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News briefs: December 31-January 1
Posted: Wed, Jan 2, 2002, 10:05 AM ET (1505 GMT)
  • Japan may be considering building a manned spacecraft, according to a report published Tuesday in the Japanese newspaper Sankei Shimbun. The vehicle would take 10-15 years to develop at a cost of up to 700 billion yen (US$5.3 billion). It's not clear if this report is related to an earlier report by another Japanese newspaper that the NASDA space agency was considering developing a manned spacecraft to be launched on a H-2A booster that could carry up to five passengers.
  • NASA's Mars Odyssey spacecraft is continuing its aerobraking and should be ready to begin scientific operations in its final orbit by next month. Two months of aerobraking have changed Odyssey's orbit from its initial elliptical 18.5-hour orbit to a more circular 3.25-hour orbit. Aerobraking will continue until the spacecraft is in a circular two-hour orbit.
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