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NASA is investigating a claim that an astronaut accessed the bank account of her estranged spouse from the International Space Station (ISS), in what may be the first allegation of a crime committed in space.

The New York Times reports that Anne McClain acknowledges accessing the account from the ISS but denies any wrongdoing.

Her estranged spouse, Summer Worden, reportedly filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.

Anne McClain has since returned to Earth.

She told the New York Times through a lawyer that she was merely making sure that the family’s finances were in order and there was enough money to pay bills and care for Summer Worden’s son – who they had been raising together prior to the split.

Her lawyer, Rusty Hardin, said: “She strenuously denies that she did anything improper,” adding that Ms McClain was “totally co-operating”.

Anne McClain and Summer Worden, who is an Air Force intelligence officer, married in 2014 and Worden filed for divorce in 2018.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons

NASA to test color-changing lights on ISS to help astronauts on board sleep

Investigators from NASA’s Office of Inspector General have contacted both over the allegation, the New York Times reported.

Anne McClain graduated from the prestigious West Point military academy and flew more than 800 combat hours over Iraq as an Army pilot. She went on to qualify as a test pilot and was chosen to fly for NASA in 2013.

The astronaut spent six months aboard the ISS and had been due to feature in the first all-female spacewalk, but her role was canceled at the last minute over what NASA said was a problem with availability of correct suit sizes.

There are five national or international space agencies involved in the ISS – from the US, Canada, Japan, Russia and several European countries – and a legal framework sets out that national law applies to any people and possessions in space.

So, if a Canadian national were to commit a crime in space, they would be subject to Canadian law, and a Russian citizen to Russian law.

Space law also sets out provisions for extradition back on Earth, should a nation decide it wishes to prosecute a citizen of another nation for misconduct in space.

As space tourism becomes a reality, so might the need to prosecute space crime, but for now the legal framework remains untested.

NASA officials told the New York Times that they were not aware of any crimes committed on the space station.

SpaceX has successfully launched the Dragon CRS-10 (2) mission carrying a cargo ship for the International Space Station (ISS) following the postponement of take-off on February 18 because of technical problems.

Witnesses said the Dragon rocket was only briefly visible before making its way into the clouds.

The launch was made from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The rocket booster successfully landed on the ground nine minutes after taking off.

Image source Flickr

The touchdown is part of SpaceX’s strategy of returning rockets to earth so they can be reused rather than jettisoning them in the ocean after a single launch.

Moments after the rocket landed, the SpaceX Dragon supply ship successfully reached orbit, prompting cheers inside the SpaceX Mission Control room.

The Dragon is now making its way to the ISS, and is expected to arrive on February 22.

On January 14, SpaceX resumed flights by launching a Falcon 9 vehicle from the Vandenberg Air Force Base on the California coast.

It was the first mission by the private rocket company since one of its vehicles exploded on the launch pad in September.

The company founder, Elon Musk, wants SpaceX to be at the forefront of the race involving several companies to deploy satellite-based internet services over the next few years.

SpaceX also has a long queue of customers all waiting for a ride to orbit – including America’s civil space agency (NASA), the US military and multiple outfits in the commercial sector.

Tim Peake has apologized in a Twitter post after dialing a wrong number from space.

He said to a woman on the other end of the line: “Hello, is this planet Earth?”

The British astronaut tweeted: “I’d like to apologize to the lady I just called by mistake saying <<Hello, is this planet Earth?>> – not a prank call… just a wrong number!”

The British astronaut, a father-of-two from Chichester, West Sussex, arrived at the International Space Station (ISS) on Tuesday, December 15.

Photo Getty Images

Photo Getty Images

Tim Peake, 43, is spending six months conducting scientific experiments on the station.

Earlier in the week, he helped two fellow crew members to conduct a space walk outside the ISS.

NASA astronauts Tim Kopra and Scott Kelly went outside the ISS to fix a broken component.

Tim Peake, who is a former major in the Army, is the first Briton to join the crew of the ISS and is employed by the European Space Agency (ESA).

Helen Sharman became the first British citizen to travel to space when she visited the Soviet Mir orbiting station in 1991.

Other Britons who have flown into space have done so either as private individuals or by taking US citizenship.

Tim Peake, 43, was waved off by his wife and two sons, Thomas, 6, and Oliver, 4, at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

The Soyuz space capsule has arrived to the International Space Station (ISS).

British astronaut Tim Peake and fellow crew members Russian Yuri Malenchenko and American Tim Kopra, docked with the ISS high above the Earth.

The crew controlled the approach manually, after complications with the usual automatic docking procedure.

Tim Peake is making history as the first official UK astronaut.

He was waved off by his wife and two sons at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan earlier on the day.

The launch was from the same place where Yuri Gagarin became the first human in space in 1961.

There were no reported problems during the blast-off.

However, docking with the space station – which is regarded as one of the most difficult stages of the journey – did not go entirely to plan when the crew had to steer the spacecraft in manually.Soyuz docked to ISS

The docking happened about 10 minutes after its scheduled time of 17:24 GMT.

It takes four orbits of Earth and about six hours to reach the ISS.

Having arrived safely, the team will have to wait around two hours before they can leave the capsule to allow safety checks and for the air pressure to be equalized.

In the meantime, the new arrivals will carry out routine checks for leaks.

ESA said the crew reported they were fine and were starting to shut down the spacecraft’s systems as they were no longer needed.

The Soyuz capsule will remain attached to serve as an escape vehicle if the ISS has to be evacuated in an emergency.

Once on board the ISS, the crew will work, sleep and exercise in a dozen modules, together about the same volume as two Boeing 747s.

The three crew members will join the existing taskforce on board the ISS – NASA astronaut Scott Kelly and Russian cosmonauts Mikhail Kornienko and Sergey Volkov.

Scott Kelly and Mikhail Kornienko are approaching the ninth month of their one-year ISS mission.

A maximum of 10 crew members can live on the station.

Tim Peake will spend six months on board the ISS where he will conduct scientific experiments and carry out educational projects designed to attract young people into science.

Sarah Brightman has announced she will not be going to the International Space Station (ISS) in September 2015.

The British soprano wrote on her blog that she was postponing the adventure for “personal family reasons”, giving no further explanation.

Sarah Brightman, 54, was due to fly to the ISS on 1 September as a tourist.

When, or even if, Sarah Brightman will get to complete her dream of a 10-day holiday in orbit is not clear.

It is thought such a trip would cost the singer about $50 million.

Photo EPA

Photo EPA

Space Adventures, the company that was organizing Sarah Brightman’s trip, is given only a very limited number of seats on Soyuz rockets to sell to tourists.

Who will take Sarah Brightman’s berth in September is uncertain. It ought to be Sarah Brightman’s back-up – a Japanese executive Satoshi Takamatsu, but Space Adventures has yet to confirm this.

Space Adventures’ Eric Anderson said: “Since 2012, Sarah has shared her story of a lifelong dream to fly to space. Her international fame as the world’s best-selling soprano has enabled her message to circle the globe, inspiring others to pursue their own dreams.

“We’ve seen firsthand her dedication to every aspect of her spaceflight training and to date, has passed all of her training and medical tests. We applaud her determination and we’ll continue to support her as she pursues a future spaceflight opportunity.”

The European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Andreas Mogensen, who was due to join Sarah Brightman in the Soyuz in September, tweeted: “Sad to lose a fantastic crew mate. Best of luck, Sarah.”

Flights to and from the ISS are currently on hold following the failure of a robotic cargo ship in late April.

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Star Wars Day has been celebrated aboard the International Space Station (ISS) with the screening of one of the franchise’s movies.

“Just watching @starwars. In space. No big deal,” NASA tweeted from one of its official accounts, adding the hashtag #Maythe4thBeWithYou.

Meanwhile, members of a forthcoming expedition to the ISS posed as Jedi knights for their official photo earlier this year.

The choice of film surprised some.Star Wars Day 2015 ISS NASA

“You picked the wrong one!” tweeted Angel Dominguez, referring to the fact that a photo sent from the satellite shows Mace Windu’s battle with Supreme Chancellor Palpatine in the prequel Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, rather a scene from the original trilogy.

The ISS was recently fitted with a high-definition projector, which the astronauts also use for video conferences and displaying computer software.

Commander Scott Kelly revealed last month that the team on board had also used it to watch the space disaster movie.

The latest movie showing was timed to coincide with the date, which references the series’ most quoted line: “May the force be with you.”

The ISS was previously linked to the space opera in 2007, when character Luke Skywalker’s lightsaber prop was flown to the orbiting structure and back to mark 30 years of the franchise.

Such stunts only add to the series’ value by keeping it in the public eye. Disney is set to be the beneficiary of the latest publicity, having bought the rights to Star Wars from its creator George Lucas in 2012, along with other movie rights, for $4 billion.

Analysts are expecting that the first in a new series of films, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, will set a new box office record when it is released in December.

Scott Kelly and Mikhail Kornienko have docked for the start of a one year mission on the International Space Station (ISS).

It will be the longest continuous stay anyone has had aboard the 250 mile-high orbiting platform.

The spacecraft docked successfully at 01:33 GMT on March 28, NASA annunced.

Scientists hope to get a keener idea of the effects on the human body of living in microgravity for extended periods.

The space agencies say the data will be invaluable as they plan towards eventually mounting a mission to Mars.

Scott Kelly and Mikhail Kornienko launched from Baikonur in Kazakhstan in a Soyuz vehicle at 01:42 local time on March 28.

They were joined on the flight up by cosmonaut Gennady Padalka, but his tour will only last the normal six months.Scott Kelly and Mikhail Kornienko begin one year tour of duty on ISS

Although Scott Kelly and Mikhail Kornienko will set an endurance record for this space station, some of the stays aboard the old Russian Mir platform were much longer.

Four cosmonauts lived on Mir at various times for more than a year, with Valeri Polyakov spending a mammoth 437.7 days in orbit between 1994 and 1995.

“The last time we had such a long duration flight was almost 20 years and of course all… scientific techniques are more advanced than 20 years ago,” Mikhail Kornienko was quoted as saying by the AP wire service in the pre-launch press conference.

“And right now we need to test the capability of a human being to perform such long-duration flights. So this is the main objective of our flight – to test ourselves.”

Scott Kelly added: “One of the differences here is that we’re doing it as an international partnership, and if we’re going to go beyond low-Earth orbit again, perhaps to Mars, because of the cost and the complexity it will most likely be an international mission, so we see this as a stepping stone to that.”

Knowledge on how to mitigate some of the deleterious effects of living in zero-g has improved markedly since the Mir era, and the expectation is that Scott Kelly and Mikhail Kornienko will come back in a better shape than those early pioneers.

Programmed nutrition and exercise routines now prevent much of the bone density loss and muscle weakness that earlier astronauts used to experience.

However, there are other problems that doctors still need to study and understand. They have poor data on the effects on immune function, for example, and there is considerable concern about the damage spaceflight causes to the eyes. This is a newly recognized phenomenon, and appears to be related to the way fluid is redistributed in a weightless body.

Pressure is seen to build in the skull and on the optic nerve, and a large number of astronauts return to Earth complaining that their vision is not as good as when they went up.

By having Scott Kelly and Mikhail Kornienko onboard for a year, the agencies will be able to monitor how such complications progress beyond the normal six-month tour of duty.

Scott Kelly’s situation is made more interesting by the fact that he has an identical twin brother, Mark Kelly, who was himself an astronaut before retiring from NASA in 2011.

Scott and Mark Kelly will be used in a comparative study: one in space, one on the ground.

Relativity theories predict that Scott Kelly should age less quickly than his brother while speeding above the Earth – but only by a few milliseconds over the year.

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American astronaut Scott Kelly and Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko are about to undertake a 12-month tour of duty on the International Space Station (ISS).

It will be the longest continuous stay anyone has had aboard the orbiting platform.

Scientists hope to get a keener idea of the effects on the human body of living in microgravity for extended periods.

The space agencies say the data will be invaluable as they plan towards eventually mounting a mission to Mars.

Scott Kelly and Mikhail Kornienko will launch from Baikonur in Kazakhstan in a Soyuz vehicle at 01:42 local time, Saturday, March 28.

They will be joined on the flight up by cosmonaut Gennady Padalka, but his tour will only last the normal six months.

Arrival at the ISS should occur about six hours after lift-off.

Although Scott Kelly and Mikhail Kornienko will set an endurance record for this space station, some of the stays aboard the old Russian Mir platform were much longer.

Four cosmonauts lived on Mir at various times for more than a year, with Valeri Polyakov spending a mammoth 437.7 days in orbit between 1994 and 1995.

“The last time we had such a long duration flight was almost 20 years and of course all… scientific techniques are more advanced than 20 years ago,” Mikhail Kornienko was quoted as saying by the AP wire service in the pre-launch press conference.

“And right now we need to test the capability of a human being to perform such long-duration flights. So this is the main objective of our flight – to test ourselves.”

Scott Kelly added: “One of the differences here is that we’re doing it as an international partnership, and if we’re going to go beyond low-Earth orbit again, perhaps to Mars, because of the cost and the complexity it will most likely be an international mission, so we see this as a stepping stone to that.”Scott Kelly and Mikhail Kornienko set for one year mission on ISS

Knowledge on how to mitigate some of the deleterious effects of living in zero-g has improved markedly since the Mir era, and the expectation is that Scott Kelly and Mikhail Kornienko will come back in a better shape than those early pioneers.

Programmed nutrition and exercise routines now prevent much of the bone density loss and muscle weakness that earlier astronauts used to experience.

However, there are other problems that doctors still need to study and understand. They have poor data on the effects on immune function, for example, and there is considerable concern about the damage spaceflight causes to the eyes. This is a newly recognized phenomenon, and appears to be related to the way fluid is redistributed in a weightless body.

Pressure is seen to build in the skull and on the optic nerve, and a large number of astronauts return to Earth complaining that their vision is not as good as when they went up.

By having Scott Kelly and Mikhail Kornienko onboard for a year, the agencies will be able to monitor how such complications progress beyond the normal six-month tour of duty.

Scott Kelly’s situation is made more interesting by the fact that he has an identical twin brother, Mark Kelly, who was himself an astronaut before retiring from NASA in 2011.

The pair will be used in a comparative study: one in space, one on the ground.

Relativity theories predict that Scott Kelly should age less quickly than his brother while speeding above the Earth – but only by a few milliseconds over the year.

[youtube ULuKc7fVWtY 650]

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Sarah Brightman will perform a song in space later this year.

Sarah Brightman, who is training at Star City near Moscow, is due to blast off on a Russian Soyuz craft on September 1.

She will spend 10 days aboard the International Space Station (ISS), 260 miles above Earth.

Sarah Brightman, 54, said singing in space was a “very different” proposition to performing on Earth.

Speaking at a press conference in central London, Sarah Brightman said her team were trying to work out the technical details of performing on the ISS.

“I would like to connect with a choir, or children or another singer or an orchestra on Earth,” she told reporters.Sarah Brightman to perform song in space

Sarah Brightman said she had been working with her ex-husband Andrew Lord Lloyd-Webber to find a song that “suits the idea of space”.

She recorded the song in New York last week and it will appear on a retrospective of her career, out later this year.

“To sing in microgravity is a very different thing to singing down here,” the singer said.

“We use the Earth to ground ourselves when we sing and the air around us.

“This is going to be very different. I’m trying to find a piece that is beautiful and simple in its message, as well as not complicated to sing.”

Sarah Brightman didn’t want to “promise too much” because of the complexity of the idea.

In 2013, Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield’s rendition of David Bowie’s Space Oddity from the ISS become a huge YouTube hit.

Sarah Brightman is thought to be paying around $51 million to become the eighth space tourist.

She said she had paid for the trip herself, but could not “contractually” say how much it had cost.

Sarah Brightman will be part of a three-person crew travelling to the ISS. The last space tourist to make the trip was Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Laliberte in 2009.

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SpaceX says its experiment to bring part of its Falcon rocket down to a soft landing on a floating sea platform has failed.

The vehicle was launched on a mission to send a cargo capsule to the International Space Station (ISS).

Once the first-stage of the rocket completed its part of this task, it tried to make a controlled return.

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk tweeted that the booster hit the platform hard.

“Close, but no cigar,” he added.

“Bodes well for the future tho’. Ship itself is fine. Some of the support equipment on the deck will need to be replaced.”

Elon Musk continued: “Didn’t get good landing/impact video. Pitch dark and foggy. Will piece it together from telemetry and… actual pieces.”

SpaceX intends to keep trying. If this kind of capability can be proven, it promises to dramatically lower launch costs in the future.

It would mean that normally disposable rockets could be recovered, refurbished and re-used.

It might also point to new ways of bringing spacecraft back down to Earth in general.F9 FLT-001

Lift-off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, for the Falcon 9 with its Dragon freighter occurred at 04:47 local time. The cargo ship was confirmed in orbit and en route to the ISS nine minutes later – at about the same time the first stage was expected at the drone ship. Dragon’s arrival at the station is set for January 12.

This is the first American re-supply mission to the orbiting platform since October’s spectacular explosion of a freighter system operated by competitor Orbital Sciences Corporation.

Traditionally, rockets have had an expendable architecture.

As they head skyward, they dump engines and empty propellant tanks to save the weight that allows their upper-stage, including the satellite payload, to make the jump to orbit.

Any discarded hardware simply tumbles back towards the planet and is torn apart.

This approach means every new mission needs an expensive new rocket.

SpaceX, on the other hand, believes it can recycle key elements of its rockets.

The company has been testing first-stage boosters that relight their engines to try to slow their fall through the atmosphere, attaching fins to help guide them downwards and legs to make a stable touchdown.

Until January 10, these were all mock landings, in which the stage was brought to a hovering position at the surface of the ocean, where, without a solid platform to set down, every booster was then subsequently lost into the water.

This latest experiment marked the first use of the drone platform.

SpaceX conceded that reaching this touchdown pad at the first attempt would be an immense challenge.

The barge is less than 100m wide, and all previous experiments had been working on a landing accuracy of some 10km.

Nonetheless, SpaceX will be encouraged that it got so close to the platform.

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SpaceX has postponed an experiment to bring part of its Falcon 9 rocket down to a soft landing on a floating sea platform.

The space company has now rescheduled the Cape Canaveral demonstration for January 9.

Once the first stage of the rocket launches, and has finished its work, it will head back to Earth to try to touch down on a sea barge in the Atlantic.

If this kind of capability can be proven, it promises dramatically lower launch costs in the future.

All segments of a rocket are usually discarded after use and are destroyed as they fall back down.

SpaceX, however, has been practicing the controlled return of the first stage of its Falcon 9 vehicle.

The problem responsible for today’s scrub decision related to a technical issue detected in the steering mechanism of the rocket’s upper stage.

The next chance to send up the vehicle will be on January 9 at 05:09AM local Florida time.SpaceX Falcon 9 launch aborted

SpaceX itself has been playing down expectations, rating the chances of success at no more than 50-50.

“I’m pretty sure this will be very exciting, but, as I said, it’s an experiment,” cautioned Hans Koenigsmann, vice president for mission assurance at SpaceX.

“There’s a certain likelihood that this will not work out all right, that something will go wrong. It’s the first time we have tried this – nobody has ever tried it as far as we know.”

The primary purpose of the flight is to send the Dragon cargo ship on a path to rendezvous with the International Space Station (ISS).

It will be the first American re-supply mission to the orbiting platform since October’s spectacular explosion of a freighter system operated by competitor Orbital Sciences Corporation.

However, it is the outcome of the SpaceX experiment that is likely to make the headlines.

SpaceX believes it can return, refurbish and re-use key elements of its rockets.

To this end, it has been testing first-stage boosters that relight their engines to try to slow their fall through the atmosphere, attaching fins to help guide them downwards, and legs to make a stable touchdown.

So far, there have only been mock landings, in which the stage is brought to a hovering position at the surface of the ocean, where, without a solid platform to set down, every booster has subsequently been lost in the water.

The experiment at the end of this week will be different in that SpaceX has sent a floating barge to the targeted return site some 200 miles northeast of Cape Canaveral, Florida.

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