Issued on: 11/11/2020 – 00:30
Three NASA crew and one Japanese astronaut are set for launch aboard a SpaceX rocket Saturday, bound for the International Space Station in the program’s first six-month routine mission since the United States resumed crewed space flight in May after nine years of reliance on Russia.
NASA on Tuesday officially certified as safe the Crew Dragon capsule developed for regular astronaut transportation by SpaceX, the company founded by Elon Musk that carried two astronauts to the ISS in May and back to Earth again in August without major incident.
“I’m extremely proud to say we are returning regular human spaceflight launches to American soil on an American rocket and spacecraft,” NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine said.
Take-off is planned for 7:49 pm Saturday (0049 GMT Sunday) from Kennedy Space Center in Florida with American astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover and Shannon Walker and Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi on board.
As of Tuesday evening, the weather outlook for Saturday was good.
They are expected to arrive at the ISS eight hours later, at 0920 GMT Sunday.
The mission marks a culmination for SpaceX, setting it up to be NASA’s favored — and so far most reliable — transportation provider as the agency waits on Boeing’s Starliner capsule, which has been held up in testing and is not expected to be ready before next year.
SpaceX has been operating space station re-supplying flights with the cargo version of the Dragon since 2012.
“For the next 15 months, we will fly seven crew and cargo Dragon missions for NASA,” SpaceX head of crewed flights Benji Reed said during a phone call Tuesday.
“That means that (from December) starting with Crew-1, there will be a continuous presence of SpaceX Dragons in orbit.”
The next crewed mission is expected to blast off at the end of March 2021, carrying one European, one Japanese and two American crew members.
© 2020 AFP
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Eat This, Not That!
The White House Coronavirus Task Force warned governors in private reports this week that “the COVID risk to all Americans is at a historic high” and said virus-mitigation efforts in many states are still not strong enough.”We are in a very dangerous place due to the current, extremely high COVID baseline and limited hospital capacity,” the new reports, dated Nov. 29, read. “A further post-Thanksgiving surge will compromise COVID patient care, as well as medical care overall.”This article was originally published by the Center for Public Integrity, a nonprofit investigative news organization based in Washington, D.C. Read on, and to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Sure Signs You’ve Already Had Coronavirus.The task force also issued some of its strongest warnings yet to individual Americans, even though the reports to governors are not made public. It said anyone over age 65 should not enter indoor public spaces with unmasked people and should have groceries and medications delivered. It also said that people under 40 who gathered with others outside their households for Thanksgiving should assume they became infected, isolate themselves and be tested immediately. “You are dangerous to others,” the task force said.Forty-seven states and the District of Columbia were in the red zone for new cases in this week’s report — one fewer than the week prior — meaning they had more than 100 new cases per 100,000 residents. But 39 states were in the White House’s red zone for deaths — three more than the prior week — meaning they had more than two new deaths per 100,000 residents. North and South Dakota again led the nation in both cases and deaths per capita.”In many areas of the USA, state mitigation efforts remain inadequate, resulting in sustained transmission,” the task force said. “All states and counties must flatten the curve now.”The White House has said it does not share the reports publicly because it wants states to lead the pandemic response. The Center for Public Integrity is collecting and publishing the documents. Last week it exclusively obtained the 50-state version of the Nov. 22 reports, revealing that the White House was taking tough stances with many states that refuse to share their reports, including Indiana and South Dakota.”Improved public observance of social distancing measures is urgently needed to limit overrunning of hospital capacity,” the White House told officials in Indiana. “The Governor’s active engagement and support of mitigation measures are critical.”The White House reports this week again urged states to do more rapid testing. The task force also urged seniors to get tested immediately if they gathered with others for Thanksgiving and start experiencing symptoms: “If you are over 65 or have significant medical conditions and you gathered outside of your immediate household, you are at a significant risk for serious COVID infection; if you develop any symptoms, you must be tested immediately as the majority of therapeutics work best early in infection,” the reports read.RELATED: COVID Symptoms Usually Appear in This Order, Study FindsThe states in the red zone for cases in this week’s report (meaning they had more than 100 new cases per 100,000 residents in the week prior):North DakotaSouth DakotaWyomingNew MexicoMinnesotaIowaNebraskaIndianaKansasMontanaUtahWisconsinAlaskaColoradoRhode IslandIllinoisOhioNevadaOklahomaMichiganIdahoMissouriKentuckyArkansasPennsylvaniaArizonaTennesseeWest VirginiaDelawareNew JerseyConnecticutLouisianaMississippiMassachusettsMarylandFloridaWashingtonTexasCaliforniaNorth CarolinaNew YorkAlabamaOregonVirginiaSouth CarolinaNew HampshireDistrict of ColumbiaGeorgiaThe states in the red zone for test positivity in this week’s report (meaning more than 10 percent of tests in the state were positive in the week prior):IdahoMontanaKansasOklahomaMissouriUtahIowaNebraskaNevadaIndianaNew MexicoSouth DakotaOhioWyomingMichiganKentuckyTennesseeNorth DakotaAlabamaMississippiIllinoisMinnesotaWisconsinPennsylvaniaArizonaColoradoTexasThe states in the red zone for deaths (meaning they had more than more than two new deaths per 100,000 residents in the week prior): South DakotaNorth DakotaNew MexicoMontanaWyomingIowaMichiganMinnesotaIndianaIllinoisWisconsinNebraskaRhode IslandTennesseeMissouriMississippiPennsylvaniaKansasColoradoWest VirginiaArkansasConnecticutIdahoNevadaLouisianaOhioTexasMarylandNew JerseyOklahomaAlabamaAlaskaKentuckyMassachusettsUtahFloridaSouth CarolinaArizonaNorth CarolinaAnd to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these 35 Places You’re Most Likely to Catch COVID.About the Author: Liz Essley Whyte is a reporter for the Center for Public Integrity.
China completes lunar sample collection ahead of schedule – CANOE
BEIJING — China’s Chang’e-5 lunar vehicle has finished collecting samples of lunar rocks and soil more than a day ahead of schedule in the first lunar sample retrieval mission since the 1970s, the country’s space agency said on Thursday.
The robotic vehicle has stored the samples and will now dock with the orbiting Chang’e-5 for the return journey to Earth.
China launched a robotic spacecraft on Nov. 24 to bring back rocks from the moon in the first bid by any country to retrieve samples since 1976.
Late on Tuesday, the Chang’e-5 spacecraft successfully deployed a pair of landing and ascending vehicles onto the moon’s surface. The plan was to collect 2 kg (4.4 pounds) of samples.
The sample collection was completed after 19 hours, the space agency said in its statement, without disclosing the total weight of the samples collected.
China had planned to collect the samples over a period of about two days, with the entire mission taking around 23 days.
The ascending vehicle would lift off from the lunar surface with the samples, and dock with a module currently orbiting around the moon.
The samples would then be transferred to a return capsule onboard the orbiting module for delivery back to Earth.
If successful, the mission will make China only the third country to have retrieved lunar samples after the United States and the Soviet Union.
China made its first lunar landing in 2013.
In January 2019, the Chang’e-4 probe landed on the far side of the moon, the first space probe from any nation to do so.
Chinese lunar probe on way back to Earth – FRANCE 24
Issued on: 03/12/2020 – 17:54Modified: 03/12/2020 – 17:52
A Chinese space probe left the surface of the Moon Thursday to return to Earth, an ambitious effort to bring back the world’s first lunar samples in four decades.
China has poured billions into its military-run space programme, with hopes of having a crewed space station by 2022 and eventually sending humans to the Moon.
The Chang’e-5 spacecraft, named after the mythical Chinese Moon goddess, left the Moon at 11:10 pm (1510 GMT), said state broadcaster CCTV as mission engineers who were riveted to control screens applauded at length.
A module carrying lunar rocks and soil was in orbit after activating a powerful thrust engine, the China National Space Administration said of the mission that was launched from China’s southern Hainan province.
Scientists hope the samples will help them learn about the Moon’s origins, formation and volcanic activity on its surface.
If the return journey is successful, China will be only the third country to have retrieved samples from the Moon, following the United States and the Soviet Union in the 1960s and 1970s.
This is the first such attempt since the Soviet Union’s Luna 24 mission in 1976.
The spacecraft was due to collect two kilograms (4.5 pounds) of material in a previously unexplored area known as Oceanus Procellarum — or “Ocean of Storms” — a vast lava plain, according to the science journal Nature.
The samples will be returned to Earth in a capsule programmed to land in northern China’s Inner Mongolia region, according to US space agency NASA.
Under President Xi Jinping, plans for China’s “space dream”, as he calls it, have been put into overdrive.
Beijing is looking to finally catch up with the US and Russia after years of belatedly matching their space milestones.
China launched its first satellite in 1970, while human spaceflight took decades longer — with Yang Liwei becoming China’s first “taikonaut” in 2003.
A Chinese lunar rover landed on the far side of the Moon in January 2019 in a global first that boosted Beijing’s aspirations to become a space superpower.
The latest probe is among a slew of ambitious targets, which include creating a powerful rocket capable of delivering payloads heavier than those NASA and private rocket firm SpaceX can handle, a lunar base, and a permanently crewed space station.
China’s taikonauts and scientists have also talked up crewed missions to Mars.
© 2020 AFP
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