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Take two for SpaceX's 1st astronaut launch with more storms – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News

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CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – SpaceX pressed ahead with its second attempt to launch astronauts for NASA – a historic first for a private company – but more stormy weather threatened more delays.

Elon Musk’s company came within 17 minutes Wednesday of launching a pair of NASA astronauts for the first time in nearly a decade from the U.S., before the threat of lightning forced a delay.

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said managers were debating whether to bump the next launch attempt from Saturday to Sunday to take advantage of a slightly improved forecast at Kennedy Space Center.

At an outdoor news conference Friday, Bridenstine stressed the need for safety for astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken – no matter how many times it takes to launch them in a SpaceX Dragon capsule atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket to the International Space Station.

“We cannot forget this is a test flight. This – is – a – test – flight,” he repeated. “We will go when everything is as safe as we can possibly make it.”

Forecasters put the odds of acceptable weather conditions Saturday at 50-50, with the outlook improving to 60% favourable on Sunday. Rain and clouds were the main concerns for both days.

Hurley and Behnken, veterans of two space shuttle flights, said they’ve both faced launch delays before. In a tweet Friday, Hurley said his first shuttle flight was scrubbed five times for weather and technical issues.

“We’re ready for the next launch opportunity!” Behnken tweeted.

While NASA urged spectators to stay home Wednesday because of the pandemic, prime viewing spots at area parks and beaches were packed. A weekend launch could draw even bigger crowds. The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex reopened Thursday, after a 2 1/2-month shutdown, and within a few hours, all 4,000 tickets were snapped up for Saturday’s launch attempt.

President Donald Trump and Vice-President Mike Pence were expected to return Saturday to watch from inside Kennedy. The number of employees, journalists and guests allowed inside the space centre remained extremely limited because of the pandemic.

Whether an attempt is made Saturday or Sunday, “There will be no pressure. We will launch when we’re ready,” Bridenstine said.

The last time astronauts launched to orbit from the U.S. was in 2011 when Atlantis closed out the 30-year space shuttle program. Hurley was on that mission as well.

NASA hired SpaceX and Boeing in 2014 to get the ball rolling again – kicking off a commercial revolution for getting people to low-Earth orbit, according to officials. In the meantime, NASA has spent billions of dollars to buy seats on Russian Soyuz capsules for U.S. astronauts, in order to keep the space station staffed.

Boeing’s first astronaut flight, on the company’s Starliner capsule, is not expected until next year.

Bridenstine offered high praise for Musk on Friday and all his personal touches: spiffy spacesuits, Tesla rides to the launch pad, a colour-co-ordinated rocket and capsule – and more.

Musk has brought “vision and inspiration” to the American space program, Bridenstine said. While there’s occasionally a little tension between NASA and SpaceX, “he gives me a commitment and he delivers on that commitment. That has happened every single time.”

The California-based SpaceX is also developing a rocket and spaceship designed to go to the moon and Mars.

On Friday, a prototype of its Starship exploded while undergoing a routine engine test at the company’s Texas site. The ship vented large amount of gases and was engulfed in a tremendous fireball.

SpaceX did not respond immediately to a request for comment.

NASA, which has a contract with SpaceX to develop Starship for its lunar landing program, has no problems going ahead with this weekend’s unrelated launch of astronauts from Cape Canaveral, agency spokesman Bob Jacobs.

“That’s a test program. That’s why they test,” Jacobs said.

AP Science Writer Seth Borenstein in Kensington, Maryland, contributed to this report.

The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

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The exoplanet closest to us could be crawling with life—except it gets blasted with lethal X-rays – SYFY WIRE

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While we’re pretty sure the moon is dead and Mars doesn’t look too promising for any life-forms (except that human colony Elon Musk is planning), we may have to look beyond our solar system.

Proxima b is the closest exoplanet to Earth and a contradiction in itself. Some astronomers have found it potentially habitable while others have blasted it for the intense X-rays it constantly gets pelted with by the star it orbits, Proxima Centauri. The planet was first detected 4 light years away by the HARPS spectrograph, but has finally been confirmed to be a real celestial body by an international team of scientists using the more advanced ESPRESSO spectrograph. Their research was recently published in Astronomy and Astrophysics. Now that we’re positive Proxima b exists, let the habitability arguments begin.

It sounds like Proxima b likes to live dangerously, since it orbits 20 times closer to its star than the distance at which Earth journeys around the Sun, but the unexpected thing about this is that the energy levels it receives from Proxima Centuari are close to what our planet gets. This has the scientists convinced that liquid oceans could exist at its surface temperature, possibly as vast as those on Earth, and the presence of water could possibly mean life—at least life as we recognize it. You never know what could be out there after methane-eating bacteria were found right here on Earth. Saturn’s moon Titan is covered in lakes of methane and ethane, so you can see where this is going.

Whether or not Proxima b could be a hotbed of life most likely depends on whether an atmosphere exists. It would need an atmosphere that could hold its own against 400 times the X-rays that reach Earth. Our atmosphere absorbs X-rays, which makes the planet safer for life, though it can be a pain for X-ray observatories trying to detect signals from deep space. X-ray photons, or high-powered molecules of energy, can go no further after they smash into individual atoms in our atmosphere that absorb them. Any that do make it to Earth have to dodge as many atoms as they would if they were trying to pass through a 16-foot-thick wall of concrete. Some insist that even an atmosphere like Earth’s would not be a strong enough X-ray shield. Without a protective enough atmosphere, life would be extinguished. Just look at what happened to Mars.

“Is there an atmosphere that protects the planet from these deadly rays?” researcher Christophe Lovis who is responsible for ESPRESSO’s scientific performance and data processing, asked in a press release. “And if this atmosphere exists, does it contain the chemical elements that promote the development of life (oxygen, for example)? How long have these favorable conditions existed?”

Not that there’s any guarantee that creatures which didn’t originate on Earth breathe oxygen and absolutely need water, but the conditions on our planet are what we have to go off of. Lovis and the other scientists who collaborated to make ESPRESSO’s Proxima b observations happen believe that those answers will emerge in the future as instruments continue to level up. The upcoming RISTRETTO spectrometer is being designed specifically to zero in on Proxima b and detect the light it gives off. HIRES (High Resolution Spectrograph) is another super-hi-res instrument that will be able to study faint objects in space and find out what their atmospheres are made of—if they have atmospheres at all.

Either of these instruments could tell us whether Proxima b is actually habitable. HIRES is currently being developed for use with ESO’s Extremely Large Telescope, which, when completed, will be the largest optical/near-infrared telescope ever.

For now, scientists will just have to keep debating whether or not anything could live on Proxima b until there is proof for or against an atmosphere.

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How SpaceX is 'revolutionizing the space industry' – Yahoo Canada Finance

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The spectacular launch into orbit of NASA astronauts aboard a SpaceX capsule on Saturday proves what space investors are betting on — commercial companies can lower the cost to access space.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="“What we saw this weekend is something that should actually bring a lot of confidence to the space investing community,” CEO of&nbsp;ProcureAM tells Yahoo Finance’s The First Trade.” data-reactid=”17″>“What we saw this weekend is something that should actually bring a lot of confidence to the space investing community,” CEO of ProcureAM tells Yahoo Finance’s The First Trade.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="SpaceX, founded by Tesla’s (TSLA) CEO Elon Musk, is now the first commercial company to have launched NASA astronauts to the International Space Station via its Crew Dragon capsule atop a Falcon 9 rocket, (both of which are re-usable). The astronaut spaceflight was the first to originate from U.S. soil since 2011.” data-reactid=”18″>SpaceX, founded by Tesla’s (TSLA) CEO Elon Musk, is now the first commercial company to have launched NASA astronauts to the International Space Station via its Crew Dragon capsule atop a Falcon 9 rocket, (both of which are re-usable). The astronaut spaceflight was the first to originate from U.S. soil since 2011.

“Sending humans to the ISS is actually helping us lower costs of actually getting things into outer space, which is what SpaceX is doing such a tremendous job on,” said Chanin.

“NASA and other space agencies are more and more ever willing to say, ‘Okay, we don’t need to build everything ourselves. We’re willing to work with the commercial space industry to help us achieve our goals’,” Andrew Chanin.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Since NASA retired its own shuttle program in 2011, it has been paying Russia&nbsp;more than $80 million per seat&nbsp;to shuttle astronauts to the ISS via the&nbsp;Soyuz spacecraft.” data-reactid=”23″>Since NASA retired its own shuttle program in 2011, it has been paying Russia more than $80 million per seat to shuttle astronauts to the ISS via the Soyuz spacecraft.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="NASA calculates that its contract with SpaceX for six round-trip missions brings the average cost per seat down to $55 million.” data-reactid=”24″>NASA calculates that its contract with SpaceX for six round-trip missions brings the average cost per seat down to $55 million.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="“If they can keep on lowering those expenses, sending things into outer space, there's so many more technologies that the barriers of entry, and the cost of R&amp;D will drop significantly and doing so could really revolutionize the space industry,” said Chanin, whose company created what he calls the first pure-play global space exchange-traded fund (UFO).” data-reactid=”25″>“If they can keep on lowering those expenses, sending things into outer space, there’s so many more technologies that the barriers of entry, and the cost of R&D will drop significantly and doing so could really revolutionize the space industry,” said Chanin, whose company created what he calls the first pure-play global space exchange-traded fund (UFO).

The Procure Space ETF includes 30 publicly-traded companies specializing in different areas, from rocket manufacturing to satellite technologies.

“Right now, one of the big drivers is broadband internet. So you look at things like 5G cloud computing, connected devices, even blockchain now some of these areas that people are really interested in getting exposure to and satellites are actually providing this,” said Chanin.

“Satellite companies are these global, digital, super highway toll operators for outer space,” he added.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Musk, recently dubbed a ‘visionary’ that ‘puts money where his mouth is’ by astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, has said SpaceX’s satellite business will eventually pay for Musk’s more ambitious plans to eventually colonizing Mars.” data-reactid=”29″>Musk, recently dubbed a ‘visionary’ that ‘puts money where his mouth is’ by astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, has said SpaceX’s satellite business will eventually pay for Musk’s more ambitious plans to eventually colonizing Mars.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Ines covers the U.S. stock market. Follow her on Twitter at&nbsp;@ines_ferre” data-reactid=”30″>Ines covers the U.S. stock market. Follow her on Twitter at @ines_ferre

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Read more:” data-reactid=”31″>Read more:

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Put money in the hands of consumers, not businesses: NYU professor Galloway” data-reactid=”32″>Put money in the hands of consumers, not businesses: NYU professor Galloway

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Why launching astronauts to space via SpaceX’s crew capsule is a big deal” data-reactid=”33″>Why launching astronauts to space via SpaceX’s crew capsule is a big deal

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Warren Buffett: “Thank you Dr. Fauci”

It would be unprecedented for a bear market to be this short: Wells Fargo Strategist” data-reactid=”34″>Warren Buffett: “Thank you Dr. Fauci”

It would be unprecedented for a bear market to be this short: Wells Fargo Strategist

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Recent rally could be a ‘bear market trap’: Miller Tabak Strategist” data-reactid=”35″>Recent rally could be a ‘bear market trap’: Miller Tabak Strategist

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Find live stock market quotes and the latest business and finance news” data-reactid=”36″>Find live stock market quotes and the latest business and finance news

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="For tutorials and information on investing and trading stocks, check out&nbsp;Cashay” data-reactid=”37″>For tutorials and information on investing and trading stocks, check out Cashay

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Follow Yahoo Finance on&nbsp;Twitter,&nbsp;Facebook,&nbsp;Instagram,&nbsp;Flipboard,&nbsp;LinkedIn, and&nbsp;reddit.” data-reactid=”38″>Follow Yahoo Finance on TwitterFacebookInstagramFlipboardLinkedIn, and reddit.

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SpaceX captures the flag, beating Boeing in cosmic contest

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CAPE CANAVERAL, FLA. —
The first astronauts launched by SpaceX declared victory Monday in NASA’s cosmic capture-the-flag game.

They quickly claimed the prize left behind at the International Space Station nearly a decade ago by the last crew to launch from the U.S.

“Congratulations, SpaceX, you got the flag,” NASA astronaut Doug Hurley said a day after arriving at the space station.

Hurley showed off the small U.S. flag during a news conference and again in a linkup with SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California.

“You can bet we will take it with us when we depart back to Earth,” said Hurley, floating alongside Dragon crewmate Bob Behnken.

The flag flew on the first space shuttle flight in 1981 and the final one in 2011. Hurley was on that last shuttle crew.

The flag was an added incentive for Elon Musk’s SpaceX company and Boeing, competing to be the first private company to launch a crew to the space station. Saturday’s liftoff of NASA astronauts was the first from the U.S. in nine years. Boeing’s first astronaut flight isn’t expected until next year. The crew will include Chris Ferguson, commander of the last shuttle flight who now works for Boeing.

“Proud to yield the title of “The last commander of an American launched spacecraft” to ΓåòAstro–Doug who, with ΓåòAstroBehnken, has returned US to space from KSC after 3,252 days. Well done,” Ferguson tweeted following the SpaceX liftoff.

An estimated 100,000 people — suppliers, vendors, engineers, etc. — were responsible for Saturday’s flawless launch of test pilots Hurley and Behnken aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Kennedy Space Center. The Dragon capsule, also built and owned by SpaceX, docked at the space station Sunday.

“It’s awe-inspiring for all of us,” SpaceX manager Benji Reed told the astronauts from Hawthorne.

Reed asked them about the Falcon ride. Hurley said he could feel when the rocket went transonic and broke the sound barrier. The final push to orbit, on the second stage, was full of vibrations and felt like “driving fast, very fast on a gravel road,” he said. The astronauts instantly went from pulling more than three G’s — more than three times the force of Earth’s gravity — to zero gravity as soon as they reached orbit.

“Sounds like the ultimate ride in a Batmobile with the jet engine turned on,” Reed said.

Behnken said one of the first things he did upon reaching the orbiting lab was call his 6-year-old son, Theo, to hear what is was like to watch his father blast into space “and share that a little bit with him while it was still fresh in his mind.”

Hurley and Behnken spent Monday making sure their docked Dragon is ready to make an emergency getaway, if necessary. The capsule will serve as their lifeboat during their space station visit. They joined three station residents — an American and two Russians.

NASA will decide in the coming weeks how long to keep the pair there. Their mission could last anywhere from one to four months. The timing will depend on Dragon checkouts in orbit and launch preparations for the company’s next astronaut flight, currently targeted for the end of August.

With so much uncertainty and so many variables, Behnken said it was a little hard explaining to his son when he’d back.

“From his perspective, he’s just excited that we’re going to get a dog when I get home,” Behnken said with a smile.

Source: – CTV News

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Edited By Harry Miller

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