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NASA astronauts to begin their historic SpaceX mission in a Tesla Model X – Digital Trends

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Less than two weeks from now, NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley will begin their historic SpaceX Demo-2 mission in a Tesla Model X.

OK, perhaps we should explain.

The electric SUV won’t be blasting off from the launchpad at the Kennedy Space Center on May 27, but will instead be taking the astronauts on the short drive from the Operations and Checkout Building to the waiting Falcon 9 rocket for the start of their journey to the International Space Station (ISS).

The fact that it’s a Tesla performing the honors is no surprise — the automaker is led by Elon Musk, the same guy at the top of SpaceX, which is supplying the rocket and spacecraft for the upcoming Demo-2 mission.

In earlier missions, NASA astronauts used a modified motorhome known as the Astrovan to get to the launchpad (the Astrovan II was unveiled in 2019 for future Boeing Starliner crews), but the emergence of SpaceX means things will be done differently from here on in.

NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine recently tweeted photos of the Model X — complete with NASA branding — ahead of the launchpad drive later this month.

Behnken retweeted the images, adding the comment: “Now that the exterior of the vehicle is complete, [Hurley] and I are finalizing the music for our trip to @NASAKennedy’s launchpad 39A. Any suggestions?”

Responses from excited space fans included everything from the Beastie Boys’ Intergalactic and Elton John’s Rocket Man to the A-Team theme tune and Bowie’s Starman, a track that played on the music system of Elon Musk’s Tesla Roadster as it departed Earth as the dummy payload aboard SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy in 2018.

This month’s Demo-2 mission is a big step for U.S. space exploration as it will see NASA launching astronauts from American soil for the first time since the Space Shuttle program closed down nine years ago, and sets it on course for a crewed trip to the moon in 2024 — the first since 1972.

As for SpaceX, this will be its first-ever crewed mission, using the Crew Dragon capsule, coming after years of successful cargo trips to and from the ISS with the similarly designed Dragon spacecraft. Demo-2 will be another feather in the company’s cap as it eyes even grander goals that include missions far beyond the lunar surface.

SpaceX recently released an online simulator that lets you try your hand at docking the Crew Dragon with the ISS. While the docking procedure is designed to take place autonomously, astronauts Behnken and Hurley will be ready to step in to pilot the spacecraft manually — using controls similar to the simulator — if anything goes awry as they approach the space station.

The launch of the groundbreaking mission will be streamed live on NASA TV. Check back soon for more details on how to watch it.

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An Asteroid Bigger Than The Empire State Building Poses ‘No Danger’ On Saturday Night, Says NASA – Forbes

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A huge near-Earth asteroid will pass our planet tonight at a safe distance of 3.2 million miles, according to NASA.

After a spate of doom-laden headlines the space agency felt the need yesterday to update a previous post about near-Earth asteroids with the following note:

“Asteroid 2002 NN4 will safely pass by the Earth on June 6 at a distance of approximately 3.2 million miles (5.1 million kilometers), about 13 times further away from the Earth than the Moon is. There is no danger the asteroid will hit the Earth.”

Asteroid 2002 NN4’s closest approach to Earth will be at 11:20 p.m. EDT. on Saturday, June 6, 2020.

NASA also tweeted the same advice:

NASA Asteroid Watch then tweeted this image of the asteroid’s trajectory:

How big is Asteroid 2002 NN4?

Asteroid 2002 NN4 is huge. Measuring between 820 feet and 1,870 feet (250 meters to 570 meters) according to Space.com. New York City’s Empire State Building is 443.2 meters tall, including its antenna.

That’s over a dozen times bigger than the asteroid that exploded over Chelyabinsk, Russia, in 2013. That was the biggest meteor for over a century.

Would asteroid 2002 NN4 be dangerous if it hit Earth?

Yes—asteroid 2002 NN4 is city-killer size, but it’s not going to cause any harm to anyone.

Wishing you clear skies and wide eyes.

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Crew Dragon with two NASA astronauts docks to ISS – TASS

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NEW YORK, May 31. /TASS/. The Crew Dragon spacecraft with Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken on board has successfully docked to the International Space Station (ISS), as follows from a NASA broadcast on Sunday.

The spacecraft began approaching the ISS about two hours before docking than was carried out 10:16 ahead of the schedule. The Crew Dragon spacecraft was launched using the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket at 22.22 pm Moscow time on May 30 from the Cape Canaveral, Florida.

Crew Dragon is a configuration of the cargo spacecraft Dragon, which had already delivered cargoes to the ISS. A Falcon-9 rocket put the cargo vehicle in space on March 2. Its docking with the ISS was carried out automatically the next day.

NASA stopped crewed flights in 2011 after the Space Shuttle program came to an end. From that moment on all astronauts were delivered to the ISS and back by Russia’s Soyuz spacecraft. Originally the Untied States was to start using commercial spacecraft for crewed missions in 2017.

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Toddler could be battling rare syndrome in response to COVID-19 – Winnipeg Free Press

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More than a month after testing positive for COVID-19, a Winnipeg toddler is fighting another illness – a possible rare inflammatory syndrome that could be part of the body’s reaction to new viruses.

The girl’s mother told CBC News doctors are trying to find out whether the one-year-old has developed Kawasaki disease, or multi-system inflammatory syndrome in children, now that she is negative for COVID-19 but is still seriously ill.

To read more of this story first reported by CBC News, click here.

The Winnipeg Free Press and CBC Manitoba recognize each other as trusted news sources. This content is made available to our readers as part of an agreement to collaborate to better serve our community. Any questions about CBC content should be directed to: talkback@cbc.ca

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