NASA Mulls Next Steps for Boeing’s Starliner Astronaut Taxi After Shortened Test Flight | Space

It’ll be a little while before we know if the next flight of Boeing’s new will carry astronauts.

On Dec. 20, 2019, Starliner launched on an uncrewed mission called (OFT), which was designed to demonstrate the capsule’s ability to fly NASA astronauts to and from the International Space Station (ISS). Boeing has been contracted by NASA’s Commercial Crew Program to do just that, as has SpaceX.

OFT was supposed to last eight days and feature an autonomous docking with the station. But Starliner suffered a shortly after liftoff and got stranded in an orbit too low to allow a rendezvous with the ISS. The reusable capsule ended up zooming around Earth by itself for 48 hours, then coming down for a picture-perfect landing in New Mexico’s White Sands Missile Range on Dec. 22.

The original plan called for OFT to be followed by a crewed demonstration mission to the ISS. And that option is still on the table, despite the issues with December’s flight, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine Tuesday (Jan. 7).

“NASA is evaluating the data received during the mission to determine if another uncrewed demonstration is required. This decision is not expected for several weeks as teams take the necessary time for this review,” Bridenstine wrote. 

“NASA’s approach will be to determine if NASA and Boeing received enough data to validate the system’s overall performance, including launch, on-orbit operations, guidance, navigation and control, docking/undocking to the space station, reentry, and landing,” he added. “Although data from the uncrewed test is important for certification, it may not be the only way that Boeing is able to demonstrate its system’s full capabilities.”

Bridenstine also announced that NASA and Boeing are forming a joint team to investigate Starliner’s timing anomaly and figure out how to make sure it doesn’t happen again. 

“Once underway, the investigation is targeted to last about two months before the team delivers its final assessment,” the NASA head wrote. He added that Starliner is currently being transported from White Sands to Boeing’s facilities on Florida’s Space Coast, where the capsule will be examined in even greater detail.

The latest big Commercial Crew contracts were awarded in 2014. Boeing got $4.2 billion to finish development work on Starliner and fly six operational, crewed ISS missions. SpaceX got $2.6 billion to do the same with its Crew Dragon capsule.

Crew Dragon aced its version of OFT, the uncrewed , in March of last year. SpaceX is now gearing up for a crucial in-flight test of the capsule’s emergency-escape system, which is . If that test goes well, Crew Dragon would be pretty much cleared for Demo-2, a test mission that will fly NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to and from the ISS.

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Birth rate in PH down by 6 percent in 2018: PSA | ABS-CBN News

MANILA – About 190 babies were born per hour, or approximately 3 babies were born per minute in 2018, a decreased trend in the last 6 years, the Philippine Statistics Authority said.

PSA said there were a total of 1,668,120 live births registered in the country in 2018, or around 4,570 babies born daily. This is equivalent to a crude birth rate of 15.8 or 16 births per thousand of population.

The 2018 data showed a decreasing trend in the last 6 years, from 1,790,367 live births in 2012 to 1,668,120 live births in 2018. This accounts for a 6.8 percent drop in the number of registered live births since 2012.

PSA also showed more males were born than females. Of the total live births in 2018, 870,832 or 52.2 percent were male, while 797,288 or 47.8 percent were female. This resulted to a sex ratio at birth of 109 males per 100 females.

More than half of all live births in 2018 were in Luzon at 58.4 percent, followed by Mindanao at 23 percent and Visayas at 18.5 percent.

Among the regions, the National Capital Region recorded the highest number of birth occurrences at 14.3 percent, followed by Calabarzon at 13.8 percent and Central Luzon at 11.3 percent.

According to PSA, more babies were born outside the usual residence of the mother, which may be due to better health care facilities and services in the receiving region.

In 2018, most of the births occurred in September, with a total of 156,820 births or 9.4 percent of the total. This was followed by October at 9.3 percent, November at 8.9 percent and December at 8.8 percent.

The data also showed the least number of births in 2018 was in February, with only 113,912 births or 6.8 percent of the total live births.

Of the total number of births, 94.3 percent, or 9 out of 10 births, were attended by health professionals, either by a physician, a midwife or a nurse. 

Among all the regions in the Philippines, the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) showed a very low number of medically attended births, with almost half of the births in the region attended by traditional birth attendants, or hilot.

According to PSA, more than half, or 54.3 percent (906,106) of the total live births in 2018 were born out of wedlock. Calabarzon, NCR and Central Luzon recorded the highest number of babies born out of wedlock, while ARMM had the most number of legitimate births.

Majority of the babies were also born to mothers aged 20 to 24, and fathers aged 25 to 29. There were also more babies born to adolescent mothers (aged 19 below) than those sired by adolescent fathers.

The PSA have yet to release the full birth data for 2019, but it has recorded a total of 728,157 births from January to June of last year.

The PSA released the 2018 birth data on its official website on December 27, 2019.

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‘Where to buy a good pork pie now?’ – What you had to say about closure of popular city centre butchers – CoventryLive

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A popular butchers in Coventry city centre has rolled down its shutters for the final time – and CoventryLive readers have been left heartbroken.

The news that Walter Smith butchers had closed broke this week, ending its 35-year plus presence in the city.

The butchers, located in the Bull Yard, closed on December 28, along with two others in the Midlands chain – Denby and West Bromwich.

A post on the Walter Smith Facebook page read: “We are very sad to announce the closure of our Denby, West Bromwich and Coventry shops.

“Thank you so much to all of our loyal customers for your support over the years.

“We look forward to seeing you in one of our remaining 11 shops and wish you all a very happy and healthy 2020.”

You can see what people had to say about the news below.

What you had to say…

Kelly Harding said: “A shame. Good service and great prices.”

Hardeep Sihota said: “Supermarkets have gradually killed the high street stores with cheaper prices and late night or 24 hour openings.”

Walter Smith butchers.

Mel Jones said: “Oh no I buy from here and I used to go here with my mum and my nan my nan is no longer with use and it always bringed back memories when I go in there so sad to see yet anther good shop going.”

David Price said: “Anyone know where to buy a good pork pie now?”

Lorraine Pritchard said: “Arh the lovely friendly staff had worked there years! All the best to them.”

Anna-kenine Adams said: “When my boys was younger and we would go town the boys always went there to get what they would call a big fat man sandwich always got a good deal there and lovely staff.”

Alison Broomfield said: “I’m sadly not surprised due to not many shoppers in the city centre & online shopping. could see this happening years ago.”

Karen Ward said: “What a shame lovely butchers.”

Amanpal Sangha said: “Sad times but all good and great things come to an end loved the meat.”

Amanda Lovett said: “Gutted. My favourite pork pies.”

Lee Brock said: “That’s what happens when not enough people use the shop. We can’t all moan about it closing when people didn’t shop there. And from what I’ve heard from someone who worked there, the whole business is becoming a bit short on profits.”

Janet Thompson said: “I wondered why it wasn’t open Saturday afternoon. Seemed strange.”

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BudgIT Launches ‘Open Nigerian States’ Data Portal

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BudgIT Foundation, a civic tech organisation in the advocacy for fiscal transparency and accountability, has launched its Open Nigerian States data portal.

The Open States web portal was developed under the Rule of Law and Anti-corruption (RoLAC) programme, funded by the European Union, being implemented by the British Council in five states, namely: Adamawa, Anambra, Edo, Kano and Lagos.

The portal aims to increase citizens’ access to state governments’ data, thereby aiding subnational transparency and accountability and assisting policy publishers in data preservation, through the extensive use of charts and articles to make policy-related data simple, meaningful and accessible for the public.

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#HausGoldenGays: Helping the seniors of the drag community during the quarantine – Preen.ph

“Siguro isa yun sa mga character ng pagiging gay. Kasi nga being gay, halos in general, survivalist eh,” is what Ramon Busa of The Golden Gays told Preen.ph in a when asked about how their group of elderly drag queens remains in good spirits despite facing hardships. 

The Home for the Golden Gays was a care facility serving the seniors of the gay community without homes and was established in Pasay during the mid-1970s by LGBT rights activist and columnist Justo Justo. Since the founder’s passing in 2012, many of its members have been living separately in multiple transient shelters. Under the enhanced community quarantine, they are unable to turn to performing in drag or their other jobs—working as a beautician, vendor, street sweeper or trader—for a source of income. Moreover, drag is more than just a job for the Golden Gays. Rey Ravago told us, “Nakakaangat siya ng aura ng isang lola at the same time pag rumarampa na kami, naeenergize kami. Parang buhay na buhay ang aming dugo.”

In the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, our lolas are at higher risk due to their old age and lack of income. #HausGoldenGays is a fundraising campaign hosted by Preen.ph for the benefit of The Golden Gays. The donations collected from the drive will be used to help provide for home accommodation, utilities, food, medicine and other supplies needed by the group during the quarantine. One of the lolas, Federico de los Santos Ramasamy aka Lola Rikka, passed away and on Sunday was cremated. Proceeds will also be used to cover expenses related to his passing.

Let’s give back to our elderly drag queens who have served as inspirations and advocates for the Filipino LGBTQ+ community. You may send in your donations through GCASH at 0965 8544 619 or Paymaya at 0916 596 5455.

Let’s help our elderly queens stay golden! 

Photos courtesy of Jack Alindahao

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Parkrun fanatic ticks off Dumbarton venue in her global quest – Daily Record

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Parkrun has become a global phenomenon and, despite still being in its infancy, Levengrove’s event is already attracting new visitors to Dumbarton.

German Parkrun fanatic Julia Loecherbach is one of those who has travelled to the shadow of the Rock to take on the Levenside venue’s challenging trails.

And for Julia it’s far from the first time she’s travelled for an event.

She told the Lennox Herald: “I’ve now done 44 different Parkruns including some in Germany, Ireland and Poland.

“I’m from Germany originally but since 2012 I’ve lived in Scotland, first in Edinburgh and now because of work I live in Alloa.

“Initially, it was quite a slow burner. I’ve been doing Parkruns since 2013 and that’s how I got into running in the first place.

“It was quite far away from me in Edinburgh and on Saturdays, I was involved in cycling and other things, so it was difficult to have the time. But Parkrun gave me a bit of a focus.

“It was through that and getting involved in social media groups that I realised that Parkrun tourism was a bit of a thing.

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“My partner is Irish and we always look at doing Parkruns when we’re away, but when we were over there we made it our aim to do one in Portrush in Northern Ireland where you actually run along the beach.

“I was also at a conference in Germany which didn’t start until mid-morning, so I printed off the barcode at the hotel and ran down to take part in that. I also had one at my old university which is based near the border with Poland where I just crossed over the border to say that I’d done one there too.

“In Scotland, I was once in Stonehaven for a triathlon and went up a day early to take part in the Parkrun, and I’ve done one in St Andrews when I was doing the Chariots of Fire race as well.”

The amount of events Julia has completed looks even more impressive when you consider that she’s keen to reduce her carbon footprint along the way.

She continued: “I pledged not to fly this year, so I won’t be doing many overseas, but I still have aims.

“Last time I got the train to Germany I went down on the sleeper to London, went on a Parkrun in London and then got the Eurostar into Europe.

“The Parkrun alphabet is also a thing too, so I’m trying to organise a train that stops in York because there are only two Parkruns in the country that start with a Y at the moment.”

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Parkrun tourism is becoming increasingly popular throughout the country, and with new events popping up across the country every week there’s always a new challenge for runners.

Davie Black, who runs the Parkrun Scotland Friends Facebook page which has more than 3000 members, attended Levengrove’s first run – and explained what attracts so many people to Parkrun tourism.

He said: “It’s an incredibly friendly thing to belong to, but it’s been made more addictive since the beginning of Parkrun challenges.

Alloa

“People are keen to do the alphabet, but often they have to travel to Poland as it’s the easiest one to get to that begins with a Z, but there are also plenty of smaller challenges.

“There’s the Staying Alive challenge where you have to do runs beginning with B, then E, E, G, E, E or the pirates challenge which is seven beginning with a C and then an R.

Davie himself is one of a select group of just three (at the time of writing) to have completed all 58 Parkruns in Scotland, whilst he’s crossed the line at 87 different runs – and 520 times at Parkruns in total.

However he refused to pick a favourite.

He said: “Stornoway is one of the most interesting events, the course and the estate it’s on are really interesting.

“Shetland’s Bressay Parkrun is fantastic as well, it’s all run on roads which sounds dangerous but I think in the whole time there I saw two cars!”

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And both visitors were impressed by what Levengrove had to offer runners.

Julia said: “Levengrove Park is really nice, the views are great and I didn’t find it that hilly which was good.

“The paths are quite wide too so you really could say that it’s perfect for a Parkrun.”

Whilst Davie was glowing in his praise of the venue

He added: “It’s a lovely park in a great location and I think it could be a jewel in the crown for Parkrun in Scotland.

“The park has a lot to offer. I’m not usually a fan of laps but there is so much to look at that I didn’t mind.

“When you look up you can see the monuments, the Rock, the river and you can see that it’s a park that has had plenty of investment.”

The appeal of Parkrun is also clear for both Julia and Davie, who urged newcomers to come along.

Julia said: “It’s for everyone, anyone can come along and have a look or volunteer, you don’t have to take part in it, they are totally open to anybody and that’s what makes them so special.”

Davie concluded: “You’re never alone at a Parkrun, that’s what I always say.

“It’s really just people who have met for a blether when a run broke out, and the running part is 50/50 with the social part of it.”

More than 270 attended last week, with co-event director Anna Napier keen to highlight why it was so successful.

She said: “Whether people are walking, jogging, running or volunteering everyone is equally welcome at Parkrun.

“For us it’s about getting as wide a range of people involved as possible, we have some very quick runners, but there are also plenty of people who come along and walk the route, and that takes about an hour.”

To find out more about Levengrove’s Parkrun, visit parkrun.org.uk/levengrove/

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Organisers of Exeter’s Black Lives Matter protest have received death threats and abuse – Devon Live

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Death threats and racist abuse against two women who organised a Black Lives Matter event in Exeter have been reported to the police.

More than 400 people gathered at Flowerpot Playing Fields in Exwick on June 7 for the event named Exeter Peaceful Protest Against Racism (George Floyd).

However, organisers Maia Thomas and Sam Draper have endured a wave of abusive messages, some of which threatened their safety.

The most serious threats have been passed to the police, and they have both vowed to continue campaigning.

activism

Maia told ITV News: [I have had] death threats, messages saying ‘You’re pretty for a black girl, why don’t you use your looks instead of your voice?’

“Messages like, ‘I’m going to throw smoke grenades at you’, saying they are going to attack me. I have to have security in Exeter when I’m at work now.

“So even though this is a good movement, it has put my safety in danger.”

On social media, Maia has received messages which include ‘white supremacy is the way forward’ and ‘white lives matter not blacks, so you need to be dealt with’.

Maia said: “I wouldn’t say I’m scared, but I’m more aware of my surroundings.

“I would rather have to be aware of my surroundings and have my voice heard and have a movement happen than sit back and say nothing.

“If people feel the need to threaten my life just because I want my voice to be heard and to have equal treatment, then I need to do this.”

Alison Hernandez

Mum of one Sam has also been targeted by people questioning why she is choosing to speak up.

She said: “[They say] why are you supporting a black person? And I’m like, ‘why not? She’s my friend’.

“I’m a privileged white woman, I don’t have to go through what Maia and other people have to go through. It shouldn’t be like that.”

Anti-racism

Devon’s police and crime commissioner says she is disgusted by the abuse.

Alison Hernandez told ITV News: “It’s absolutely disgraceful. I want people to stand up for what they believe in, and I will fundamentally support people whatever their view to have the right to say it, and to organise around it.”

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APC displays data of Obaseki, others ahead of primaries

This edition of #JH dissects Edo APC governorship primaries and issues arising.

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Journalism without borders: why we are deepening our Europe coverage | World news | The Guardian

In the depth of the financial and economic crisis that was causing misery across much of southern Europe, particularly in 2011, I set off on a reporting trip that contained the germ of what, nearly a decade later, would find expression in This is Europe.

A significant new commitment to deepen the Guardian’s coverage of Europe, This is Europe is a new editorial strand aiming to explore the challenges confronting the continent, that respect no national borders, and how countries are responding to them.

Europe on the Breadline, a four-country road trip in search of some of the human stories behind the impersonal data of the eurozone crisis, took me from food banks and protest marches in Lisbon to the birth of a national citizens’ movement in Málaga.




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In Naples I met a youth worker whose projects with children in difficulty had been hammered by austerity; in Thessaloniki, a professor whose research budget had been slashed by 60% – and a young start-upper determined to succeed regardless.

That series, which led to a second one, this time confined to Greece, talking to those Greeks who were organising to help themselves, was an early attempt at the kind of transnational reporting implied in my current job title – and which This is Europe now aims to take a good deal further.

The whole idea of transnational reporting (journalisme sans frontières, anyone?) recognises that media organisations tend to report the EU from the institutions in Brussels, and from member states in isolation.

Only occasionally have we tried to make sense of issues across Europe – from the climate crisis to data security, migration to the rise of the far right, the working poor to caring for an ageing population, tax avoidance to the urban/rural divide.

It is an issue I have always been aware of, and tried to address before the paper created the role of roving Europe correspondent in 2016.

In 2013, I went back to Thessaloniki and Málaga – with a stop-off in Bologna – to talk to members of southern Europe’s “lost generation”: the 59%, 56% and 40% of under-25s who were then out of work in, respectively, Greece, Spain and in Italy.

In 2014 I made a tour of the populist, Eurosceptic and mainly far-right parties in France, Germany, the Netherlands and Finland that were looking to make major gains in the run-up to the European parliamentary elections of that year.

In 2015, we tried a different approach: for an article published on international labour day, 1 May, about workers taking over their factories, I reported from southern France and Greece, and Guardian colleagues contributed pieces from Spain and Turkey.

In similar efforts, for packages in 2018 and this year on the far-reaching impact of the rise of short-term rental platforms such as Airbnb, and overtourism in general, on Europe’s most historic cities, I wrote about Amsterdam and colleagues covered Berlin, Barcelona, Florence and Prague.




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But all of this has really only been a taster of what we could accomplish, and, over the past three years, my time – and that of many of our correspondents – has been massively taken up by Brexit, leaving precious little bandwidth to think of much else. This is Europe aims to rectify that.

Why is it transnational reporting important? Because it is only when you start comparing and contrasting how different countries are experiencing the same challenges, and how they are addressing them, that you start to see who is doing well, who has developed best practice.

It allows you, for example, to discover that perhaps surprisingly, Finland leads the way in tackling both fake news and homelessness. That France has a hugely successful consumers’ cooperative that is beginning to ensure farmers get paid a fair price for the food they produce.

And that while it may represent a potentially existential challenge to winemakers in Bordeaux, global heating represents a startling opportunity for their colleagues – and, in the not too distant future, rivals – in Scandinavia.

This is Europe: a new Guardian series

This is Europe is a new stream of Guardian journalism that investigates the big challenges that transcend national boundaries, and seeks out the solutions that could benefit us all. These are testing times, and crises are not limited by national borders. But then neither are we.

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Migration, climate, populism and contagious diseases are continent-wide problems. When we report on them through a pan-European lens, we not only understand the challenges better but can tease out solutions wherever they crop up: health in Denmark, for example, or teenage wellbeing in the Netherlands.

We’ve been talking about something similar to This is Europe for years at the Guardian, and now we’re doing it.

It’s a shame Brexit had to happen first, of course. But if we can now report Europe as Europe – as a continent rising (we hope) individually and collectively to the cross-border challenges it faces – more concretely and more informatively, that will be a small consolation.

Be part of the conversation. Sign up to the This is Europe email list to get a weekly selection of the most pressing stories and debates for Europeans – from identity to economics to the environment.

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Five new laws that could affect your rights at work in 2020 – Somerset Live

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The year 2020 is set to see a range of new laws come into effect.

Here are five key employment law changes that could affect you at work, as explained by Abigail Hubert of Birketts LLP to The Gazette.

From how holiday pay is calculated – to the leave you can expect when you are grieving – these are worth knowing.

Improved rights for agency workers

‘Swedish Derogation,’ also known as ‘pay between assignments’ contracts would previously see agency workers agree a contract that would remove their rights to equal pay with permanent counterparts after 12 weeks working on the same assignment.

From April 6, these will no longer be permissible and agency workers who have been in their employment for 12 weeks will be entitled to the same pay as those on permanent contracts.

Agency workers will have more rights

As well as this, all agency workers will be entitled to a key information document that more clearly sets out their employment relationships and terms and conditions with their agency.

Agency workers who are considered to be employees will be protected from unfair dismissal or suffering a detriment if the reasons are related to asserting rights associated with The Agency Worker Regulations.

Holiday pay calculations changing

From April 6, the reference period to calculate a ‘week’s pay’ for holiday pay purposes will be extended from the previous 12 weeks of work to the previous 52 weeks.

This could affect employees who work variable hours seasonally.

New parental bereavement leave

In September 2018, a new workplace right for paid leave to be given to bereaved parents was officially enshrined in law.

The first of its kind in the UK, the Parental Bereavement Leave and Pay Act 2018 is expected to come into force in April 2020 and will give employed parents the right to two weeks leave if they lost a child under the age of 18 or suffer a stillbirth from 24 weeks of pregnancy.

Employed parents will also be able to claim pay for this period, subject to meeting eligibility criteria.

New right to a written statement of terms

Currently, employees who have been continuously employed for more than one month must be provided with a written statement of terms within two months of employment commencing.

From April 6, all new employees and workers will have the right to a statement of written particulars from their first day of employment. Additional information will have to be included as part of the extended right.

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Accountability for tax shifting

At present, the IR35 rules apply where an individual personally performs services for a client through an intermediary. If the services were provided under a direct contract, the worker would be regarded for tax purposes as being employed by the client.

Currently, it is the intermediary’s responsibility to determine whether IR35 applies.

From April 6, changes to IR35 rules will be implemented for medium and large businesses in the private sector and will largely mirror changes that took effect in the public sector in 2017.

Under the new regime, for all contracts entered into, or payments made on or after April 6, the onus will shift from the intermediary to the end user client to make a status determination.

Responsibility for accounting for tax and national insurance will shift to the party who pays for the individual’s services, known as the ‘fee-payer.’

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