NASA will be working together with the Air Force's space command to study several subjects. These subjects include the launching of Defense Support Program Satellites from the shuttle and expanding the use of shuttle Air Force technology payloads. Another pairing NASA is involved with is Japan's National Space Development Agency and the European Space Agency. Together, the programs will have a greater collaboration. In the year 2000, the ESA satellite Artemis will be launched. This satellite was designed for two way communications between fixed and mobile ground stations, as well as relaying information from low orbit to fixed ground stations.
NASA has just stated that the MGS will be able to aerobrake in safe orbit. The MGS was launched in November of last year. This allows the MGS to take use of Mars's atmosphere to slow the probe and requires less fuel. (aerobraking is using the air around the spacecraft to decelerate the speed)
Scientist are continuing to study the comet. What they are looking for is a break in the comet's tail. Amateur astronomers are watching the comet carefully to see when it goes through the "current sheet." This is a field in which the sun's magnetic field lines shift direction causing Hale-Bopp's ion tail to disconnect due to the change of direction of the magnetic field. Hale-Bopp will go through this as it travels through the ecliptic and southern side of the solar system.
The microgravity science laboratory mission will fly again in July and right now the crew is in training to be readied for the upcoming venture.