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SpaceX launches the first astronaut on a joint mission with NASA



SpaceX launches the first astronaut on a joint mission with NASA

For the first time in nine years, NASA astronauts were launched to orbit from the U.S. soil. And for the first time, their trip to space was a craft designed and owned by a private company.

Astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley sky rocketed on Saturday afternoon on SpaceX Crew Dragon capsules, en route to the International Space Station. Despite some initial weather concerns, the SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket took off from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 12:22 p.m. EDT. Capsules are arranged to dock at the station early Sunday morning at 10:29 EDT.

Saturday’s launch was the start of a test flight evaluating Crew Dragon’s system and capabilities. As the first crew to board the capsule, Behnken and Hurley will make sure everything functions as expected before NASA authorizes the spacecraft to regularly transport its astronauts to the space station.

The launch, and the years of work leading up to this point, marked a change in how NASA did business.

For decades, NASA owned and operated aircraft that transported astronauts into space. The contractors built the spacecraft, but they did it with large input from NASA.

Astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley with zero gravity indicators.


After the shuttle retired in 2011, the US only relied on Russia to transport its astronauts to the space station. The ride was not cheap – seats in the Russian Soyuz spacecraft cost around $ 70 million to $ 80 million.

In 2014, NASA awarded a multibillion dollar contract to SpaceX and Boeing Co. to develop crafts to transport U.S. astronauts to the space station.

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Under these contracts, SpaceX and Boeing designed and owned the aircraft and NASA was only a customer. NASA said the arrangement made the agency focus its attention on more ambitious missions to the moon or Mars, while commercial companies took over more routine space flight operations in low-Earth orbit, such as carrying cargo or crew to the space station.

This shift is also a way of saving costs when NASA’s budget no longer approaches the heights reached in the 1960s during the Apollo program.

Then, the Cold War blazed between the US and the Soviet Union. The two countries are in the middle of a space race to place the first man on the moon, and NASA’s budget reflects that. In 1966, the space agency had an inflation-adjusted budget of around $ 47 billion; in 2020, NASA’s budget is $ 22.6 billion.

“You will not get that Cold War incentive every time,” said Lori Garver, former deputy administrator of NASA from 2009 to 2013. “Without the Cold War, we need to reduce costs to be able to make this progress, and we do that now.”

The new era of spaceflight dawns, when SpaceX sends NASA astronauts inside

The booster that drives the crew into space returns to Earth and lands with precision, left, in the “Of course I Still Love You” dronehip in the Atlantic Ocean.


SpaceX made history in 2012 when its Dragon cargo capsule became the first commercial spaceship to dock with the space station. The Hawthorne Company now regularly transports cargo for NASA to the space station, as does Northrop Grumman Corp.

On Saturday, SpaceX reached another milestone when its Crew Dragon capsule became the first private spaceship to carry astronauts into orbit.

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SpaceX has long aspired to launch humans into space. The company, led by Chief Executive Elon Musk, plans to eventually use the Dragon Crew capsule to take tourists on their way to the space station and even higher in space.

“We were founded in 2002 to fly people into low-Earth orbit, the moon and Mars,” SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell told reporters earlier this month. “NASA is certainly possible.”

The Dragon spacecraft with astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley

The Dragon Crew spacecraft with astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley aboard the ship separated from the second stage of the Falcon 9 rocket which pushed them into low-earth orbit.


In 18 years, SpaceX has changed from upstart beginner to aerospace titan. The company whose first three rocket launches ended in failure has now made the first-stage booster back to Earth look routine and gather a variety of customers including commercial satellite operators, U.S. military. and NASA.

The main purpose of SpaceX is to colonize Mars. The company is working on a prototype of its Mars spacecraft called Starship, even though the initial version failed in testing.

The launch of Crew Dragon was originally set for Wednesday, but bad weather – in particular, too much electricity in the atmosphere – forced the scrub only 15 minutes before taking off.

Earlier Saturday, there was a 50% chance of launching to take off, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said at the launch of the webcast that morning. About two hours before takeoff, a camera showing the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and the Crew Dragon capsule on the launchpad had raindrops on the lens.

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But in the end, the weather cooperated.

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Portuguese historical films will premiere on 29 December.



Portuguese historical films will premiere on 29 December.

Method Media Bermuda will present the documentary FABRIC: Portuguese History in Bermuda on Thursday, December 29 at the Underwater Research Institute of Bermuda.

A spokesperson said: “Method Media is proud to bring Bermuda Fabric: Portugal History to Bermuda for its 5th and 6th showing at the Bermuda Underwater Observatory. In November and December 2019, Cloth: A Portuguese Story in Bermuda had four sold-out screenings. Now that Bermuda has reopened after the pandemic, it’s time to bring the film back for at least two screenings.

“There are tickets For $ 20 – sessions at 15:30 and 18:00. Both screenings will be followed by a short Q&A session.

Director and producer Milton Raboso says, “FABRIC is a definitive account of the Portuguese community in Bermuda and its 151 years of history, but it also places Bermuda, Acors and Portugal in the world history and the events that have fueled those 151 years.

“It took more than 10 years to implement FABRIC. The film was supported by the Minister of Culture, the Government of the Azores and private donors.

Bermuda Media Method [MMB] Created in 2011 by producer Milton Raposo. MMB has created content for a wide range of clients: Bermuda’s new hospital renovation, reinsurance, travel campaigns, international sports and more. MMB pays special attention to artistic, cultural and historical content.

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Maestro de Braga is the first Portuguese in the National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba.



Maestro de Braga is the first Portuguese in the National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba.

Maestro Filipe Cunha, Artistic Director of the Philharmonic Orchestra of Braga, has been invited to conduct the Cuban National Symphony Orchestra, as announced today.

According to a statement sent by O MINHO, “he will be the first Portuguese conductor to conduct this orchestra in its entire history.”

In addition to this orchestra, the maestro will also work with the Lyceo Mozarteum de la Habana Symphony Orchestra.

The concerts will take place on 4 and 12 March 2023 at the National Theater of Cuba in Havana.

In the words of the maestro, quoted in the statement, “these will be very beautiful concerts with difficult but very complex pieces” and therefore he feels “very motivated”.

From the very beginning, Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 will be performed by an Italian pianist (Luigi Borzillo), whom the maestro wants to bring to Portugal later this year. In the same concert, Mendelshon’s First Symphony will be performed.

Then, at the second concert, in the company of the Mexican clarinetist Angel Zedillo, he will perform the Louis Sfora Concerto No. 2. In this concert, the maestro also conducts Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony.

“This is an international recognition of my work. An invitation that I accept with humility and great responsibility. I was surprised to learn that I would be the first Portuguese member of the Cuban National Symphony Orchestra. This is a very great honor,” the maestro said in a statement.

“I take with me the name of the city of Braga and Portugal with all the responsibility that goes with it, and I hope to do a good job there, leaving a good image and putting on great concerts. These will be very special concerts because, in addition to performing pieces that I love, especially Rachmaninov and Tchaikovsky, I will be directing two wonderful soloists who are also my friends. It will be very beautiful,” concludes Filipe Cunha.

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