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News briefs: August 31-September 2
Posted: Tue, Sep 3, 2002, 7:42 AM ET (1142 GMT)
  • Frank Culbertson retired from NASA's astronaut corps last month, the Johnson Space Center announced. Culbertson left the astronaut corps on August 24 to pursue unidentified opportunities in the private sector. Culbertson flew on two shuttle missions and commanded the Expedition Three ISS crew last year. He also served as manager of the Shuttle-Mir program in the 1990s.
  • A new company has proposed developing a space tug that could extend the life of communications satellites. Orbital Recovery Corporation's Geosynch Spacecraft Life Extension System (SLES) is a space tug that would be launched as a secondary payload; it would fly to and dock with satellites near the end of their operational lives, providing navigation and guidance to allow the spacecraft to continue operating. The company is planning the first SLES in 2004 with up to three launches each year after 2005.
  • So-called "naked stars" — young stars without disks of dust and gas — may still be home to planets, according to new research. Astronomers studying 16 young naked stars found evidence of hydrogen emission within a few billion kilometers of the star; this emission is likely from disks of gas that had previously gone undetected. Astronomers believe that many naked stars may indeed have disks from which planets form, but that the disks elude current detection technologies.
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news in brief
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Curiosity detects organic molecules and methane cycle on Mars
Posted: Sun, Jun 10 11:10 AM ET (1510 GMT)

Northrop Grumman completes acquisition of Orbital ATK
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news links
Friday, June 22
MetService on site for planned Rocket Lab launch — 5:44 am ET (0944 GMT)
NZ space company prepares for launch — 5:43 am ET (0943 GMT)
Falcon Heavy Certified For U.S. Air Force Flights
Aviation Week — 5:41 am ET (0941 GMT)

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