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News briefs: April 30
Posted: Wed, May 1, 2002, 7:50 AM ET (1150 GMT)
  • NASA announced Tuesday that former astronaut Bryan O'Connor will be the agency's new associate adminisitrator for the Office of Safety and Mission Assurance, effective June 3. The former Marine Corps aviator served on two shuttle missions and later served as deputy associate administrator for the Office of Space Flight as space shuttle program director. He most recently worked as director of the engineering division of the Futron Corporation.
  • A Proton booster is scheduled to launch the latest DIRECTV direct broadcasting satellite on May 6, International Launch Services announced Tuesday. The launch window for the DIRECTV-5 flight from Baikonur opens at 1 pm EDT (1700 GMT). The launch will be the second commercial Proton flight of 2002.
  • Congressman Dana Rohrabacher has introduced legislation named after late astronaut Pete Conrad that would fund prizes for asteroid searches. The bill, H.R. 4613, would fund prizes who discover the lagrest near-Earth asteroids, locate newly-discovered asteroids for additional observations, and those who help update the Minor Planet Center's catalog of known asteroids. Rohrabacher hopes that the awards, which will be administered by the Smithsonian Instituion, will get more students interested in science and math.
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