John Pruett, of the Project on Government Oversight (POGO), doesn't help himself by identifying Aurora Flight Sciences as a "little-known aerospace company", but he aims the earmark-innuendo wand at the company on POGO's blog yesterday.
1. Rep. Roger Wicker, of Mississippi, requested the $6 million earmark for Aurora's Orion prototype program in the FY 08 defense budget
2. Aurora has funded a plane flight for Wicker in 2005, contributed $13,000 to Wicker's campaign, paid Wicker's former chief-of-staff $60,000 in lobbying fees, and shifted Orion-related work to Wicker's district
3. Aurora is going on an expansion kick, hiring a key manager away from BellBoeing, adding a retired general to its board of directors and opening a new production facility
POGO's blog provides no comment from Aurora or Wicker's office.
Aurora is building the Orion as the prototype aircraft to test the hydrogen-powered engine for Boeing Phantom Works' proposed high-altitude long endurance unmanned aerial vehicle. Read Flight International's latest article on the program here: http://www.flightglobal.com/articles/2007/07/20/215584/aurora-plans-two-versions-of-orion-long-loiter-uav.html