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News briefs: November 22
Posted: Fri, Nov 23, 2001, 10:18 AM ET (1518 GMT)
Laser communications illustration (ESA)
  • The Progress-M45 unmanned cargo spacecraft undocked from the International Space Station on Thursday. The Progress, loaded with garbage from the station, will reenter and burn up in the Earth's atmosphere over the Pacific Friday. A new Progress spacecraft, Progress M1-7, is scheduled for launch from Baikonur Monday.
  • Fragments thought to be from the Leonid meteor shower are in fact ordinary terrestrial rocks, scientists said Wednesday. An Indiana family brought the fragments to the Field Museum in Chicago after they said they were pelted by the fragments Sunday morning during the Leonids. However, an examination of the fragments showed they were metamorphic rocks, and could not originate from the Leonids.
  • Two European spacecraft conducted the first successful laser communications experiment in space this week, the European Space Agency announced. The Artemis experimental communications satellite was able to establish communications via laser with the SPOT 4 remote sensing satellite on November 21. The experiment is designed to test the effectiveness of lasers, which have the potential of providing very high data rates.
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