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Meteor Shower Will Be Brief But Impressive.
January 2, 2001
Cassini Swings Past Jupiter
Quadrantid Meteor Shower Will Be Brief But Impressive
China is Ready for Another Test Flight of its Unmanned Capsule
Atlantis Rolls Out to the Launch Pad, and then Rolls Back
CASSINI SWINGS PAST JUPITER
NASA's Cassini spacecraft made its closest approach to Jupiter on December 30, 2000 and used the planet's enormous gravity to slingshot it on its way to Saturn. At its closest point, the probe was only 9.7 million kilometres from the planet's surface, and although the spacecraft had been suffering some technical problems last week, they didn't affect the slingshot. Cassini is expected reach Saturn on July 1, 2004.
QUADRANTID METEOR SHOWER WILL BE BRIEF BUT IMPRESSIVE
The annual Quadrantid Meteor Shower is due to pelt the Earth on January 3. The most active of all the meteor showers (100 per hour are expected at the peak), the Quadrantids will appear for only two hours or so starting at 7:00am EST (12:00pm GMT), and they will appear to come from a point in the North, near the constellation of Bootis. The best places to see the shower will be on the West Coast of North America, where it will still be dark enough to see the meteors in the sky.
CHINA IS READY FOR ANOTHER TEST FLIGHT OF ITS UNMANNED CAPSULE
Forever taunting space enthusiasts with its ethereal plans for manned space exploration, China appears ready to send its unmanned space capsule into space for the second time. The next flight of the Shenzhou spacecraft could happen as early as January 5th - more than a year since the first capsule was launched into space, and circled the Earth for almost a day. Industry experts predict that China will put humans into space as early as 2002, but China has remained tight-lipped about its plans.
ATLANTIS ROLLS OUT TO THE LAUNCH PAD, AND THEN ROLLS BACK
Even though a launch date has yet to be set, the Space Shuttle Atlantis was rolled out to the launch pad this morning. The transfer to the launch pad was aborted, however, when a computer system crashed that controls the transfer vehicle. A backup system allowed technicians to roll the shuttle back to the hanger. Problems with the shuttle's boosters scrubbed its initial January 18th launch date to deliver the US Destiny laboratory module to space station Alpha. Technicians repaired cables in the shuttle's booster jettison system over the Christmas holidays, and is now ready to fly: once a new launch date is set.
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