NASA Safety Advisory Panel presents report

The Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel (ASAP) has presented its 1997 report. The panel provides a independent assessment of the safety features in NASA's space program. The group was set up after the Apollo 1 capsule fire in 1967. This year the panel recommends that NASA keeps a closer watch on the Shuttle contractors, now that launch facilities are operated by a commercial company. They also ask NASA to investigate new long-exposure radiation standards for astronauts based on Mir and the future International Space Station.

The report is available here.

Voyager 'boldly goes where no probe has gone before'

Last Tuesday Voyager 1 officially became the most distant manmade object from Earth. It now takes nine hours and 36 minutes for a radio signal to reach the spacecraft which is now 6.5 billion miles away. Voyager is collecting data on the Sun's heliosphere and will soon reach the heliopause - the boundary between the solar system and interstellar space.

PPARC name first director of Astronomy Technical Centre

Adrian Russell has been appointed by PPARC as the first director of the UK Astronomy Technology Centre. The center will design and produce the UK's new range of telescopes. Russell is currently the UK project manager for the Gemini telescope project.