News briefs: April 17
Posted: Thu, Apr 18, 2002, 8:05 AM ET (1205 GMT)
- Boeing recorded a $1.25 billion loss, or $1.54 per share, in the first quarter of 2002, the company announced Wednesday. The loss was due to a one-time charge caused by accounting changes; without the charge the company would have reported a $578 million profit. Boeing's Space and Communications division reported a 4 percent increase in revenues to $2.3 billion, as defense spending offset declines in commercial space revenue.
- The Air Force plans to delay the launch of a GPS satellite scheduled for May 8 by at least a month, Space News reported Wednesday. The delay was necessitated by concerns with the new automated destruct system on the Delta 2 booster after an Air Force inspection.
- NASA has selected four space science mission proposals for further study, the agency announced Wednesday. The four mission proposals include spacecraft to search for the chemical building blocks of life in the universe, perform an infrared sky survey, study storms in the Earth's magnetosphere, and observe the Sun's corona. NASA will select two of the proposals for its Explorer program in 2003 for missions in 2007 and 2008.
- Astronomers have found that a number of Kuiper Belt objects (KBOs) in the distant fringes of the solar system are binary objects. In a paper published in the latest issue of the journal Nature, astronomers found that over one percent of the 500 known KBOs are binary. Hubble images of the first KBO binary discovered, 1998 WW31, show that the distance between the two objects varies between 4,000 and 40,000 kilometers, the most eccentric for any binary object in the solar system.