News briefs: December 27
Posted: Fri, Dec 28, 2001, 8:18 AM ET (1318 GMT)
- NASA is seriously contemplating closing one or more field centers in an effort to cut costs, Florida Today reported Thursday. The Glenn Research Center in Ohio and the Ames Research Center in California are considered the most vulnerable. Also potentially on the chopping block are test facilities at White Sands, NM; Michoud, near New Orleans; and Wallops Island, VA.
- Russian aerospace company Khrunichev said Thursday that it will be ready to launch its new booster, Angara, from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in 2003. Russia is eager to use the new heavy-lift booster from the northern spaceport, rather than Baikonur in Kazakhstan, where Proton rockets are currently launched, for security reasons. Khrunichev officials said company revenues fell sharply in 2001 because of a decline in commercial launches.
- Khrunichev also announced Thursday that it is ready to move forward with a new space station module, FGB-2, in cooperation with Boeing. The module, based on the ISS's Zarya module, would be completed with funding from Boeing, but the company has reportedly set conditions Khrunichev and the government have yet to accept. FGB-2 could be used as an additional storage module for the station, or for other commercial uses.
- XM Satellite Radio said this week it will meet analysts' predictions of 20,000 to 30,000 subscribers by the end of this year for its satellite radio service. The news actually boosted the share price of rival Sirius Satellite Radio by proving there appears to be a market for this type of service.