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U.S., Russian crew blasts off for year-long stay on space station

ISS crew of Kelly of the U.S. and Kornienko and Padalka of Russia walk after donning space suits at the Baikonur cosmodromeBy Irene Klotz CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (Reuters) - A Russian Soyuz rocket blasted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Friday, sending a U.S. astronaut and two Russian cosmonauts on their way to the International Space Station, a NASA Television broadcast showed. Two of the men, NASA astronaut Scott Kelly, 51, and cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko, 54, will stay aboard the station for a year, twice as long as previous crews. Also aboard the Soyuz capsule was veteran cosmonaut Gennady Padalka, 56, who will return to Earth in September after racking up 878 days in space, more than any other person. Four Soviet-era cosmonauts lived on the now-defunct Mir space station for a year or longer, but the missions, which concluded in 1999, did not have the sophisticated medical equipment that will be used during International Space Station investigations, NASA said.

Fri, 27 Mar 2015 16:24:57 -0400
Valeo's self-driving car systems learn from Safran drones

The new self-driving car unveiled by Valeo and Safran drives during a presentation in front of the Invalides in ParisBy Laurence Frost and Gilles Guillaume PARIS (Reuters) - French auto parts maker Valeo plans to draw on drone software and other military technologies from partner Safran to offer self-driving vehicle platforms to carmakers by the end of the decade. While demonstrating an autonomous car and other prototype systems jointly developed with Safran, the French defense and aerospace group, Valeo said on Friday the first applications may reach carmaker clients within three years. "We realized very quickly that we had much more in common than we'd expected," Valeo innovation chief Guillaume Devauchelle told Reuters. "It turns out that an autonomous vehicle is really a terrestrial drone." Cars that complete whole journeys without human input are still many years away, but creeping automation is well underway, with models already on sale that can pilot themselves through slow traffic and hit the brakes when a pedestrian steps out.

Fri, 27 Mar 2015 10:55:00 -0400
U.S. Air Force overstepped bounds in SpaceX certification: report

The unmanned Falcon 9 rocket lifts off from launch pad 40 the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Cape CanaveralBy Andrea Shalal WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Air Force overstepped its bounds as it worked to certify privately held SpaceX to launch military satellites, undermining the benefit of working with a commercial provider, an independent review showed on Thursday. The report cited a "stark disconnect" between the Air Force and SpaceX, or Space Exploration Technologies, about the purpose of the certification process and recommended changes. Air Force Secretary Deborah James ordered the review after the service missed a December deadline for certifying SpaceX to compete for some launches now carried out solely by United Launch Alliance, a joint venture of Lockheed Martin Corp and Boeing Co. The Pentagon is eager to certify SpaceX as a second launch provider, given mounting concerns in Congress about ULA's use of a Russian-built engine to power its Atlas 5 rocket.

Thu, 26 Mar 2015 16:02:31 -0400
EU to resume Galileo satellite launch program

By Francesco Guarascio BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union is set to send two navigation satellites into orbit on Friday aboard a Russian rocket, in its first launch since a botched deployment in August that cost several million euros to fix. The Galileo project to set up an EU alternative to the U.S. Global Positioning System (GPS) is obliged to use the Russian Soyuz system until a development of Arianespace's European Ariane 5 rocket is ready around the end of the year, despite strained relations with Moscow over the conflict in Ukraine. An official at the European Commission, which oversees the program, said the EU executive was tendering for insurance cover for future satellites and had set up an insurance scheme for the launches. The two launched in August have since been nudged into viable orbits and are fit for use, a spokesman for the European Space Agency said.

Thu, 26 Mar 2015 14:08:44 -0400
Jockey motion tracking reveals racing prowess

By Matthew Stock A research team from the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) is using motion tracking technology to try to establish the optimal riding position for jockeys, as well as enhance the performance of racehorses and reduce the risk of injury to both horse and jockey. The project, entitled "Apprentice to Journeyman: the influence of jockey technique on thoroughbred racehorse locomotion", is analyzing the riding style of more experienced jockeys compared with novice riders to try to determine if the technique differs significantly between the two skill levels. They wanted to see how more experienced jockeys' movement, stability and positioning differed from the novice. RVC researcher Dr Anna Walker explained that more experienced jockeys commented on how different the experience was on a simulator compared to a real horse.

Thu, 26 Mar 2015 12:44:38 -0400
Ancient 4-Eyed Predator Wielded Wicked Toothy Claws

Ancient 4-Eyed Predator Wielded Wicked Toothy ClawsIt is the first new species reported from a stunning fossil find in Marble Canyon in British Columbia's Kootenay National Park. The Marble Canyon fossil beds, located in 2012, rival the iconic Burgess Shale for their diversity of soft-bodied fossils and exquisite preservation, scientists said. Yawunik is one of the most abundant species at the Marble Canyon site, and so, as a predator, likely held a key position in the food chain, said lead study author Cdric Aria, a graduate student in paleontology at the University of Toronto in Canada. The animal was named Yawunik kootenayi after the Ktunaxa people who have long inhabited the Kootenay area where the Marble Canyon locality was found.

Fri, 27 Mar 2015 14:51:55 -0400
Deadly Oklahoma Twister Ends Slow Start to Tornado Season

Deadly Oklahoma Twister Ends Slow Start to Tornado SeasonA damaging tornado touched down outside Tulsa, Oklahoma, last night (March 25). A small twister was also reported in Moore, the Oklahoma City suburb that has been repeatedly ravaged by deadly twisters this decade. The two weak tornadoes ended a long dry streak for the 2015 tornado season. For only the second time since the 1950s when good record keeping began the first three weeks of March were tornado-free throughout the United States, according to the National Weather Service's Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma.

Fri, 27 Mar 2015 09:05:01 -0400
Proving Einstein Wrong with 'Spooky' Quantum Experiment

Quantum mechanics is one of the best-tested theories in science, and it's one of the few where physicists get to do experiments proving that Einstein was wrong. That's what a team at Griffith University and the University of Tokyo in Japan did this week, showing that a weird phenomenon in which the measurement of a particle actually affects its location is real. Back in the 1920s and 1930s, Albert Einstein said he couldn't support this idea, which he called "spooky action at a distance," in which a particle can be in two places at once and it's not until one measures the state of that particle that it takes a definite position, seemingly with no signal transmitted to it and at a speed faster than light. When the particle takes its definite position, physicists refer to this as its wave function collapsing.

Fri, 27 Mar 2015 07:47:57 -0400
Liftoff! US, Russia Launch Historic One-Year Space Mission

Liftoff! US, Russia Launch Historic One-Year Space MissionAn American astronaut and Russian cosmonaut launched into space Friday to attempt something their two countries have never done together before: a one-year mission on the International Space Station that could help one day send humans to Mars. The epicone-year space mission launched NASA's Scott Kelly and cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko into orbit aboard a Russian Soyuz space capsule at 3:42 p.m. EDT (1942 GMT) today (March 27) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, where it was early Saturday morning local time. "A year in space starts now," NASA spokesperson Dan Huot said at launch.You can check out avideo of the history-making launchas well. It should take Padalka, Kelly and Kornienko about 6 hours to reach the space station.

Fri, 27 Mar 2015 16:10:15 -0400
Cosmic Traditions: One-Year Space Crew Marks Flight with Russian Spaceflight Customs

Cosmic Traditions: One-Year Space Crew Marks Flight with Russian Spaceflight CustomsEditor's Note: The one-year International Space Station mission successfully launched to orbit today (March 27). Kelly and Kornienko, together with cosmonaut Gennady Padalka, are set to launch to the International Space Station on Friday (March 27) from Kazakhstan's Baikonur Cosmodrome in Central Asia. After a four-orbit, six-hour flight, they will take up residency on board the outpost, with Kelly and Kornienko beginning the space station's first yearlong mission.

Fri, 27 Mar 2015 15:59:33 -0400
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