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News briefs: November 19
Posted: Tue, Nov 20, 2001, 8:20 AM ET (1320 GMT)
  • Two NASA earth and space science satellites are ready for launch early next month. NASA officials said Monday that the Jason 1 and TIMED missions will launch December 7 on a Titan 2 from Vandenberg AFB, California. Jason 1 will study ocean circulation as a followup to the Topex/Poseidon mission. TIMED, the Thermosphere, Ionosphere, Mesosphere, Energetics and Dynamics spacecraft, will study electrical currents in the upper atmosphere.
  • A DIRECTV satellite is scheduled for launch next week. DIRECTV-4S, a Boeing 601HP spacecraft, will be launched on an Ariane 4 on November 26 from Kourou, French Guiana. The satellite is the first DIRECTV spacecraft to use spot beams to broadcast local programming for major metropolitan markets.
  • The National Science Foundation has approved a $58-million expansion plan for the Very Large Array (VLA) radio telescope in New Mexico, observatory officials announced Monday. The project will replace 1970s-era electronics at the VLA and add up to eight additional antennas to the existing 27, improving the capabilities of the VLA by a factor of 10. Canada and Mexico will also fund VLA expansion.
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