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Trump administration plans to privatize International Space Station

WASHINGTON: Could the International Space Station become a commercial venture run by private industry?  That is the wish of the White House, which hopes to end funding for the costly program within a few years, The Washington Post reported Sunday. The US plan, the paper said, involves privatizing the ISS, a low-orbit space station piloted by the US space agency NASA and developed jointly with its Russian counterpart. The station has allowed international crews -- notably in collaboration with the Canadian, European…

SpaceX’s Dragon cargo ship reaches space station

MIAMI: SpaceX's unmanned Dragon cargo ship arrived on Sunday at the International Space Station, carrying supplies and experiments for the astronauts in orbit. "Capture confirmed," a NASA commentator said at 5:57 am (10:57 GMT), when the space station's robotic arm, operated by one of its astronauts, attached itself to the cargo ship as it floated over Australia and Papua New Guinea. "It's a great day to see Dragon back at ISS again," said another NASA commentator. The recycled spaceship blasted off on Friday…

Two rookie astronauts, cosmonaut blast off to ISS

MIAMI: A three-man space crew featuring American and Japanese rookie astronauts as well as an experienced Russian cosmonaut blasted off on Sunday for a six-month mission at the International Space Station. Scott Tingle of NASA, Anton Shkaplerov of Roscosmos and Norishige Kanai of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency powered into the sky in a Soyuz MS-07 spacecraft from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 1:21 pm (0721 GMT). NASA TV footage from inside the Soyuz capsule showed a toy poodle made by Shkaplerov's…

NASA’s Orbital ATK launches eighth cargo mission to space

WASHINGTON: An unmanned cargo ship packed with 7,400 pounds (3,350 kilograms) of food and supplies for the astronauts living at the International Space Station blasted off Sunday from Wallops Island, Virginia. Orbital ATK's barrel-shaped Cygnus cargo ship launched atop an Antares rocket at 7:19 am (1219 GMT), a day after a last-second delay due to an unexpected aircraft in the area. "Five, four, three, two, one, and we have ignition," said Orbital ATK's mission control operator, as the rocket's engines lit up the…

US astronauts begin repair of aging ISS robotic arm

Two NASA astronauts embarked on a spacewalk Thursday to repair the International Space Station's aging robotic arm, the US space agency said. The outing by Americans Randy Bresnik and Mark Vande Hei began at 8:05 am (1205 GMT) when the duo switched their bulky white space suits to battery power before floating out of the airlock. The two men will focus on removing and replacing the latching end of the Canadian-made arm, known as Canadarm2. Read More: NASA mulls putting astronauts on deep space test flight The 57.7…

NASA astronaut releases stunning Northern Lights timelapse

An astronaut aboard the International Space Station has released an incredible video of the a real-life display of the Northern lights from his position 250 miles (402 km) above Earth. Jack Fischer tweeted a time-lapse of the Aurora Borealis taken while on board the International Space Station as it travelled at 17,500 mph (28,164 kph). 'People have asked me what a 'burrito of awesomeness smothered in awesome sauce' is...,' he wrote in a caption. 'Well folks, it looks like this… awesome sauce is green.' Fischer,…

SpaceX poised to launch first recycled rocket

CAPE CANAVERAL, USA: SpaceX is poised to launch its first recycled rocket on Thursday, using a booster that sent food and supplies to the astronauts living at the International Space Station in April. The goal of the launch, scheduled for 6:27 pm (2227 GMT) from Cape Canaveral, Florida, is to send a communications satellite for Luxembourg-based company SES into a distant orbit. Standing tall at the NASA launchpad, the white Falcon 9 rocket contains a tall, column-like portion known as the first stage, or booster, that…

US astronauts engage in spacewalk to upgrade ISS

WASHINGTON: Two American astronauts ventured outside the International Space Station on Friday to work on upgrading the orbiting outpost's electrical system. Americans Shane Kimbrough, the 49-year-old commander of the six-person crew aboard the ISS, and flight engineer Peggy Whitson, 56, emerged from an airlock at 1223 GMT. Their spacewalk is expected to last six-and-a-half hours, during which the pair will install adapter plates and electrical connections for three of six new lithium-ion…

Orbital cargo ship arrives at space station

MIAMI: An unmanned cargo ship operated by the US company Orbital ATK arrived on Sunday at the International Space Station, delivering 2.5 tons of food and supplies to the six astronauts living in orbit. US astronaut Kate Rubins and Japanese astronaut Takuya Onishi led the operation to grab the incoming Cygnus spaceship with the space station's robotic arm. "Capture is complete," Onishi said after the connection was made at 7:28 am (1128 GMT), likening the grapple to finishing the last stretch of a marathon. The spaceship…