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News briefs: February 6
Posted: Thu, Feb 7, 2002, 10:49 AM ET (1549 GMT)
Mars Odyssey spacecraft illustration
  • NASA's Mars Odyssey spacecraft, in orbit around the Red Planet, successfully deployed its main antenna this week, JPL reported Wednesday. The spacecraft extended a short boom with the 1.3-meter antenna on the end of it Tuesday morning. The extension is the next step towards beginning regular scientific operations, scheduled for later this month.
  • SPACEHAB reported a profit for its fiscal 2002 second quarter Tuesday, the first such profit in several quarters for the commercial space firm. The company said it recorded earnings of $660,000 for the quarter ending December 31, 2001, but still has a $2.2 million loss for the year to date. Company officials said a restructuring and recovery plan implemented in early 2001 is the main reason for the profit.
  • The new President of the Space Transportation Association called on the President and Congress Wednesday to centralize management of the nationís space efforts. Frank Sietzen, in a speech at an FAA conference in Arlington, Virginia, said the President should create a body like the old National Space Council and elevate the position of NASA administrator to a Cabinet-level post. The STA would also like Congress to reform the existing committee structure it has to study space issues, consolidating work into a smaller number of committees in the House and Senate.
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