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News briefs: September 16
Posted: Tue, Sep 17, 2002, 8:03 AM ET (1203 GMT)
  • A Japanese satellite launched last week reached its final orbit this weekend only after using its backup engines. The Data Relay Test Satellite, also named Kodama, ran out of propellant for its main engine on Friday before reaching geosynchronous orbit. The spacecraft had to fire its backup thrusters on Saturday to reach final orbit. NASDA officials gave no explanation why Kodama ran out of propellant early.
  • Some people involved with the twin 2003 Mars Expedition Rovers have expressed concern about the ability to have the spacecraft ready in time for launch next year, SpaceDaily reported. Engineers are concerned that the airbag landing system will not be completed in time for a mid-2003 launch. Project officials are looking into alternative, delayed launch plans, although they are confident that the problems can be resolved in time for a 2003 launch.
  • China does not anticipate building its own space station for 25 years, a Chinese scientist recently said. SpaceDaily reported that a Chinese scientist said last week that a manned facility would be built 25 years from now. The report left it unclear whether the scientist was speaking about official plans or providing his own opinion.
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