Space crew survives plunge to Earth after Russian rocket fails

admin   •   October 12, 2018   •   2097

A plane carrying astronauts landing on the tarmac in Baikonur, Kazakhstan | NASA via REUTERS

A two-man U.S.-Russian crew of a Soyuz spacecraft bound for the International Space Station was safe following a dramatic emergency landing on Thursday (October 11) shortly after lift-off in Kazakhstan when their rocket failed in mid-air.

U.S. astronaut Nick Hague and Russian cosmonaut Alexei Ovchinin landed safely and rescue crews who raced to locate them on the Kazakh steppe quickly linked up with them, according to the U.S. space agency NASA and Russia’s space agency Roscosmos.

The emergency occurred as the first and second stages of a booster rocket separated shortly after launch from Kazakhstan’s Soviet-era cosmodrome of Baikonur.

“It just reemphasizes that this is a dangerous business,” NASA’s deputy chief assistant, Reid Wiseman, said during a briefing at the Johnson Space Center.

The Soyuz capsule carrying the two men separated from the malfunctioning rocket and made what NASA called a steep ballistic descent to Earth with parachutes helping to slow its speed. A cloud of sand billowed up as the capsule came down on the desert steppe.

The capsule took 34 minutes to reach the ground after it separated from the faulty rocket, NASA said.

Rescue crews then raced to the scene to retrieve them, including paratroopers parachuting to their landing spot, helicopters and all-terrain vehicles, NASA said.— Reuters

NASA unveils new spacesuits for moon mission

Jeck Deocampo   •   October 17, 2019

NASA unveiled two new spacesuits designed for the space agency’s Artemis moon mission to take Americans back to the moon by 2024.

One of the spacesuits, called Exploration Extravehicular Mobility Unit, or xEMU for short, will be worn by astronauts while exploring the surface of the moon’s South Pole.

The second spacesuit, the orange-hued Orion Crew Survival System, is designed to be worn during the launch to the moon and then re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere aboard the agency’s Orion spacecraft.

Both suits are designed for improved mobility and comfort.

A decade after NASA sent a rocket crashing into the moon’s south pole, spewing a plume of debris that revealed vast reserves of ice beneath the barren lunar surface, the space agency is racing to pick up where its little-remembered project left off.

Vice President Mike Pence in March 2019 ordered NASA to land humans on the lunar surface by 2024, accelerating a goal to colonize the moon as a staging ground for eventual missions to Mars.

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said the moon holds billions of tons of water ice, although the exact amount and whether it’s present in large chunks of ice or combined with the lunar soil remains unknown.

To find out before astronauts arrive on the moon, NASA is working with a handful of companies to put rovers on the lunar surface by 2022. (REUTERS)

(Production: Greg Savoy, Pavithra George)

Russia’s Putin arrives in UAE following visit to Saudi Arabia

Robie de Guzman   •   October 15, 2019

Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) and Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan (R) attend an official welcome ceremony in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, 15 October 2019. Russian President Vladimir Putin is on a state visit to UAE.
EPA-EFE/ALEXANDER ZEMLIANICHENKO

Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, on Tuesday (October 15) for talks that are expected to focus on economic ties and security in the Middle East region.

Upon arrival, Putin was greeted by Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan at the airport.

Putin’s trip to the region signals Moscow’s growing Middle East clout.

On Monday (October 14) he visited Saudi Arabia for the first time in over a decade, buoyed by Russian military gains in Syria, strong ties with Riyadh’s regional rivals and energy cooperation. (Reuters)

(Production: Roberto Esparza)

Gatchalian on nuke energy deals: Take extra precautionary measures

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 8, 2019

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian has advised taking extra precautionary measures in entering into nuclear power deals, in relation to the signed nuclear power agreement between the Philippines and Russia.

On Monday (October 7), Gatchalian expressed concern over the said deal since the Constitution does not have enough laws that promote nuclear power in the country.

“Kailangan ng maraming batas, for example nuclear safety. Kailangan din ng batas paano i-transport itong mga nuclear waste, saan itatago iyong nuclear waste. So, we have to be very cautious in moving forward, kulang pa tayo sa framework,” he said.

(We need a lot of laws, for example, on nuclear safety. A law is also needed in transporting nuclear waste and where will the nuclear waste be kept. So, we have to be very cautious in moving forward, we still lack framework.)

The senator also said there is a huge risk in investing in nuclear power plants especially during disasters.

However, Gatchalian said he is still open to studying the use of nuclear power plants in the country.

“Iyong technology for power nagiging mas mura, magiging mas advanced, so pwede natin pag-aralan. But for now ang importante mayroon tayong mga safeguards, batas, nag mag-reregulate nitong nuclear power,” he said.

(The technology for power will be cheaper and affordable. It will also be more advanced, so we should study it. But for now, what’s important is having safeguards, and laws that will regulate nuclear power.)

He also clarified that nuclear energy is allowed in the Constitution but not nuclear weapons.—AAC

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