force F-16 lands on the tarmac in March, 2011.

Between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., the U.S. Air Force will participate in "Felix Hawk,''  an air defense exercise which will involve a series of training flights in the Los Angeles area, according to the North American Aerospace Defense Command Region (NORAD).

The exercise includes flights by U.S. Air Force F-16 and C-21 aircraft provided by the 144th Fighter Wing, a unit of the California Air National Guard.

According to Tech. Sgt. Charles Vaughn of 144th Fighter Wing, "Felix Hawk" is an intercept training exercise.

"In this particular case, there will be another unit providing an aircraft that is not responding properly to the authorities," he explained. "[NORAD] will notify a unit to launch an intercept to see if something is wrong, if they just have a radio out, or if it's actually just a non-friendly aircraft in the area."

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Jet Propulsion Laboratory anticipating major cuts in NASA budget

NASA Shows Off New Mars Rovers

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Workers put final touches to the two new Mars exploration rovers at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in 2003.

The Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Canada is preparing for bad news during an announcement about NASA's budget. The lab is anticipating major cuts, the Pasadena Star-News reports

The space agency's 2013 budget and planetary exploration operations are expected to take a hit.

U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff of Pasadena says he had a tense meeting with NASA Administrator Charles Bolden on Thursday. Though he's vowing to fight the cuts, Schiff says planetary science and the Mars program are expected to face "absolutely devastating" cuts. And Schiff says if joint missions with the European Space Agency are scrapped, JPL will likely be deeply affected.

JPL spokeswoman Veronica McGregor says the company has already laid off about 240 employees between 2010 and 2011 because of previous budget cuts.

 

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