- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 16, 2006

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The founder of a space museum was sentenced Monday to three years in federal prison for stealing and selling spacesuit components and other artifacts that belonged to the institution and NASA.

Max Ary, 56, was convicted last year on 12 federal counts, including theft of government property and mail fraud.

“This is not a time for vengeance and retribution,” U.S. District Judge J. Thomas Marten said. “It is a time to account for what has been done, and answer for it.”

The judge delayed setting a restitution amount, but indicated that Ary might have to pay between $200,000 and $400,000 to the museum.

Ary was instrumental in transforming a small-town planetarium into the nationally recognized Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center, which he led for 27 years. Its artifacts include the Apollo 13 command module.

Ary was convicted of stealing data-recording tape from the Apollo 15 mission and an Air Force One control panel, among other items.

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