News briefs: December 17
Posted: Tue, Dec 18, 2001, 7:58 AM ET (1258 GMT)
- DigitalGlobe and Ball Aerospace released Monday the first high resolution images from the QuickBird satellite, launched two months ago. The images, of Washington, DC; Bangkok, Thailand; and McMurdo Station, Antarctica, have resolutions as sharp as 0.61 meters, the highest resolution satellite images commercially available.
- Fourteen volunteers completed 90 days of bed rest Monday as part of a European project to mimic some of the effects of weightlessness. Tests on the 14 men are scheduled for the coming days, and additional bedrest studies are planned.
- NASA issued an additional $94.6 million of contracts as part of the Space Launch Initiative (SLI) on Monday. The contracts went to several companies, including a $63 million option to an existing Rocketdyne contract for advanced propulsion systems. The awards are the last of cycle one of SLI; proposals are due in March 2002 for cycle two SLI awards.
- A soft drink commercial filmed on the International Space Station will start airing in Japan by the end of this month, an advertising agency said Monday. The commercial for "Pocari Sweat" was filmed using a NASDA high-definition TV camera during a week-long visit by a taxi crew in October. The commercial features one of the cosmonauts floating towards a soft drink bottle while the audience is told "the farther you get from Earth, the thirstier you get."