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Russia to send tourists to near-Earth orbit on “space yacht”

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Russia to send tourists to near-Earth orbit on "space yacht"

MOSCOW: Russia is developing a “space yacht” that is able to take off from ordinary airfields like an aircraft to send tourists to near-Earth orbit, a chief designer of NPO Aviation and Space Technologies told Sputnik news agency.

A number of private companies are working on the unmanned spacecraft dubbed Selena Space Yacht with the support of the National Technology Initiative’s (NTI) AeroNet and SpaceNet working groups, designer Alexander Begak said in an interview.

“We have an opportunity to land on any airfield, the device lands like an airplane … We now calculate the optimal time for space travel, a comfortable flight path, because experience shows that people do not need to be in zero-gravity condition for as long as 10 minutes,” Begak said, adding that the development of the spacecraft began two years ago.

Three “space yachts” will be produced, with six passenger seats and one pilot seat each. Though the spacecraft will be unmanned, the pilot will be present for the convenience of passengers, Begak said.

The cost of the flight will be about 200,000-300,000 U.S. dollars per person.

Begak said that the first flights may start in five years.

 

 

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Twitter rolls out ‘subscribe to conversations’ feature

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Twitter is working on a new Snap-chatty camera feature

CALIFORNIA: Twitter has rolled out a new tool allowing users to follow conversations without liking or replying to them.

A software engineer, Jane Manchung, discovered the prototype in the Android version of the app, Engadget reported. She tweeted about it and Twitter said in response that it was done to make the platform more conversational.

A button has been added to the top right corner of the thread, which notifies you when additional tweets happen. It would bring anonymity to the app.

Twitter is making some new changes, and this was their latest update. On Monday, it launched its beta testing app with updated features such as pinned introductory tweets, turning “threads into chat-like presentations with color-coded users and indentation”.
At the beginning of March, it had announced another feature which lets you hide your replies on tweets.

A chronological timeline tool had been added to the Android version of the app and Twitter is also testing an “original tweeter” label, which shows the account that started a thread.

Sarah Haider, director of product management, said earlier this year that the company is making “some pretty big changes to the way conversations look and feel on Twitter” but they don’t want to introduce everything at once.

We can expect a lot more changes in the future, with the rapid new features rolling out every month.

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Russia’s Soyuz MS-12 spacecraft docks to ISS

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Russia's Soyuz MS-12 spacecraft

MOSCOW: The Soyuz MS-12 spacecraft carrying three crew members successfully docked with the International Space Station (ISS) on Friday, Russia’s space corporation Roscosmos said.

Soyuz MS-12 docked with the Rassvet module at 04:01 Moscow time (0101 GMT), Roscosmos said in a press release.

A Soyuz-FG rocket carrying the spacecraft blasted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 22:14 Moscow time (1914 GMT) on Thursday.

Russian cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin and NASA astronaut Nick Hague, who survived unscathed an aborted launch in October 2018, as well as NASA astronaut Christina Koch, are on board the spacecraft.

Their mission will last 204 days. On March 29, Koch, together with another ISS crew member Anne McClain, who arrived at the ISS on Dec. 3 last year, will perform the first-ever all-female spacewalk.

Russian cosmonauts are scheduled to conduct a spacewalk in May.

 

 

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3 astronauts on Soyuz craft successfully reach ISS

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3 astronauts on Soyuz craft

BAIKONUR (Kazakhstan): A Russian cosmonaut and two US astronauts arrived Friday at the International Space Station aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft, five months after the failed launch of a rocket carrying two of the passengers.

NASA astronaut Nick Hague and his Russian colleague Alexey Ovchinin, who both survived a dramatically aborted Soyuz launch last year, were joined on the smoothly-executed trip by NASA astronaut Christina Koch. The rocket blasted off without incident from Russia’s Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan and docked at the ISS less than six hours later, more than 400 kilometers (249 miles) above the Earth at 01:01 GMT, a few minutes ahead of schedule. During a live broadcast via high-definition cameras aboard the ISS, the mission commander Ovchinin reported that the mooring mechanism was engaged. A NASA commentator then confirmed the “capture.”

The liftoff was closely watched after the two men’s space journey was cut short in October when a technical problem with their Soyuz rocket triggered a launch abort two minutes into the flight. Both men escaped unharmed. It was the first such accident in Russia’s post-Soviet history and a major setback for its once-proud space industry.  Speaking to reporters ahead of their six-month mission, Ovchinin said some faulty components in the launch vehicle had been found and replaced this week. “Yesterday they found some minor malfunctions,” the 47-year-old said on Wednesday. He insisted that the launch vehicle was in good shape. “There are no problems,” Ovchinin said. Hague, 43, said he was looking forward to the flight – his second attempt to get into space. “I’m 100 percent confident in the rocket and the spaceship,” he said. The October abort was caused by a sensor damaged during the rocket’s assembly.

 

 

 

 

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