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News briefs: January 3
Posted: Fri, Jan 4, 2002, 10:13 AM ET (1513 GMT)
  • Arianespace may report a loss of up to 50 million euros (US$45 million) for fiscal year 2001, Space News reported Thursday. The company was unable to meet its launch goals for 2001 after an upper stage failure on an Ariane 5 flight stranded two satellites in low orbits, grounding the booster until at least February. The loss will be the second consecutive one for the French company.
  • Alcatel officials denied reports that they are shelving plans for a constellation of 80 LEO satellites to provide broadband services. The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that SkyBridge, a joint venture led by Alcatel and including Boeing, Qualcomm, and Loral, had set aside plans to deploy the $6 billion system, citing tough economic conditions. An Alcatel spokesman told Total Telecom that plans to delay the LEO constellation were old news, but that the company remained committed to the system. SkyBridge is delaying plans to offer broadband services from leased transponders on GEO spacecraft until later this year.
  • European officials are asking US Secretary of State Colin Powell to make sure NASA keeps its commitments to the International Space Station, Space News reported. Edelgard Bulmahn, chair of ESA's ministerial council, asked in a December 19 letter to Powell for his "personal commitment" that NASA meets its obligations to provide a habitation module and crew return vehicle for the station. Without those systems ISS will only be able to support a three-person crew, severely hampering research Europe and other ISS partners wish to perform there.
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