Businessman May Pay for Mir Flight
To help cover maintenance costs, Russian officials have agreed to let a British businessman pay $100 million for a week-long trip on the Mir spacestation. There is some confusion about the status of the deal, though, and it could have been prematurely announced by eager Russian dealmakers.
IKONOS Goes Missing
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Technicians lost contact with the IKONOS high-resolution imaging satellite shortly after liftoff. The satellite, built by Lockheed Martin, was launched from Vandenberg Air Base on an Athena II rocket, and it’s unknown whether the satellite made it to orbit intact.
Chandra Delay Announced
Because it was designed to use the same Inertial Upper Stage as the Air Force’s misplaced satellite, NASA has decided to delay the launch of the Chandra X-Ray Observatory until a detailed investigation has been completed. Chandra was originally planned for launch July 9th.
Next Delta Launch Attempt Scheduled
In the ongoing soap opera of launch attempts to get the Orion 3 satellite into orbit, Boeing has rescheduled the Cape Canaveral facility for May 3rd. This will be their 4th attempt to loft the satellite – a software glitch aborted the Delta III rocket from firing last time.