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NASA’s SpaceX Crew-5 Launches to International Space Station

The crew members assigned to NASA’s SpaceX Crew-5 mission are in orbit following their launch to the International Space Station noon EDT Wednesday, from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

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A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the company’s Dragon spacecraft is launched on NASA’s SpaceX Crew-5 mission to the International Space Station with NASA astronauts Nicole Mann and Josh Cassada, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Koichi Wakata, and Roscosmos cosmonaut Anna Kikina onboard, Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2022, at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. NASA’s SpaceX Crew-5 mission is the fifth crew rotation mission of the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft and Falcon 9 rocket to the International Space Station as part of the agency’s Commercial Crew Program. Mann, Cassada, Wakata, and Kikini launched at 12:00 p.m. EDT from Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center to begin a six-month mission onboard the orbital outpost.
Credits: NASA/Joel Kowsky

The crew members assigned to NASA’s SpaceX Crew-5 mission are in orbit following their launch to the International Space Station noon EDT Wednesday, from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The international crew will serve as the agency’s fifth commercial crew rotation mission with SpaceX aboard the orbital laboratory.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket propelled the Dragon Endurance spacecraft into orbit carrying NASA astronauts Nicole Mann as mission commander, and Josh Cassada, pilot. JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Koichi Wakata and Roscosmos cosmonaut Anna Kikina, also aboard the Dragon, will serve as mission specialists for their science expedition in microgravity aboard the space station.

“Missions like Crew-5 are proof we are living through a golden era of commercial space exploration. It’s a new era powered by the spirit of partnership, fueled by scientific ingenuity, and inspired by the quest for new discoveries,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. “During their stay aboard the International Space Station, Crew-5 will conduct more than 200 science experiments and technology demonstrations, including studies on printing human organs in space and better understanding heart disease. While our eyes are focused upward on the heavens, let us never forget these missions will also better life here on Earth.”

This is the first spaceflight for Mann, Cassada, and Kikina, and the fifth for Wakata. This is the sixth SpaceX flight with NASA astronauts – including the Demo-2 test flight in 2020 to the space station – as part of the agency’s Commercial Crew Program.

During Dragon’s flight, SpaceX will monitor a series of automatic spacecraft maneuvers from its mission control center in Hawthorne, California, and NASA teams will monitor space station operations throughout the flight from the Mission Control Center at the agency’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.

Dragon will dock autonomously to the space-facing port of the station’s Harmony module around 4:57 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 6. NASA Television, the NASA app, and the agency’s website will provide live coverage of docking and hatch opening. NASA also will cover the ceremony to welcome the crew aboard the orbital outpost about 8:15 p.m.

Mann, Cassada, Wakata, and Kikina will join the space station’s Expedition 68 crew of NASA astronauts Bob Hines, Kjell Lindgren, Frank Rubio, and Jessica Watkins, ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti, and Roscosmos cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitri Petelin. For a short time, the number of crew aboard the space station will increase to 11 people until Crew-4 astronauts Hines Lindgren, Watkins, and Cristoforetti return to Earth a few days later.

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Crew-5 will spend several months aboard the space station conducting new scientific research in areas, such as cardiovascular health, bioprinting, and fluid behavior in microgravity to prepare for human exploration beyond low-Earth orbit and to benefit life on Earth.

“The International Space Station continues to serve a critical role in helping NASA and our partners understand and maximize the unique attributes of the microgravity environment,” said Kathryn Lueders, associate administrator for NASA’s Space Operations Mission Directorate in Washington. “I am grateful to the many people who worked to ensure a safe Crew-5 launch despite the recent hurricane so the crew can fulfill their mission to the orbiting laboratory.”

The Crew-5 mission continues NASA’s efforts to maintain American leadership in human spaceflight. Regular commercial crew rotation missions enable NASA to continue the important research and technology investigations taking place aboard the station. Such research benefits people on Earth and lays the groundwork for future human exploration through the agency’s Artemis missions, which will send astronauts to the Moon to prepare for future expeditions to Mars

Meet Crew-5

As commander, Mann is responsible for all phases of flight, from launch to re-entry, and will serve as an Expedition 68 flight engineer. This will be her first spaceflight since becoming an astronaut in 2013. Mann was born in Petaluma, California, and will be the first indigenous woman from NASA in space. She is a colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps, and she served as a test pilot in the F/A-18 Hornet and Super Hornet.

Cassada is the spacecraft pilot and second in command for the mission. He is responsible for spacecraft systems and performance. Aboard the station, he will serve as an Expedition 68 flight engineer. This will be his first flight since his selection as an astronaut in 2013. Cassada grew up in White Bear Lake, Minnesota, and is a physicist and U.S. Navy test pilot.

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Wakata will be making his fifth trip to space and as a mission specialist he will work closely with the commander and pilot to monitor the spacecraft during the dynamic launch and re-entry phases of flight. Once aboard the station, he will serve as a flight engineer for Expedition 68. With Crew-5’s launch, Dragon will be the third different type of spacecraft Wakata has flown to space.

Kikina will be making her first trip to space, and will serve as a mission specialist, working to monitor the spacecraft during the dynamic launch and re-entry phases of flight. She will be a flight engineer for Expedition 68.

Learn more about NASA’s SpaceX Crew-5 mission and Commercial Crew Program at:

https://www.nasa.gov/commercialcrew

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F-22 Safely Shoots Down Chinese Spy Balloon Off South Carolina Coast

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A U.S. Air Force fighter safely shot down a Chinese high-altitude surveillance balloon today, Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III said in a written statement.

President Joe Biden ordered the action on Wednesday, but it was delayed until the balloon was over water off the coast of South Carolina to ensure no Americans on the ground were harmed. 

“The balloon, which was being used by the PRC in an attempt to surveil strategic sites in the continental United States, was brought down above U.S. territorial waters,” Austin said.  

The action was taken in coordination and support of the Canadian government. “We thank Canada for its contribution to tracking and analysis of the balloon through [North American Aerospace Defense Command] as it transited North America,” Austin said. “Today’s deliberate and lawful action demonstrates that President Biden and his national security team will always put the safety and security of the American people first while responding effectively to the PRC’s unacceptable violation of our sovereignty,” Austin said referring to the Peoples Republic of China. 

U.S. officials first detected the balloon and its payload on January 28 when it entered U.S. airspace near the Aleutian Islands. The balloon traversed Alaska, Canada and re-entered U.S. airspace over Idaho. “President Biden asked the military to present options and on Wednesday President Biden gave his authorization to take down the Chinese surveillance balloon as soon as the mission could be accomplished without undue risk to us civilians under the balloon’s path,” said a senior defense official speaking on background. “Military commanders determined that there was undue risk of debris causing harm to civilians while the balloon was overland.” 

An F-22 Raptor fighter from the 1st Fighter Wing at Langley Air Force Base, Virginia, fired one AIM-9X Sidewinder missile at the balloon.  

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The balloon fell approximately six miles off the coast in about 47 feet of water. No one was hurt. 

Long before the shoot down, U.S. officials took steps to protect against the balloon’s collection of sensitive information, mitigating its intelligence value to the Chinese. The senior defense official said the recovery of the balloon will enable U.S. analysts to examine sensitive Chinese equipment. “I would also note that while we took all necessary steps to protect against the PRC surveillance balloon’s collection of sensitive information, the surveillance balloon’s overflight of U.S. territory was of intelligence value to us,” the official said. “I can’t go into more detail, but we were able to study and scrutinize the balloon and its equipment, which has been valuable.” 

The balloon did not pose a military or physical threat. Still its intrusion into American airspace over several days was an unacceptable violation of U.S. sovereignty. The official said Chinese balloons briefly transited the continental United States at least three times during the prior administration. 

While Chinese officials admitted that the balloon was theirs, they said it was a runaway weather balloon. “The PRC has claimed publicly that the high-altitude balloon operating above the United States is a weather balloon that was blown off course. This is false,” the official said. “This was a PRC surveillance balloon. This surveillance balloon purposely traversed the United States and Canada, and we are confident it was seeking to monitor sensitive military sites.” 

The mission now transitions to one of recovery. There are a number of U.S. Navy and Coast Guard vessels establishing a security perimeter around the area where the balloon came to Earth. They are searching for debris, said a senior military official also speaking on background.  

There is no estimate for how long the recovery mission will take, the military official said, but the fact that it came down in such a shallow area should make recovery “fairly easy”. 

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The military official gave some detail of the engagement. The F-22 fired the Sidewinder at the balloon from an altitude of 58,000 feet. The balloon at the time was between 60,000 and 65,000 feet.  

F-15 Eagles flying from Barnes Air National Guard Base, Massachusetts, supported the F-22, as did tankers from multiple states including Oregon, Montana, South Carolina and North Carolina. Canadian forces also helped track the overflight of the balloon. 

The Navy has deployed the destroyer USS Oscar Austin, the cruiser USS Philippine Sea and the USS Carter Hall, an amphibious landing ship in support of the effort. 

Source: US DoD

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The Media Trust Warns of Increased Digital Attacks Targeting Children and Elderly

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2023 outlook reveals growing assault on consumer expectations of digital trust and safety

MCLEAN, Va. (Newswire.com) – The Media Trust, the preeminent leader in digital trust and safety for websites and mobile apps, released a report detailing the harms experienced by consumers through their everyday use of websites and mobile apps. When accessing common online environments — news, entertainment, shopping, travel — children and the elderly were increasingly affected by malware, a 3.7X and 11X growth, respectively, throughout 2022. 

The report CYA 2023: 7 Digital Safety Trends for Uncertain Times highlights malware and ad-quality challenges facing brands, publishers, and platforms as they navigate consumer-loyalty concerns and the economic uncertainties of 2023. From poor security to inappropriate content, the consumer experience is under attack, which threatens monetization channels including commerce and online advertising. 

The report confirms:

  • 4,500+ active attacks targeting millions of consumers each month 
  • 1.3 billion malicious ads blocked on Fortune 1000 websites and apps
  • 2.2X growth in e-skimming attacks since 2020
  • 3X increase in just three months of an attack leveraging a particular corrupted JavaScript library
  • 16X rise in backdoors being installed on devices — personal, corporate, government

“Threat actors have greatly improved their ability to get their malicious wares in front of the most vulnerable consumers online,” explained Chris Olson, CEO of The Media Trust. “Every business with a digital channel — website, app, gaming console — needs to be aware of how these assets are used to target and harm your customers. You cannot simply look the other way and leave children and the elderly to fend for themselves. Your family, friends, and neighbors are all being hunted every time they use the internet.”

An informative, 30-minute webinar is scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2023. Register for  CYA 2023: 7 Digital Safety Trends Webinar

About The Media Trust: 

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Today’s digital ecosystem relies on The Media Trust to safeguard the consumer experience. We fix the issues that harm your customers, drive data breaches, violate regulations, impede revenue, and tarnish your brand. Acting as your audience, our unique digital safety platform captures their true user experience and stops harmful activity so you can better monetize and govern your digital assets. Since 2005, hundreds of digital businesses have depended on The Media Trust to protect their strategic digital revenue channels. Why not yours? The Media Trust — your partner in digital trust and safety. Learn more at www.mediatrust.com.

Source: The Media Trust

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TODAY IS NATIONAL GROUNDHOG DAY

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It’s February 2nd and this is the day that Mr./Ms. Groundhog may or may not see his shadow. If he does, could there there be six more weeks of winter?

#GroundhogDay

Groundhog Day (Pennsylvania GermanGrund’sau dåkGrundsaudaagGrundsow DawgMurmeltiertagNova ScotiaDaks Day) is a popular North American tradition observed in the United States and Canada on February 2. It derives from the Pennsylvania Dutch superstition that if a groundhog emerges from its burrow on this day and sees its shadow due to clear weather, it will retreat to its den, and winter will go on for six more weeks; if it does not see its shadow because of cloudiness, spring will arrive early.

While the tradition remains popular in the 21st century, studies have found no consistent association between a groundhog seeing its shadow and the subsequent arrival time of spring-like weather.

The weather lore was brought from German-speaking areas where the badger (German: Dachs) is the forecasting animal. This appears to be an enhanced version of the lore that clear weather on the Christian festival of Candlemas forebodes a prolonged winter.

The Groundhog Day ceremony held at Punxsutawney in western Pennsylvania, centering on a semi-mythical groundhog named Punxsutawney Phil, has become the most frequently attended ceremony. Grundsow Lodges in Pennsylvania Dutch Country in the southeastern part of the state observe the occasion as well. Other cities in the United States and Canada also have adopted the event. (wikipedia)

#GroundhogDay

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