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By Adrienne Loerzel

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (January 18, 2001 – Pacific Daily News)---A team of Japanese researchers may track orbiting rockets from a site in Manenggon Hills.

The National Space Development Agency of Japan, or NASDA, plans to lease land in Manenggon Hills, Yona, for a $10 million tracking station, a press release from the governor's office said.

NASDA will team up with three private partners to design and construct the station, which will allow the agency to receive launch vehicle data, send flight safety commands and track rockets and space shuttle vehicles, the release said.

"The NASDA people chose Guam because we are, 'America in Asia,'" Gov. Carl Gutierrez is quoted as saying in the release. "After shopping around Micronesia for the best spot to build, they said Guam was tops."

Gutierrez said the local infrastructure and federal laws that will allow NASDA to lease property for the facility drew the team to Guam.

The rockets are launched from the Tanegashima Space Center, the release said.

Japan's space program includes a strong emphasis on the development of commercial payload services, the release said, so the tracking facility may expand in the future.

"Having this facility will enhance Guam's image as a technologically advanced communications center in the Western Pacific," Gutierrez said.

For additional reports from Fiji’s Daily Post, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Other News Resources/Fijilive.

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