EX-NASA contractor admits to stealing space suit

HOUSTON Houston resident Calvin Dale Smith, 56, was formally indicted in May, one year after NASA's Office of Inspector General officials executed a search warrant at his home and found the stolen items hidden in a room for which Smith had installed an alarm, according to a U.S. Department of Justice statement.

Smith was a contractor for NASA who was responsible for the maintenance of astronaut flight suits. Inspector officials launched an investigation in May 2009 after Smith's estranged wife told the FBI she suspected her husband may have stolen NASA property in a suitcase at his home.

Officials searched the home and found the flight suit for astronaut Sally Ride, the first female from the US to go up to space. The suit alone is worth more than $1,000. But officials also discovered other specialized parts that value about $7,372.

Smith faces a maximum punishment of 10 years imprisonment and a fine of up to $250,000. Smith's sentencing date is scheduled for Nov. 2, 2010. Smith has been permitted to remain on bond pending that hearing.

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