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ARLINGTON, Va. — The Navy has ended a retention bonus for astronauts, service officials said.

The move is part of changes to the Navy’s Aviation Career Continuation Pay program, which offers pilots and Naval Flight Officers up to $125,000 to extend their contracts for five years or $45,000 to extend for three years, said Cmdr. Tim Barkdoll, aviation officer community manager.

Under the program, which allowed eligible astronauts to sign three-year contracts, between five and 10 astronauts per year were extending their time in the Navy, Barkdoll said in an e-mailed response to questions.

“As the astronaut program enjoys very strong retention, combined with further budget cuts, it was decided to no longer offer the short-term bonus to aviators in the astronaut program,” he said.

In another change, seven Aerospace Engineering Duty Officers are now eligible for the retention bonus, Barkdoll said.

For this fiscal year, the Navy hopes that 375 eligible aviators extend their time in the Navy by five years and 400 aviators extend for three years under the program, he said.

For more information, go to Navy Administrative Message 343/07 at: www.npc.navy.mil

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