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News briefs: June 24
Posted: Tue, Jun 25, 2002, 8:07 AM ET (1207 GMT)
  • An instrument on NASA'a new Aqua satellite that had been experiencing problems is working normally again, reported Monday. The Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer (AMSR-E) ran into problems a few weeks after its launch in early May, but a project official reported that now all instruments, including AMSR-E, "are performing nominally." AMSR-E has already generated a map of sea surface temperatures, according to the report.
  • A number of major Japanese firms, including Hitachi and Toyota, plan to establish a joint venture later this year to provide an advanced satellite communications system, a Japanese newspaper reported Monday. The Nihon Keizai Shimbun said that the joint venture, to be set up by October, will offer the system by 2007. The number of satellites that will be involved in the system was not disclosed.
  • Asian satellite operators are continuing to plan new communications satellites despite an existing glut in satellite capacity, the Wall Street Journal reported. Worldwide economic conditions, including the Asian financial crash in the late 1990s, along with the growth of terrestrial alternatives like fiber optic cables, have caused rental fees for satellite transponders to plummet. Despite the overcapacity, several operators are planning new satellites for launch in the next few years.
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