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News briefs: January 18
Posted: Sat, Jan 19, 2002, 12:58 PM ET (1758 GMT)
  • Loral engineers believe they have identified the power problem that affected one of its communications satellites last year, Space News reported Friday. The problem with PanAmSat's PAS-7 spacecraft, a Loral FS 1300, is not believed to be an issue with other 1300-series satellites. PAS-7 suddenly lost a quarter of its power in September 2001, three years after launch.
  • A Hawaiian state agency wants NASA to pay over $20 million for the right to build a system of small telescopes at the Keck Observatory on Mauna Kea, the Honolulu Star-Bulletin reported. The payment to the Office of Hawaiian Affairs would mitigate any "adverse effect" the telescopes would have on the historical and cultural significance of the mountain. The four small telescopes, each less than 2 meters in diameter, are "outrigger" telescopes that would be used in conjunction with the Keck's two 10-meter telescopes for interferometric work.
  • The Pacific island nation of Tonga could host launches of a future reusable launch vehicle, Reuters reported this week. Officials with InterOrbital Systems, a small California company working on an RLV design, met with Tongan government officials regarding the use of the Tongan island of 'Eua as a spaceport. The company hopes to begin suborbital launches of a research rocket from there later this year, before developing the RLV that will be used for commercial space tourism flights.
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news links
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