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Chinese Chang'e-5 Is Returning From Moon With Rocks, Left A Flag To Celebrate – KCCU

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China’s lunar probe Chang’e-5 is on its way back to Earth after a brief visit to the moon Thursday. The craft collected soil and rock samples over the course of about 19 hours and then left the lunar surface.

The samples are expected to land on Earth around the middle of the month.

Before it left, the spacecraft planted a flag there — making China only the second country to leave its national banner on the moon. China hadn’t deployed one in two previous landings.

Getting a flag to the moon isn’t easy and solar radiation has likely bleached out the ones planted by U.S. astronauts, according to NASA.

For China, its most recent accomplishment has a nostalgic feel, aerospace expert and TV commentator Song Zhongping told China’s Global Times. It has been more than half a century since the NASA Apollo 11 crew walked on the moon.

“Yesterday’s memory is still fresh and clear, when the U.S. astronauts stepped outside their cabins and planted the first flag in human history, an American national flag, on the moon in 1969,” Zhongping said. “But China is about to showcase our own national flag as well, which I believe is a recognition of achievements and breakthroughs that we have made, which will be the most valuable thing.”

The Soviet Union was the first country to leave its mark on the moon, intentionally smashing the Luna 2 probe there in 1959.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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Canadian among crew paying $55M to visit International Space Station | News – Daily Hive

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Montreal investor Mark Pathy is among humankind’s first-ever private mission to the International Space Station, scheduled for flight next January.

As Canada continues to discourage non-essential travel, interstellar journeys seem to be fine, assuming you have over $55 million to travel.

The four-person crew (officially called Ax-1 Crew) includes former NASA astronaut Michael López-Alegría as commander, and the three customers: Pathy, American entrepreneur Larry Connor, and Israeli investor Eytan Stibbe.

The cost for all three passengers costs a smooth $55 million (US$70 million) and includes an eight-day stay at the ISS where customers will participate in “research and philanthropic projects,” according to Axiom Space’s press release.

If you can scratch up enough dough, the flight to space takes off in January 2022.

López-Alegría, who flew to space four times over a 20-year span, will become the first person to ever command both a civil and commercial human spaceflight mission.

Pathy, who is the CEO and Chairman of Montreal-based MAVRIK Corporation, would become the 11th Canadian astronaut to visit outer space. The Montrealer is collaborating with the Canadian Space Agency and the Montreal Children’s Hospital, “who are helping identify health-related research projects that could be undertaken during the mission.”

All of the private astronauts were required to pass a medical test and engaged in 15 weeks of training.

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“We sought to put together a crew for this historic mission that had demonstrated a lifelong commitment to improving the lives of the people on Earth, and I’m glad to say we’ve done that with this group,” Axiom Space President & CEO Michael Suffredini said. “This is just the first of several Axiom Space crews whose private missions to the International Space Station will truly inaugurate an expansive future for humans in space ­– and make a meaningful difference in the world when they return home.”

Axiom Space (From Left to Right: Michael López-Alegría, Mark Pathy, Larry Connor and Eytan Stibbe)

Axiom plans to launch its own live-in quarters on the ISS, beginning in 2024. The section would be detachable from the station and become its own private outpost.

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First Private Crew Will Visit Space Station. The Price Tag: $55 Million Each – Prairie Public Broadcasting

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A crew of private astronauts will pay around $55 million each to spend about eight days at the International Space Station next January in what would be a new step for joint private-public space missions. Axiom Space, a Houston company, says the trip will be led by former NASA astronaut and space station commander Michael López-Alegría.

The proposed Ax-1 mission will use a SpaceX rocket to put three paying customers — American Larry Connor, Canadian Mark Pathy and Israeli Eytan Stibbe – into low-Earth orbit on the space station. All of the trio are wealthy entrepreneurs and investors. The group will be under the command of López-Alegría, who is now an executive at Axiom.

It would be the first time an entirely private mission sends astronauts to the International Space Station. Russia sold the first ride to the station to a private citizen, American businessman Dennis Tito, in 2001.

All of the private astronauts for the upcoming mission are far older than the average NASA astronaut’s age of 34. The space agency does not have age restrictions for astronaut candidates, who generally range from 26 to 46 years old. At 70, Connor is surpassed in age only by John Glenn, who flew on the space shuttle when he was 77.

Under NASA’s rules for private astronaut missions, Axiom must ensure its astronauts meet the space agency’s medical standards. They must also undergo training and certification procedures required for crew members of the International Space Station.

While the paying customers represent a new era of space tourism, they will also perform research as the space station whizzes over the Earth.

Connor will work with the Mayo Clinic and Cleveland Clinic on research projects, Axiom says, while Pathy will collaborate with the Canadian Space Agency and the Montreal Children’s Hospital. Stibbe plans to do experiments for Israeli researchers, working with the Ramon Foundation and Israel’s space agency.

“We sought to put together a crew for this historic mission that had demonstrated a lifelong commitment to improving the lives of the people on Earth, and I’m glad to say we’ve done that with this group,” Axiom Space President and CEO Michael Suffredini said as the company announced the crew.

Similar missions are planned for the future, Suffredini said. Axiom hopes to arrange up to two trips per year — and the company also wants to build its own privately funded space station. Under that plan, its modules would be attached to the space station as soon as 2024. And when the space station is retired, the Axiom modules would break off to continue in orbit on their own.

NASA announced its plans to open the International Space Station to commercial activities in June 2019, saying it wants businesses to use innovation and ingenuity to speed up development of “a thriving commercial economy in low-Earth orbit.”

The space agency has a plan to recoup the steep costs of a private citizen visiting the space station. Its pricing policy lists expenses such as a daily fee of $11,250 per person for “regenerative life support and toilet” and $22,500 per person for crew supplies such as food and air. The price sheet also includes a data plan, priced at $50 per gigabyte.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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Canadian Space Agency using satellite data to track endangered right whales – CBC.ca

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The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the North Atlantic Right Whale Consortium estimate less than 400 North Atlantic right whales remain. (Michael Dwyer/Canadian Press/AP)

The Canadian Space Agency is harnessing satellite technology to monitor and protect endangered North Atlantic right whales in the country’s waters.

The agency said Tuesday it will lead a $5.3-million project funded by the federal government called smartWhales, which will use satellites to detect the presence of right whales and to predict the animals’ movements.

Canada is giving a total of $5.3 million over three years to five companies for a series of projects to help protect the endangered species.

One of the projects will involve a system that can rapidly provide location data and detect if the whales are approaching a fishing vessel.

Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan says collecting satellite data about the movement of the whales is key to preventing collisions between whales and vessels and to spot cases where the animals are caught in fishing gear — two of the leading causes of right whale deaths.

In late October last year, the North Atlantic Right Whale Consortium released its annual report card, estimating that only 356 right whales were alive at the end of 2019.

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