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News briefs: January 24
Posted: Fri, Jan 25, 2002, 8:44 AM ET (1344 GMT)
  • The structural framework of the X-33 experimental vehicle will be preserved for future tests, reported this week. In late December the Air Force approved a plan to store the framework at the hangar at Edwards Air Force Base that was intended to be part of the launch site for the vehicle. The framework will be used for structural tests as part of NASA's Space Launch Initiative program. Other X-33 hardware is in the process of being transferred to NASA, Lockheed Martin, and other contractors.
  • China is planning to launch up to 10 spacecraft this year, the Xinhua news agency reported Thursday. Those launches will include the Fengyun 1-D weather satellite as well as at least one test launch of Shenzhou, China's prototype of a manned spacecraft.
  • ESA director general Antonio Rodota has received NASA's Distinguished Public Service Medal during a ceremony at ESA's Paris headquarters this week. Rodota received the award for his "strong advocacy of transatlantic cooperation" with NASA.
  • XCOR Aerospace successfully completed the eighth test flight of its EZ-Rocket airplane Thursday, the company announced. The flight included the first inflight shutdown and restart of the airplane's two rocket engines. EZ-Rocket is an experimental vehicle designed to test the engines developed by XCOR; larger versions of those engines are intended for future reusable launch vehicles.
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