News briefs: August 29
Posted: Fri, Aug 30, 2002, 7:53 AM ET (1153 GMT)
- NASA announced late Thursday that it has awarded Boeing a payload processing contract for the Kennedy Space Center. The four-year, $332-million contract, with an additional six years and $478 million in options, is a follow-on to the contract that Boeing had at KSC since 1987. The contract covers services to prepare payloads for the shuttle, ISS, and expendable launch vehicles.
- Boeing Satellite Systems is planning to develop a scaled-down version of its massive 702 communications satellite, the Wall Street Journal reported Thursday. The new satellite, intermediate between the 702 and smaller 601 in size, will share some of the systems of the 702. The satellite will also be the first to be reconfigurable in space to meet changing communications needs. It will take at least two years to develop the new spacecraft.
- TransOrbital announced recently that it has won regulatory approval to launch the first commercial mission to the Moon. The Trailblazer spacecraft will be launched on a Russian Dnepr rocket in the next 9-12 months and go into orbit around the Moon, returning HDTV video of the Moon. TransOrbital won State Department approval for the launch and a NOAA remote sensing license to return images of the Earth; the NOAA license was awarded earlier this year.
- The SETI@home project announced plans this week to upgrade their project to use idle computer time to analyze data collected in a search for extraterrestrial signals. SETI@home II will gather 10-15 times more data as it piggybacks on radio observations by the Parkes telescope in Australia. The software will also be updated to give people the flexibility to devote some of their time to other distributed computing projects.