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News briefs: August 28
Posted: Thu, Aug 29, 2002, 8:03 AM ET (1203 GMT)
  • The first Delta 4 launch vehicle completed a countdown rehearsal earlier this week, Spaceflight Now reported. The rehearsal stopped prior to the planned T-5 minutes stopping point because of a problem with a ground computer, but no other problems were reported. Two more rehearsals are planned for Friday and in early September; the booster's main engine will be fired briefly during the final test.
  • JP Aerospace has selected a site in West Texas to conduct test flights of balloon-borne rockets. The site, located near Fort Stockton in Pecos County and named Las Escaleras a las Estrellas, Spanish for "The Stairs to the Stars", will be used starting in October to loft balloons carrying rockets; the balloons will carry rockets to altitudes as high as 35 km before the rockets detach and ignite. The Pecos County site is one of three potential spaceport sites in Texas, and the only inland one.
  • Scientists believe the Earth formed much faster than previously thought, a discovery that could alter models of the formation of the Earth's Moon. New research, published in the latest issue of the journal Nature, finds that the Earth reached its current size in just 30 million years, rather than the 60-100 million years once thought. This could affect current models of the Moon's formation, where a Mars-size planetesimal collides with a still-forming Earth 100 million years after planetary formation started.
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