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News briefs: June 13
Posted: Fri, Jun 14, 2002, 2:10 PM ET (1810 GMT)
  • The threat posed by a major Colorado forest fire to a key Lockheed Martin space facility is subsiding, Space News reported Thursday. Earlier in the week the Hayman fire, the largest in Colorado history, was bearing down on the southwestern suburbs of Denver, including the Lockheed Martin facility in Waterton Canyon where Atlas and Titan launch vehicles are assembled. A shift in the wind has stalled the advance of the fire, however, keeping it about 20 km from the site.
  • NASA announced this week that it is extending its existing contract with Lockheed Martin to construct external tanks for space shuttle missions. The $341 million extension, which goes through September 2008, covers the construction of 35 "Super Lightweight" external tanks at Lockheed Martin's Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans. In recognition of the expected decrease in shuttle flight rates, the contract requires that only six tanks a year be built, rather than the eight a year in the last contract, signed in 2000.
  • The Planetary Society of Japan announced plans this week to send the names of members of the general public on an upcoming asteroid mission. The signatures will be flown on MUSES-C, a Japanese asteroid sample return mission scheduled for launch late this year. The deadline for submitting names is July 5.
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