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NEW ROYAL CARIBBEAN TERMINAL OPENS, WELCOMING LARGEST CRUISE SHIP AND THE BEST FAMILY VACATIONS IN TEXAS

Everything’s bigger in Texas, and the biggest, boldest adventure has arrived. Today, Royal Caribbean International’s new $125 million cruise terminal in Galveston, Texas, opened its doors and welcomed the Lone Star State’s largest cruise ship, Allure of the Seas.

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The $125 Million Terminal in Galveston, Texas, is Home to the State’s First Oasis Class Ship, Allure of the Seas

GALVESTON, Texas /PRNewswire/ — Everything’s bigger in Texas, and the biggest, boldest adventure has arrived. Today, Royal Caribbean International’s new $125 million cruise terminal in Galveston, Texas, opened its doors and welcomed the Lone Star State’s largest cruise ship, Allure of the SeasThe cruise line held a ribbon cutting ceremony at the Port of Galveston to mark the state-of-the-art facility’s opening and the Texas debut of its revolutionary Oasis Class.

Royal Caribbean executives, government and port officials and partners celebrated the milestone achievement, including U.S. representative Randy Weber, Federal Commissioner Louis Sola, Mayor Craig Brown, Royal Caribbean International President and CEO Michael Bayley and Port Director Rodger Rees. The city of Galveston also marked the day with a proclamation, recognizing the cruise line’s commitment to the city and the successful partnership started more than 20 years ago when Royal Caribbean first set sail from Galveston. With the introduction of the Oasis Class, the world’s largest cruise ships, it’s estimated the new terminal will welcome as many as 630,000 vacationers each year.

“We are thrilled to take family vacations to a whole new level in Texas. Our new, 161,334-square-foot terminal opens up a world of vacation possibilities for families in the Southwest,” said Michael Bayley, president and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. “Now our unmatched Oasis Class ships, known as the best family vacations in the industry, can set sail from Galveston. Allure of the Seas is just the beginning, and we thank the Port of Galveston, Ceres and all the teams involved for making this bold vision a reality.”

Royal Caribbean’s Galveston facility is as bold in its sustainable design as the bold adventures that vacationers have in store. The terminal will break even more new ground as the first LEED Zero Energy facility in the world, generating 100% of the energy it needs through onsite solar panels. From the start, the design strategies used to develop the terminal were aligned with parent company Royal Caribbean Group’s wholistic environmental goals, its focus to advance the development of sustainable infrastructure as well as its decarbonization strategy – Destination Net Zero.

 “This new cruise terminal is a gamechanger for the port and the region,” said Rodger Rees, Port Director, Port of Galveston. “This $125 million investment, in collaboration with Royal Caribbean, the port and Ceres, is expected to bring 800 new jobs, $1.4 billion in local business services revenue, $5.6 million in state and local taxes, and incredible business development opportunities. And, of course, Allure of the Seas means more cruising adventures for our Texas cruise guests.”

Welcoming vacationers in the terminal as they make their way to Allure is a new, dynamic art sculpture named the Galveston Beach Trio by Texas-based artists Brad Oldham and Christy Coltrin of Brad Oldham Sculpture. The cruise line selected the husband-and-wife team for their one-of-a-kind concept that’s inspired by Galveston’s rich musical heritage, which includes the likes of Galveston-native and Grammy Award-winning, bass-baritone singer and songwriter Barry White. As the embodiment of the city’s island time spirit, the stainless steel and lost-wax bronze sculpture is the perfect backdrop for the start of vacationers’ getaways.

Allure will set sail from the new homeport on its first cruise on Sunday, Nov. 13. The Oasis Class ship has in store a lineup of thrills, ways to chill, restaurants, nightlife, entertainment and more across seven signature neighborhoods, including the open-air Central Park with thousands of real plants and the Boardwalk neighborhood filled with ways to play and the one-of-a-kind AquaTheater entertainment venue that comes alive with high divers, acrobats, aerialists and more. From a nine-story-high zip line and two FlowRider surf simulators to rock climbing, ice skating, and original productions that span four stages – air, ice, water and theater – there’s adventure from end to end.

When it comes to refueling in between the action, the 30-plus restaurants, bars and lounges on board serve up a range of flavors like family-style Italian classics at Giovanni’s Table, American steakhouse favorites at Chops Grille and fresh sushi and sizzling hibachi at Izumi. New concepts and dishes are coming to Allure as well, including Wipeout Cafe featuring El Loco Fresh. Fitting for the ship’s new home in Texas, the venue will serve up El Loco Fresh’s popular, grab-and-go Mexican delights like made-to-order quesadillas, tacos, nachos and more. Plus, joining the staples guests know and love at Giovanni’s Table will be menu items such as crispy calamari, eggplant parmigiana and caprese salad.

Every member of the family can make memories together and on their own adventures any day of the week on Allure.

Vacationers can enjoy all that Allure has to offer on the new 7-night Western Caribbean cruises from Galveston and visit sun-soaked destinations, such as Costa Maya and Cozumel, Mexico; and Roatan, Honduras, for the winter 2022-2023 season.

About Royal Caribbean International

Royal Caribbean International, owned by Royal Caribbean Group (NYSE: RCL), has been delivering innovation at sea for more than 50 years. Each successive class of ships is an architectural marvel that features the latest technology and guest experiences for today’s adventurous traveler. The cruise line continues to revolutionize vacations with itineraries to 240 destinations in 61 countries on six continents, including Royal Caribbean’s private island destination in The Bahamas, Perfect Day at CocoCay, the first in the Perfect Day Island Collection. Royal Caribbean has also been voted “Best Cruise Line Overall” for 19 consecutive years in the Travel Weekly Readers Choice Awards.

Media can stay up to date by following @RoyalCaribPR on Twitter and visiting RoyalCaribbeanPressCenter.com. For additional information or to make reservations, vacationers can call their travel advisor; visit RoyalCaribbean.com; or call (800) ROYAL-CARIBBEAN.

SOURCE Royal Caribbean International

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The Return of the Giant Pandas: A Symbol of Renewed Diplomacy Between China and the United States

China’s plan to send a new pair of giant pandas to the San Diego Zoo signifies a renewed era of wildlife diplomacy and friendship with the United States.

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photo of panda and cub playing
Photo by Diana Silaraja on Pexels.com

In a gesture reflecting the enduring bond between China and the United States, the China Wildlife Conservation Association has announced plans to send a new pair of giant pandas to the San Diego Zoo. This move marks a significant renewal of friendship after the recall of iconic bears on loan to U.S. zoos amid strained relations between the two nations.

The recent signing of cooperation agreements with zoos in San Diego and Madrid, along with ongoing discussions with zoos in Washington, D.C., and Vienna, underscores a fresh round of collaboration on panda conservation. This initiative not only highlights the importance of protecting these beloved creatures but also serves as a symbol of unity and shared commitment to wildlife preservation.

San Diego Zoo officials have expressed great anticipation for the arrival of the two pandas, a male and a female, expected to reach the zoo by the end of summer. Megan Owen, Vice President of Wildlife Conservation Science at the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance, shared her excitement, stating, “They’ve expressed a tremendous amount of enthusiasm to re-initiate panda cooperation starting with the San Diego Zoo.”

As these gentle giants prepare to make their return to the San Diego Zoo, the significance of this gesture extends beyond conservation efforts. It serves as a testament to the power of wildlife diplomacy in fostering understanding and goodwill between nations, transcending political differences to focus on shared values and a common goal of protecting our planet’s biodiversity.

The upcoming arrival of the giant pandas symbolizes a renewed era of collaboration, friendship, and hope for a future where conservation efforts transcend borders and unite us in our shared responsibility to safeguard the natural world.

Source: Associated Press

https://apnews.com/article/pandas-san-diego-zoo-california-china-6976587ee9992c861d9a56db0cb1ff89?user_email=f874bd3cdce5fc878ed0ce94463be80ee9571a2ee483e46a76da589edb9944a0&utm_medium=APNews_Alerts&utm_source=Sailthru_AP&utm_campaign=NewsAlerts_0222_US_Panda&utm_term=AP%20News%20Alerts

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Unlocking the Next Frontier: Odysseus Lunar Lander’s Historic Mission

“Odysseus lunar lander aims to make history with first U.S. spacecraft touchdown on moon in 50 years. A testament to human ambition and innovation.”

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In the vast expanse of space, where dreams of exploration meet the harsh realities of technology and finance, Thursday marks a potential landmark moment in the annals of space exploration. The Odysseus lunar lander, a testament to human ingenuity and perseverance, stands on the precipice of making history as it aims to achieve what no U.S.-made spacecraft has done in five decades: a controlled touchdown on the lunar surface.

Intuitive Machines-1 Lunar Landing (Official NASA Broadcast)

After a breathtaking lift-off from Florida, Odysseus embarked on its journey towards the moon, capturing awe-inspiring images of our planet Earth along the way. Now, as it hurtles closer to its destination, the anticipation mounts for what could be the most perilous test yet – a soft landing on the moon’s surface.

Intuitive Machines, the pioneering force behind Odysseus, dares to tread where no private company has ventured before. If successful, this endeavor would mark the resurgence of American-made spacecraft landing on the moon since the final Apollo mission in 1972.

However, the road to lunar exploration is fraught with challenges, both technical and financial. While the Apollo program once commanded a budget exceeding 4% of all U.S. government spending, today’s NASA operates on a fraction of that, a mere 0.4%. To stretch resources further, NASA has turned to outsourcing robotic lunar landings to commercial entities like Intuitive Machines, aiming to achieve ambitious goals like the Artemis program’s lunar return with reduced costs.

But cost isn’t the only hurdle. The technical feat of landing a spacecraft precisely on a celestial body a quarter of a million miles away is akin to hitting a golf ball from New York to Los Angeles and landing it in a specific hole – a daunting task even with today’s advanced technology. Compounding the challenge is the time delay of roughly three seconds for signals to travel between Earth and the moon, leaving little room for error during critical maneuvers.

Moreover, the legacy of Apollo-era expertise has waned over the decades, leaving a gap that new technology alone cannot bridge. As Dr. Scott Pace of George Washington University’s Space Policy Institute aptly notes, “These are people doing it for the first time, and there’s no substitute for that experience.”

Yet, amidst these challenges, there’s an undeniable sense of optimism and determination. As Lisa Altemus of Intuitive Machines emphasizes, success in lunar exploration requires collective resilience, collaboration, and a willingness to learn from failures. It heralds not just a scientific achievement but the dawn of a new era – an emerging lunar economy where the moon’s resources could unlock boundless opportunities for humanity.

If Odysseus achieves its mission, it will not only mark the first U.S. spacecraft landing on the moon in half a century but also pave the way for future lunar endeavors, including the exploration of the moon’s south pole, a region rich in potential resources like ice and water.

As we stand on the brink of this historic moment, let us marvel at the audacity of human ambition, the tenacity of scientific endeavor, and the boundless possibilities that lie beyond Earth’s confines. The journey to the moon may be fraught with challenges, but with each step, we inch closer to unlocking the mysteries of our celestial neighbor and forging a new chapter in the saga of space exploration.

https://www.azfamily.com/app/2024/02/22/us-company-attempts-first-moon-landing-thursday-since-1972/

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NASA Astronaut Available for Interviews Prior to Space Station Mission

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NASA astronaut Tracy Dyson poses for a portrait at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.
Credits: NASA

NASA astronaut Tracy C. Dyson is available in limited opportunities to discuss her mission beginning at 8 a.m. EST on Monday, Feb. 26. The interviews will take place ahead of Dyson launching to the International Space Station in March.

The virtual interviews will stream live on NASA+, NASA Television, and the agency’s website. Learn how to stream NASA TV through a variety of platforms including social media.

Interested media must submit a request to speak with Dyson no later than 12 p.m. Friday, Feb. 23, to the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston newsroom at 281-483-5111 or jsccommu@mail.nasa.gov.

Dyson is scheduled to launch aboard the Soyuz MS-25 spacecraft Thursday, March 21, and will spend approximately six months aboard the space station. She will travel to the station with Roscosmos cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy and spaceflight participant Marina Vasilevskaya of Belarus, both of whom will spend approximately 12 days aboard the orbital complex.

During her expedition, Dyson will conduct scientific investigations and technology demonstrations that help prepare humans for future space missions and benefit people on Earth. Among some of the hundreds of experiments ongoing during her mission, Dyson will continue to study how fire spreads and behaves in space with the Combustion Integrated Rack, as well as contribute to the long-running Crew Earth Observations study by photographing Earth to better understand how our planet is changing over time.

After completing her expedition, Dyson will return to Earth this fall with Roscosmos cosmonauts Oleg Kononenko and Nikolai Chub on the Soyuz MS-25 spacecraft.

Learn more about International Space Station research and operations at:

https://www.nasa.gov/station

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