Blue Origin today announced the crew flying on its NS-22 mission will include Dude Perfect cofounder Coby Cotton, Portuguese entrepreneur Mário Ferreira, British-American mountaineer Vanessa O’Brien, technology leader Clint Kelly III, Egyptian engineer Sara Sabry, and telecommunications executive Steve Young. Sara will become the first person from Egypt to fly to space; Mario will become the first from Portugal. Vanessa will become the first woman to reach extremes on land, sea, and air, completing the Explorers’ Extreme Trifecta, a Guinness World Record.
Each astronaut will carry a postcard to space on behalf of Blue Origin’s foundation, Club for the Future , whose Postcards to Space program gives students access to space on Blue Origin’s rockets. The Club’s mission is to inspire future generations to pursue careers in STEM for the benefit of Earth.
This mission will be the sixth human flight for the New Shepard program, the third flight this year, and the 22nd in its history. The flight date will be announced soon.
Meet the Crew
Coby is one of the five cofounders of the YouTube channel Dude Perfect, the most-subscribed sports channel on YouTube and one of the most popular in the world with more than 57 million followers. He co-founded the sports entertainment channel known for specializing in trick shots and comedy videos in 2009 with his college roommates Garrett Hilbert, Tyler Toney, Cody Jones, and his brother, Cory Cotton.
Coby’s seat is sponsored by MoonDAO , whose mission is to decentralize access to space exploration. MoonDAO members voted to have Coby represent them on this flight.
Mário is a Portuguese entrepreneur, investor, and President of Pluris Investments Group, which includes more than 40 companies spanning tourism, media (TV and radio), real estate, insurance, and renewable energy. A passionate adventurer, Mário raced the Dakar, the world’s most difficult car rally, in 2007, ran the London Marathon in 2010, and has been a scuba diver since he was 20. In 2003, Mário was decorated by the President of Portugal with the title of “Commander.”
Vanessa is a British-American explorer. Following NS-22, Vanessa will become the first woman to reach extremes on land, sea, and air, completing the Explorers’ Extreme Trifecta, a Guinness World Record. Vanessa will become the first woman to reach the Earth’s highest peak (Mt. Everest), its deepest (Challenger Deep), and cross the Kármán line, the internationally recognized boundary of space. She is an advocate for climate change and a champion for women’s equality and education, carrying the UN Women’s flag to the summit of K2.
Clint Kelly III
Clint managed research and technology programs focused primarily on computer science and robotics while in government and in industry. In 1984, he started the Autonomous Land Vehicle project while at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and is credited with starting the development of the technology base leading to today’s driverless cars. He and his wife have photographed wildlife on every continent from the High Arctic to Antarctica with an emphasis on big cats, polar bears, and all 21 species of penguins.
Sara is an Egyptian mechanical and biomedical engineer, and founder of the Deep Space Initiative (DSI) , a nonprofit aiming to increase accessibility for space research. She became Egypt’s first female analog astronaut in 2021 after completing a two-week Moon mission simulating the extreme conditions astronauts experience in orbital space. Sara earned her bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering at the American University in Cairo and a master’s in biomedical engineering from the Politecnico di Milano. She is currently pursuing a PhD in aerospace sciences with a focus on space suit design. Sara is fluent in Arabic, French, and English, and currently resides in Berlin.
Sara’s seat is sponsored by Space for Humanity (S4H), a nonprofit whose mission is to expand access to space for all of humanity. S4H also sponsored NS-21 astronaut Katya Echazarreta’s seat.
Steve is the former CEO of Young’s Communications LLC (Y-COM), the largest telecommunications contractor in the state of Florida under his leadership from 1992 to 2021. An avid fisherman, Steve serves as Governor of the Board at Eau Gallie Yacht Club and Committee Member of the Space Coast Coastal Conservation Association (CCA). He is also a large community contributor through Trinity Group, his giving foundation of him, and owns Pineapples, a new restaurant in Melbourne, Florida.
About Blue Origin
Blue Origin was founded with a vision of millions of people living and working in space for the benefit of Earth. Blue Origin envisions a time when people can tap into the limitless resources of space and enable the movement of damaging industries into space to preserve Earth, humanity’s blue origin. Blue Origin is working today to create that future by developing reusable launch vehicles and in-space systems that are safe, low cost, and serve the needs of all civil, commercial, and defense customers. Blue Origin’s efforts include flying astronauts to space on New Shepard, producing reusable liquid rocket engines, developing an orbital launch vehicle with New Glenn, building next-generation space habitats, and returning to the surface of the Moon. These endeavors will add new chapters to the history of spaceflight and move all of humanity closer to that founding vision. For more information about Blue Origin, please visit BlueOrigin.com.
Source: Blue Origin
Boom Partners with Latecoere for Supersonic Aircraft EWIS Architecture
Boom teams up with Latecoere to redefine EWIS architecture for supersonic aircraft, bringing together expertise for optimal safety and reliability.
Boom, the innovative aerospace company, has announced its collaboration with global aerospace leader Latecoere as part of its expanding network of suppliers. Latecoere’s engineering team in Toulouse, France, will work in conjunction with Boom engineers to define the complete electrical wiring interconnection system (EWIS) architecture for both Overture and Symphony aircraft.
Latecoere’s expertise in developing and manufacturing certifiable EWIS and advanced aircraft technologies makes them a valuable addition to Boom’s lineup of suppliers for Overture. The EWIS for these aircraft will consist of an extensive 103 kilometers (64 miles) of wiring, encompassing over 45,000 electrical connections. This comprehensive system ensures optimal safety and reliability for Overture and Symphony.
Latecoere brings years of experience in complex aircraft development processes and methods, making them an ideal partner for Boom. The company’s industry-leading harness architecture definition software stack will be leveraged to support Boom’s ambitious goals in sustainable supersonic air travel.
By collaborating with top-tier suppliers like Latecoere, Boom is demonstrating its commitment to assembling a world-class team to make supersonic air travel a reality. Latecoere’s CEO, Greg Huttner, expressed pride in supporting Boom’s vision and continuing to contribute to the development of next-generation flight. This partnership is a significant step forward in the advancement of supersonic aviation technology.
Sandra Day O’Connor Institute Mourns Passing of Founder
PHOENIX (Newswire.com) – The namesake organization founded by the first woman appointed to the United States Supreme Court is mourning the loss of Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.
“No words can describe the profound loss of Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. The organization she founded remains resolute and will redouble our efforts to continue her lifetime work and extraordinary legacy,” said Gay Firestone Wray, Board of Directors Co-Chair.
The Institute will carry on its mission to further the distinguished legacy and lifetime work of Justice O’Connor to advance American democracy through civil discourse, civic engagement, and civics education.
“From our organization’s founding in 2009 following her retirement from the Supreme Court, Justice O’Connor led our organization with vision and intellect, and she exemplified our nation’s ideals,” said Sarah Suggs, President and CEO. “We remain steadfast in our commitment to continue her work and dedication to our great nation.”
Sandra Day was born on March 26, 1930, in El Paso, Texas. She spent much of her younger years on her family’s 160,000-acre Lazy B ranch on the Arizona-New Mexico border. At 16 she went to Stanford University for college, graduating magna cum laude with a degree in economics. She stayed for law school. Day graduated and, six months later, married John O’Connor, the love of her life. They eventually moved to Phoenix, where Sandra Day O’Connor began her rapid professional rise, which included holding positions as assistant attorney general of Arizona, majority leader of the Arizona State Senate, and judge on the Arizona Court of Appeals. She also found time to raise three sons—Scott, Brian, and Jay—and make every recipe in Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking.
On August 19, 1981, President Ronald Reagan nominated Sandra Day O’Connor to the Supreme Court; on September 21 she was confirmed by the U.S. Senate with a vote of 99-0.
Her career on the Court was historic. Justice O’Connor will be remembered not only for being the first female on the Court, or for her clear-eyed judicial reasoning and writings and major decisions, but also for her insistence on civility, her penchant for bringing people together to solve problems, whether in Washington, D.C. or over tacos and beer in her Arizona dining room.
“She overcame obstacles with quiet skill and determination and, in the process, inspired and continues to inspire countless others,” said Institute Board of Directors Co-Chair Matt Feeney.
We will miss you, Justice O’Connor.
About the Sandra Day O’Connor Institute for American Democracy
Founded in 2009 by retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, the O’Connor Institute, a nonprofit, nonpartisan 501(c)(3), continues her distinguished legacy and lifetime work to advance American democracy through multigenerational civil discourse, civic engagement and civics education. Visit www.OConnorInstitute.org for more information.
Source: Sandra Day O’Connor Institute for American Democracy
University Receives $5 Million from U.S. Army Research Office to Combat Adversarial Information Campaigns
Newswise — Dr. Nitin Agarwal, founding director of the Collaboration for Social Media and Online Behavioral Studies (COSMOS) Research Center at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, has received $5 million from the Army Research Office to evaluate and defend against emerging cognitive threats.
The Army Research Office is a directorate of the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Army Research Laboratory.
The project, set to run through 2025, aims to identify research gaps in deviant socio-technical behaviors, shape an agenda focused on developing strategies that can counter emerging threats, and create tools for near real-time analysis of such threats.
“Narratives on social media could be easily weaponized and propagated at frighteningly fast speeds,” Agarwal said. “Such insidious threats that attempt to influence beliefs and behaviors need to be considered as modern weapons of cognitive hijacking. We need to develop scientific approaches to combat these emerging threats in a global context, equip our warfighters with these capabilities, and strengthen community resiliency.”
Agarwal, Jerry L. Maulden-Entergy Endowed Chair and Distinguished Professor in the Department of Information Science, says these threats are increasingly flash mob-type events, where groups self-organize and coordinate in cyberspace, then disperse. Coordinated cognitive attacks can cause stock market frenzy, violent protests, highly coordinated cyberattacks on public infrastructure, for instance. To an outsider such acts may look arbitrary, however intense coordination happens in the background.
“Given the evolving technological landscape and increasing complexity of cognitive attacks, research is warranted to develop multidisciplinary and theoretically grounded capabilities to evaluate emerging socio-cognitive threats that can serve the needs of our military at strategic, tactical, and operational levels,” Agarwal said.
U.S. Sen. John Boozman is a strong advocate for basic and applied research at UA Little Rock.
“The evolving nature of social media and the changing tactics our adversaries use to spread misinformation requires us to develop a strategy to respond,” Sen. Boozman said. “Dr. Agarwal’s research will help create critical tools to combat bad actors on these platforms. I’m proud to support Arkansas’s role in advancing solutions to counter cyber threats.”
“We are extremely grateful to the Army Research Office, UA Little Rock leadership and U.S. Sen. John Boozman for championing this vital research,” Agarwal added. “It helps position the COSMOS Research Center at the forefront of developing capabilities to combat cognitive threats. The investment will help put these capabilities in the hands of our warfighters to ultimately strengthen our national defense and security apparatus.”
When narratives rapidly evolve in an unchecked online environment, the results can be dangerous. State and non-state actors, alike, can use social media platforms to amplify certain narratives and sway public opinion in their favor. Some of Agarwal’s previous research has shown how YouTube’s algorithms can be manipulated to promote positive content about China while crushing negative news like human rights violations against Uyghur minorities in western China, or how the terrorist organization, Islamic State, uses bots to recruit members and for propaganda campaigns.
“There are many popular shows about the use of forensics to solve physical crimes. Somewhat similarly, Dr. Agarwal uses social cyber forensics to determine the sources of scams and influence campaigns, some of which threaten our country and its allies,” said Dr. Lawrence Whitman, dean of the Donaghey College of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. “He works closely with the Army to apply the methods and tools his team has developed to make us all safer. It’s great to have Dr. Agarwal working on these threats, and we are grateful to have this partnership with the Army Research Office.”
Agarwal’s research team investigates governments, groups, and individuals who use advanced communication tactics to orchestrate sophisticated cognitive attack campaigns through a variety of existing and emerging social media platforms, particularly multimedia-rich platforms.
U.S. defense groups are interested in the work because it helps to identify how adversaries are promoting certain narratives via social media, how such narratives resonate with the target audience, and how those narratives can be combated. Training exercises will be conducted to enhance the U.S. workforce with skills in big data analytics, data management, machine learning, and artificial intelligence with applications in security.
The award will provide support for high-speed computational servers that are necessary to support the processing of large volumes of multimodality data, which includes text, image, video, audio, reach, engagement, metadata, and interactions. It is also expected to fund around 15 student research positions, several postdoctoral research fellowships, and data engineer positions.
“The funds will help create exciting opportunities for our students and research staff by exposing them to real world problems and stimulating them to develop science-based solutions,” Agarwal said.
This research was sponsored by the Army Research Office and was accomplished under Grant Number W911NF-23-1-0011. The views and conclusions contained in this document are those of the authors and should not be interpreted as representing the official policies, either expressed or implied, of the Army Research Office or the U.S. Government. The U.S. Government is authorized to reproduce and distribute reprints for Government purposes notwithstanding any copyright notation herein.
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