Connect with us

Reuters

‘One heck of a ride’: SpaceX launches astronauts into space

Elon Musk’s rocket company SpaceX launched four astronauts on a flight to the International Space Station on Sunday, NASA’s first full-fledged mission sending a crew into orbit aboard a privately owned spacecraft….

Published

on

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (Reuters) – Elon Musk’s rocket company SpaceX launched four astronauts on a flight to the International Space Station on Sunday, NASA’s first full-fledged mission sending a crew into orbit aboard a privately owned spacecraft.

SpaceX’s newly designed Crew Dragon capsule, which the crew has dubbed Resilience, lifted off atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket at 7:27 p.m. eastern time (0027 GMT on Monday) from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.

“That was one heck of a ride,” astronaut Mike Hopkins said from Crew Dragon to SpaceX mission control about an hour after liftoff. “There was a lot of smiles.”

Crew Dragon will gradually raise its orbit for the next 27 hours through a series of onboard thruster firings, giving the astronauts time to eat pre-packaged dinners and roughly eight hours to rest before docking at the International Space Station at 11 p.m. eastern time on Monday.

An air leak caused an unexpected drop in capsule pressure less than two hours before launch, NASA officials said. But technicians said they conducted a successful leak check, and the scheduled launch was still on.

The Resilience crew includes Hopkins and two fellow NASA astronauts, mission pilot Victor Glover and physicist Shannon Walker. They were joined by Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi, making his third trip to space after previously flying on the U.S. shuttle in 2005 and Soyuz in 2009.

The 27-hour ride to the space station, an orbiting laboratory some 250 miles (400 km) above Earth, was originally scheduled to begin on Saturday. But the launch was postponed for a day due to forecasts of gusty winds – remnants of Tropical Storm Eta – that would have made a return landing for the Falcon 9’s reusable booster stage difficult, NASA officials said.

The astronauts donned their custom white flight suits and arrived at the Kennedy Space Center launch pad on schedule at 4:30 p.m. in three white Tesla SUVs, flanked by NASA and SpaceX personnel.

SpaceX mission operator Jay Aranha, speaking from the company’s Hawthorne, California headquarters, told the crew to “have an amazing trip, and know that we are all for one.”

Mission commander Mike Hopkins responded, saying “to all the people at NASA and SpaceX, by working together through these difficult times, you’ve inspired the nation the world.”

“And now it’s time for us to do our part, Crew 1 for all,” Hopkins said.

Vice-President Mike Pence attended the launch and said beforehand that under President Donald Trump, America had “renewed our commitment to lead in human space exploration.”

President-elect Joe Biden Tweeted his congratulations, saying the launch was “a testament to the power of science.”

FIRST PRIVATE MISSION

NASA is calling the flight its first “operational” mission for a rocket and crew-vehicle system that was 10 years in the making. It represents a new era of commercially developed spacecraft – owned and operated by a private entity rather than NASA – for sending Americans into orbit.

A trial flight of the SpaceX Crew Dragon in August, carrying just two astronauts to and from the space station, marked NASA’s first human space mission to be launched from U.S. soil in nine years, following the end of the space shuttle program in 2011. In the intervening years, U.S. astronauts have had to hitch rides into orbit aboard Russia’s Soyuz spacecraft.

NASA contracted SpaceX and Boeing in 2014 to develop competing space capsules aimed at replacing its shuttle program and weaning the United States from dependence on Russian rockets to send astronauts to space.

SpaceX’s launch on Sunday was the first of six operational missions for NASA. The company has also booked private astronaut missions, including one slated to carry actor Tom Cruise in the coming years.

Musk, the billionaire SpaceX chief executive who is also CEO of electric carmaker and battery manufacturer Tesla Inc TSLA.O, did not watch the liftoff from the Kennedy Space Center launch control room, NASA officials said. Musk said on Saturday he “most likely” has a moderate case of COVID-19.

SpaceX and NASA have conducted contact-tracing and determined Musk had not come into contact with anyone who interacted with the astronauts.

“Our astronauts have been in quarantine for weeks, and they should not have had contact with anybody,” NASA chief Jim Bridenstine said on Friday. “They should be in good shape.”

Reporting by Andrea Shalal in Cape Canaveral and Joey Roulette in Washington; Additional reporting by Brad Brooks in Lubbock, Texas; Editing by Daniel Wallis, Leslie Adler, Chris Reese & Simon Cameron-Moore

for-phone-onlyfor-tablet-portrait-upfor-tablet-landscape-upfor-desktop-upfor-wide-desktop-up

Source: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-space-exploration-spacex/spacex-nasa-begin-first-operational-astronaut-mission-to-space-idUSKBN27V0I3

[ALT0]

Reuters

Biden set to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan by Sept. 11

President Joe Biden plans to withdraw the remaining 2,500 U.S. troops from Afghanistan by Sept. 11, 2021, 20 years to the day after the al Qaeda attacks that triggered America’s longest war, U.S. officials said on Tuesday.

Published

on

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -President Joe Biden plans to withdraw the remaining 2,500 U.S. troops from Afghanistan by Sept. 11, 2021, 20 years to the day after the al Qaeda attacks that triggered America’s longest war, U.S. officials said on Tuesday.

The disclosure of the plan came on the same day that the U.S. intelligence community released a gloomy outlook for Afghanistan, forecasting “low” chances of a peace deal this year and warning that its government would struggle to hold the Taliban insurgency at bay if the U.S.-led coalition withdraws support.

Biden’s decision would miss a May 1 deadline for withdrawal agreed to with the Taliban by his predecessor Donald Trump. The insurgents had threatened to resume hostilities against foreign troops if that deadline was missed. But Biden would still be setting a near-term withdrawal date, potentially allaying Taliban concerns.

The Democratic president will publicly announce his decision on Wednesday, the White House said. A senior Biden administration official said the pullout would begin before May 1 and could be complete well before the Sept. 11 deadline. Significantly, it will not would be subject to further conditions, including security or human rights.

“The president has judged that a conditions-based approach, which has been the approach of the past two decades, is a recipe in staying in Afghanistan forever,” the official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said in a briefing with reporters.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin are expected to discuss the decision with NATO allies in Brussels on Wednesday, sources said.

Biden’s decision suggests he has concluded that the U.S. military presence will no longer be decisive in achieving a lasting peace in Afghanistan, a core Pentagon assumption that has long underpinned American troop deployments there.

“There is no military solution to the problems plaguing Afghanistan, and we will focus our efforts on supporting the ongoing peace process,” the senior administration official said.

The U.S. intelligence report, which was sent to Congress, stated: “Kabul continues to face setbacks on the battlefield, and the Taliban is confident it can achieve military victory.”

It remains unclear how Biden’s move would impact a planned 10-day summit starting April 24 about Afghanistan in Istanbul that is due to include the United Nations and Qatar.

The Taliban said they would not take part in any summits that would make decisions about Afghanistan until all foreign forces had left the country.

The May 1 deadline had already started to appear less and less likely in recent weeks, given the lack of preparations on the ground to ensure it could be done safely and responsibly. U.S. officials have also blamed the Taliban for failing to live up to commitments to reduce violence and some have warned about persistent Taliban links to al Qaeda.

It was those ties that triggered U.S. military intervention in 2001 following al Qaeda’s Sept. 11 attacks, when hijackers slammed airplanes into the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon outside Washington, killing almost 3,000 people. The Biden administration has said al Qaeda does not pose a threat to the U.S. homeland now.

‘ABANDON THE FIGHT’

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell accused Biden of planning to “turn tail and abandon the fight in Afghanistan.” It was Trump, a Republican, who had agreed to the May 1 withdrawal.

“Precipitously withdrawing U.S. forces from Afghanistan is a grave mistake,” McConnell said, adding that effective counter-terrorism operations require presence and partners on the ground.

There currently are about 2,500 U.S. troops in Afghanistan, down from a peak of more than 100,000 in 2011. About 2,400 U.S. service members have been killed in the course of the Afghan conflict and many thousands more wounded.

FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Joe Biden speaks about jobs and the economy at the White House in Washington, U.S., April 7, 2021. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Officials in Afghanistan are bracing for the withdrawal.

“We will have to survive the impact of it and it should not be considered as Taliban’s victory or takeover,” said a senior Afghan government source, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Although successive U.S. presidents sought to extricate themselves from Afghanistan, those hopes were confounded by concerns about Afghan security forces, endemic corruption in Afghanistan and the resiliency of a Taliban insurgency that enjoyed safe haven across the border in Pakistan.

Democratic U.S. Senator Bob Menendez, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said the United States could cut off financial assistance to Afghanistan “if there is backsliding on civil society, the rights that women have achieved.” Under previous Taliban rule, the rights of women and girls were curtailed.

Democratic Senator Jack Reed, chairman of Senate Armed Services, called it a very difficult decision for Biden.

“There is no easy answer,” Reed said.

Reporting by Phil Stewart, Idrees Ali and Steve Holland, Trevor Hunnicutt, Patricia Zengerle and Jonathan Landay in Washington, Jibran Ahmad in Peshawar and Hamid Shalizi in Kabul, Editing by Will Dunham

for-phone-onlyfor-tablet-portrait-upfor-tablet-landscape-upfor-desktop-upfor-wide-desktop-up

Source: https://www.reuters.com/article/usa-afghanistan-withdrawal-int-idUSKBN2C02JI

biden-set-to-withdraw-u.s.-troops-from-afghanistan-by-sept.-11

Continue Reading

Reuters

Myanmar security forces with rifle grenades kill over 80 protesters – monitoring group

Myanmar security forces fired rifle grenades at protesters in a town near Yangon on Friday, killing more than 80 people, the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) monitoring group and a domestic news outlet said.

Published

on

(Reuters) – Myanmar security forces fired rifle grenades at protesters in a town near Yangon on Friday, killing more than 80 people, the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) monitoring group and a domestic news outlet said.

Details of the death toll in the town of Bago, 90 km (55 miles) northeast of Yangon, were not initially available because security forces piled up bodies in the Zeyar Muni pagoda compound and cordoned off the area, according to witnesses and domestic media outlets.

The AAPP and Myanmar Now news outlet said on Saturday that 82 people were killed during the protest against the Feb. 1 military coup in the country. Firing started before dawn on Friday and continued into the afternoon, Myanmar Now said.

“It is like genocide,” the news outlet quoted a protest organiser called Ye Htut as saying. “They are shooting at every shadow.”

Many residents of the town have fled, according to accounts on social media.

A spokesman for Myanmar’s military junta could not be reached on Saturday.

AAPP, which has maintained a daily tally of protesters killed and arrested by security forces, has previously said 618 people have died since the coup.

That figure is disputed by the military, which says it staged the coup because a November election won by Aung San Suu Kyi’s party was rigged. The election commission has dismissed the assertion.

Junta spokesman Major General Zaw Min Tun told a news conference on Friday in the capital, Naypyitaw, that the military had recorded 248 civilian deaths and 16 police deaths, and said no automatic weapons had been used by security forces.

An alliance of ethnic armies in Myanmar that has opposed the junta’s crackdown attacked a police station in the east on Saturday and at least 10 policemen were killed, domestic media said.

The police station at Naungmon in Shan state was attacked early in the morning by fighters from an alliance that includes the Arakan Army, the Ta’ang National Liberation Army and the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army, the media reported.

Shan News said at least 10 policemen were killed, while the Shwe Phee Myay news outlet put the death toll at 14.

Myanmar’s military rulers said on Friday that protests against its rule were dwindling because people wanted peace, and that it would hold elections within two years.

Ousted Myanmar lawmakers urged the United Nations Security Council on Friday to take action against the military.

“Our people are ready to pay any cost to get back their rights and freedom,” said Zin Mar Aung, who has been appointed acting foreign minister for a group of ousted lawmakers. She urged Council members to apply both direct and indirect pressure on the junta.

“Myanmar stands at the brink of state failure, of state collapse,” Richard Horsey, a senior adviser on Myanmar with the International Crisis Group, told the informal U.N. meeting, the first public discussion of Myanmar by council members.

Reporting by Reuters Staff; Writing by Raju Gopalakrishnan; Editing by Pravin Char

for-phone-onlyfor-tablet-portrait-upfor-tablet-landscape-upfor-desktop-upfor-wide-desktop-up

Source: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-myanmar-politics-idUSKBN2BX0D5

myanmar-security-forces-with-rifle-grenades-kill-over-80-protesters---monitoring-group

Continue Reading

Reuters

Factbox: Russian central bank considers digital rouble in 2023

(Refiles to remove superfluous word in headline; no change in text.)

Published

on

(Refiles to remove superfluous word in headline; no change in text.)

FILE PHOTO: A Russian flag flies over Russian Central Bank headquarters in Moscow, Russia December 3, 2018. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov/File Photo

(Reuters) – The Russian central bank is considering limiting future transactions with a digital rouble to smooth the impact of its implementation, planned for 2023, Deputy Governor Alexei Zabotkin said on Thursday.

Russia is working on introducing the digital rouble on top of existing cash and non-cash roubles, to facilitate payments for individuals and businesses and make the use of its currency more global in the face of Western sanctions.

“The emission of the cryptorouble will be akin to cash emission,” Zabotkin said.

“It will be feasible to introduce limits on the transactions from non-cash form into the digital rouble,” Zabotkin said, adding that the central bank will stand ready to compensate for possible liquidity shortages when introducing the digital rouble.

Russia is joining other central banks across the world that are stepping up efforts to develop digital currencies to modernise financial systems, speed up payments and counter a potential threat from other cryptocurrencies.

Below are the key aspects that are known about Russia’s digital rouble project:

* The central bank first floated the idea of the digital rouble in October, citing the need to make payments more convenient;

* The digital rouble will be issued by the central bank and will not substitute for cash in circulation or accounts in banks;

* The first test-drive stage is planned for 2022 and will include transactions with banks. Other operations, such as tax payments and budget settlements, will be tested later;

* Russia is leaning towards a two-tier system for its digital rouble, with banks opening digital wallets with the central bank and serving as intermediaries for customers and companies;

* Russian banks expressed concern about the digital rouble, pointing at cyber risks, possible liquidity shortages and damage to their profits;

* Russia gave cryptocurrencies, such as bitcoin, legal status in 2020. But it banned them from being used as a means of payment, stressing that only currencies issued by central banks can be used for that;

* Russia eyes the digital rouble introduction at times when major central banks including the U.S. Federal Reserve have teamed up with the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) to explore central bank digital currencies.

Reporting by Anna Rzhevkina and Elena Fabrichnaya; editing by Andrey Ostroukh, Larry King

for-phone-onlyfor-tablet-portrait-upfor-tablet-landscape-upfor-desktop-upfor-wide-desktop-up

Source: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-russia-cenbank-rouble-factbox/factbox-russian-central-bank-considers-digital-rouble-in-2023-idUSKBN2BV2AH?il=0

factbox:-russian-central-bank-considers-digital-rouble-in-2023

Continue Reading

Title

Cointelegraph1 hour ago

Massachusetts regulator seeks to revoke Robinhood’s broker-dealer license

Massachusetts' securities regulator is seeking to revoke the broker-dealer license of cryptocurrency-friendly stock trading app Robinhood in the state.

Entrepreneur7 hours ago

Penny Stocks To Buy For Under $1 On Robinhood

Are Penny Stocks Under $1 on Robinhood Worth It?

Crunchbase20 hours ago

C2i Genomics Secures $100M Note To Detect Tiny Traces of Cancer

C2i’s cancer diagnostics service uses AI pattern recognition and whole-genome analysis to spot trace amounts of cancer much quicker.

Blockchain news23 hours ago

Ethereum’s Upside Appears Limitless as ETH Breaches $2,400 For the First Time Ever

On-chain metrics provider Santiment has delved deeper into Ethereum’s uptrend and noted that its rally to $3k and beyond looks...

CNBC1 day ago

JPMorgan Chase beats profit estimates on strong trading, $5.2 billion release of loan-loss reserves

JPMorgan posted first-quarter profit of $4.50 a share, much higher than the $3.10 per share expected by analysts surveyed by...

CNBC2 days ago

Coinbase drops below debut price

Coinbase held its direct listing on the Nasdaq on Wednesday, luring public market investors who've been waiting to get into...

Ventureburn2 days ago

Joburg healthtech startup secures undisclosed seven-figure funding –

Quro Medical has secured an undisclosed seven-figure USD amount of funding in a seed round led by Enza Capital and...

ZDNET2 days ago

Is there a market for an Apple TV/HomePod Frankenstein?

Rumors are circulating that Apple is planning to take two devices that aren't selling all that well, and smash them...

Reuters2 days ago

Biden set to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan by Sept. 11

President Joe Biden plans to withdraw the remaining 2,500 U.S. troops from Afghanistan by Sept. 11, 2021, 20 years to...

Business insider2 days ago

Annual Report and Sustainability Report 2021: New Wave Group AB

KUNGÄLV, Sweden, April 14, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- New Wave Group AB today published the Annual Report and Sustainability Report for...

Review

    Select language

    Trending