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NASA looks to late September for next Artemis I launch attempt



(Last Updated On: September 11, 2022)

NASA is hoping to make another Artemis I launch attempt in late September after its previous attempts failed.

According to the US space agency, if that fails, then it will be forced to move to October, setting the timeline of the rocket’s mission back even further.

NASA scrubbed its latest attempt to launch Artemis I and its Orion capsule last weekend due to a hydrogen fuel leak that has been plaguing the rocket for a while.

NASA says it hopes to launch on September 23 or 27.

This rocket will carry the first capsule designed for long-term human transport since the 1970s.

And if the mission is a success, it will kick off a new era of space exploration that could eventually see NASA sending humans to Mars.

Mike Bolger, the manaNASA ger of NASA’s Exploration Ground Systems Program, says that the team is making good progress in resolving all the issues.

Science & Technology

Japan launches intel satellite to watch N. Korea, disasters



(Last Updated On: January 27, 2023)

Japan successfully launched a rocket Thursday carrying a government intelligence-gathering satellite on a mission to watch movements at military sites in North Korea and improve natural disaster response.

The H2A rocket, launched by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd., successfully lifted off from the Tanegashima Space Center in southwestern Japan, carrying the IGS-Radar 7 reconnaissance satellite as part of Tokyo’s effort to build up its military capability, citing growing threats in the East Asia, The Associated Press reported. 

The satellite later successfully entered its planned orbit, Mitsubishi Heavy said.

The Intelligence Gathering Satellite can capture images on the ground 24 hours a day and even in severe weather conditions. Japan launched the IGS program after a North Korean missile flyover of Japan in 1988 and aims to set up a network of 10 satellites to spot and provide early warning for possible missile launches. The satellites can be also used for disaster monitoring and response.

“The government will maximize the use of IGS-Radar 7 and other reconnaissance satellites to do the utmost for Japan’s national security and crisis management,” Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said in a statement Thursday as he praised the successful launch.

Kishida’s government in December adopted a new national security strategy, including possessing long-range cruise missiles as a “counterstrike” capability that breaks from the country’s exclusively self-defense-only postwar principle, citing rapid weapons advancement in China and North Korea.

Possible counterstrikes that aim to preempt enemy attacks would require significant advancement in intelligence gathering and cybersecurity capability, as well as significant assistance from Japan’s ally, the United States, experts say.

The Mitsubishi Heavy-operated, liquid-fuel H2A rocket has recorded 40 consecutive successes since a failure in 2003.

Mitsubishi Heavy and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency are co-developing their new flagship H3 rocket as the successor to the H2A, which is set to retire in 2024. The first launch of H3 is set for February.

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Asteroid coming exceedingly close to Earth, but will miss us



(Last Updated On: January 26, 2023)

An asteroid the size of a delivery truck will whip past Earth on Thursday night, one of the closest such encounters ever recorded.

NASA insists it will be a near miss with no chance of the asteroid hitting Earth, The Associated Press reported.

NASA said Wednesday that this newly discovered asteroid will zoom 3,600 kilometers above the southern tip of South America. That’s 10 times closer than the bevy of communication satellites circling overhead.

The closest approach will occur at 7:27 p.m. EST (3:34 p.m Kabul time).

Even if the space rock came a lot closer, scientists said most of it would burn up in the atmosphere, with some of the bigger pieces possibly falling as meteorites.

NASA’s impact hazard assessment system, called Scout, quickly ruled out a strike, said its developer, Davide Farnocchia, an engineer at the agency’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

“But despite the very few observations, it was nonetheless able to predict that the asteroid would make an extraordinarily close approach with Earth,” Farnocchia said in a statement. “In fact, this is one of the closest approaches by a known near-Earth object ever recorded.”

Discovered Saturday, the asteroid known as 2023 BU is believed to be between 3.5 meters and 8.5 meters) across. It was first spotted by the same amateur astronomer in Crimea, Gennady Borisov, who discovered an interstellar comet in 2019. Within a few days, dozens of observations were made by astronomers around the world, allowing them to refine the asteroid’s orbit.

The asteroid’s path drastically will be altered by Earth’s gravity once it zips by. Instead of circling the sun every 359 days, it will move into an oval orbit lasting 425 days, according to NASA.

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Science & Technology

Microsoft Teams and Outlook down for thousands



(Last Updated On: January 25, 2023)

Thousands of users are struggling to access vital Microsoft services including Outlook and Teams.

Outages have been reported on Downdetector, a website that tracks when other sites aren’t working properly.

Outlook, the email service popular with both individuals and businesses, has gone down, while Teams, the messaging service that’s widely-used in companies, also appears out for several thousand users.

Microsoft is looking into the outage. The Microsoft 365 Twitter account said in a series of tweets: “We’re investigating issues impacting multiple Microsoft 365 services.

“We’ve identified a potential networking issue and are reviewing telemetry to determine the next troubleshooting steps.

“We’ve isolated the problem to networking configuration issues, and we’re analyzing the best mitigation strategy to address these without causing additional impact.”

It added: “We’ve rolled back a network change that we believe is causing impact. We’re monitoring the service as the rollback takes effect.”

Teams is used by more than 280 million people and has only become more prominent since Covid lockdowns confined workers to their homes, while Outlook has previously reported 400 million users.

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