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SpaceX Crew Dragon delivers two Nasa astronauts to International Space Station

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CAPE CANAVERAL, FLORIDA (REUTERS) – Nearly 24 hours after launching from Florida, SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule delivered Nasa astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to the International Space Station on Sunday (May 31), marking the first US space capsule to do so with a crew since 2011.

The space station’s current crew welcomed them aboard with hugs and handshakes on schedule at 1.25pm EDT (1.25am Singapore time), after executing a critical spacecraft docking milestone and kicking off the crew’s potentially months-long stay in the orbital laboratory.

Applause could be heard from the station’s downlink to mission control in Houston, Texas as Behnken, 49, and Hurley 53, became the first American astronauts launched to the station from US soil in nearly a decade.

“I will tell you, the whole world saw this mission, and we are so, so proud for everything you have done for our country and in fact to inspire the world,” Nasa administrator Jim Bridenstine said on a phone line through mission control.

“It’s great to get the United States back in the crewed launch business, and we’re just really glad to be on board this magnificent complex,” Hurley said.

Saturday’s launch by SpaceX, the private rocket company of billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk, represented another milestone for the reusable rockets it pioneered to make spaceflight less costly and more frequent.

It also marked the first time that commercially developed space vehicles – owned and operated by a private entity rather than Nasa – have carried Americans into orbit.

Behnken said he and Hurley were able to get a few hours’sleep during their 19-hour orbital journey, telling the administrator that “the first night is always a little bit of a challenge, but the Dragon is a slick vehicle and we had good airflow so we had an excellent evening.”

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifted off from the Kennedy Space Center at 3.22pm EDT on Saturday for the journey to the space station.

Just before lift-off, Hurley said, “SpaceX, we’re go for launch. Let’s light this candle,” paraphrasing the famous comment uttered on the launch pad in 1961 by Alan Shepard, the first American flown into space.

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Satellite-Carrying Rocket ‘Lost’ After New Zealand Launch

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By Reuters:

A rocket from small-satellite launch firm Rocket Lab failed to reach orbit minutes after a successful liftoff from New Zealand on Saturday, the company said, losing its payload of seven small satellites it had intended to carry to space.

“An issue was experienced today during Rocket Lab’s launch that caused the loss of the vehicle,” the company said on Twitter, adding more information will be shared as available.

“We are deeply sorry to the customers on board Electron,” the Auckland, New Zealand-based company said. “The issue occurred late in the flight during the 2nd stage burn.”

Rocket Lab is one of a growing group of launch companies looking to slash the cost of sending shoebox-sized satellites to low Earth orbit, building smaller rockets and reinventing traditional production lines to meet a growing payload demand.

The rocket’s altitude peaked at 121 miles (195 km) roughly seven minutes after liftoff before quickly decreasing, according to in-flight telemetry on the company’s live video feed.

It was aiming to send five tiny Earth imaging satellites from Planet Labs, one microsatellite from Canon Electronics, and a cubesat from British company In-Space Missions into a sun-synchronous orbit 310 miles above Earth.

The failed mission, the company’s 13th payload launch, had been named “Pics Or It Didn’t Happen”.

“While it’s never the outcome that we hope for, the risk of launch failure is one Planet is always prepared for,” Planet Labs said in a statement on Saturday, adding it looked “forward to flying on the Electron again” in the future.

© Thomson Reuters 2020

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Lunar Eclipse July 2020: Date, Timings, and How to Watch Live Stream

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Today is the third lunar eclipse of 2020. The third lunar eclipse of the year will start in India today. We have been witnessing eclipse back to back since the beginning of the year 2020. Now, we are gearing up for the third lunar eclipse or Chandra Grahan of 2020, which is scheduled to take place on July 5, 2020. The penumbral lunar eclipse will take place during the day time here in India, which means most of us will not even notice it. It also coincides with the US Independence Day which is good news for US residents as they are among the people who will get to witness this celestial phenomenon. The first lunar eclipse of 2020 was in January, followed by the second in June, making it the third lunar eclipse for the year.

However, for people in India, the penumbral lunar eclipse may not be visible as it will take place in the day time. It will be difficult for Indians to witness the phenomenon. In certain regions, the penumbral lunar eclipse has also been referred to as “buck moon”, a name which Algonquin tribes used to call. South/West Europe, much of Africa, much of North America, South America, Pacific, Atlantic, Indian Ocean and Antarctica will be able to witness the phenomenon.

Lunar eclipse July 2020: What is a penumbral lunar eclipse?

On July 5, 2020, we will be witnessing a partial penumbral eclipse (upchaya chandra grahan in Hindi). It happens when Earth is between the sun and a full moon. While eclipses begin when Earth’s shadow falls on the moon, this time around the moon won’t be passing through Earth’s dark, inner shadow, known as the umbra. Instead, the moon will go through Earth’s outer, lighter shadow, known as the penumbra.

As per NASA, as there will be a full moon at 12:44 am EDT on July 5 (10:14 am IST on July 5) and will be the first full Moon of summer (US), the Algonquin tribes used to call this full Moon the Buck Moon.

When will the lunar eclipse occur?

As per data by TimeandDate, the lunar eclipse will start at 11:07 pm EDT on July 4 (8:37 am IST on July 5) and reach its peak at 12:29 am EDT on July 5 (9:59 am IST on July 5). It will last for 2 hours and 45 minutes after which the lunar eclipse will end at 1:52 am EDT on July 5 (11:22 am IST on July 5).

Who will be able to witness the lunar eclipse?

Unfortunately for people in India, the penumbral lunar eclipse may not be visible as it will take place in the day time. It will be difficult for Indians to witness the phenomenon. However, people in much of North America, South America, South/West Europe, much of Africa, Indian Ocean, Pacific, Antarctica, and Atlantic will be able to witness it.

How to watch the July 2020 lunar eclipse?

The penumbral lunar eclipse, and other such celestial events are often streamed on popular YouTube channels including Slooh and the website Virtual Telescope. If you live in one of the regions where this lunar eclipse will be visible, you should be able to watch it without any special equipment.

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Japanese Startup Creates ‘Connected’ Face Mask for Coronavirus New Normal

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As face coverings become the norm amid the coronavirus pandemic, Japanese startup Donut Robotics has developed an internet-connected ‘smart mask’ that can transmit messages and translate from Japanese into eight other languages.

The white plastic ‘c-mask’ fits over standard face masks and connects via Bluetooth to a smartphone and tablet application that can transcribe speech into text messages, make calls, or amplify the mask wearer’s voice.

“We worked hard for years to develop a robot and we have used that technology to create a product that responds to how the coronavirus has reshaped society,” said Taisuke Ono, the chief executive of Donut Robotics.

Donut Robotics’ engineers came up with the idea for the mask as they searched for a product to help the company survive the pandemic. When the coronavirus struck, it had just secured a contract to supply robot guides and translators to Tokyo’s Haneda Airport, a product that faces an uncertain future after the collapse of air travel.

Donut Robotics’ first 5,000 c-masks will be shipped to buyers in Japan starting in September, with Ono looking to sell in China, the United States and Europe too. There has been strong interest, he said.

At about $40 (roughly Rs. 3,000) per mask, Donut Robotics is aiming at a mass market that did not exist until a few months ago. One aim, he said, is to generate revenue from subscriber services offered via an app that users will download.

Donut Robotics built a prototype connected mask within a month by adapting translation software developed for its robot and a mask design that one of the company’s engineers, Shunsuke Fujibayashi, created four years ago for a student project to interpret speech by mapping face muscles.

Ono raised JPY 28 million (roughly Rs. 1.98 crores) for development by selling Donut Robotics shares through Japanese crowdfunding site Fundinno.

“We raised our initial target of 7 million yen within three minutes and stopped after 37 minutes when we had reached 28 million yen,” he said.

© Thomson Reuters 2020

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