Space News for June 16, 1999

Mars Express Contract Signed

The contract to develop the Mars Express spacecraft was signed by the European Space Agency and Euro-Russian Starsem. The launch date for the spacecraft is set for June 2003. This is Starsem’s second contract with the ESA.

Astronomy Now

Twin Telescopes Built

Two new ground-based telescopes have been built for two remote locations – Hawaii and Chile. Named Gemini telescopes, they use large mirrors and sophisticated electronics to be 10 times more powerful than those previously built.

BBC News

Cosmonauts Try to Raise Money for Mir

Desperate to keep Mir in orbit, two Russian cosmonauts have begun a grassroots effort to find funding for the doomed space station. Vitaly Sevastyanov and Gherman Titov have created the “People’s Charity Foundation” as a way for ordinary Russians to contribute to the station’s funding. They’ll need to raise $100 – $250 million to keep it up another year.