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News briefs: January 25
Posted: Sat, Jan 26, 2002, 11:23 AM ET (1623 GMT)
  • A former Russian cosmonaut sharply criticized his nation's plans to fly more tourists on Soyuz missions. Valentin Lebedev, who flew on two missions in 1978 and 1982, likened plans to sell seats on Soyuz taxi missions to "setting up a casino and strip show in the Kremlin for large sums". An aide to Rosaviakosmos head Yuri Koptev called Lebedev's comments "out of place."
  • The International Space Station program will be highlighted as one of the federal government's most wasteful programs by President George W. Bush, Florida Today reported Friday. The ISS will be singled out in the proposed fiscal year 2003 budget that will be released February 4, according to Mitch Daniels, director of the Office of Management and Budget. Daniels declined to release any details about the proposed NASA budget.
  • The rollout of the space shuttle Columbia to pad 39A has been delayed until Monday while repairs to the crawler transporter that malfunctioned on Friday continue. The delays should not affect the February 28 launch of the shuttle on mission STS-109. reported that NASA is considering using Columbia on a late 2003 crew transfer mission to the station, the first flight of Columbia to ISS. Columbia has been excluded from ISS missions before because it weighs more than the other shuttles and thus can carry less to the station, but a recent overhaul shaved 450 kilograms from the orbiter's mass, enough for NASA to consider using it for some ISS missions.
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