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News briefs: December 14
Posted: Sat, Dec 15, 2001, 10:46 AM ET (1546 GMT)
  • Another communications satellite has suffered a serious problem in orbit, Space News reported Friday. Arabsat 3A abruptly lost all power from one of two solar arrays earlier this month,and engineers do not believe that the power can be restored even though they are not sure what caused the problem. The satellite is an Alcatel Spacebus 3000 series spacecraft, launched in February 1999 to provide direct TV broadcasting services.
  • Media conglomerate Vivendi Universal announced Friday that it is purchasing a ten-percent stake in direct TV satellite company EchoStar. The money will be used to help fund EchoStar's $26 billion merger with rival DirecTV.
  • William Shepherd, commander of the International Space Station's Expedition One crew, retired from the US Navy after a 30-year career Friday. Shepherd talked with astronauts currently on the station and shuttle during a retirement ceremony in San Diego. Shepherd will remain a member of NASA's astronaut corps.
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