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News briefs: April 4
Posted: Fri, Apr 5, 2002, 10:14 AM ET (1514 GMT)
  • Russia and Italy are set to sign an agreement to cooperate in space ventures, SPACE.com reported Thursday. Citing reports by the Interfax news agency, the article said that Russia and Italy would agree to cooperate on development of launch vehicles and aeronautical systems. The report also said negotiations were continuing with French officials to launch Soyuz rockets from the Kourou launch center in French Guiana.
  • Iridium Satellite LLC is on track to start making money by the middle of next year, according to a Newsbytes article. The report cited a report by Quadrant Australia, an Australian company than owns 18 percent of Iridium, which says that Iridium Satellite is running ahead of budget and should reach the breakeven point by mid-2003. Iridium Satellite purchased the assets of the failed Iridium company, including its constellation of 66 satellites, for $25 million in late 2000.
  • A second comet may be visible to the naked eye by late this month, according to a SPACE.com article this week. Comet Utsunomiya, discovered in mid-March, should brighten to magnitude 5.5 by late this month, making it theoretically bright enough to be seen by the naked eye in dark skies. Currently observers in the Northern Hemisphere are being treated to comet Ikeya-Zhang, which is currently at around magnitude 3.3.
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