News briefs: May 21
Posted: Wed, May 22, 2002, 7:57 AM ET (1157 GMT)
- Chinese officials Tuesday denied news reports that the country was planning to land people on the Moon by 2010. In an interview with the BBC, Ouyang Ziyuan, chief scientist of China's Moon exploration program, said that the first phase of China's lunar exploration plans, scheduled for 2007 to 2010, will feature only robotic spacecraft. Human missions to the moon are contemplated "by 2020 or 2030", according to Ouyang Ziyuan.
- The Russia Buran orbiter damaged in the collapse of a roof at Baikonur was the one that made the program's sole spaceflight in 1988, Aerospace Daily reported Tuesday. These had been confusion in earlier reports whether the Buran in the damaged hangar was that model or an identical model that never flew in space,
- Loral chairman Bernard Schwartz too the unusual step Tuesday of apologizing for his company's investment in the Globalstar satellite phone company, Space News reported. "I wish we had not made the Globalstar investment," Schwartz was quoted as saying. Globalstar filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection three months ago and is in the process of a reorganization that may leave Loral with little, if any, stake in the new company.
- DigitalGlobe, the company that operates the QuickBird remote sensing satellite, announced Tuesday that it has entered full commercial service. The company has been offering images to select customers and resellers since early this year, but is now selling images through its web site to all customers.