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News briefs: February 22
Posted: Fri, Feb 22, 2002, 8:13 AM ET (1313 GMT)
  • There is "change in the air" for US military space efforts, Air Force undersecretary Peter Teets said this week. Teets, who leads military space efforts and serves as director of the National Reconnaissance Office, said he is working on "co-mingling" the space requirements of the military's various branches. He also expressed some concerns with aspects of the EELV launch vehicle program, such as with the Russian-built engines used on the Atlas 5. He said he is interested in pursuing a reusable launch vehicle, but is uncertain how long it will be before an RLV is available.
  • Planetary scientists have created the most detailed atlas of the surface of Mars, the BBC reported Thursday. The atlas, produced by Malin Space Science Systems (MSSS), is based on images from MSSS's camera on Mars Global Surveyor. It will be used, among other things, to study how the Martian surface has changed between the Viking missions of the mid-1970s and today.
  • Italian astronaut Roberto Vittori will fly to the International Space Station in April on a Soyuz taxi flight, ESA and Russian officials confirmed Thursday. Vittori will conduct several experiments for ESA and the Italian space agency ASI on a mission dubbed "Marco Polo". Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gidzenko and South African space tourist Mark Shuttleworth will be Vittori's crewmates on the flight.
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