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News briefs: September 3
Posted: Wed, Sep 4, 2002, 7:38 AM ET (1138 GMT)
  • NASA plans to discontinue a major space operations contract at the end of next year, Space News reported Tuesday. NASA awarded the Consolidated Space Operations Contract (CSOC) to Lockheed Martin in 1998, believing that consolidating 18 separate operations contracts under one program would create significant cost savings. However, NASA administrator Sean O'Keefe told Space News that the savings have not been as great as expected, in part because the level of work required was underestimated.
  • Astronomers hope that a September 8 appulse may help them determine the speed of gravity. On that day Jupiter will pass close in the sky to a quasar, causing the quasar's position to shift as seen from the Earth. Astronomers will measure the shift using several radio telescopes; they hope that those measurements will be to confirm whether gravity propagates at the speed of light.
  • SpaceDev announced Tuesday that it has delivered the CHIPSat spacecraft for environmental testing. The tests, including vibration and thermal vacuum studies, will take place at Kirtland Air Force Base. The spacecraft is scheduled for launch in December on a Delta 2 from Vandenberg Air Force Base.
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