The Brutal Isolation of Space Can't Be Matched on Earth. But One Place Comes Close


ScienceAlert 24 April, 2021 - 12:02pm 37 views

Who is Elon Musk?

Elon Musk, (born June 28, 1971, Pretoria, South Africa), South African-born American entrepreneur who cofounded the electronic-payment firm PayPal and formed SpaceX, maker of launch vehicles and spacecraft. britannica.comElon Musk | Biography & Facts will bring  you all the latest updates on the Crew-2 mission here. 

NASA and SpaceX have delayed the launch of the Crew-2 astronaut mission to the International Space Station to no earlier than Friday, April 23 due to bad weather downrange. Liftoff is now set for 5:49 a.m. EDT (0949 GMT)

"Although conditions around the launch site were expected to be favorable for liftoff, mission teams also must consider conditions along the flight path and recovery area in the unlikely event of a launch escape," NASA officials said in a statement today.

You can read our full story on the launch delay here.

The four astronauts of NASA's Crew-2 mission to the International Space Station have arrived at their Kennedy Space Center launch site for an April 22 launch on SpaceX's Crew Dragon Endeavour and Falcon 9 rocket. 

The crew, NASA astronauts Shanek Kimbrough, Megan McArthur, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Akihiko Hoshide and European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Pesquet, arrived at KSC's Launch and Landing Facility (a former Shuttle Landing Facility). They are scheduled to launch on April 22 at 6:11 a.m. EDT (1011 GMT). 

Today (April 17), the Crew-2 astronauts will hold a virtual press conference at 9:45 a.m. EDT (1345 GMT). You can watch it live on this page and here on, courtesy of NASA TV. 

SpaceX is one week away from launching four astronauts into space for NASA to begin a months-long trek to the International Space Station. 

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the astronauts on the Crew-2 mission for NASA on Thursday, April 22. Liftoff is set for 6:11 a.m. EDT (1011 GMT). The space agency will hold a Flight Readiness Review briefing today, April 15, at 7 p.m. EDT (2300 GMT) to discuss the mission. You can watch that live here and follow along at the top of this page.

The Crew-2 mission will launch from NASA's historic Pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and the Crew Dragon Endeavour, which launched SpaceX's first crewed flight for NASA (called Demo-2) in May 2020, will launch the mission. 

Crew-2 will launch a four-person crew: NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough, Megan McArthur, Japanese astronaut Akihiko Hoshide and European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Pesquet. The four space travelers will join seven others aboard the station when they arrive at the station on April 23. Four of those crewmates launched on SpaceX's Crew-2 mission and will return to Earth on April 28. The other three arrived earlier this month on a Russian Soyuz to begin their own extended stay. 

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NASA selects SpaceX's Starship to return astronauts to the moon

WKMG News 6 & ClickOrlando 24 April, 2021 - 10:10pm

SpaceX beat out two competitors for the $2.9 billion contract to develop a human landing system under this first funding round. Elon Musk’s company will own and operate Starship on several demonstration missions with NASA support.

Acting NASA Administrator Steve Jurczyk made the announcement on Friday on the Kennedy Space Center runway moments after the four Crew-2 mission astronauts arrived that the agency would “have an important announcement relative to the human landing system, HLS.”

After the announcement, Jurczyk did not offer a new timeline for the first landing which would return humans to the moon for the first time since 1972.

“We believe that turning to the moon is strategically important with numerous rewards and benefits, and we should accomplish the next landing as soon as possible,” he said.

The human landing system is a key part of NASA’s Artemis program slated to return astronauts to the lunar surface beginning in 2024.

NASA sought proposals for human lunar landing systems from American companies and by the November 2019 deadline, all the big names in space had thrown their hard hats in the ring, including Boeing, Blue Origin, SpaceX and Dynetics.

Ultimately, NASA selected three of those bids to move on for further consideration:

The Washington Post was first to report SpaceX had the winning bid with its reusable Starship spaceship. However, the other companies aren’t out of the mix yet. This first contract is for the initial two demonstration flights to the moon but NASA plans to award an additional contract for recurring trips to the lunar surface with astronauts.

“As the first human lunar lander in 50 years, this innovative human landing system will be a hallmark in space exploration history,” NASA HLS program manager Lisa Watson-Morgan said.

SpaceX has been testing and developing its Starship spaceship in Boca Chica, Texas. Most recently, the company has started taking a prototype on high-altitude flights but all four landing attempts have ended in explosions.

SpaceX will continue to work with NASA to perform two demonstration missions, one without astronauts and then one with a crew, Watson-Morgan said.

NASA experts with the Human Landing System program at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama will  work closely with SpaceX during the development phase. Watson-Morgan, as the head of HLS, will assign NASA personnel to support the work of each contractor.

For the demonstration missions, Starship will need to be able to dock with NASA’s Orion spacecraft but eventually, all human landing systems will need to be able to dock and undock from NASA’s Gateway station that will be the orbiting outpost of the moon.

According to NASA’s timeline, the agency still plans to land the first woman and the next man on the moon by 2024 but NASA’s head of human spaceflight Kathy Lueders said safety will not be compromised to reach that goal.

“We always fly when it’s safe,” she said, adding “Yes, you have a goal of when you want something to happen, but we are flying people again and we will be flying people to the lunar surface, and we’ll do it when it’s safe.”

Copyright 2021 by WKMG ClickOrlando - All rights reserved.

Emilee is a digital journalist for News 6 and, where she writes about space and Central Florida news. Previously, Emilee was a space writer and web editor for the Orlando Sentinel and a producer at the Naples Daily News.

Astronauts arrive in Cape Canaveral

Yahoo News 24 April, 2021 - 10:10pm

SHANE KIMBROUGH: It is awesome being at Kennedy Space Center, especially on launch week like Colonel [INAUDIBLE] was talking about. It's definitely getting real. Our crew is really well trained, extremely well trained.

MEGAN MCARTHUR: Great to see everybody here. It's really great to be here. We come in on the plane over here. And we got to fly by the pad and see our rocket getting ready to go. And it's just an amazing feeling. I've gotten to do that before. And really, there's nothing like it when you look out the window and see a spaceship getting prepared and realize that you're gonna be riding on it in a few days.

SpaceX is gearing up for its third astronaut launch in under a year, after getting the green light from NASA a week ahead of next Thursday’s planned flight. Managers from NASA and Elon Musk’s space company Thursday cleared the Falcon rocket and Dragon capsule for a dawn liftoff with a crew of four to the International Space Station. This will be the first crew flight using a recycled Falcon and Dragon.

SpaceX is already the clear winner of the Commercial Crew Program race, having delivered its Crew Dragon spacecraft to NASA well ahead of its competitor, Boeing, which has yet to even complete an uncrewed mission to the ISS. Now, with a couple of crewed launches already under its belt, the company is poised to do another one, and this time it's going to chalk up a few "firsts" along the way. A press release reveals that next week's planned flight to the International Space Station will be handled by a used SpaceX Falcon 9 and a used Crew Dragon capsule. This is the first time that both pieces of fight-proven hardware will be used for a crewed launch, and since SpaceX's entire business model depends on the ability to refurbish and reuse its hardware over and over, a crewed launch on used hardware is a very big deal. The fact that SpaceX beat Boeing to the punch by delivering its Crew Dragon before Boeing's Starliner capsule was big news. Boeing, with decades of experience fulfilling contracts for NASA, was seen as the favorite to deliver its hardware first. Instead, the company stumbled virtually every step of the way, leaving the door wide open for SpaceX's Crew Dragon to be completed first, despite SpaceX dealing with its own fair share of setbacks. The space agency is obviously happy to have a crew-capable capsule with which to send astronauts into space from U.S. soil, but it would love to have more than one option. In any case, with Boeing not expected to launch a crewed test flight until 2022, we can assume that NASA will lean heavily on Crew Dragon and SpaceX going forward. The flight on Thursday, April 22nd, will see a total of four new astronauts travel to the International Space Station. The crew includes members of NASA, JAXA (the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency), and the ESA (European Space Agency). Here's NASA's own summary of the crew and their roles: The Crew-2 flight will carry NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur – who will serve as the mission’s spacecraft commander and pilot, respectively – along with JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Akihiko Hoshide and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Thomas Pesquet, who will serve as mission specialists to the space station for a six-month science mission. The launch is expected to take place at 6:11 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time. As usual, NASA is planning on covering the launch on its various online portals including YouTube. The agency will provide commentary before and during the launch, including additional details about the crew, their mission, and of course the capsule and rocket that is ferrying them into space. It'll be a big day for NASA but an even bigger day for SpaceX, as the company will have a chance to prove for the first time that refurbished hardware can be just as reliable as any other.

The flight will mark the third piloted launch of SpaceX's futuristic astronaut ferry ship.

The winner of NASA's Human Landing System (HLS) contract award is SpaceX, which bid $2.9 billion for the privilege of developing the means by which NASA astronauts will return to the lunar surface for the first time since the Apollo program. SpaceX was in the running alongside Blue Origin and Dynetics, but reportedly undercut both those prospective suppliers considerably with its bid, according to The Washington Post. SpaceX proposed using its Starship spacecraft, currently under development, as the landing vehicle for astronauts once they arrive at their lunar destination.

Suspected grounding problems have since been found in two other places on the flight deck. These include the storage rack where the affected control unit is kept and the instrument panel facing the pilots.

NASA chose SpaceX on Friday to build the lunar lander that will eventually put the first woman and person of color on the moon. The announcement came a few hours after SpaceX's most international crew of astronauts yet arrived in Florida for a liftoff next week. Elon Musk's Starship — the futuristic, shiny steel rocketship that's been launching and exploding in Texas — beat out landers proposed by Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin and Dynetics, a subsidiary of Leidos.

Three space station fliers returned to Earth amid preparations for SpaceX Crew Dragon launch Thursday.

It's farther than ever from the safe harbor of Earth

Amazon has had a stranglehold on the e-reader market for years, but ever since the Kindle debuted in 2007, users have been asking for a rather simple feature. For 13 years, their pleas fell on deaf ears, but as of this week, Amazon is finally letting Kindle owners set the cover of the book they are reading as their lock screen cover. Why it took more than a decade for this feature to debut, we may never know, but at least it's here now. In order to turn the new Display Cover feature on, go to the Settings tab on your Kindle, select Device Options, and then tap the toggle next to the Show Cover option. It is worth noting that your Kindle will automatically pick the cover of the book, comic, or magazine that you are currently reading, so if you're less than keen to advertise whatever you happen to be flipping through at the moment, you might want to hold off on activating the feature. Unfortunately, not everyone with a Kindle will have access to the new Display Cover feature. Amazon says that the only Kindle models that support the feature are the Kindle (8th, 10th Gen), Kindle Paperwhite (7th, 10th Gen), Kindle Oasis (8th, 9th, 10th Gen), and Kindle Voyage (7th Gen). Additionally, ad-supported versions of these devices won't support the feature, but you can upgrade to an ad-free experience by following these steps: Visit and click on the Content & Devices option under Your Account. Click on the Devices tab near the top of the page. Choose your Kindle from the list of devices on the page. Under Details, click the Remove offers button, which will unsubscribe you from the Special Offers that appear on your lock screen. This process requires a one-time fee of $20. Providing you have a supported device, you should see the Display Cover feature on your device now. If you are not sure which Kindle you own, Amazon actually has a handy support page to help you identify your model. Amazon says that the feature works with "most books, magazines, comics, and Manga."

A NASA spacecraft left a mess at an asteroid when it grabbed a load of rubble last year for return to Earth, new pictures revealed Thursday. The Osiris-Rex spacecraft made one final flyby of asteroid Bennu on April 7 to take photos of the disturbance left by October’s sample collection. A depression is visible where Osiris-Rex penetrated the asteroid's surface.

Two passengers who were aboard a United Airlines flight that had to make an emergency landing after one of its engines blew apart and sent debris raining down on Colorado neighborhoods sued the company Friday. In separate lawsuits filed in Chicago, where United is based, Joseph McGinley of Honolulu and Jonathan Strawn of Sioux City, Iowa, say they have suffered personal, emotional and financial injuries following the failure of the Boeing 777's engine on Feb. 20. United declined to comment on the lawsuits, spokesperson Leslie Scott said.

This family is divided on what to do about a senior dog caught between two homes.

Elon Musk said Friday that Starlink users should be able to move their satellite internet hardware between addresses by the end of the year.

A breakdown of which video game system is preferred among individual superstar athletes based on their livestream activity and endorsement deals.

Where you can enjoy a NoDa Colada, latte with a Poppy’s Bagel, Devilish Toast and more in the Arts District.

NASA announced Friday it has awarded Elon Musk's SpaceX a $2.89 billion contract to build a spacecraft that will carry astronauts to the Moon's surface. Why it matters: NASA hopes to land astronauts on the Moon by 2024, which if successful, would be the first time since the last Apollo mission. SpaceX beat out Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin and defense contractor Dynetics for the contract. Stay on top of the latest market trends and economic insights with Axios Markets. Subscribe for freeNASA had previously awarded all three companies millions of dollars to refine their lunar lander ideas. What they're saying: "We should accomplish the next landing as soon as possible," said Steve Jurczyk, NASA's acting administrator, per Reuters. "This is an incredible time to be involved in human exploration, for all humanity."As part of the Artemis program, NASA pledged to land the first woman on the Moon."Another goal of the Artemis program includes landing the first person of color on the lunar surface," NASA said Friday. SpaceX tweeted Friday: "We are humbled to help @NASAArtemis usher in a new era of human space exploration."Our thought bubble via Axios' Andrew Freedman: By selecting only SpaceX for this project, NASA will be without a backup if the company fails to deliver on its goals. Often, for a project this critical, NASA has given awards to more than one company to allow for possible problems. Both Boeing and SpaceX received contracts to fly astronauts to the International Space Station, and Boeing's launch vehicle encountered software problems that delayed its flights, so SpaceX flew first.Go deeper: Comparing the Artemis and Apollo missions to the MoonMore from Axios: Sign up to get the latest market trends with Axios Markets. Subscribe for free

HONG KONG (Reuters) -Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai was sentenced to 14 months in prison while nine other activists received jail time or suspended sentences on Friday for taking part in unauthorised assemblies during mass pro-democracy protests in 2019. Senior barrister Martin Lee, who helped launch the city's largest opposition Democratic Party in the 1990s and is often called the former British colony's "father of democracy," was given an 11-month suspended sentence. It was the first time that Lai, one of Hong Kong's most prominent democratic activists, who has been in jail since December after being denied bail in a separate national security trial, received a prison sentence.

SpaceX scores multibillion-dollar moon landing contract

Sky News Australia 24 April, 2021 - 10:10pm

SpaceX has landed a multibillion-dollar contract to send astronauts to the moon for the first time in more than 40 years. The US space agency will build the first commercial human lander which will carry two astronauts to the lunar surface. SpaceX took to Twitter after the announcement saying they were humbled to help NASA’s Artemis program “usher in a new era of human space exploration.”

What's Happening in Space Policy April 18-24, 2021 – 24 April, 2021 - 10:10pm

Here is’s list of space policy events for the week of April 18-24, 2021 and any insight we can offer about them.  The House and Senate are in session this week.

First thing tomorrow (Monday) morning, NASA will attempt the first flight of the Ingenuity helicopter on Mars. The flight was delayed a week because the pre-flight computer and the flight computer weren’t synched.  NASA sent a software update and now project managers are ready to try to achieve the first powered flight on another planet. The 40-second flight to an altitude of 3 meters (10 feet) will take place at 3:15 am ET under the current plan. Data will begin arriving at JPL at 6:15 am ET and NASA’s livestream will begin then. A press briefing is scheduled for 2:00 pm ET. It will take a while to get all the data back, though.  First will be engineering data and black/white photos from Ingenuity itself. Color photos and color video taken by a camera on the Perseverance rover will come back over the next couple of days.

If all goes well, it will be a great start to a busy week.

The Senate will hold its confirmation hearing for former Senator Bill Nelson to be NASA Administrator on Wednesday morning. He will appear with a nominee for a completely unrelated position (a commissioner for the Federal Trade Commission), so the members will be splitting their time.

We don’t follow the FTC so have no idea if that nomination is controversial, but the Nelson part of the hearing is sure to be interesting, especially after the sudden announcement two days ago of SpaceX as the sole winner of NASA’s HLS “Option A” contract to put astronauts back on the Moon as part of the Artemis program. The contract is only for the first landing (plus a test flight in advance). Other companies will have a chance in an upcoming competition for future missions, but the decision certainly has sparked a lot of conversation about why it was announced before Nelson is on board and why only one instead of two contractors. Previously NASA insisted it wanted to pick two so they had a backup in case one company failed. The Source Selection Statement left no doubt the problem is inadequate funding from Congress, which begs the issue of whether NASA is hoping the decision will prompt Congress to provide more in FY2022.  Nelson doesn’t work for NASA yet, of course, so can’t answer any questions about what led to this decision, but Senators can try to get him on the record as to what he’ll do assuming he is confirmed as expected. And we might learn  how the Senators feel about the decision.

On the national security space side of things, Gen. James Dickinson, Commander of U.S. Space Command, will testify to both the Senate and House Armed Services Committees this week on the status of strategic forces and his FY2022 budget request. He will be joined by Adm. Charles Richard, Commander of U.S. Strategic Command, at both (SASC on Tuesday, HASC on Wednesday).  The Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Strategy, Plans and Capabilities, Melissa Dalton, also will be at the witness table for the HASC hearing.

Off the Hill, everything is on track at the moment for Thursday’s launch of Crew-2 to the International Space Station on SpaceX’s Crew Dragon Endeavour. NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, JAXA astronaut Akihiko Hoshide, and ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet will lift off at 6:11 am ET and dock with ISS on Friday at 5:30 am ET. NASA has lots of pre- and post-launch briefings planned.

Fun fact: McArthur is married to astronaut Bob Behnken. He and Doug Hurley were the first crew to launch on a Crew Dragon last year. These spacecraft are reusable so this is the very spacecraft he flew. As its first crew, Behnken and Hurley got to choose the name “Endeavour.” They picked it in part because they both flew on the Space Shuttle Endeavour. Crew Dragon “Resilience” is currently docked to the ISS and will return on April 28. Its crew chose that name to honor the resilience of everyone during the COVID-19 pandemic. SpaceX is currently building a third Crew Dragon.

NASA also will hold a press conference on Wednesday with Kate Rubins who just returned from the ISS yesterday morning with two Russian colleagues on Soyuz MS-17.  She will talk about what she did during her 185-day mission.  For those keeping track, with Soyuz MS-17’s return, there now are seven people on ISS (four Americans, two Russians, one Japanese).  That will shoot up to 11 when Crew-2 docks (six Americans, two Russians, two Japanese, one European) and then return to what is now the normal crew complement of seven when Crew-1 returns home at the end of the month (three Americans, two Russians, one Japanese, one European). It is indeed the INTERNATIONAL Space Station.

NASA’s selection of SpaceX’s Starship for the Artemis program is bound to draw even more attention to SpaceX’s tests at Boca Chica, TX.  The next *could* take place on Tuesday based on an FAA NOTAM warning aircraft to avoid the area.  The last four Starship prototype launch and landing tests ended in spectacular fireballs. Instead of drawing criticism, Musk wins public praise for his testing philosophy that failures are learning experiences and one simply moves on to the next test as quickly as possible. He’s been spending his company’s money on Starship so far, not taxpayer dollars. Whether the public will view any failures differently now their money also is at stake will be interesting to watch. The contract with NASA is for just $2.9 billion, however. That may seem a lot to most people, but in terms of building big rockets capable of carrying astronauts to the Moon, it really is a bargain. And it’s fixed-price, not cost-plus.

Lastly, Thursday is Earth Day.  For all the talk of people going to the Moon and Mars, Earth is the only home we have for the indefinite future. Go out and give Earth a hug on Thursday and vow to take better care of our Pale Blue Dot. has the right (but not the obligation) to monitor the comments and to remove any materials it deems inappropriate.  We do not post comments that include links to other websites since we have no control over that content nor can we verify the security of such links.

(NASA TV begins 2:00 am ET)

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Musk beats Bezos over $2.9 bln NASA contract

Yahoo News 17 April, 2021 - 02:39pm

SpaceX bid alone whereas Bezos’ Blue Origin had teamed up with Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman. Defense contractor Dynetics had also put in a bid.

NASA’s lander is expected to carry two American astronauts to the moon’s surface as early as 2024.

Unlike the Apollo missions from 1969 to 1972, NASA is gearing up for a longer-term lunar presence that could lead to missions to Mars.

The agency aims to create regular service to the moon. It’ll hold a separate competition for that contract.

NASA’s moon lander decision is a setback for Bezos. He is now more focused on his space venture after announcing he’ll step down as Amazon CEO.

The contract was seen by Bezos and other executives as vital to Blue Origin establishing itself as a desired partner for NASA, and also putting the venture on the road to turning a profit.

The war over a next-gen ICBM flared up at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday.

‘They keep harassing me, calling me. They say they’re having wedding here and it’s God’s message,’ property owner tells 911 dispatcher

WASHINGTON — The Biden administration said Friday that it did not know that a Baltimore factory had discarded millions of possibly contaminated doses of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine when President Joe Biden last month released the company to ship vaccines manufactured there to Mexico and Canada. Canadian and Mexican officials said Friday that they had assurances from AstraZeneca that the millions of doses they received were safe. Some of the doses have been distributed to the public in both countries, the officials said. Biden administration officials said they had not vouched for the quality of the AstraZeneca vaccine doses made at the Baltimore plant, leaving the decision on whether to use them to the company and the Canadians and Mexicans themselves. Sign up for The Morning newsletter from the New York Times The administration, however, did inform the two countries of another episode of possible contamination, involving a similar vaccine developed by Johnson & Johnson, that occurred more recently at the same Baltimore plant. Vaccine production at the plant, operated by Emergent BioSolutions, has been halted. Up to 15 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine needed to be discarded because of the contamination fears. This week, inspectors from the Food and Drug Administration said Emergent had failed to fully investigate the episode, and they also found fault with the plant’s disinfection practices, size and design, handling of raw materials and training of workers. The FDA has informed regulators in other countries about its findings, according to an FDA spokesperson who also said the agency was “providing additional information as requested” and would “continue to work closely with its international partners.” The spokesperson said that products not authorized for use in this country, like the AstraZeneca vaccine, “may nonetheless be exported if certain conditions are met,” but would not specify what those were. Other administration officials, noting that AstraZeneca had not applied for emergency authorization of its vaccine in the United States, said it was up to the company and regulators in Canada and Mexico to determine whether the exports and the manufacturing facility were safe. As news of the Emergent plant’s troubles rippled across Canada and Mexico, leaders of both countries sought to reassure their citizens about the vaccines manufactured by the company. Shortly before he headed to a drugstore Friday to receive a shot of the AstraZeneca vaccine, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada said he was confident that supplies sent by the United States were safe. “We have confirmed that the doses received from the United States a number of weeks ago are not, have not been subjected to the challenges that have come up currently in the Baltimore plant,” Trudeau said at a news conference. “There is absolutely no danger of that for Canadians.” In Mexico, a senior government official said AstraZeneca had provided documentation indicating that the doses had passed quality tests and were not affected by issues at the Emergent factory. “We are sure that the product that was applied to Mexican people was a safe, quality product,” Mexico’s coronavirus czar, Hugo López-Gatell, said at a briefing Friday night. The Biden administration’s acknowledgment that it had been unaware of the discarding of the lots of AstraZeneca’s vaccine, which The New York Times reported occurred between October and January, underscores concerns about the government’s oversight of a key contractor in the federal response to the pandemic. U.S. officials bet on Emergent to manufacture both the Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines even as a series of audits identified serious quality shortcomings at the plant. The FDA has still not cleared the Emergent plant to release doses of either vaccine in the United States and has not indicated when, or whether, it will do so. While AstraZeneca’s vaccine is not authorized for use in the United States, tens of millions of doses of it have been sitting idly at manufacturing plants. The White House said last month that the federal government, which committed last year to buying 300 million doses from AstraZeneca, intended to “loan” 2.5 million doses to Mexico and 1.5 million doses to Canada. U.S. officials say the two countries were eager for the doses and have since expressed interest in getting more, especially because of a recent drop in supplies from India, another major supplier of vaccine. Canadian officials, however, said Friday that the nation’s own regulators were reviewing the recent FDA report on its inspection of the Baltimore facility, which “will inform whether additional measures are required to ensure the safety of future supply.” Emergent is a longtime government contractor that has virtually cornered a lucrative market in federal spending on biodefense. The Times reported last month that sales of its anthrax vaccines to the Strategic National Stockpile accounted for nearly half of the stockpile’s half-billion-dollar annual budget throughout most of the last decade, leaving the federal government with less money to buy supplies needed in a pandemic. The government awarded the company a $163 million contract in 2012 to ready the Baltimore facility to mass-produce vaccines in response to a pandemic. In June, the Trump administration awarded the company a $628 million contract, mostly to reserve space at the Baltimore plant. But The Times earlier this month documented a string of problems at the plant, many of which were known to federal officials. Shortly after the contract was awarded to Emergent in June, a top federal pandemic official warned that the Baltimore plant lacked enough trained staff members and had a record of problems with quality control. A copy of the official’s assessment cited “key risks” in relying on Emergent to handle the production of the vaccines. The Times also reported that Emergent had discarded AstraZeneca’s vaccine — five lots in all, each the equivalent of 2 million to 3 million doses — because of contamination or suspected contamination, according to internal logs, a government official and a former company supervisor. A senior federal health official, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the matter, said Friday that the White House and senior leaders at the Department of Health and Human Services learned of the discarded AstraZeneca lots only after the Times report. Last month, the Times reported that workers at the Emergent plant in Baltimore had conflated ingredients of the two vaccines, ruining up to 15 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Federal officials ordered major changes to the plant after those revelations. The Biden administration ordered Emergent to stop making the AstraZeneca vaccine, and put Johnson & Johnson in charge of running the facility. In a statement late Thursday, AstraZeneca said that the doses delivered to Mexico and Canada “met the stringent requirements we are required to follow,” and that “required safety tests and quality control measures” were conducted at each step of the production process and before the batches were released. In the statement, which was reported earlier by CBS News, AstraZeneca said, “The quality information from the manufacturing plants involved was properly submitted to the relevant regulatory agencies in each country to support authorization and approval of shipments from this supply chain.” This article originally appeared in The New York Times. © 2021 The New York Times Company

People in Delhi resort to social media and desperate phone calls to try to find oxygen for Covid patients.

Eager to know when America is finally approaching herd immunity against COVID-19? Then pay close attention to what’s happening in New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Connecticut.

A very strange thing happened on the internet the day President Joe Biden was sworn in. A shadowy company residing at a shared workspace above a Florida bank announced to the world’s computer networks that it was now managing a colossal, previously idle chunk of the internet owned by the U.S. Department of Defense. It’s also more than twice the size of the internet space actually used by the Pentagon.

‘Hey, no! I don’t care if you’re hungry. I’m not your food,’ says runner as bear follows him

That flight attendant at the front of the plane isn't there just to welcome you. They're also sizing you up.

Facing a rising wave of coronavirus, and record case numbers, India finds itself battling for breath.

The same day that the season one finale of "The Falcon and the Winter Soldier" dropped, news of an upcoming Marvel project came out.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said on Friday that if he were to order the military to take the streets and restore order, "the order will be followed," raising fresh questions about his politicization of the armed forces. Speaking during a TV interview, Bolsonaro said he would not "go into details into what I'm preparing." The comments by Bolsonaro, a far-right former army captain who has long praised Brazil's two-decade military dictatorship, will do little to assuage critics who fret about his politicization of the military.

Jeanie Buss listed her top five Lakers and caused some commotion with her picks.

The man, a volunteer on the zoning commission, refused a Black woman's repeated asks for him to address her as "Dr." instead of "Mrs."

The White House says the US will curb emissions by 50-52%, as leaders gather for virtual summit.

Prosecution witnesses testified Floyd died from a lack of oxygen caused by Chauvin pressing him down into the asphalt ground.

“I’m pleased my first bill as a U.S. Senator to be signed into law ensures affordable life-saving medicine while preserving innovation for cutting-edge medicine,” Marshall said.

"I have never watched that show in my entire life, just not my cup of tea. Meanwhile, I'm a wanted felon for a VHS tape," Caron McBride told KOKH-TV.

"Criminals like the cloak of darkness, so they have one less hour in the evening to commit their crimes," Rep. Wes Cantrell told WSB-TV.

Olivia Troye, who served on the White House Coronavirus Task Force, shared how then-President Donald Trump veered off-course in a press briefing.

The Brazilian government cut by nearly 30% the number of COVID-19 vaccines expected to be delivered between January and April, according to a new calendar released by the country's health minister on Saturday. Last month, former health minister Eduardo Pazuello said Brazil would receive roughly 103 million doses in the first four months of the year. The government said the reduction was due to lower-than-expected volume of active ingredients received and also because some vaccines are pending a permit to be used in the country.

lunar exploration

Benzinga 31 December, 2009 - 06:00pm

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NASA has awarded SpaceX with a $2.89 billion contract to develop a commercial human lander that will safely carry the next two American astronauts to the moon. What Happened: NASA is returning to lunar exploration with the Artemis program, which plans to send four astronauts aboard the Orion...

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