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News briefs: April 20-21
Posted: Mon, Apr 22, 2002, 8:06 AM ET (1206 GMT)
  • European officials are willing to accept a three-person crew for the International Space Station in the near term, but want to increase the station's capacity as soon as possible, Aviation Week reported. The international partners are considering several options, including going without a crew return vehicle (CRV) or using a second Soyuz as a CRV, ESA's manned spaceflight director said. A decision is expected by the fall.
  • NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center is conducting the first tests of a rocket engine in several years, the Huntsville Times reported. Marshall recently tested a reaction control system thruster built by TRW as part of the Space Launch Initiative. The engine test was the first at the center since the Russian-designed RD-180 engine was tested for Lockheed Martin in late 1998.
  • Several Florida universities are studying ways to safely produce hydrogen near the Kennedy Space Center for shuttle launches. Currently liquid hydrogen is trucked to KSC from New Orleans, about 1,000 km away, at a cost of hundreds of thousands of dollars for the 50 truckloads of fuel required for each launch. A consortium of Florida universities will study alternatives using a $8.1-million NASA grant.
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