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https://killexams.com/exam_list/AIWMIKillexams : Polaris Dawn: The trailblazing commercial mission of the Polaris Program
Polaris Dawn is the gate-opener mission to the larger Polaris Program, a set of at least three anticipated missions bankrolled by a billionaire.
The mission will fly on a SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft no earlier than March 2023 and will be commanded by Jared Isaacman, the founder of payment provider Shift4. This will be Isaacman's second mission in space after paying for the Inspiration4 mission in 2021.
Four people will fly to space on Polaris Dawn to conduct scientific experiments, raise money for St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, and to perform the first commercial spacewalk using SpaceX spacesuits.
Future Polaris Program missions have not been announced in detail, but Isaacman has been vocal about the future of the Hubble Space Telescope that launched in 1990 and which has not been repaired since 2009. NASA is considering a private vendor to launch to the famed observatory after SpaceX and the Polaris Program raised the idea of boosting it to a higher orbit.
Polaris Dawn crew
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The Polaris Dawn crew includes one veteran astronaut and businessperson, two SpaceX personnel experienced in crewed and uncrewed launches and mission operations, and a former combat pilot.
Jared Isaacman, 38 at the time of the Polaris Dawn announcement in 2022, commanded the SpaceX Inspiration4 mission that flew to Earth orbit in September 2021. Isaacman is the billionaire founder of Shift4 Payments and paid for the trip, along with the seats of all of his crewmates. He has also done a high-speed circumnavigation of the world and air shows and previously owned the jet pilot training company Draken International. He has about 6,000 hours of flying experience.
Scott "Kidd" Poteet, age not disclosed, is a retired United States Air Force (USAF) Lieutenant Colonel and a pilot with more than 3,200 flying hours in numerous high-performance aircraft such as the F-16 and T-37, according to his Polaris Dawn biography(opens in new tab). He also served in combat and was commander of the 64th Aggressor Squadron and USAF Thunderbird No. 4 demonstration pilot. Poteet is a long-time business associate of Isaacman, including director of business development at Draken International and vice-president of strategy at Shift4. He has also finished 15 Ironman triathlons since 2000.
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Sarah Gillis, age not disclosed, is a lead space operations engineer at SpaceX and responsible for astronaut training for missions such as Inspiration4 and NASA Crew Dragon missions Demo-2 and Crew-1. Her biography notes(opens in new tab) extensive mission control operations, including serving as a navigation officer for Dragon cargo resupply missions, and crew communicator for Dragon human spaceflight missions. Gillis' original career goal was to be a classical violinist, but she changed her career goals to engineering after speaking with her high school mentor, former NASA astronaut Joe Tanner.
Anna Menon, age not disclosed, is a lead space operations engineer at SpaceX, managing crew operations development and working as mission director and crew communicator. Notable missions, her biography states(opens in new tab), include NASA crewed spaceflights Demo-2 and Crew-1, along with the uncrewed cargo missions CRS-22 and CRS-23. Menon previously worked at NASA as a biomedical flight controller for the International Space Station. She also has experience in biomedical engineering with the World Health Organization, Engineers Without Borders and Engineering World Health. Her fourth-grade teacher, Alison Smith Balch, was the daughter of the space shuttle Challenger pilot Michael J. Smith; the elder Smith died during the Challenger shuttle accident in 1986.
Mission: First commercial spacewalk
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The mission was originally scheduled for the last quarter of 2022 and is now expected to fly no earlier than March 2023. Polaris spokesperson Sarah Grover told SpaceNews(opens in new tab) in October 2022 that the program changed its launch projection "based on the readiness of hardware, software and training ... as well as the overall manifest of SpaceX missions." But the March 2023 date is also subject to change based on the International Space Station schedule, which SpaceX also serves through cargo and astronaut missions.
Polaris Dawn will seek to perform the first-ever commercial spacewalk using a new commercial spacesuit designed by SpaceX. Isaacman told the Washington Post(opens in new tab) in October 2022 that the spacecraft may be re-envisioning how such excursions are done today, as NASA tends to schedule all movements precisely and to allow two people only at a time to do spacewalks.
"When we get back to the moon and we get to Mars someday, it won't be just two people at a time," Isaacman said. The spacesuit also should not be customized for future explorers, he added: "You need a mass‑produced, low‑cost EVA [extravehicular activity] space suit so you can get outside in the safety of a habitat and vehicle and do work on the surface of that planet or celestial body or even in space."
The mission is also seeking to go as high as 870 miles (1,400 kilometers). If that happens, it would be the highest-ever Earth-orbiting mission by humans, breaking the record set by the Gemini 11 mission of 853 miles (1,373 km) in September 1966.
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Additionally, Polaris Dawn will perform a set of science and engineering experiments, such as communicating with SpaceX's high-speed network, Starlink. Other trial experiments include these listed on the Polaris Dawn website:
Using ultrasound to monitor, detect, and quantify venous gas emboli (VGE), contributing to studies on human prevalence to decompression sickness;
Gathering data on the radiation environment to better understand how space radiation affects human biological systems;
Providing biological samples towards multi-omics analyses for a long-term Biobank; and
Research related to Spaceflight Associated Neuro-Ocular Syndrome (SANS), which is a key risk to human health in long-duration spaceflight.
Polaris Dawn FAQ's answered by experts
Jared Isaacman is the billionaire CEO of Shift4 and funded both Inspiration and the Polaris Program. He has more than 7,000 flight hours of aviation experience, including ratings in multiple experimental and ex-military aircraft.
How was the crew selected?
Jared Isaacman: Polaris is very much a joint effort with SpaceX. We decide on a lot of things together with respect to the Polaris Program. In the case of the crew, we built a crew to meet the mission objectives. Of course, having familiarity and trust with everyone from Inspiration4 played a part, but I think if you look at each crew member's background, you can see why they are so well suited for this mission and the objectives we aim to accomplish.
What are you hoping to accomplish in future Polaris missions?
Isaacman: Each mission should build off the previous one and hopefully much can be learned from the science, the research and all the technology we aim to demonstrate. When Polaris is over, the first crewed Starship should have flown and that is the vehicle that will open space to the many. It will return humans to the moon and ultimately to Mars and beyond. It is amazing to really even think about.
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How does the Polaris Dawn crew training compare with the NASA astronauts who fly aboard Crew Dragon?
Sarah Gillis: Our Dragon training program is identical to the NASA astronaut training program, aside from courses that relate to rendezvous and docking with the International Space Station, based on our free-flyer trajectory. In addition, we have added an entire training program to prepare us to use the new EVA [extra-vehicular activity, or spacewalk] suit and execute the EVA operation, as well as mission-specific training for the 40 or so research experiments we will be performing in-flight. Finally, the SpaceX medical team has done an awesome job creating a new medical training program that is similar to what NASA crew members undergo.
Future Polaris Program missions
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Isaacman has paid for at least two other Polaris Program missions, which would form the first-ever private set of spaceflights paid by an individual. Isaacman will command the other two missions but has not yet released who his crew members would be or what exactly these missions will be doing.
It is possible that one of those missions could be used to raise the venerable Hubble telescope to a higher orbit, to allow for continued operations well into the 2030s; as things stand the observatory is slowly being dragged down into the atmosphere of Earth as it has not been serviced by astronauts since 2009.
SpaceX and the Polaris Program co-developed the notion to raise Hubble and there is an unfunded agreement between SpaceX and NASA to study that mission's feasibility, which was signed in September 2022. A completion date for the study is not yet disclosed.
Isaacman has said the last Polaris mission would use SpaceX's Starship spacecraft, provided the vehicle is ready for flight. As of early 2023, Starship has yet to perform a scheduled, uncrewed flight test in Earth orbit, as it is awaiting final approval from the Federal Aviation Administration.
That said, Starship has been booked for other big missions in the 2020s, like NASA's Artemis program for professional agency astronauts on the moon and for a lunar fly-around mission that will include billionaire Dennis Tito and his wife, Akiko. Another prominent Starship mission is dearMoon, a lunar fly-around mission paid for by Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa that will fly eight artists with him.
Elizabeth Howell is the co-author of "Why Am I Taller(opens in new tab)?" (ECW Press, 2022; with Canadian astronaut Dave Williams), a book about space medicine. Follow her on Twitter @howellspace(opens in new tab). Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom(opens in new tab)or Facebook(opens in new tab).
Mon, 30 Jan 2023 02:44:00 -0600entext/htmlhttps://www.space.com/polaris-dawn-facts-about-missionKillexams : NASA to cooperate on Israeli astrophysics mission
Updated Jan. 25 to include Elbit/Elop contribution to the mission.
WASHINGTON — The United States and Israel are finalizing an agreement that would see NASA contribute to an upcoming Israeli astrophysics mission.
The focus of the agreement, which could be signed as soon as later this month, involves a mission called Ultrasat under development by Israel’s Weizmann Institute of Science with support from the Israel Space Agency and German research center DESY.
As part of the agreement, NASA would provide the launch of Ultrasat, which will operate in geostationary orbit. NASA will likely arrange to fly Ultrasat as a secondary payload on a commercial GEO launch, said James Rhoads, NASA project scientist for Ultrasat, during a session of the 241st Meeting of the American Astronomical Society Jan. 11.
Ultrasat will carry an ultraviolet telescope with a wide field of view. That wide field of view along with high sensitivity in the near-ultraviolet are the key characteristics that set Ultrasat apart from other ultraviolet astronomy missions, said Eli Waxman, principal investigator for Ultrasat at the Weizmann Institute of Science, during the session.
The spacecraft is being built by Israel Aerospace Industries, with DESY providing the ultraviolet camera and Elbit/Elop the telescope. The spacecraft has a total mass of about 1,100 kilograms, more than half of which is propellant to take the spacecraft from a geostationary transfer orbit to its final location in GEO at 4 degrees west.
Ultrasat has a three-year prime mission, but Waxman said it will carry enough propellant to operate for six. He said development of the spacecraft is on schedule for a launch in the first quarter of 2026.
Ultrasat has two primary goals. One is to look for ultraviolet signatures from gravitational-wave events, such as mergers involving neutron stars. The second is to study supernova explosions.
Those goals match well with NASA’s own research priorities. “Ultrasat and NASA’s science goals are well-aligned,” Rhoads said, citing broad science themes from the Astro2020 decadal survey that range from stellar and galactic astrophysics to gravitational waves. “There are Ultrasat contributions to all of these areas anticipated.”
Of particular interest is Ultrasat’s role in time domain and multimessenger astrophysics, or TDAMM, an emerging field that combines observations at various wavelengths of light with detections of gravitational waves or particles. Astro2020 emphasized the importance of TDAMM for addressing key scientific questions.
“Ultrasat really shows the value of international coordination when we talk about how we’re going to achieve our Astro2020 TDAMM goals, meeting the recommendations that were made by the decadal survey,” said Mark Clampin, director of NASA’s astrophysics division, at the session.
In addition to providing the launch of Ultrasat, NASA will also fund participating scientists on the mission and establish a U.S.-based science archive. The agency hasn’t disclosed the value of its contribution to the mission, although Waxman said the overall cost of Ultrasat, including launch, was about $110 million.
Rhoads said he expected final signatures of the agreement regarding NASA’s role on Ultrasat in the next one to months. However, at a Jan. 17 meeting of the NASA Advisory Council, one committee member, Kay Bailey Hutchison, said NASA anticipated the agreement will be signed later this month.
Sun, 22 Jan 2023 21:59:00 -0600More by Jeff Fousten-UStext/htmlhttps://spacenews.com/nasa-to-cooperate-on-israeli-astrophysics-mission/Killexams : ISRO’s second SSLV mission successfully launches trio of satellitesKillexams : ISRO's second SSLV mission successfully launches trio of satellites - NASASpaceFlight.com
Thu, 16 Feb 2023 16:21:00 -0600en-UStext/htmlhttps://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2023/02/second-sslv-mission/Killexams : India's new rocket flies 1st successful mission, delivering 3 satellites to orbit
A new Indian rocket successfully delivered three satellites to orbit on Thursday night (Feb. 9), bouncing back from its failed debut flight in August 2022.
The Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV) lifted off from India's Satish Dhawan Space Centre Thursday at 10:48 p.m. EST (0348 GMT and 9:18 a.m. local time on Feb. 10), carrying the Indian Space Research Organisation's (ISRO) EOS-07 Earth-observation satellite and two ride-along cubesats skyward.
By 15.5 minutes later, the 112-foot-tall (34 meters) rocket had deployed all three(opens in new tab) spacecraft into their designated 280-mile-high (450 kilometers) circular orbits, and mission team members were exchanging smiles and handshakes in the control room.
"With the successful launch of the SSLV-D2/EOS-07 mission, ISRO now has a new credible member in its launch vehicle family," a commentator said on the agency's livestream just after the satellites deployed. "Congratulations to team ISRO!"
It was a big moment for ISRO and the SSLV, which is capable of carrying up to 1,100 pounds (500 kilograms) of payload to low Earth orbit. The rocket failed on its only other flight, which lifted off from Satish Dhawan on Aug. 6, 2022.
The SSLV ran into trouble that day during the separation of its second stage, an action that created a brief but intense "vibration disturbance." The shaking briefly saturated all six accelerometers in the SSLV's navigation system, which pushed the rocket into "salvage mode," ISRO officials explained in an update last week(opens in new tab). (The SSLV consists of three stages topped by a kick stage that ISRO calls the Velocity Trimming Module.)
The shift into salvage mode, in turn, ultimately caused the rocket to deploy its two satellites — ISRO's EOS-02 Earth-observation craft and the student-built AzaadiSAT cubesat — into the wrong orbit. Both spacecraft were soon dragged back down into Earth's atmosphere and lost.
ISRO officials said in last week's update that they had implemented a number of measures to ensure something similar wouldn't happen on future SSLV flights. For example, the second-stage separation system was swapped out for a different one that's known to produce less-intense vibrations.
Those fixes did the trick on Thursday's flight, and the three satellites can now start gearing up for orbital operations.
The 344-pound (156 kg) EOS-07 is an experimental satellite whose mission objectives center on developing and demonstrating new instruments on a short schedule, according an ISRO mission description(opens in new tab). Those instruments include the Millimeter-wave Humidity Sounder and the Spectrum Monitoring Payload. EOS-07 is designed to peer at Earth with that gear for at least one year.
The other two satellites that rode to orbit aboard the SSLV are the 22.5-pound (10.2 kg) Janus-1 and the 19.7-pound (8.7 kg) AzaadiSAT-2.
Janus-1, which was built by the Indian-American company Antaris, is a technology-demonstrating "smart satellite," according to the ISRO mission description. Like its predecessor, AzaadiSAT-2 was built by hundreds of female students from across India. AzaadiSAT-2 "aims to demonstrate LoRa and amateur radio communication capabilities, measure radiation levels in space and demonstrate expandable satellite structure, etc," ISRO officials wrote.
Mike Wall is the author of "Out There(opens in new tab)" (Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Karl Tate), a book about the search for alien life. Follow him on Twitter@michaeldwall(opens in new tab). Follow us on Twitter@Spacedotcom(opens in new tab)or onFacebook(opens in new tab).
Fri, 10 Feb 2023 08:50:00 -0600entext/htmlhttps://www.space.com/indian-rocket-sslv-launches-first-successful-missionKillexams : Saudi astronauts selected for Axiom private astronaut mission
WASHINGTON — The government of Saudi Arabia has announced the two astronauts who will fly to the International Space Station this spring on a private astronaut mission by Axiom Space.
The Saudi Space Commission said Feb. 12 that Rayyanah Barnawi and Ali Alqarni will be part of the Ax-2 mission to the ISS scheduled for launch no earlier than May on a SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft. They will join the mission’s commander, former NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson, and a customer, John Shoffner, for the mission scheduled to spend 10 days at the station.
Barnawi and Alqarni will be the second and third Saudi citizens to go to space, after Sultan bin Salman Al Saud, who flew as a payload specialist on a space shuttle mission in 1985. Barnawi will be the first female Saudi astronaut.
Alqarni is a 31-year-old fighter pilot in the Saudi air force and Barnawi is a 33-year-old cancer researcher. The two will conduct 14 biomedical and physics experiments during their time on the station, the Saudi Space Commission said, but didn’t go into details about plans for their mission.
The Saudi Space Commission said two other astronauts, Mariam Fardous and Ali Alghamdi, will train as backups for the mission. All four astronauts are part of a new astronaut program announced by the Saudi space agency last September.
A NASA official confirmed at a November meeting of an agency advisory committee that the Saudi astronauts would fly on Ax-2, and that they had started training. NASA did not disclose their identities then, or in a Jan. 20 statement that announced that the ISS partners had approved the full crew for Ax-2.
“We work very hard to meet their needs, and they have chosen to wait a little while to announce their crew,” Michael Suffredini, chief executive of Axiom, said of the then-undisclosed customer for those two Ax-2 seats at a Jan. 30 media briefing. “I think in the next week or two there will be an announcement of the specific individuals.”
Ax-2 will take place a little more than a year after Ax-1, the company’s first private astronaut mission that sent four people to the ISS for what became a 17-day mission.
“Axiom Space’s second private astronaut mission to the International Space Station cements our mission of expanding access to space worldwide and supporting the growth of the low Earth orbit economy as we build Axiom Station,” Suffredini said in a Feb. 13 statement about the Ax-2 crew. “Ax-2 moves Axiom Space one step closer toward the realization of a commercial space station in low Earth orbit and enables us to build on the legacy and achievements of the ISS, leveraging the benefits of microgravity to better life on Earth.”
Ax-2 is a second in a series of private astronaut missions Axiom has planned to the ISS ahead of installing a series of commercial modules to the station. Those modules will serve as the core of a standalone space station, separating from the ISS before the ISS is retired around 2030.
While Ax-1 flew three private citizens, along with Axiom employee and former NASA astronaut Michael López-Alegría, future missions will follow the lead of Ax-2 of primarily flying government astronauts. Suffredini said at the briefing last month he expected only one private individual among the crews of Ax-3 and -4.
“I’m honored to be heading back to the ISS for the fourth time, leading this talented Ax-2 crew on their first mission,” said Whitson in a company statement. She flew three long-duration ISS missions as a NASA astronaut and holds the U.S. record for cumulative time in space at more than 660 days. “This is a strong and cohesive team determined to conduct meaningful scientific research in space and inspire a new generation about the benefits of microgravity.”
Mon, 13 Feb 2023 04:47:00 -0600More by Jeff Fousten-UStext/htmlhttps://spacenews.com/saudi-astronauts-selected-for-axiom-private-astronaut-mission/Killexams : Long-delayed ExoMars mission still dreams of 2028 launch
War, budget cuts, a pandemic and a crash: For all its trials, Europe's ExoMars mission might be more deserving of the name Perseverance than NASA's Martian rover.
But the European Space Agency still hopes the mission can launch in 2028 on its long-delayed quest to search for extraterrestrial life on the Red Planet.
This time last year, the ESA's Rosalind Franklin rover was all ready for a September launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, planning to catch a ride on a Russian rocket and descend to the Martian surface on a Russian lander.
Then Moscow invaded Ukraine in March, and sanctions imposed by the ESA's 22 member states led to Russia pulling out and the mission being suspended.
It was just the latest blow for the hundreds of scientists who have been working on the project for more than two decades.
First conceived in 2001, the ambitious program quickly proved too expensive for Europe, which has still to land a rover on Mars.
The United States' space agency NASA stepped in to fill the funding gap in 2009. But three years later, budget cuts led to NASA pulling out.
Help then came from an unexpected source: Russia's space agency Roscosmos.
Together, the ESA and Roscosmos launched the Schiaparelli EDM module in 2016 as a test run for ExoMars.
But when Schiaparelli arrived at Mars, a computer glitch caused it to crash into the surface and fall silent.
That failure pushed back the launch of the joint Russian-European ExoMars mission to July 2020.
The COVID-19 pandemic pushed that date back to 2022, when it was again delayed by the invasion of Ukraine.
Tricky Russian negotiations
Late last year, the ESA's ministerial council agreed to kept the mission alive with an injection of 500 million euros ($540 million) over the next three years.
David Parker, the ESA's director of human and robotic exploration, said last week that one of the arguments they put forward for continuing the mission was "that this is a unique piece of European science.
"It's like James Webb," he said referring to the space telescope that has been sending back astonishing images of distant galaxies since 2022.
"But it's for Mars—it's that scale of ambition.
"This is the only mission that is foreseen that can actually find evidence of past life."
But some significant hurdles remain that could make a 2028 launch difficult—including that the ESA needs a new way to land its rover on Mars.
The ESA will first have to recover European components, including an onboard computer and radar altimeter, from Russia's Kazachok lander, which is still at its assembly site in Turin, Italy.
However only Russia can extract the components from the lander.
Difficult negotiations have been underway for Russian experts to come and dismantle the lander.
"We expected them in mid-January, but they didn't come," ESA ExoMars program team leader Thierry Blancquaert told AFP.
"We asked them to have everything done by the end of March," he added.
NASA to the rescue?
To get off the ground, the new mission will depend on support from NASA, which has so far indicated it is happy to help.
For its new lander, the ESA hopes to take advantage of US engines used to get NASA's Curiosity and Perseverance rovers onto the Martian surface.
It will also have to rely on NASA for radioisotope heater units, after losing access to Russia's supply. These units keep the spacecraft warm.
NASA has not yet voted on a budget that would support such efforts, but "we are preparing the collaborative work together and things are progressing well," Blancquaert said.
Francois Forget, an astrophysicist at France's CNRS scientific research center, said that "this new impetus for cooperation is linked to the fact that this time, the US has a joint project with Europe: Mars trial Return."
The mission, planned for around 2030, is intended to return to Earth samples collected from Mars by both ExoMars and Perseverance, which touched down on the planet in July 2021.
Unlike Perseverance, the Rosalind Franklin rover can drill up to two meters (6.5 feet) below the surface of Mars, where traces of possible ancient life could be better preserved.
ExoMars' planned landing site is also in an area of Mars expected to have been more favorable to hosting past life.
"We think there was a lot of water there," said Forget.
"There is another Mars to explore, so even in 10 years' time the mission will not be obsolete," he added.
Citation: Long-delayed ExoMars mission still dreams of 2028 launch (2023, February 3) retrieved 19 February 2023 from https://phys.org/news/2023-02-long-delayed-exomars-mission.html
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Thu, 02 Feb 2023 10:00:00 -0600entext/htmlhttps://phys.org/news/2023-02-long-delayed-exomars-mission.htmlKillexams : NASA announces crew for Axiom Mission 2
The SpaceX Dragon Endeavour crew ship that carried four Axiom Mission 1 astronauts to the space station is pictured docked to the Harmony module. File photo courtesy of NASA
Feb. 13 (UPI) -- The crew for NASA's next privately-funded mission to space has been selected as the agency moves closer toward commercializing space travel.
Peggy Whitson, a former NASA astronaut, will be in command of Axiom Mission 2, which will be piloted by businessman John Shoffner, NASA said in a press release released Monday. Ali Alqarni and Rayyanah Barnawi, members of Saudi Arabia's first national astronaut program, will serve as specialists for the mission.
Commercial space technology company Axiom Space is funding the mission, which will send the crew to the International Space Station on a SpaceX Dragon spacecraft. They will spend 10 days at the space station taking part in several activities, including commercial and outreach activities.
"Axiom Space's second private astronaut mission to the International Space Station cements our mission of expanding access to space worldwide and supporting the growth of the low-Earth orbit economy as we build Axiom Station," said Michael Suffredini, president and CEO of Axiom Space.
AX-2 will be a mission of firsts. It will be the first to include astronauts who are part of a foreign government agency and it will be the first commercial mission with a woman at the command position, NASA said.
Whitson has spent 665 days in space -- a U.S. record -- and embarked on 10 spacewalks.
"I'm honored to be heading back to the station for the fourth time, leading this talented Ax-2 crew on their first mission," said Whitson.
"This is a strong and cohesive team determined to conduct meaningful scientific research in space and inspire a new generation about the benefits of microgravity. It's a testament to the power of science and discovery to unify and build international collaboration."
The first Axiom Space and NASA mission, Ax-1, was completed last April. The mission was scheduled to last 10 days but weather conditions kept the crew in space for an extra week.
NASA said private astronaut missions are a step toward privately funded commercial space stations. The agency is examining proposals for more private missions.
Sun, 12 Feb 2023 10:01:00 -0600entext/htmlhttps://www.upi.com/Science_News/2023/02/13/nasa-axiom-space-mission-crew/7391676330203/Killexams : Sunrise pupuseria is latest Mission eatery to close this week
The sun has set on the beloved pupusa spot Sunrise. And, it has also set for pizzeria Pi Bar and the Laotian eatery Hawker Fare.
On Sunday, days after Pi Bar ended its 14-year run via Instagram, Hawker Fare and Sunrise served their last suppers. The closures are a drop in the bucket for a slew of pandemic closures in the neighborhood, according to SF Chronicle data analysis that shows the Mission lost 100 places in 2020 and 2021, the second-most for any neighborhood citywide. Only downtown topped it, with 150 closures.
The pandemic proved insurmountable for Sunrise, which also experienced troubles in better times. Nevertheless, for years the casual restaurant at 3126 24th St. successfully lured in customers hungry for loroco and cheese pupusas during breakfast or lunch.
“I’m really sensitive right now,” owner Alba Guerra said in Spanish, choking up. “I had it for 18 years.”
By Monday mid-afternoon, the light-blue restaurant’s front door was shut, and the outdoor tables were nowhere in sight. Guerra was still fielding calls on Sunrise’s landline, “because some customers don’t know we’ve closed yet.”
Guerra declined to add more details about the restaurant’s closure for now, citing the need to tie up loose ends and her emotional state.
Still, it’s clear that money has been an issue over the past five years, starting when Guerra’s landlord, Andrew Kong, increased rent by $3,000 a month in 2018. In a previous interview with Mission Local in 2020, Guerra said the pandemic tanked Sunrise’s sales to $1,000 per week, leaving her far short of her $7,800 monthly rent. Just after the pandemic started in 2020, Guerra said she was $30,000 in debt due to landlord troubles, and she feared closure.
The city awarded Guerra a $7,500 Resiliency Fund grant in 2020, but that went quickly after the owner bought new equipment she needed for SF New Deal, a pandemic-borne program that partnered struggling restaurateurs with food gigs to serve Covid-19 patients. Years earlier, Sunrise also received a $150,000 SF Shine Business Grant to pay for new equipment and refurbish her restaurant.
The Sunrise owners alleged then that Kong had failed to keep the building up to code and the restaurant experienced housing code violations, like eroded drywall and flooding.
Guerra established Sunrise in 2005, and it’s now wedged between other Mission mainstays Adobe Books and La Reyna Bakery. Over the years, it became a neighborhood favorite for its casual atmosphere and delicious food, and it participated in Calle 24 Latino Cultural District programming and MAPP poetry readings. Guerra used the space to host events from other organizations, and donated some proceeds back to them. The Salvadoran immigrant’s pupusas inspired this video.
Pi Bar announced its adieu on Jan. 26 in an Instagram post, which divulged that a new owner would take over the space.
“Hopefully, will be seeing many of you in the next few weeks while we wrap things up! Cheers!” it said. It will close in February, it told SFGate.
Pi Bar was not immediately available for comment.
The nearly 14-year-old pizza shop and craft brewery used to dole out $3.14 slices (get it?) and offer a wide selection of local beer on tap. Its happy hour, as a nod to the name, began at 3:14 on the dot.
The shop was founded three years after owners Rich Rosen and Jennifer Garris met one fateful night at Anchor Brewing, as Mission Local previously reported. Later, Rosen met the pizzeria’s original chef, Joe Lee, who used to tend bar at Zeitgeist. Before its buzzing opening in 2009, the group held memorable test-run openings for friends and family that had Rosen “scared shitless,” and led to many trial-and-error pies that wound up in the trash.
The New York-style pizzeria survived more than a decade at 1432 Valencia St., situated nearly equidistantly between 25th and 26th streets. The pandemic proved tough, too. Already, social media users are bemoaning the loss of its Death by Mushroom pie, which incorporates Moonlight Death and Taxes beer in the sauce.
“My favorite bar of all time. San Francisco’s biggest loss in ages,” one Instagram user commented. Another added: “Now this is some sad shit news.”
Also through the internet grapevine, the colorful Thai and Laotian restaurant Hawker Fare bade farewell.
“It is with the gravest of sad news for me to announce. Hawker Fare’s Last Day of Service will be today. Please join us [for] our last big party,” the restaurant’s Sunday Instagram post stated. Two more posts appeared on Hawker Fare’s profile to say goodbye to owner James Syhabout’s “best friend” and the restaurant’s dishwasher of seven years, and to thank Syhabout’s Stockton friends who visited for last shift.
Sunday’s Instagram post blamed the closure on “insurmountable” operating costs of food and labor. Syhabout told The Chronicle that the Mission’s “crime, grit and dirtiness” contributed to fewer customers, too.
Hawker Fare leaders were not immediately available for comment.
For almost nine years, diners experienced a whirlwind of flavor at Hawker Fare, which introduced the Mission to Lao Isaan favorites and fun, tropical cocktails. The menu was inspired by street food and “hawker market” culture found in Thailand and Lao. Those in-the-know also remember Holy Mountain, the quietly marked speakeasy just upstairs.
As Asian hate crimes increased in 2021 and 2022, the restaurant redoubled efforts to raise awareness for the community, and highlighted Lao New Year with special events. The eatery hosted comedy shows, and despite its conspicuous location, Holy Mountain occasionally offered loud karaoke nights.
The location, at 680 Valencia St. near 18th Street, was Hawker Fare’s second site; the first was in Oakland, where Syhabout’s mom ran a Thai restaurant. That space closed in 2017.
Syhabout told the Chronicle he still owns two restaurants Oakland, Hawker Fare’s sister restaurant, Hawking Bird, and Commis.
Mon, 30 Jan 2023 11:05:00 -0600Julian Marken-UStext/htmlhttps://missionlocal.org/2023/01/sunrise-pi-bar-hawker-fare-mission-closed/Killexams : Mercedes is the first certified Level-3-autonomy car company in the US
That's conditional hands-free driving and only in Nevada for now.
"An unwavering commitment to innovation has consistently guided Mercedes-Benz from the very beginning," Dimitris Psillakis, President and CEO of MBUSA, said in Thursday's press statement. "It is a very proud moment for everyone to continue this leadership and celebrate this monumental achievement as the first automotive company to be certified for Level 3 conditionally automated driving in the US market."
Level 3 capabilities, as defined by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), would enable the vehicle to handle "all aspects of the driving" when engaged but still need the driver attentive enough to promptly take control if necessary. That's a big step up from the Level 2 systems we see today such as Tesla's "Full Self-Driving," Ford's Blue Cruise, and GM's Super Cruise. All of those are essentially extra-capable highway cruise controls where the driver must maintain their attention on driving, typically keeping their hands on or at least near the wheel, and be responsible for what the ADAS is doing while it's doing it. That's a far cry from the Knight Rider-esque ADAS outlook Tesla is selling and what Level 2 autonomy is actually capable of.
Mercedes' Drive Pilot system can, "on suitable freeway sections and where there is high traffic density," according to the company, take over the bumper-to-bumper crawling duties up to 40 MPH without the driver needing to keep their hands on the wheel. When engaged, the system handles lane-keeping duties, stays with the flow of traffic, navigates to destinations programmed into the Nav system, and will even react to "unexpected traffic situations and handles them independently, e.g. by evasive maneuvers within the lane or by braking maneuvers."
To perform these feats, the Drive Pilot system relies on a suite of sensors embedded throughout the vehicle including visual cameras, LiDAR arrays, radar and ultrasound sensors, and audio mics to keep an ear out for approaching emergency vehicles. The system even compares its onboard sensor data with what it is receiving from its GPS to ensure it knows exactly where on the road it actually is.
Drive Pilot is only available on the 2024 S-Class and EQS Sedan for now. Those are already in production and the first cars should reach the Vegas strip in the second half of this year.
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Fri, 27 Jan 2023 06:25:00 -0600en-UStext/htmlhttps://www.engadget.com/mercedes-first-certified-level-3-autonomy-car-company-us-201021118.htmlKillexams : Abandoned Mission storefronts are street photographer’s gallery
The building at the northeast corner of 17th and Valencia Streets used to display vintage sofas and chairs through its large, wraparound windows. Now, the furniture vendor that once occupied the ground level has moved upstairs, and the boarded-up windows function as a new kind of showroom: It displays photographs of homeless residents from around the city, taken by Joseph Johnston, a photographer, Mayan art collector and longtime Mission resident.
Three of the four black-and-white images are on the Valencia side of the building, including a close-up of Gus and Jackie in their tent, Penny dancing, and Joey with a stroller full of sleeping bags, giving a peace sign. Around the corner, on 17th, a photo shows four friends squatting with a dog.
Though not nearly as large, the photographs are reminiscent of the work of JR, a french photograffeur (photographer + graffiti artist) who puts up photographs of ordinary people in public spaces and calls the streets “the largest gallery in the world.”
Johnston has also found that the streets offer the most accessible raw material for an artistic practice that began late in his life. “I was too old to go to Africa or Asia to do a project,” he said, describing what it was like to finish a 12-week City College photography course at the age of 65. “But I walk a block from my house and there’s an encampment of homeless people there.”
Johnston had previously shared his work through photo essays, but only began displaying them around the city at the end of 2021, after being encouraged by a close friend and geometric sculptor, Bob Burnside. The sculptor also provided logistical assistance, finding a place to print the photographs. It costs $10 for a poster “36 inches by however long a photo is,” said Johnston.
The two then post on Sunday mornings. They first put up photographs on a closed Bank of America in the Castro back in October, took a break in December and during the rain, and picked up again this past Sunday, putting up the four images on the corner of 17th and Valencia Streets.
Johnston has now been photographing unhoused people for five years, practicing photography for 12, living in the Mission for 46, and living in San Francisco for 53. He has a goal of photographing at least one homeless resident every day, and takes photographs of people all over the city, but his ties are strongest to the unhoused community in the Mission.
Before photographing anyone, he talks to them for “quite a while.” “I won’t photograph sleeping homeless people,” he says, though he admits that he used to. The goal of Johnston’s work is “to get people to realize that these are human beings, too, equally as interesting and as valuable as the rest of us, though much more unlucky than most of us.” When he sees people on the street, he usually stops to talk.
The interactions have changed the way he views homeless residents. Before, he would avoid residents like Carlos “Charlie” Morales, who used to walk around the Mission with a shopping cart, filled with a “rug and everything,” and a fold-up chair. Johnston saw him everyday, but never spoke to him. “When I finally talked to him, I was ashamed,” Johnston said. He still sees Charlie, who now lives in a tent across the street from the Atlas Cafe.
Although Johnston says that his photography practice has led to a “significant change in [his] attitude,” he gives both the unhoused people and the city some credit: “San Francisco feels friendlier than it used to.”
When I visited the images at 17th and Valencia, the night after they were posted, the photo of Joey had been graffitied; the black and white image now red all over. Beneath the photo of Gus and Jackie, a man sitting with his back against the wall crafts a pipe out of tin foil. When I return the next morning, only a pile of foil scraps remains.