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Penn Yan man faces federal charge over inspection of space parts

May 28, 2019
Originally published on May 23, 2019 5:46 am

A Penn Yan man faces a federal charge for allegedly falsifying inspection reports used on board spacecraft.

41 year old James Smalley had been working as a quality assurance engineer at PMI Industries, a Rochester aerospace precision machining company.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office says that Smalley was working on contracts for SpaceX, which developed the Falcon launch vehicle and Dragon spacecraft. Those  aircraft deliver payloads into Earth orbit for NASA, the Air Force, other U.S. government agencies and private industry.

Authorities say that an internal audit revealed multiple falsified inspection reports. Officials accuse Smalley of falsifying at least 38 inspection reports for space vehicle parts.

SpaceX later ended its business relationship with PMI and officials say that company later closed its operation.

U.S. Attorney James Kennedy says that the success of the space program depends “not just on American ingenuity but on American integrity as well.”

FBI Special-Agent-in-Charge Gary Loeffert said that Smalley’s alleged actions had “the potential to not only cost millions of dollars, but also jeopardize years of irreplicable work.”

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