Endeavour brought NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken to the station’s Harmony port, prompting space station commander Chris Cassidy to ring the naval bell that’s part of the tradition for welcoming space crews.
President Donald Trump held up America’s space effort as a unifying endeavor for a divided nation after becoming only the third sitting president to witness the launch of American astronauts in person.
The two NASA astronauts who rode SpaceX’s first crew-carrying Dragon capsule to orbit today named their spacecraft, continuing a tradition that goes back to the earliest days of America’s space effort.
“I know most of you, at SpaceX especially, know it as Capsule 206,” Hurley said over a space-to-ground video link a few hours after launch. “But I think all of us thought that maybe we could do a little bit better than that. So, without further ado, we would like to welcome you aboard capsule Endeavour.”
SpaceX launched two NASA astronauts to the International Space Station today, becoming the first company to send humans to orbit on a commercial spaceship.
The Falcon 9 rocket’s liftoff from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 3:22 p.m. ET (12:22 p.m. PT) marked a feat that Americans hadn’t been able to do since NASA retired the space shuttles in 2011: sending astronauts into orbit from a U.S. launch pad rather than relying on the Russians.
“It is absolutely our honor to be part of this huge effort to get the United States back in the launch business,” NASA astronaut Doug Hurley told SpaceX Mission Control just before liftoff.
Two newly published studies shed light on the origins and spread of the coronavirus pandemic, starting with bats and pangolins in China and ending up with New York’s dramatically deadly outbreak.
One study, published today in the open-access journal Science Advances, analyzed 43 genome sequences from three strains of coronavirus similar to the one that causes COVID-19 in humans. These strains were identified in bats and in pangolins, anteater-like animals prized for their scales. The two pangolins that yielded samples of coronavirus were smuggled into China and seized by customs officials.
The type of coronavirus that has caused the human pandemic, SARS-CoV-2, is more similar to bat viruses than to pangolin viruses. But a key piece of genetic material, relating to the ability of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein to bind itself to human cells, was identified in pangolin viruses but not in bat viruses.
None of the viruses that were studied is likely to be in the direct line leading to the virus that made the leap to humans, but their diversity suggests that SARS-CoV-2 went through cross-species evolution before making the leap to humans.
NASA and SpaceX are keeping a close eye on the weather in Florida and beyond as they get set for a second attempt to launch two NASA astronauts in SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule on May 30. Or maybe May 31.
During a briefing held today at the billboard-sized countdown clock at Kennedy Space Center, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said mission managers were weighing whether to skip the first opportunity and go for the one after that instead.
The forecast for May 31 is slightly better, with a 60% chance of acceptable weather as opposed to 50% for May 30. Rain and thick clouds are the primary concerns.
An all-electric version of one of the world’s best-known small utility airplanes hummed through its first flight today at Moses Lake in central Washington state.
Redmond, Wash.-based MagniX and Seattle-based AeroTEC were in charge of the test, which focused on the performance of a Cessna 208B Grand Caravan powered by MagniX’s 750-horsepower Magni500 propulsion system.
During today’s 30-minute-long test flight, the hum of the modified eCaravan’s motor was drowned out by the relative roar of the chase plane’s engine. “The small Cessna is making about double the noise,” MagniX CEO Roei Ganzarski said during his webcast commentary.
AeroTEC test pilot Steve Crane took the plane up as high as 2,500 feet during what he termed a “flawless” test flight.
Boeing says it has resumed 737 MAX production at its factory in Renton, Wash., with more than a dozen initiatives implemented to enhance product quality and workplace safety amid the coronavirus pandemic.