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Historic SpaceX

SpaceX to attempt historic back-to-back Falcon 9 flights – CBS News

The first of two planned back-to-back SpaceX launches Sunday was called off because of bad weather during pre-flight processing, but the company pressed ahead with plans to launch an Argentine remote sensing satellite Sunday evening.

Launch of the SAOCOM 1B radar observation satellite atop a Falcon 9 booster with a previously flown first stage was targeted for 7:18 p.m. EDT from pad 40 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Also on board: two small hitch-hiker satellites added to the flight under a “rideshare” arrangement.

The launching will mark the 92nd flight of a workhorse Falcon 9, SpaceX’s 100th overall, when five earlier Falcon 1 flights are included along with three launches of triple-core Falcon Heavy boosters.

src83src2src-saocom1a-2.jpg
A time exposure captures the launch of an Argentine remote sensing satellite from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California in October 2018 atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. The shorter streak to the right is the rocket’s first stage braking for landing. SpaceX planned to launch a second SAOCOM satellite Sunday from Cape Canaveral.

SpaceX


SpaceX had planned to launch two Falcon 9s just nine hours apart on Sunday, the shortest span between two orbit-class U.S. launches since 1966. The double header fell into place after a dramatic last-second “hot-fire abort” early Saturday of a United Launch Alliance Delta 4 Heavy rocket carrying a classified National Reconnaissance Office spy satellite.

Leading off the Sunday flight plan was a Falcon 9 set to carry 60 Starlink internet relay satellites into space from historic pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center at 10:12 a.m. The SAOCOM 1B mission would follow suit from the nearby Air Force station.

But the Starlink booster was not hauled out of its hangar until early Sunday, and SpaceX later said in a tweet the team had called off the launch attempt “due to inclement weather during pre-flight operations.” The next opportunity to get the Starlinks off the ground is Tuesday at 9:29 a.m.

Standing down from today’s launch of Starlink due to inclement weather during pre-flight operations. Next launch opportunity is Tuesday, September 1 at 9:29 a.m. EDT, pending Range acceptance

— SpaceX (@SpaceX) August 30, 2020

Despite the Starlink scrub and somewhat iffy weather, SpaceX pressed ahead with preparations for the evening launch of SAOCOM 1B. Forecasters called for a 40% chance of acceptable conditions.

The mission is intended to put SAOCOM 1B into orbit around Earth’s poles, the first such flight from Florida since 1969.

To reach a polar orbit from Cape Canaveral, the Falcon 9 will take off on a southerly trajectory and then carry out a “dogleg” maneuver once clear of Florida’s coast to bend the trajectory more directly south. The flight path will carry the rocket over Cuba.

In 1960, falling debris from a malfunctioning rocket reportedly killed a cow in Cuba, prompting protests in the island nation. All polar orbit missions since 1969 have taken off from Vandenberg where rockets remain above the Pacific Ocean all the way to orbit.

SpaceX initially planned to launch SAOCOM 1B from Vandenberg, but sought permission to move the flight to Cape Canaveral to ease ground processing issues.

The company presumably won government approval for the move in part because of the dogleg maneuver, which minimizes overflight of populated areas, the rocket’s high altitude by the time it reaches populated areas farther downrange and because the Falcon 9 features an automated flight safety system. The AFTS is designed to quickly terminate a flight if an impending catastrophic problem is detected.

The 6,720-pound SAOCOM 1B requires a polar orbit to enable its cloud-penetrating radar to observe the entire planet as it rotates below. The spacecraft will work in concert with an identical L-band radar mapper launched in 2018 along with Italy’s COSMO-SkyMed X-band satellites.

Bound for a 360-mile-high orbit, the $600 million SOACOM system is designed to monitor soil moisture and a range of other factors affecting the agricultural sector, collecting high-resolution data around the clock regardless of cloud cover.

“One of the main targets of the SAOCOM satellites is to provide information for the agriculture sector,” Raúl Kulichevsky, executive and technical director of CONAE, Argentina’s space agency, told Spaceflight Now.

“One of the things we develop is soil moisture maps, not only of the surface, but taking advantage of the L-band capabilities we can measure the soil moisture 1 meter below the surface of the land. So this is very important information.”

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Despite Historic

Despite Historic Plunge, Europe’s Economy Flashes Signs of Recovery – The New York Times

European countries that have better contained the virus are poised for speedier economic recovery than the United States.

Credit…Lena Mucha for The New York Times

LONDON — Before the pandemic, a traditional state of play prevailed in the enormous economies on the opposite sides of the Atlantic. Europe — full of older people, and rife with bickering over policy — appeared stagnant. The United States, ruled by innovation and risk-taking, seemed set to grow faster.

But that alignment has been reordered by contrasting approaches to a terrifying global crisis. Europe has generally gotten a handle on the spread of the coronavirus, enabling many economies to reopen while protecting workers whose livelihoods have been menaced. The United States has become a symbol of fecklessness and discord in the face of a grave emergency, yielding deepening worries about the fate of jobs and sustenance.

On Friday, Europe released economic numbers that on their face were terrible. The 19 nations that share the euro currency contracted by 12.1 percent from April to June from the previous quarter — the sharpest decline since 1995, when the data was first collected. Spain fell by a staggering 18.5 percent, and France, one of the eurozone’s largest economies, declined 13.8 percent. Italy shrunk by 12.4 percent.

Eurozone G.D.P.

+2%

-2

-4

-6

-8

-10

–12.1%

Percentage change from previous quarter

-12

2008

2010

2012

2014

2016

2018

2020

Eurozone G.D.P.

+2%

-2

-4

-6

-8

-10

-12

–12.1%

Percentage change from previous quarter

-14

2008

2010

2012

2014

2016

2018

2020

Europe appeared even worse than the United States, which the day before recorded the single-worst three-month stretch in its history, tumbling by 9.5 percent in the second quarter.

But beneath the headline figures, Europe flashed promising signs of strength.

Germany saw a drop in the numbers of unemployed, surveys found evidence of growing confidence amid an expansion in factory production, while the euro continued to strengthen against the dollar as investment flowed into European markets — signs of improving sentiment.

These contrasting fortunes underscored a central truth of a pandemic that has killed more than 670,000 people worldwide: The most significant cause of the economic pain is the virus itself. Governments that have more adeptly controlled its spread have commanded greater confidence from their citizens and investors, putting their economies in better position to recuperate from the worst global downturn since the Great Depression.

“There is no economic recovery without a controlled health situation,” said Ángel Talavera, lead eurozone economist at Oxford Economics in London. “It’s not a choice between the two.”

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Credit…Andrew Testa for The New York Times

European confidence has been bolstered by a groundbreaking agreement struck in July within the European Union to sell 750 million euro ($892 million) worth of bonds that are backed collectively by its members. Those funds will be deployed to the hardest hit countries like Italy and Spain.

The deal transcended years of opposition from parsimonious northern European countries like Germany and the Netherlands against issuing common debt. They have balked at putting their taxpayers on the line to bail out southern neighbors like Greece while indulging in crude stereotypes of Mediterranean profligacy. The animosity perpetuated the sense that Europe was a union in name only — a critique that has been muted.

The United States has spent more than Europe on programs to limit the economic damage of the pandemic. But much of the spending has benefited investors, spurring a substantial recovery in the stock market. Emergency unemployment benefits have proved crucial, enabling tens of millions of jobless Americans to pay rent and buy groceries. But they were set to expire on Friday and there were few signs that Congress would extend them.

Europe’s experience has underscored the virtues of its more generous social welfare programs, including national health care systems.

Americans feel compelled to go to work, even at dangerous places like meatpacking plants, and even when they are ill, because many lack paid sick leave. Yet they also feel pressure to avoid shops, restaurants and other crowded places of business because millions lack health insurance, making hospitalization a financial catastrophe.

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Credit…Joseph Rushmore for The New York Times

“Europe has really benefited from having this system that is more heavily dominated by welfare systems than the U.S.,” said Kjersti Haugland, chief economist at DNB Markets, an investment bank in Oslo. “It keeps people less fearful.”

The more promising situation in Europe is neither certain nor comprehensive. Spain remains a grave concern, with the virus spreading, threatening lives and livelihoods. Italy has emerged from the grim calculus of mass death to the chronic condition of persistent economic troubles. Britain’s tragic mishandling of the pandemic has shaken faith in the government.

If short-term factors look more beneficial to European economies, longer-term forces may favor the United States, with its younger population and greater productivity.

A sense of European-American rivalry has been provoked by the bombast of a nationalist American president, making the pandemic a morbid opportunity to keep score.

“There is a certain amount of triumphalism,” said Peter Dixon, a global financial economist at Commerzbank in London. “People are saying, ‘Our economy has survived, we are doing OK.’ There’s a certain amount of European schadenfreude, if I can use that word, given everything that Trump has said about the U.S.”

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Credit…Samuel Aranda for The New York Times

But for now, Europe’s moment of confidence is palpable, most prominently in Germany, the continent’s largest economy.

Though the German economy shrank by 10.1 percent from March to June — its worst drop in at least half a century — the number of officially jobless people fell in July, in part because of government programs that have subsidized furloughed workers.

Surveys show that German managers — not a group inclined toward sunny optimism — have seen expectations for future sales return to nearly pre-virus levels. That buoyancy translates directly into growth, emboldening companies to rehire furloughed workers.

Ziehl-Abegg, a maker of ventilation systems for hospitals, factories and large buildings, recently broke ground on a 16 million euro ($19 million) expansion at a factory in southern Germany.

“If we wait to invest until the market recovers, that’s too late,” said Peter Fenkl, the company’s chief executive. “There are billions of dollars in the market ready to be invested and just waiting for the signal to kick off.”

The euro has gained more than 5 percent against the dollar so far this year, according to FactSet. European markets have been lifted by international money flowing into so-called exchange-traded funds that purchase European stocks. The Stoxx 600, an index made up of companies in 17 European countries, appears set for a second straight month of gains outpacing the S&P 500.

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Credit…Lena Mucha for The New York Times

The French oil giant Total saw demand for its products in Europe drop by nearly one third in the second quarter of the year, but a powerful recovery has been gaining momentum, said the company’s chairman and chief executive, Patrick Pouyanné.

“Since June, we have seen a rebound here in Europe,” he said during a call with analysts. “Activity in our marketing networks is back to, I would say, 90 percent of the pre-Covid levels.”

France, Europe’s second largest economy, has been buttressed by aggressive government spending. President Emmanuel Macron has mobilized more than 400 billion euros ($476 billion) in emergency aid and loan guarantees since the start of the crisis, and is preparing an autumn package worth another 100 billion euros.

Those funds paid businesses not to lay off workers, allowing more than 14 million employees to go on paid furlough, stay in their homes, accumulate modest savings and continue spending. Delayed deadlines for business taxes and loan payments spared companies from collapse.

In the second quarter, when France was still partially locked down, the country’s economy contracted by nearly 14 percent. Tourism, retail and manufacturing, the main pillars of the economy, ground to a halt.

But services, industrial activity and consumer spending have all shown signs of improvement. The Banque de France, which originally expected the economy to shrink more than 10 percent this year, recently forecast less damage.

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Credit…Christophe Archambault/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

In Spain, a sense of recovery remains distant. Its economy shrunk by nearly 19 percent from April to June. The nation’s unemployment rate exceeds 15 percent, and could surge higher if a wage subsidy program for furloughed workers is allowed to expire in September.

Spain officially ended its coronavirus state of emergency on June 21, but has since suffered an increase in infections. The economic impacts have been compounded by Britain’s decision to force travelers returning from Spain to quarantine for two weeks. Tourism accounts for 12 percent of Spain’s economy.

Italy is also highly exposed to tourism. Its industry is concentrated in the north of the country, which saw the worst of coronavirus. The central bank expects the Italian economy to contract by nearly 10 percent this year.

But exports surged more than one-third in May compared with the previous month. That left them below pre-pandemic levels, yet on par with German and American competitors, according to Confindustria, an Italian trade association.

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Credit…Alberto Pizzoli/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

“We are starting to slowly recover after the most violent downfall in the last 70 years,” said Francesco Daveri, an economist at Bocconi University in Milan.

Europe’s fortunes appear on the mend because its people are more likely to trust their governments.

Denmark acted early, imposing a strict lockdown while paying wage subsidies that limited unemployment. Denmark suffered far fewer deaths per capita than the United States and Britain.

With the virus largely controlled, Denmark lifted restrictions earlier, while Danes heeded the call to resume commercial life. The Danish economy is expected to contract by 5.25 percent this year, according to the European Commission, with a substantial improvement in the second half of the year.

In the United States, people have wearied of bewildering and conflicting advice from on high against a backdrop of more than 150,000 deaths.

President Trump first called the virus a hoax, then treated it as an emergency befitting wartime mobilization, then urged states to reopen to spur the economy. He encouraged protesters who portrayed wearing masks as an affront to civil liberties.

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Credit…Ritzau Scanpix/via Reuters

The result has been record surges of new cases along with a syndrome likely to persist — an aversion to being near other people. That spells leaner prospects for retail, hotels, restaurants and other job-rich areas of the American economy.

Liz Alderman reported from Paris. Emma Bubola contributed reporting from Milan, Raphael Minder from Madrid and Stanley Reed and Eshe Nelson from London.

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carbon Historic

Historic carbon dioxide decline could hold clues for future climate – Phys.org

Historic CO2 decline could hold clues for future climate
Credit: Pixabay

A new study led by researchers at The Australian National University (ANU) provides a clearer snapshot of conditions during the last ice age—when global ice sheets were at their peak—and could even lead to better models for future climate projections.

The study demonstrates a new way of recreating in the Atlantic during the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM)—around 20,000 years ago.

Lead author Dr. Jimin Yu says scientists have been trying to reconstruct ocean circulation for this for decades, because of the clues it offers about past CO2 levels and changes in climate.

“The LGM was a time of much lower CO2 levels, lower global temperature and lower sea levels,” Dr. Yu said.

The researchers say old ocean models cannot explain recently published data on the LGM, meaning a change in thinking was needed.

Using to reconstruct deep-water carbonate ion—which traces reflecting seawater acidity—the group generated a first-of-its kind map showing for the last glacial Atlantic.

This map reveals a new glacial deep Atlantic circulation .

“We found that carbon-rich Pacific Deep Water extended northward up to about 20° S in the South Atlantic at three to four kilometers depth during the Last Glacial Maximum,” Dr. Yu said.

“This may have contributed critically to the decline in atmospheric CO2, thereby helping to initiate the glacial maximum.”

According to Dr. Yu, ocean circulation is a key regulator of climate, storing and transporting heat, carbon and nutrients.

“This study suggests as waters shifted during the LGM, carbon was stored in the deep ocean, lowering atmospheric CO2 levels,” Dr. Yu said.

This information could also help improve or test the performance of various climate models.

“If a model is able to reproduce the data—a method known as hindcasting or backtesting—it might give us confidence in the model’s ability to map out future conditions,” Dr. Yu said.

The research has been published in Nature Geoscience.



More information:
J. Yu et al. Last glacial atmospheric CO2 decline due to widespread Pacific deep-water expansion, Nature Geoscience (2020). DOI: 10.1038/s41561-020-0610-5

Citation:
Historic carbon dioxide decline could hold clues for future climate (2020, July 24)
retrieved 24 July 2020
from https://phys.org/news/2020-07-historic-carbon-dioxide-decline-clues.html

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Historic Saharan

The historic Saharan dust plume is darkening skies in the Caribbean and will soon stretch into the US – CNN

(CNN)The current Saharan dust episode is leading to the worst dust storm in the Caribbean in decades.

Over the weekend, Saharan dust moved into the Caribbean. By Monday, it had changed the tropical blue skies into a hazy brown-gray color.
On Tuesday, this sunset enhancing, blue sky limiting, tropical threat reducing dust plume continues its 5,000-mile journey toward the US.
But before it does, it is leaving these pristine islands with a few more days with one the most significant dust events seen in the Caribbean.
“It is definitely historic,” Olga Mayol-Bracero, a researcher at the University of Puerto Rico told CNN Weather. “We knew we were going to be in an extraordinary situation.”
Many of her colleagues across the Caribbean said they have not seen air quality conditions this bad in their entire careers.
Aerosols, measured in PM10, at Mayol-Bracero’s research station in northeastern Puerto Rico, have never reached the levels they have seen the past few days. Records at this station go back 15 years.
It is unusual that the dust is forecast to travel over central America and the US with such high concentrations, Claire Ryder, NERC Independent Research Fellow at the University of Reading, told CNN Weather.
“Usually by the time dust from the Sahara has traveled this far, much of it has been dispersed and/or deposited to the ocean so that typically this long-range transport to the Americas would involve much lower concentrations,” Ryder said.
The initial dust outbreak was driven by a few different smaller storm systems over central and west Africa. Several of these thunderstorms caused downdrafts and large-scale haboobs (dust storms) to develop. This led to a large amount of dust being uplifted into the atmosphere from the Sahara, according to Ryder.
At the same time, these smaller dust storms were happening. The African Easterly Jet, strong winds higher in the atmosphere which usually transports dust westwards, was anomalously weak this June.
Meaning a larger amount of dust than usual was able to accumulate just off the west coast of Africa. It was able to then was transported westwards in a very dense plume when the jet picked up speed again.
This increase in dust thickness has led to the dirty looking skies seen across the Caribbean and the historically poor air quality.
“It’s certainly the most intense, large-scale dust event I have ever seen,” Ryder said.
The dust layer is so thick you can see it on weather satellites. Astronauts have also gotten a good view of it from the international space station.
“We flew over this Saharan dust plume today in the west central Atlantic,’ Astronaut Doug Hurly tweeted on Sunday. “Amazing how large an area it covers!”
“Hazy skies and low visibilities will continue today as a significant Saharan dust event continues across the islands,” the National Weather Service in San Juan said Tuesday morning.

The Saharan dust will reach the US by Thursday morning

On Wednesday, the dust is forecast to move across the Gulf of Mexico toward Texas.
Thursday morning, people in places like Brownsville in Texas and Houston will likely wake up to a beautiful sunrise and a hazier than normal sky.
Forecast models don’t show the thicker concentration blanketing most of Central America and Mexico Thursday.
This thicker layer is likely to reach Texas by Friday and then take a turn to the east. If the forecast model is right, it will move over most of the Southeast and MidAtlantic states over the weekend.
Once it arrives, here are the top 3 ways you’ll notice next week’s Saharan dust in the US, wrote CNN meteorologist Tyler Mauldin.

A difference in the sky

One of the first things you’ll notice when the Saharan dust layer arrives is that your typical blue sky will have more of a milky haze to it.
That milky haze is the Saharan dust. Those tiny dust particles lofted tens of thousands of feet in the air do a great job of scattering the sun’s rays at dusk and dawn, too, which gives way to stunning sunrises and sunsets.
So, grab those cameras!

Less tropical activity in the Atlantic

The Saharan dust to a hurricane is nothing more than extremely dry air. Hurricanes hate dry air. A hurricane needs a hot, humid and calm environment.
As long as the Saharan dust is around … it’s likely you’ll see the National Hurricane Center watching fewer areas in the tropics.

Dust plume allergies

The tiny dust particles that give way to beautiful sunrises and sunsets and help suppress hurricane development don’t always stay at 30,000 feet. Sometimes particles can make their way to the surface, greatly affecting those with sensitive allergies.
If you find yourself reaching for a tissue this week — or your iPhone to post yet another awesome sunset pic to Instagram — thank the Saharan dust.

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Historic SpaceX's

Why does SpaceX’s historic astronaut flight for NASA have two commanders? – Space.com

SpaceX’s historic crewed mission to space has … two commanders?

Over the weekend, veteran NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley made history as they launched into space on a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule as part of the company’s Demo-2 test flight, the first crewed flight to orbit to launch from the U.S.  since NASA’s space shuttle program ended in 2011. The Demo-2 mission launched from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Saturday (May 30) and reached the International Space Station 19 hours later with a smooth docking.

But, while most human spaceflight missions have one commander, Demo-2 has two. For this mission, Hurley serves as the Crew Dragon’s spacecraft commander and Behnken as joint operations commander. 

Related: SpaceX’s historic Demo-2 astronaut mission: Full coverage

NASA astronauts Bob Behnken (at left) and Doug Hurley wear SpaceX spacesuits embroidered with and stand before NASA's

NASA astronauts Bob Behnken (at left) and Doug Hurley, the crew of SpaceX’s Demo-2 test flight on a Crew Dragon, wear pose for a photo atop the fixed service structure at Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A in Florida. They launched on May 30, 2020. (Image credit: SpaceX)

In his role as joint operations commander, Behnken’s specific responsibilities include reaching and docking with the space station. Hurley, on the other hand, is responsible for the Crew Dragon capsule, now officially named Endeavour, launch, landing and recovery. 

The astronauts also share a number of responsibilities and will work together with NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy, helping out with now that Behnken and Hurley have joined Cassidy aboard the space station. They may even take part in some spacewalks outside the station to upgrade its solar array batteries among other maintenance work.

The astronauts will spend anywhere from approximately one to four months aboard the space station working with and helping out Cassidy. The purpose of this mission was to demonstrate the capabilities of the Crew Dragon capsule  — to make sure it can safely ferry human passengers to (and from) the space station. 

With the success of this mission, SpaceX aims to launch Crew-1, the first operational astronaut flight for NASA later this year. Currently, NASA hopes to launch Crew-1 Aug. 30, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine has said. 

Follow Chelsea Gohd on Twitter @chelsea_gohd. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook.

Join our Space Forums to keep talking space on the latest missions, night sky and more! And if you have a news tip, correction or comment, let us know at: community@space.com.

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Historic SpaceX's

Why SpaceX’s historic manned space flight isn’t really that historic – Salon

Seventeen minutes before a crewed SpaceX rocket known as Falcon 9 was supposed to launch from the Kennedy Space Center in Merritt Island, Florida yesterday, the flight’s weather officer decided to “scrub” the big event. According to the Washington Post, Tropical Storm Bertha had compromised their ability to safely carry out the mission, meaning everything was postponed until the weekend.

The media and space enthusiasts had been hyping the launch for weeks; CNN, Politico and numerous other outlets deemed it a “historic” moment — because, as CNN wrote, the launch of the Falcon 9 carrying astronauts in a crewed module would mark “the first time in the space agency’s history” that NASA “handed over much of the design, development and testing of new human-rated spacecraft to the private sector.” 

For fans of NASA, space, or entrepreneur Elon Musk — who founded the American aerospace manufacturer and space transport company SpaceX — the delay marked a profound disappointment. Yet for those with a sense of the history of space travel, the upcoming launch of the SpaceX Crew Dragon was merely a minor note in an ongoing development — the privatization of space — that has dubious value at best to humanity. Certainly it is not likely to be remembered as a major event in the history of human space travel. That’s because NASA’s reliance on private contractors has changed little in its half-century history, aside from a few minor administrative details exemplified by this week’s launch. 

Privatization of space exploration and travel has been a long-term bipartisan goal of the US federal government. Indeed, private companies first entered the realm of space exploration in the 1960s, when they participated in the manufacturing of communications satellites, but it wasn’t until Congress passed a law in 1984 allowing private companies to engage in their own launches that corporate space launches became plausible.

A giant leap toward the privatization of space launches took place in 2010, when President Barack Obama ordered NASA to create a program providing grants to private companies that would allow them to develop spacecraft which could transport astronauts to or from the space station. This roughly coincided with the impending retirement of the space shuttle, with NASA announcing in 2006 that it would soon need private businesses to help it transport people and cargo to and from the International Space Station in anticipation of losing its ability to perform these basic tasks on its own.

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Part of the impetus behind privatizing space launches is that, from a strictly fiscal standpoint, many critics thought it was unfeasible to have the government bankroll America’s endeavors beyond our own planet. During the Cold War, of course, the United States was determined to defeat the Soviet Union in the so-called “space race”; as a result, in 1966 the budget for NASA equalled roughly 4.41 percent of the total federal budget. Since 1993, however, NASA has never managed to take up even 1 percent of the total federal budget, forcing the agency to work with the private sector in order to continue performing many of its most basic operations.

That is why, as we enter a new decade, companies like Musk’s SpaceX and Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin are promising to bring us into a new era of privatized space travel. But while this may seem like a good thing on paper — who wouldn’t want to live in their own rocket ship? — it may be less so in practice.

“While NASA has to answer to the interests of the government and taxpayers, private companies have to take into account profitability, the interests of a variety of shareholders, and reliance on a secure contract with NASA,” Lina Shi of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton Business School wrote in 2016. “Since profitability is a major factor in a lot of decision making, programs that focus on the general development of space exploration and knowledge, but lack immediate commercial applications, may not be developed.”

There are also concerns about the potential environmental impact of privatized space flights. For one thing, SpaceX’s plan to put 25,000 satellites into space could have a serious impact on astronomy. Avi Loeb, chairman of Harvard’s science department, told Salon last year that SpaceX’s satellites could create so much reflected sunlight that they will interfere with scientists’ ability to observe space from the ground.

“They are already requesting 30,000 new satellites beyond the 12,000 that were granted, and the number will grow further without any space laws to moderate the growth,” Loeb told Salon. “It is essential to find a technological solution that would minimize the footprint of these satellites on telescope images (or else we will need to always avoid their predictable locations or relocate optical observatories to the Moon).”

He added, “The problem is particularly acute for the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) which will survey repeatedly a large fraction of the sky. There is no doubt that it will be addressed in the 2020 Decadal survey of Astronomy which will summarize the priorities of the Astronomy community for the next decade.”

Meanwhile, there are plenty of concerns about the carbon emissions of rocket launches in general. Smithsonian Magazine estimates that each Falcon 9 launch produces approximately 150 metric tons of carbon, meaning that they would pump 4,000 metric tons into our atmosphere every year if they achieved their goal of a launch every two weeks. Regular rocket launches would also dump chemicals like chlorine, black carbon and aluminum oxide into the atmosphere, all of which would also cause significant damage to our ozone layer.

As Dr. Martin Ross, senior project engineer for commercial launch projects at The Aerospace Corporation, told Digital Trends, regular rocket emissions “could have a more significant role in the totality of Earth’s climate system than aviation CO2 emissions. But we do not know enough about rocket particle emissions to say for sure with any degree of scientific clarity. The scientific level of understanding rocket emissions is out of line with their level of potential impacts.”

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Historic Unemployment

Historic unemployment rate upends Trump’s reelection bid – ABC News

NEW YORK —
The record unemployment rate reported on Friday captured the pain of a nation where tens of millions of jobs suddenly vanished, devastating the economy and forcing President Donald Trump to overcome historic headwinds to win a second term.

Just a few short months ago, Trump planned to campaign for reelection on the back of a robust economy. That’s a distant memory after more than 20 million jobs were lost in April, leading to an unemployment rate of 14.7%, the highest since the Great Depression.

There’s no parallel in U.S. history for the suddenness or severity of the economic collapse, which is ravaging some states that are crucial to Trump’s victory. The president is now tasked with convincing voters that the catastrophic jobs losses were the result of the pandemic — not his management of the public health crisis. He also argues that he deserves another chance to rebuild what the virus destroyed.

“What I can do: I’ll bring it back,” Trump told Fox News on Friday. “It’s fully expected. There’s no surprise. Everybody knows that. Even the Democrats aren’t blaming me for that.”

Bringing back jobs quickly won’t be easy.

Backdated statistics show that unemployment reached as high as 25% in 1933 during the Great Depression. A broader calculation of unemployment from April’s jobs report suggests the rate might be nearly that high now, as the 14.7% rate doesn’t include people who left the labor force or still consider themselves employed despite not working. But the efforts needed to contain the spread of the coronavirus have caused much more rapid job loss than during the 1930s.

“The last time we had unemployment rates in this neighborhood, it took us five years to get there,” said Erica Groshen, an economist at Cornell University and former commissioner of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. “This time, we will have achieved that in two months.”

The suddenness of the crisis has been a shock to Americans, who will be looking for reassurance from Trump.

“The White House can make the point that the collapse was not the result of economic policies but an unprecedented global pandemic,” said Kevin Madden, a Republican strategist who was a senior adviser on Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign. “But they need to look forward, too: Present a detailed roadmap, restore people’s confidence and pledge to work with Democrats and Republicans alike.”

Many of the layoffs are classified as temporary, which means workers could get recalled as the outbreak subsides and the unemployment rate would fall. But it’s unlikely to immediately return to the 3.5% that Trump was celebrating, as consumer spending might be slow to recover and businesses and workers adjust to changes forced by the disease.

Until recently, the Trump campaign planned to use the spring to hammer its Democratic opponent with negative ads while touting the president’s handling of a strong economy. But after the pandemic ignited on American shores, the reelection team has grown increasingly worried about the president’s standing in a series of key battleground states including Michigan, Wisconsin and Florida.

Kevin Pierce’s experience is a warning to Trump. The 24-year-old was a restaurant marketer in Miami who received zero state or federal benefits after a byzantine application process.

“Two applications, and I still have no idea what’s going on,” he said, arguing that Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis should be punished at the polls. “They both just seem to not care about what’s going on and strictly want to build themselves up. I think it’s on Trump. His administration didn’t take the proper steps.”

But Jeremy Anders, a barber who hasn’t been able to cut hair since March because of Pennsylvania’s shutdown orders, said he will still vote for Trump in November.

“He’s made mistakes and I think he’s too much of an egotist, but I’m still going to vote for him,” said Anders, 36, who lives in the small town of Martinsburg.

The urgency to restart the economy has fueled Trump’s push to reopen locked-down states, even though some in his inner circle express worry because the national infection rates, if the New York City area is removed, continue to rise. There has also been debate about supporting a federal bailout of state and local governments, which account for about 20 million jobs, and, if they don’t receive funding, will surely have to cut workers.

“It was under President Trump’s leadership that the economy reached unprecedented heights in the first place, and he is the best choice to help us rebuild the economy again,” said campaign spokeswoman Sarah Matthews.

History suggests Trump faces hurdles ahead.

The president in office during the onset of Great Depression, Herbert Hoover, was routed in his 1932 reelection bid. Voters also cast out other recent incumbents who presided over sluggish economies, including Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush, while Barack Obama was elected in 2008 after Republicans took the brunt of the blame for the collapse of the financial markets that fall.

If that happens again, the GOP isn’t just worried about keeping the White House. Voters who reject Trump may also turn against Republican candidates for Congress. That’s especially concerning for Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado, which has been trending Democratic in recent years, and could cause problems for GOP Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Thom Tills of North Carolina and Martha McSally in Arizona, where close presidential races are expected.

For his part, Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, has ramped up the intensity of his economic pitch amid the pandemic slowdown. Reacting to the jobs report, he used an online address to blister Trump for economic “failings that have been present since Day One but are coming into sharp relief in the current crisis.”

Though typically overshadowed by Trump’s megaphone, Biden argues the administration offers a false choice between reopening the economy and limiting the casualties of the coronavirus. The balance, Biden says, is a national plan for testing and tracing. And he cast Trump as caring only about the wealthiest Americans, evidenced by Republicans’ nearly $2 trillion tax cut in 2017 and the president’s emphasis on the stock market as “the only metric he values.”

“Conventional wisdom would say ‘It’s the economy, stupid,'” said Adrienne Elrod, a Democratic strategist who was senior adviser to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign. “If good, a president gets reelected. If not, he loses,”

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Boak reported from Baltimore. Barrow reported from Atlanta. Associated Press writers Tamara Lush in St. Petersburg, Fla., Marc Levy in Harrisburg, Pa. and Alan Fram in Washington contributed to this report.

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