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News briefs: May 9
Posted: Fri, May 10, 2002, 10:14 AM ET (1414 GMT)
  • NASA administrator Sean O'Keefe told members of a Senate subcommittee Wednesday that the purposes of all of NASA's 11 facilities are under review, and could not guarantee that some programs would not shift from one center to another. One senator, Kay Bailey Hutchinson (R-TX), was concerned that some human space flight activities would be moved from the Johnson Space Center (JSC); while O'Keefe said he couldn't say whether that would happen, the Houston Chronicle reported that he later called Hutchinson to assure her that no changes were in store for JSC's mission. The Chronicle also reported that up to 4,000 contractor jobs at JSC were at risk because of cuts in human spaceflight programs.
  • Northrop Grumman has agreed to a "standstill" provision in its confidentiality agreement with TRW that will prevent it from pursing a hostile takeover of TRW until at least the end of September, the AP reported Thursday. TRW had reportedly pushed for a three-year delay, which Northrop had rejected as onerous. The agreement, announced Monday, allows Northrop to view confidential financial information about TRW in order to more properly value the company for a potential friendly takeover.
  • A California radio station is auctioning a full-scale model of the Soviet Buran space shuttle, reported Thursday. The minimum bid for the spacecraft is $6 million, although organizers of the auction run by news radio station KFWB-AM admit it is unlikely that any valid bids will be made for it. Organizers could not identify which of the several Buran models would be auctioned, but did say that the one for sale never flew in space.
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