Is Branson going to space?
On Sunday, Branson plans to launch on Virgin Galactic's fourth spaceflight test to date. He founded the company 17 years ago, with it now attempting to finish development testing this year so it can begin flying space tourism passengers in early 2022. CNBCBillionaires fight over what is actual outer space as Branson gets set to launch before Bezos
Read full article at NASA
10 July, 2021 - 02:14am
09 July, 2021 - 02:24pm
ADAM SHAPIRO: So the world will watch Sunday when Sir Richard Branson is planning to launch himself and several other people aboard one of his Virgin Galactic spaceplanes into sub-orbit. I believe the actual suborbital portion of the flight is all of 20 seconds. But it's still really cool, right?
But our next guest is someone who can say been there, done that, three space shuttle missions, spent several months aboard the International Space Station. But to help us understand what's going on in this new space race, we invite into the stream Leroy Chiao. He's a former NASA astronaut and ISS commander. It's good to have you here, sir.
And first, this is historic, the fact that space tourism is now here. What are you taking away from what's supposed to happen on Sunday?
LEROY CHIAO: Well, this is a big deal because the promise of suborbital flight was supposed to come a lot earlier. And of course, we have seen several people pay a lot more money to go into orbit for around a week or so. But this is a big deal because Richard Branson and, a few days later, Jeff Bezos plan to take their spacecraft, ride in their spacecraft and go up into suborbital flight.
What that means is it'll touch space. These spacecraft will touch space. They won't go into Earth orbit. But they'll touch space for just a few minutes and then come back down and return to the Earth. And so this is heralding a new era of commercial space. So very excited to see this happen.
ADAM SHAPIRO: I got to ask you-- I'm going to geek out here because you went past sub-orbit. You were aboard the International Space Station for several months, the three shuttle missions. What's it like? And is there a difference between when you're in orbit versus sub-orbit, the experience a passenger has?
LEROY CHIAO: Oh, absolutely. If you're suborbital, I mean, you're only going to be in zero gravity for just maybe a few minutes. So basically, you're in a parabolic arc. You're going to go flying up. You're going to come over and be weightless, see the curvature of the Earth, see the beauty of the Earth, and look out into the universe. And then you're going to be coming back down into the atmosphere.
The difference, of course, if you get into orbit, you're going to be going 17,500 miles an hour to orbit the Earth. On the other hand, these suborbital flights, they'll probably get up to around Mach 3 or so, so somewhere around 2,000 miles an hour instead of getting up to that 17,500 that you need to sustain orbit.
Once you're in orbit aboard the International Space Station, my longest mission was 6 and 1/2 months, very different experience than just a few minutes.
ADAM SHAPIRO: You touched upon something that is a bit macabre but I've been dying to ask. Is there any chance, whether it's the Virgin Galactic spaceplane or the Blue Origin capsule, that they could go too far and, oops, we broke out, we're in orbit, now we can't get back?
LEROY CHIAO: Well, they wouldn't get into orbit because you've got to get that orbital speed of 17,500 miles an hour. Those spacecraft are not designed to do that. They don't have the fuel to do it. So there's no way they could accidentally get into orbit.
Of course, there are plenty of other things that could go wrong. But both of those spacecraft have been through numerous test flights. And so it shows a lot that the founders, these two individuals, are actually going to go fly on these spacecraft. That should give people a lot of confidence that the test program was very rigorous.
ADAM SHAPIRO: I don't remember the year. But it was at least 10, maybe more years ago. I had the privilege of covering the last shuttle launch because President Obama had put into place, I guess, time to privatize the space program. We hear about the Chinese making great strides. They've got something that landed on the moon. They've got something that's landed on Mars. Yet they're so 20th century. It's a government program, where now we have a private sector. You look at SpaceX going to the ISS.
Is this cat out of the bag, here comes you and I one day might be able to buy a ticket to go into sub-orbit and then, I'm hoping one day, into orbit?
LEROY CHIAO: Sure. It's going to take a technological breakthrough to really bring the price of a very reliable, robust propulsion system down because rocket engines are expensive. And that's really kind of the driving force, these rockets, these spacecraft. It takes a lot to get them to be very reliable, a lot of moving parts. And so that's why you see the price come down from, say, around $70 million for a one-week orbital flight with the Russians aboard the ISS down to about $250,000 for a few minute flight into space aboard Virgin Galactic or Jeff Bezos' New Shepherd spacecraft.
But it's still out of reach for most people, right? Would you rather buy a house, or would you rather go on this several minute experience into space? Most people don't have that kind of disposable income. So we're not there yet, but we're going in the right direction.
ADAM SHAPIRO: And what's the coolest thing? I mean, forgive me for again geeking out. What's the coolest thing for you? Because as I said in the introduction, been there, done that for you. You did it more than-- you did it three or four times you were in orbit.
LEROY CHIAO: Well, that's true. I've been in low Earth orbit for a cumulative total of about almost 230 days. My longest flight was 6 and 1/2 months as the commander of the International Space Station. So frankly, I'm not interested in a suborbital flight. That's a few minutes of something I've already spent almost a year experiencing.
So for me, the big deal would be to get a chance to go to the moon or to go to Mars. But it's very exciting that the commercial side is starting to break out. We're going to get more people into space, not the, quote, unquote, normal people who can afford this kind of ticket price, even though it's much lower than an orbital flight. But it's exciting to see the beginning.
ADAM SHAPIRO: We all have a quarter million dollars lying around and give the Russians to take us up. Hey, real quick, you think we're going to get to Mars in our lifetime?
LEROY CHIAO: You know what? I think we will. And it's not necessarily, I hate to say, because of a NASA program. I like to say we've been 20 years from Mars since 1969. When we landed Apollo 11 on the moon, everybody was certain that within 20 years we'd be on Mars, and of course, we haven't even gotten back to the moon.
But SpaceX, Elon Musk has publicly said many, many times, he started SpaceX because he wants to colonize Mars. He himself wants to live on Mars. They're building prototypes, the Starship now. And they're testing them. And you know what? They're going to get there.
ADAM SHAPIRO: I got to tell you, the time it takes to get from Earth to Mars is probably about the same amount of time it takes to get down 2nd Avenue and then cross over one of the bridges into Brooklyn in New York City. Great having you here. Thank you so much for joining us.
IMF staff have reaffirmed the continued recovery of the Saudi economy and the slowdown of the inflation of the Consumer Price Index (CPI), stating that they project the non-oil GDP growth will reach 4.3% this year and 3.6 % in 2022. IMF expects that the private sector will lead the growth this year to reach 5.8%, and it will continue in the medium and long term with an average growth of 4.8%. This statement was in the Concluding of the 2021 Article IV consultation, which was released recently. T
(Bloomberg) -- Smithfield Foods Inc. said Chief Executive Officer Dennis Organ is stepping down for personal reasons after less than a year on the job.The company named Shane Smith, a two-decade veteran of the world’s biggest pork packer, as president and CEO, the company said Friday in a release.The move comes weeks after Smithfield was sued by a consumer advocacy group for allegedly fueling fears of a meat shortage during the pandemic to boost demand and prices for its products. In August, Smi
Aflac CEO Dan Amos says that he was "very reluctant" to go forward with the company's famous duck ad because it risked making light of the company's name.
Home Depot is one of the biggest companies in the United States and a stock leader on the Dow Jones industrials, but is Home Depot stock a buy right now?
U.S. stocks are seen opening largely higher Friday, attempting to rebound from the previous session’s losses although weakness in Big Tech could weigh following a report that the Biden administration is to look to reinstate Obama-era rules on net neutrality. At 7:15 AM ET (1115 GMT), the Dow Futures contract was up 220 points, or 0.7%, S&P 500 Futures traded 17 points, or 0.4%, higher, while Nasdaq 100 Futures was marginally lower. The broad-based S&P 500 closed Thursday 0.9% lower, the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped over 250 points, or 0.8%, and the technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite fell 0.7%.
If all goes to plan on Sunday, Sir Richard Branson’s face is going to puff up like a sponge cake. His blood, 80pc of which is usually held down in his leg veins by Earth’s gravity, will rise up and spread out through his body, causing what some scientists call “chicken leg, puffy face syndrome”. His sense of balance will go haywire, potentially causing motion sickness and vomiting. He may also feel stuffy and congested, or fend off panic. This is how humans react to only a few minutes in the wei
China's internet watchdog, which stunned investors with an investigation into Didi Global two days after the ride-hailing giant's New York stock market debut, has come to the forefront of Beijing's sweeping efforts to rein in its tech sector and enforce tightening data security efforts. The Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), set up in its current format in 2014 by President Xi Jinping, implements online censorship that has tightened dramatically under his tenure. Its move against Didi and two other firms that recently went public in the United States was swiftly followed by Beijing's announcement that it will clamp down on overseas-traded Chinese firms - many of them U.S.-listed tech companies - including tightening regulation of cross-border data flows and security.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) -A U.S. judge on Friday dismissed Amazon.com's legal challenge to the Defense Department's 2019 decision to award a $10 billion JEDI cloud-computing project to rival Microsoft Corp after the Pentagon canceled the contract. Amazon.com had accused then-President Donald Trump, alleging that the former president exerted improper pressure on military officials to steer the contract away from Amazon. The Pentagon said on Tuesday it expected the new multi-billion dollar contract would be split between Amazon and Microsoft.
President Joe Biden is expected to sign an executive order on Friday that includes three provisions designed to improve opportunities for workers.
As famous for his thrill-seeking lifestyle and publicity stunts as for his vast business empire, Richard Branson has set his sights on the stars as he prepares for liftoff on his first space flight.
Branson's Virgin Galactic has said it has amassed more than 600 reservations already, priced around $250,000 a ticket. Branson himself is due to occupy one of six seats aboard his company's first fully crewed test flight to space on Sunday. Reuters reported in 2018 that Bezos' Blue Origin was planning to charge passengers at least $200,000 for a ride, based on an appraisal of Branson's rival plans and other considerations, though its thinking may have changed.
China's cyberspace administration on Friday said it would remove 25 mobile apps operated by Didi Global Inc from app stores as the government stepped up a crackdown on the ride-hailing giant. The apps in question used data that was illegally collected by Didi and include those for its delivery service, camera device and finance services, the Cyberspace Administration of China said in a statement. Last week, just days after Didi's $4.4 billion listing on the New York Stock Exchange, the cyberspace regulator ordered app stores to remove Didi's main ride-hailing app.