News briefs: May 3
Posted: Sat, May 4, 2002, 10:07 AM ET (1407 GMT)
- NASA awarded Boeing's Rocketdyne division a five-year, $1.14 billion contract on Friday to continue maintenance of the space shuttle main engines. The contract includes testing and refurbishment of the main engines, which Rocketdyne developed and built.
- NASA will keep open its orbital debris program office even though it has not yet determined how to fund the project, UPI reported Friday. Concern about plans to eliminate funding for the program, which studies small pieces of space junk, was raised last month in the media. The $3-million program had been funded through the space shuttle and space station programs; NASA has yet to decide what part of the agency should fund the program.
- Slow-spinning young stars may be evidence of planet formation, astronomers report. While most stars spin rapidly in the birth and early life, some do not.
Astronomers believe that in those cases, planets forming around those stars may be stealing angular momentum from the parent star, causing it to spin more slowly. Astronomers suggest that those stars may be good targets for studies by future planet-hunting telescope.