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News briefs: May 30
Posted: Fri, May 31, 2002, 7:59 AM ET (1159 GMT)
  • New Horizons, a NASA Pluto mission whose future funding is in doubt, successfully completed its first major review earlier this month. The System Requirements Review, held May 15-16 at The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, confirmed that the spacecraft has a "solid design" and can proceed. NASA included no funding for the mission in its proposed 2003 budget, but Congress is considering adding money to keep the mission alive.
  • The first images from the revived NICMOS camera on the Hubble Space Telescope will be released to the public on June 5, the University of Arizona reported Thursday. NICMOS has been offline since 1999 when it ran out of cryogens needed to keep its infrared detectors cool. Shuttle astronauts installed a new mechanical cooler on the instrument during the STS-109 mission in March; that cooler has gradually lowered the instrument's temperature to operational levels.
  • A Buran space shuttle that was on display in Sydney, Australia, is being shipped to the Middle East, the Sydney Morning Herald reported this week. The Buran 002 was shipped to Australia in 2000 to become a tourist attraction, but failed to earn enough money to keep it open. The vehicle will be shipped to Bahrain, the starting point for an exhibition in several Asian nations. The Buran was also reportedly the model put up for auction by a Los Angeles radio station earlier this month; no bidders met the $6 million minimum.
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news links
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