SCIENCE NEWS | NASA resumes human spaceflight from U.S. soil with historic SpaceX launch

CAPE CANAVERAL, FLA – SpaceX, the private rocket company of billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk, launched two Americans toward orbit from Florida on Saturday in a mission that marks the first spaceflight of NASA astronauts from U.S. soil in nine years.

A SpaceXFalcom 9 rocket lifted off from the Kennedy Space Center at 3:22 p.m. EDT (1922 GMT), launching Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken on a 19-hour ride aboard the company’s newly designed Crew Dragon capsule bound for the International Space Station.

Moments before liftoff, Hurley said, ‘SpaceX we’re go for launch. Let’s light this candle’, paraphrasing the famous phrase uttered on the launch pad in 1961 by Alan Shephard, the first America launched into space.

Crew Dragon separated from its second stage booster at 3:35 and minutes later entered orbit.

The craft launched from the same pad used by NASA’s final space shuttle flight, piloted by Hurley, in 2011. Since then, NASA astronauts have had to hitch rides into orbit aboard Russia’s Soyuz spacecraft.

‘It’s incredible, the power, the technology’, said U.S. President Donald Trump, who was at Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral in Florida for the launch, ‘That was a beautiful sight to see’.

The mission’s first launch try on Wednesday was called off with less than 17 minutes remaining on the countdown clock. Weather again threatened Saturday’s launch, but cleared in time to begin the mission.

NASA chief Jim Bridenstine has said resuming launches of American astronauts of American-made rockets from U.S. soil is the space agency’s top priority.

‘I’m breathing a sigh of relief, but I will also tell you I’m not gonna celebrate until Bob and Doug are home safely’. Bridenstine said.

For Musk, the launch represents another milestone for the reusable rockets his company pioneered to make spaceflight less costly and more frequent. And it marks the first time commercially developed space vehicles – owned and operated by a private entity rather than NASA – have carried Americans into orbit.

The last time NASA launched astronauts into space aboard a brand new vehicles was 40 years ago at the start of the space shuttle program.

Musk, the South African – born high-tech entrepreneur who made his fortune in Silicon Valley, is also chief executive of electric carmaker and battery manufacturer Tesla Inc. He founded Hawthorne, California-based SpaceX, formally known as Space Exploration Technologies, in 2002.

Hurley, 53m and Behnken, 49, NASA employees under contract to fly with SpaceX, are expected to remain at the space station for several weeks, assisting a short-handed crew aboard the orbital laboratory.

Boieng Co, producing its own launch system in competition with SpaceX, is expected to fly its CST-100 Starliner wehicle with astronauts aboard for the first time next year. NASA has awarded nearly $8 billion to SpaceX and Boeing combined for development of their rival rockets.

Trump called the launch the beginning, saying the eventually there would be flights to Mars.

He was joined at the viewing by Vice President Mike Pence, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. Florida congressman Matt Gaetz and Senator Rick Scott.

Earlier on Saturday, the crew bid goodbye to their families. Prior to getting into a specially-designed Tesla for the ride to the launch site, Behnken told his young son. ‘Be good for mom. Make her life easy’.

During drive, Behnken and Hurley passed fromer astronaut Garrett Reisman holding a side saying, ‘Take me with you’.


ARTS & CULTURE | India Puts Back Taj Mahal Reopening Citing COVID-19 Risks

NEW DELHI – India has withdrawn a planned reopening of the Taj Mahal, citing the risk of new coronavirus infections spreading in the northern city of Agra from visitors flocking to see the 17th century monument to love. Local authorities issued a new advisory late on Sunday ordering an extension of lockdown curbs on monuments … Continue reading ARTS & CULTURE | India Puts Back Taj Mahal Reopening Citing COVID-19 Risks

POLITICS | Rapper Kaney West Announce U.S. Presidential Bid On Twitter

LOS ANGELES – American rapper Kanye West, a vocal support of U.S. President Donald Trump, announced on Saturday that he would run for president in 2020 in apparent challenge to Trump and his presumptive Democratic rival, former Vice President Joe Biden. ‘We must now realize the promise of America by trusting God, unifying our vision … Continue reading POLITICS | Rapper Kaney West Announce U.S. Presidential Bid On Twitter

TRAVEL ALERT | Greece Bans Entry To Serbian Citizens Until July 15

ATHENS | GREECE – Greece will not allow Serbian visitors in from July 6 until July 15, the government said on Sunday, as it moved to contain the spread of coronavirus during its peak tourism season. Serbia declared a state of emergency in Belgrade on Friday, reimposing some restrictions to slow the spread of COVID-19 … Continue reading TRAVEL ALERT | Greece Bans Entry To Serbian Citizens Until July 15

NEWST ALERT | Saudi Arabia Extends Validity Of Exit, Entry Visas For Expats

RIYADH | SAUDI ARABIA – Saudi Arabia will extend the validity of final exit visas for expats at no charge, an official source from the interior ministry said. The Kingdom will also extend the validity of expired residency visas, that end during the travel ban, for expats outside the state for a period of three … Continue reading NEWST ALERT | Saudi Arabia Extends Validity Of Exit, Entry Visas For Expats

NEWS | Saudi Crown Prince Congratulates President Of The United States Of America On Independence Day

RIYADH | SAUDI ARABIA – Prince Mohammed Bin Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Crown Prince, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense, has sent a cable of congratulation to President Donald Trump of the United States of America on the anniversary of his country’s Independence Day. In his cable, HRH Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman … Continue reading NEWS | Saudi Crown Prince Congratulates President Of The United States Of America On Independence Day

BUSINESS NEWS | Saudi Non – Oil Private Sector Shrinks Again In June – PMI

RIYADH | SAUDI ARABIA – Saudi Arabia’s non – oil private sector shrank for the fourth straight month in June as measures to contain the spread of the new coronavirus continued to hit consumer demand, a survey on Sunday. The seasonally adjusted HIS Markit Saudi Arabia Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) fell to 47.7 in June … Continue reading BUSINESS NEWS | Saudi Non – Oil Private Sector Shrinks Again In June – PMI

CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC | Global Coronavirus Cases Exceed 11 Million

WASHINGTON – Global coronavirus cases exceeded 11 million on Friday, according to a Reuters tally, marking another milestone in the spread of the disease that has killed more than half a million people in seven months. The number of cases is more than double the figure for severe influenza illnesses recorded annually, according to the … Continue reading CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC | Global Coronavirus Cases Exceed 11 Million

SUPERCARS | Lamborghini SCV12 Track – Only Hypercar Has Most Powerful V12 Engine Yet

Lamborghini’s new limited-edition SCV12 hypercar boasts most powerful V12 engine in a Lamborghini and is made only for the track. Earlier this year Lamborghini teased with an upcoming project that gave hints of a racing circuit but didn’t go so far to share the entire of the details – now we know why. Announced as … Continue reading SUPERCARS | Lamborghini SCV12 Track – Only Hypercar Has Most Powerful V12 Engine Yet

TRAVEL | UAE Allows Citizens And Residents To Travel Abroad

DUBAI – The United Arab Emirates will allow both citizens and residents to travel abroad, the state news agency reported on Friday. In March, the UAE suspended all inbound and outbound passenger flights and the transit of airline passengers in the UAE, allowing only cargo and emergency evacuation flights.

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