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NASA Researcher Arrested for Allegedly Concealing Ties to China
On August 24, the Justice Department announced that a Texas A&M University (TAMU) professor has been arrested and charged in connection with hiding his funding from China while working as a researcher for NASA. Cheng Zhengdong, 53, a professor of engineering at TAMU for years, deliberately concealed his ties to Chinese universities, a Chinese company, and state-backed talent plans, while at the same time leading a research team for NASA, prosecutors allege. The Justice Department added that Cheng was prohibited from collaborating with Chinese institutions under the terms of his grant from NASA. Prosecutors said Cheng was also able to gain access to NASA resources relating to the International Space Station, and leverage that to advance his standing at the Chinese university. They said Cheng personally received $86,000 in funding from NASA and was part of a team that received a $747,000 grant from the organization.