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SpaceX Crew-1 launch: Meet the astronauts on first operational mission to ISS



SpaceX, in partnership with NASA, will launch its first operational Crew Dragon mission, designated Crew-1, to the International Space Station (ISS), this weekend.

The Crew Dragon spacecraft, named Resilience, will launch atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from NASA’s Kennedy Space Centre. Watch the live stream here.

SpaceX x NASA Launch: What you need to know

Crew-1 launch on Falcon 9 rocket

SpaceX was set to launch four astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) this Saturday, for the first time since the successful “Launch America” crewed test flight.

spacex nasa crew 1 international space station 1
Crew-1 astronauts in quarantine ahead of their trip to the International Space Station aboard the Crew Dragon capsule. Image via Twitter: @JimBridenstine.

Astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover and Shannon Walker and Japan’s Soichi Noguchi have been in quarantine since 31 October 2020 and are all members of the Expedition 64 crew.

“Proud of our Crew-1 astronauts! I had the opportunity to speak with them today ahead of launch. Shannon Walker is a fellow @RiceUniversity Owl, so I thought we’d show our Rice spirit! #LaunchAmerica

Jim Bridenstine

NASA also confirmed that the first stage booster will be reused to fly astronauts on Crew-2, the second crewed operational flight of a Crew Dragon spacecraft on 30 March 2021.

Watch: NASA and SpaceX’s Crew-1 launch to ISS

Note: NASA TV broadcasts 24/7. Scroll down for the Crew-1 launch schedule, including dates and times for the various mission events and press conferences.

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Crew-1 date and time

The Crew Dragon spacecraft Resilience will launch from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center LC-39A atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on 15 November 2020 at 19:27 Eastern Standard Time (EST).

For SA viewers, that would be Sunday at 2:27 South African Standard Time (SAST) on Monday morning, 16 November. But if you’re watching from elsewhere in the world, that would be:

  • 16:27 PT (Pacific Time, 15 November)
  • 18:27 Central Time (CT, 15 November) in the United States
  • 1:27 British Summer Time (BST, 15 November)
  • 5:57 Indian Standard Time (ISD)
  • 8:27 China Standard Time) (CST)
  • 9:27 Japan Standard Time (JST)
  • 10:27 Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST)
  • 13:27 (New Zealand Daylight Time).
Crew Dragon and Falcon 9 ahead of the launch at the hangar at Launch Complex 39A. Images via Twitter: @SpaceX

The mission was almost jeopardised after Elon Musk confirmed that he tested positive (and negative) for COVID-19 on the same day after undergoing four tests.

Furthermore, NASA chief Jim Bridenstine said on Friday 13 November 2020 that “protocol ruled out the presence of anyone [including Musk] who tested positive at the Kennedy Space Center”.

“When somebody tests positive for Covid here at the Kennedy Space Center, and across NASA, it is our policy for that person to quarantine and self-isolate. So we anticipate that that will be taking place. And, you know, we’re looking to SpaceX to do any contact tracing that is appropriate.”

Jim Bridenstine

SpaceX and NASA’s Crew-1 mission schedule

Times listed below in South African Standard Time (SAST).

NASA TV’s continuous launch coverage will start at 22:15 on Sunday evening, 15 November. This will also include docking and opening the hatch, followed by a news conference.

The post-launch conference, in the interim scheduled for 4:15 Monday morning, will also feature NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine and Federal Aviation Administration representative Steve Dickson, among others.

Other esteemed guests include associate administrator Kathy Lueders from NASA, as well as JAXA’s vice president and director-general, Hiroshi Sasaki, and a SpaceX representative.

Docking at ISS

Finally, Crew-1 will dock with the International Space Station at 6:00 on Tuesday morning, followed by a Welcome Ceremony at 8:40 and a post-docking news conference at 9:00.

On Thursday, 19 November, at a time yet to be determined, we will be treated to a Space Station news conference, featuring NASA astronauts Kate Rubins, Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, Shannon Walker, as well as JAXA astronaut and Soichi Noguchi.

spacex nasa astronauts crew-1 international space station
Posted by @Astro_Soichi (Noguchi Soichi), translated by @Maveriiick (Rob Gibbons). Caption:
“Crew-1 just finished final dress rehearsal, getting ready for Saturday launch! Behind me is the “real” Crew Dragon spacecraft”.




Source:- The South African

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Many Canadians gaining weight during COVID-19: poll – Toronto Star



OTTAWA – A new poll suggests many Canadians are gaining weight because they’re eating more and exercising less during COVID-19 pandemic.

Nearly one-third of respondents in the survey conducted by Leger and the Association for Canadian Studies said they have put on weight since March, compared to 15 per cent who said they lost weight over that time.

As well, about one-third of respondents said they’re exercising less, while 16 per cent said they’re working out more since the first wave of the pandemic landed in Canada in the spring.

Jack Jedwab, president of the Association for Canadian Studies, suggested that one reason may be a rush for comfort food to deal with pandemic-related anxieties.

Respondents in the survey who said they were “very afraid” of COVID-19 were more likely to report gaining weight, eating more and exercising less.

“The more anxiety you have, the more likely it is that you know you’re eating more,” Jedwab said.

“People who are least anxious about COVID (are) the ones that are not eating more than usual and are not gaining weight.”

The online survey of 1,516 Canadians was conducted Oct. 29-31 and cannot be assigned a margin of error because internet-based polls are not considered random samples.

Dr. Yoni Freedhoff, an associate professor of family medicine at the University of Ottawa, said there are plausible reasons to connect weight gain or loss with the pandemic, but he hadn’t seen any studies to convince him that’s the case.

Some people are “not reliant on restaurants constantly” and “cooking more frequently in their homes,” which Freedhoff said may be leading to weight loss or better dietary choices. Others are eating more, he said, relying on comfort food “because they’re anxious as a consequence of the pandemic, or the tragedies that have gone on in their lives.”

Jedwab said the country needs to also be mindful of mental health issues that can affect the physical health of Canadians.

“With the winter coming, it’ll be even more challenging, in some parts of the country, to maintain a healthy lifestyle in terms of walking, in terms of doing basic things that will help us address our anxieties,” he said, pointing to lack of access for some to gyms subject to local lockdowns.

Some of those exercise classes have gone online. Gabriel Shaw, a kinesiologist from Victoria, B.C. said he has offered virtual classes to give his clients an chance to be physically active.

Shaw said the classes don’t provide people with a sense of community like in-person classes, which he said is important for some people to exercise consistently.

“The best bet for people is to find a way they can enjoy it. That might be going out for a social distance walk or hike or run or bike with a friend,” Shaw said. “That might be finding a Zoom thing that you can get on like dancing or even other activities where you have friends.”

Shaw said people should also try learn a new skill like dancing, yoga, rock climbing, or take up running to keep things fresh and enjoyable, which is key to exercising long and well.



This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 24, 2020

—— This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship.

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PH to witness penumbral lunar eclipse Nov. 30 – Manila Bulletin



PH to witness penumbral lunar eclipse Nov. 30

Get ready to witness the last eclipse that will be visible in the Philippines in 2020.


A penumbral eclipse of the moon will occur on Nov. 30 and will be observed in northwestern Europe, the Americas, Oceania, and most of Asia, including the Philippines, according to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA).

It said the eclipse begins when the moon enters penumbra at 3:32 p.m. and ends at 7:53 p.m. (Philippine Standard Time). The full Moon will enter its maximum penumbral eclipse around 5:30 p.m.

A penumbra refers to a partially shaded outer region of a shadow that an object casts, PAGASA explained. 

A penumbral eclipse occurs when the Moon passes through the faint penumbral portion of the Earth’s shadow, which causes the moon to appear slightly darker than usual.

“The lunar surface is not completely shadowed by the Earth’s umbra (darkest part of a shadow). Instead, observers can see only the slightest dimming near the lunar limb closest to the umbra,” PAGASA said.

“The eclipse may be undetectable unless at least half of the Moon enters the penumbra,” it added.

International astronomers said that about 82 percent of the Moon’s face will turn a shade darker during the maximum phase of this eclipse.

The lunar eclipse is safe to watch and observers need not use any kind of protective filters for the eyes. 

Earlier this year, the Philippines witnessed a penumbral lunar eclipse on June 6 and an annular solar eclipse on June 21. 



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Watch the largest Earth-observing satellite ever launch into space – Inverse



On Saturday, the journey of the Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich satellite began.

The largest Earth-observing satellite took off aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket at 12:17 p.m. Eastern from Space Launch Complex 4E at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

In just a few months, the satellite will begin collecting data on rising sea levels here on Earth, offering scientists a bird’s eye view of one of the hardest to measure affects of climate change.

After it launched into orbit, the satellite separated from the rocket and spread its solar arrays in a truly stunning display.

See the video of the launch here:

Once in the air, Sentinel-6 sent a signal to ground control confirming the spacecraft is in good health and ready to start a series of check-ups and last-minute calibrations. After these are completed, the spacecraft will begin its true mission.

Sentinel-6 is a joint venture by NASA and the European Space Agency, European Organization for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

A disturbing trend — The mission’s main objective is to collect data on global sea levels and chart climate change’s effects on the Earth’s oceans. The mission will run for a period of five and a half years.

As global temperatures rise, melting glaciers and ice sheets have combined with the thermal expansion of seawater to increase sea levels at an alarming rate. Since 1880, global mean sea level has risen about 8–9 inches, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

“The Earth is changing, and this satellite will help deepen our understanding of how,” Karen St. Germain, director of NASA’s Earth Science Division, said in a statement.

“The changing Earth processes are affecting sea level globally, but the impact on local communities varies widely. International collaboration is critical to both understanding these changes and informing coastal communities around the world.”

Sentinel-6 builds on the legacy of ESA’s Copernicus Sentinel-3 mission. First launched in 2014, it remains the most ambitious Earth observation program to date.

Space agencies have played a crucial role in documenting the effects of changing global temperatures on our planet for years. Sentinel-6 brings an unprecedented level of precision to this effort.

Sentinel-6 will transform our understanding of Earth’s oceans.NASA/JPL-CalTech

A new era — The Copernicus Sentinel-6 mission includes two identical satellites, Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich and Sentinel-6B, which will launch five years apart and supply scientists with data until at least the year 2030.

Unlike previous Earth-observation missions, the Sentinel-6 observatory will collect measurements at a much higher resolution and be able to trace smaller sea-level variations near coastlines.

The way it does this is through a radar altimeter instrument, which calculates the distance between the satellite and Earth by measuring the time it takes for a transmitted radar pulse to reflect Earth’s surface. The returned echo pulse from the sea surface generates a waveform that reveals the height of the sea’s surface and the waves, as well as the surface wind speed from the roughness of the ocean, in real time.

All of these measures support ocean forecasting — crucial to sustainable ocean-resource management, coastal management, and environmental protection, as well as the fishing industry.

“The data from this satellite, which is so critical for climate monitoring and weather forecasting, will be of unprecedented accuracy,” Alain Ratier, director-general for the European Organization for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites, said in a statement.

“These data, which can only be obtained by measurements from space, will bring a wide range of benefits to people around the globe, from safer ocean travel to more precise prediction of hurricane paths, from greater understanding of sea level rise to more accurate seasonal weather forecasts, and so much more.”

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