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bananas

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SpaceX breaks Boeing-Lockheed monopoly on military space launches

Source: Reuters

The U.S. Air Force on Wednesday awarded billionaire Elon Musk's SpaceX an $83 million contract to launch a GPS satellite, breaking the monopoly that Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT.N) and Boeing Co (BA.N) have held on military space launches for more than a decade.

The Global Positioning System satellite will be launched in May 2018 from Florida, Air Force officials said.

The fixed-price award is the military's first competitively sourced launch service contract in more than a decade. It ends the exclusive relationship between the military and United Launch Alliance, a partnership of Lockheed Martin and Boeing.

<snip>

SpaceX declined to comment about its first military launch contract until after an Air Force conference call with reporters on Thursday.

Read more: http://mobile.reuters.com/article/idUSKCN0XO2TC

SpaceX Announces a 2018 Sample Return Mission to Mars

Source: Popular Mechanics

Originally shooting for 2022, SpaceX now wants to send a Red Dragon lander to Mars in just two years.

Last year, a research team from the NASA Ames Research Center came up with an idea to use a modified SpaceX Dragon capsule to send a sample return mission to Mars.

SpaceX responded to the idea, and the modified capsule design was dubbed the Red Dragon. A team of NASA and SpaceX engineers put a tentative timeline in place to attempt a sample return mission in 2022.

But SpaceX just tweeted an announcement that it plans to instead launch the mission in 2018.

Read more: http://www.popularmechanics.com/space/moon-mars/a20575/spacex-announces-mars-sample-return-2018/

Police, protesters clash at Fennovoima nuclear construction site

Source: Yle.fi

Police faced off against protesters at the construction site of the proposed Fennovoima nuclear plant in Pyhäjoki in western Finland Tuesday. Members of the Stop Fennovoima group said they wanted to halt work on the plant site, but Fennovoima said that operations continued as usual. The protest coincided with the 30th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster.

An anti-nuclear power demonstration became a heated confrontation between police and protesters bent on halting work on Fennovoima’s nuclear power facility in Pyhäjoki on Finland’s west coast.

The Pyhäjoki nuclear plant has faced strong opposed in Finland and northern Sweden, where non-governmental groups as well as government officials and local politicians have voiced concerns over nuclear safety as well as potential harm to Northern Sweden's nature and fish stocks.

According to police some 40 people participated in the protest action, which was timed to coincide with the anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear meltdown in Ukraine 30 years ago.

The Stop Fennovoima group said that it has organised a week of activities around the anniversary under the banner name Reclaim the Cape.

<snip>

Read more: http://yle.fi/uutiset/police_protesters_clash_at_fennovoima_nuclear_construction_site/8837864

Toshiba takes $2.3 billion writedown on U.S. nuclear unit Westinghouse

Source: Reuters

Japan's Toshiba Corp (6502.T) said on Tuesday that it booked an impairment charge of $2.3 billion for the past financial year on U.S. nuclear unit Westinghouse, a much-anticipated move to address lingering doubts over its book-keeping.

The 260 billion yen writedown is a reversal of Toshiba's long-time refusal to mark down the 330 billion yen goodwill value of Westinghouse despite a deterioration in the nuclear business since the 2011 Fukushima disaster. Toshiba bought Westinghouse in 2006 for $5.4 billion.

Investors have said that concerns over the value of the business have been a major reason behind the lack of recovery in Toshiba's share price following a $1.3 billion accounting scandal last year.

The shares closed at 241.9 yen on Tuesday, still worth less than half of their value before the company first disclosed cases of accounting irregularities around a year ago.

<snip>

Read more: http://mobile.reuters.com/article/idUSKCN0XN0CO

Shares in EDF Dive on First Day of Trading After it Unveils $4.5 billion Capital-Raising Plan

Source: Wall Street Journal

Shares of French state-controlled power utility Electricité de France SA, or EDF, plunged on Monday morning on the first day of trading after the company unveiled a plan to raise €4 billion ($4.5 billion) by selling new shares.

Shares of EDF were trading at €11.33 by mid morning, down 7.5% compared to the share price at market close on...

<snip>

Read more: http://www.wsj.com/articles/edf-to-go-ahead-with-u-k-hinkley-point-nuclear-plant-after-capital-increase-1461568044

Widowed former senator remarries at 90. This time to a man.

Source: Washington Post

When they first met on a beach in Fort Lauderdale, Fla ., former senator Harris Wofford was 75 and his soon- to-be husband , interior designer Matthew Charlton , was just 25.

Now , 15 years later, the Washington couple plans to tie the knot April 30, exactly three weeks after Wofford’ s 90th birthday and 68 years after his first wedding , to Clare Wofford, to whom the former politician was happily married for 48 years before her death.

If all that math is more than confusing , Wofford recently provided a simple common denominator : “ It is based on love ,” he wrote in the New York Times on Sunday .

<snip>

Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/reliable-source/wp/2016/04/24/widowed-former-senator-remarries-at-90-this-time-to-a-man/

Pope makes surprise visit to Rome park marking Earth Day

Source: Associated Press

Pope Francis has made a surprise visit to one of Rome ’s main parks to participate in an Earth Day event .

Francis , who wrote an encyclical decrying the exploitation of the Earth ’s environment and resources often at the expense of the poor , went to Villa Borghese , a park filled with Sunday strollers .

He sat on an outdoor stage along with an Italian priest who has courageously denounced Naples -area mobsters for systemically dumping toxic waste on local farmland in a lucrative , illicit operation often serving legitimate businesses.

The pope told the audience that money has become a god “at the center of the world .”

Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/pope-makes-surprise-visit-to-rome-park-marking-earth-day/2016/04/24/514c5f30-0a4a-11e6-bc53-db634ca94a2a_story.html

Flaw Lets Hackers Record Cellular Conversations, Track Location

Source: DSL Reports

Over the weekend 60 Minutes raised a few eyebrows with a report claiming that it simply takes a cell phone number to hack most cell phones. In the report, 60 minutes gives a new
iPhone to California Representative Ted Lieu, and then challenged a group of hackers to hack the device. They were immensely successful not because of vulnerabilities in the iPhone, but because of a vulnerability in Signaling System 7 (SS7, or Common Channel Signalling System 7 in the US), a series of protocols first built in 1975 to help connect phone carriers around the world.

The hackers were not only able to track the Representative's location data, but record his conversations.

The flaw isn't new; a group of German hackers
revealed the vulnerability in late 2014 . It's believed that the intelligence community has known about the vulnerability even earlier, and the hackers note that nothing has been done to shore up the flaw since German hacker Karsten Nohl first demonstrated it.

<snip>

Read more: http://www.dslreports.com/shownews/Flaw-Lets-Hackers-Record-Cellular-Conversations-Track-Location-136772

ULA and Bigelow announce partnership for first commercial space stations

Source: NASA SpaceFlight

United Launch Alliance (ULA) and Bigelow Aerospace have announced a partnership agreement to launch two of Bigelow’s inflatable B330 space habitats. The modules would be designed and built by Bigelow Aerospace and launched by ULA’s veteran Atlas V rocket and would provide commercial, “democratized” access to Low Earth Orbit research facilities.

The announcement at this year’s Space Symposium comes after years of development on the inflatable module concepts (Genesis I and II) and just three days after Bigelow’s BEAM module launched for a two-year experimental stay on the Space Station.

The agreement unveiled on Monday will see Bigelow deliver two fully functional B330 modules to ULA for notional launches in 2020, as noted by Mr. Bigelow.

Currently, the first of these two modules is slated to be ready for launch by late-2019, with the second module ready sometime in 2020.

<snip>

Read more: https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2016/04/ula-bigelow-partnership-first-commercial-space-stations/

Bigelow Aerospace Partners with United Launch Alliance, April 11, 2016



Bigelow Aerospace Partners with United Launch Alliance, April 11, 2016

SpaceKSCBlog
Published on Apr 11, 2016

On April 11, 2016, Bigelow Aerospace and United Launch Alliance held a joint media event in Colorado Springs, CO to announce a partnership "to develop and deploy habitable volumes in Low Earth orbit (LEO). The volumes will be based on the Bigelow Aerospace B330 expandable module with the initial launch to orbit in 2020 on ULA's Atlas V 552 configuration launch vehicle."

Bigelow Aerospace founder Robert T. Bigelow and ULA CEO Tory Bruno jointly announced the agreement and took questions.

The press release is at:

http://www.ulalaunch.com/bigelow-aerospace-and-ula-join-forces.aspx

Visit our web site at www.spaceksc.com. We're on Twitter at @SpaceKSCBlog.


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