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Top News Links: Tuesday, Dec. 22

GATR Tech selling for $232.5 million

A California company says it will acquire Huntsville-based GATR Technologies in an effort to expand its satellite communications and networking applications business. Cubic Corporation announced it has entered into a definitive agreement to purchase GATR for $232.5 million. The price includes $7.5 million of contingent consideration and is subject to pre- and post-close adjustments. – AL.com

NASA orders second Boeing Starliner

Last week, NASA ordered the second crewed mission from Boeing, bringing the space agency one step closer to returning regular crewed missions to the International Space Station to U.S. launch facilities. In addition getting a second order from NASA, Boeing successfully completed several interim developmental milestones for the Starliner spacecraft, the United Launch Alliance, Atlas V and the ground support system. – Space Flight Insider

Whistleblower gets $6 million pay day

An Alabama man who exposed a former government contractor accused of mishandling background checks for federal job applicants was awarded his share of a $30 million settlement late last week. Blake Percival filed a whistleblower lawsuit against United States Investigations Services under the False Claims Act after he was fired in 2011. Beasley Allen Law Firm spokesman Conwell Hooper said Percival's $6 million portion of the settlement was disbursed Friday. – AP/TimesFreePress

We get tar balls, Bentley gets mansion fixed

Alabama is using BP grant money left over from the 2010 Gulf oil spill to finally repair and renovate a beachfront governor's mansion that has been abandoned for nearly two decades. Work began earlier this month near Gulf Shores to rehabilitate the two-story, 7,500-square-foot gubernatorial mansion that wasn't fixed after Hurricane Danny in 1997. The project should be done by late May, a spokeswoman for Gov. Robert Bentley, Jennifer Ardis, said Monday. – ABC

U.S. Steel delaying arc furnace at Fairfield

U.S. Steel Corp. is delaying construction of a $230 million electric arc furnace outside Birmingham, a project considered key in the company's plan to become more efficient. The steel producer said Monday it's postponing the project at its shuttered Fairfield Works, “due to continued challenging market conditions in both the oil and gas and steel industries.” – TribLive

Calhoun Community College sees year of change

Starting with new President James Klauber, major changes in leadership created controversy and a year of adjustments at Alabama’s largest community college. Selected in November 2014 to succeed Marilyn Beck, Klauber took office Feb. 2 as Calhoun Community College’s fifth president. Klauber’s first three months were quiet, but then he was embroiled in controversy involving three of his top administrators. – Decatur Daily

SPS wins $20.6 million Army contract

Alabama-based small business Systems Products and Solutions was given a $20.6 million Army contract for training and fielding support for Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles. Funding and the location of the work will be decided with each order, and the work should be finished on Dec. 17, 2018. – PDDNet

Marshall Space Flight Center’s busy 2015

From making rocket engines roar to analyzing the first 3-D printed parts created on the space station and developing new technologies, 2015 was a year of discovery and progress as the team at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville continued advancing critical systems needed for human space exploration to the Red Planet and deeper into the solar system than ever before. – News release

Alabama leads cash home sales in September

Cash sales comprised 32.5% of all home sales in September, down from 35.9% in September of 2014, marking the 33rd consecutive year-over-year monthly decline. Cash sales rose by 0.2 percentage points month over month. The five states where cash sales were highest in September were Alabama (48.2%), West Virginia (46.0%), Florida (45.2%), New York (44.1%) and Kentucky (39.6%). – CoreLogic/247WallSt.com

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