Chinese rocket debris lands in Indian Ocean

The Long March was the second deployment of the 5B variant since its maiden flight in May 2020. Last year, pieces from the first Long March 5B fell on Ivory Coast, damaging several buildings. No injuries were reported.

“Spacefaring nations must minimise the risks to people and property on Earth of re-entries of space objects and maximize transparency regarding those operations,” NASA Administrator Bill Nelson, a former senator and astronaut who was picked for the role in March, said in a statement after the re-entry.

“It is clear that China is failing to meet responsible standards regarding their space debris.”

With most of the Earth’s surface covered by water, the odds of populated area on land being hit had been low, and the likelihood of injuries even lower, according to experts.

But uncertainty over the rocket’s orbital decay and China’s failure to issue stronger reassurances in the run-up to the re-entry fuelled anxiety.

“It is critical that China and all spacefaring nations and commercial entities act responsibly and transparently in space to ensure the safety, stability, security, and long-term sustainability of outer space activities,” Nelson said.

Harvard-based astrophysicist Jonathan McDowell told Reuters that the potential debris zone could have been as far north as New York, Madrid or Beijing, and as far south as southern Chile and Wellington, New Zealand.

Since large chunks of the NASA space station Skylab fell from orbit in July 1979 and landed in Australia, most countries have sought to avoid such uncontrolled re-entries through their spacecraft design, McDowell said.

“It makes the Chinese rocket designers look lazy that they didn’t address this,” said McDowell.

The Global Times, a Chinese tabloid, dismissed as “Western hype” concerns the rocket was “out of control” and could cause damage.

“It is common practice across the world for upper stages of rockets to burn up while reentering the atmosphere,” Wang Wenbin, a spokesman at China’s foreign ministry, said at a regular media briefing on May 7.

“To my knowledge, the upper stage of this rocket has been deactivated, which means most of its parts will burn up upon re-entry, making the likelihood of damage to aviation or ground facilities and activities extremely low,” Wang said at the time.

The rocket, which put into orbit an unmanned Tianhe module containing what will become living quarters for three crew on a permanent Chinese space station, will be followed by 10 more missions to complete the station by 2022. 

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It’s rocket science – session 1

Date & time

Fri 16 Apr 2021
9:30am to 10:30am


10-17 years old



Bookings essential. Discover the wonders of rockets and space flight. Spectacular holiday fun for kids to build and launch water rockets over 60 metres high all from a simple soda bottle!

This is a Chillout event suitable for young people 10-17 years.


Bookings essential. To book visit It’s Rocket Science. For more information phone It’s Rocket Science on 0401 217 052.


Bring a 1.25L empty fizzy drink bottle.

Meeting point

Meet at the red flags next to the car park.


Fenwick Park, 692 Samford Road, Mitchelton

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Israeli jets & helicopters strike Gaza Strip in reprisal for rocket attack — RT World News

Explosions lit up the night sky over Gaza as Israeli fighter jets and attack helicopters bombed several locations inside the Palestinian enclave. Tel Aviv said the strike was a reprisal for a rocket fired into Israel earlier.

Reports of the bombing came shortly after 1am local time on Friday, with eyewitnesses sharing alleged videos of explosions and claiming F-16 fighters were attacking.

The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) confirmed the bombing and said it was in “response to the rocket fired from Gaza at Israel earlier tonight.”

Fighter jets and helicopters struck “a Hamas weapons manufacturing site, a weapon smuggling tunnel and a military post,” the IDF said on Twitter.

The rocket the IDF was referencing came from the direction of the Gaza Strip on Thursday evening – as Israel was celebrating its independence day – and struck uninhabited territory near the town of Sderot in southern Israel. 

While Tel Aviv blamed the attack on Palestinian Islamic Jihad, one of the several militant groups operating out of the enclave, the reprisal was aimed at Hamas in line with the Israeli policy of holding that group responsible for anything that happens in the Gaza Strip.

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Kennedy hoping Wild Rocket doesn’t burn out on way to Coonamble

Narromine-based trainer Kylie Kennedy doesn’t generally get nervous but that’ll change on Sunday morning when she heads to Coonamble with Wild Rocket ahead of the Western region’s Newhaven Park Country Championships Qualifier (1400m).

“With her I get more nervous before the races as she is a really bad traveller. It’s not the racing part, it’s getting her there in one piece,” Kennedy said. “She doesn’t like travelling, either on the float or the truck, with or without a mate, you have to bandage her from top to bottom. She gets very moody.”

Wild Rocket doesn’t travel well, by trainer Kyle Kennedy says once at the track her mare can be a force at Coonamble today.

Wild Rocket doesn’t travel well, by trainer Kyle Kennedy says once at the track her mare can be a force at Coonamble today.Credit:Jenny Evans

The four-year-old mare only broke her maiden at start number nine, back in July last year, before making it three straight.

Kennedy had seen enough to warrant a crack at the Country Championships series, even though she was a touch reluctant to tip her out given the form she was in.

Those fears were quashed first up at Dubbo after she flooded home late over 1200m before winning the Class 4 Country Championships Preview two weeks later out to 1300m.


It wasn’t completely smooth sailing to get her back with Wild Rocket going through a running rail during her spell. Kennedy thought Wild Rocket had snapped a shoulder but it was muscular injury which only put her back a couple of weeks.

“She keeps herself fit walking the yard and I didn’t want to start her four fortnight’s in a row, that’s why she has had the month between runs, but that won’t bother her at all,” said Kennedy. “If she happens to run first or second I’d give her a very easy two weeks before Sydney.”

So what finally clicked for the daughter of Uncle Mo given eighth months ago she still hadn’t chalked off a win?

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Spalding’s rocket frog, Litoria spaldingi, resurrected as a species after 53 years

A rocket frog that sounds like a “chicken pushing a lawnmower” has been officially recognised as a separate species to the standard crazy chicken frog.

Spalding’s rocket frog (Litoria spaldingi) is found from near the NT-WA border to the Gulf of Carpentaria in Queensland.

The species was identified by herpetologist William Hosmer in 1964.

Four years later, famed Australian herpetologist Mike Tyler re-examined the case and delisted Spalding’s frog, identifying it as Litoria watjulumensis, or the Wotjulum rocket frog, also known as the “crazy chicken”.

The frogs are almost identical and are known for producing, according to the original description, similar “sporadic chicken-like clucks followed by a series of evenly spaced notes which abruptly double in rate”.

Steve Donnellan is the head of research and collections at the South Australian Museum.(

Supplied: Steve Donnellan


“These guys are virtuosos when it comes to calling,” South Australian Museum head of research and collections Steve Donnellan said.

Dr Donnellan and his peers have used modern methods and DNA techniques in the last few decades to return Spalding’s frog to its own pedestal as a separate species.

He put the delisting down to a simple “error of judgement”.

A smiling woman holding a green frog in her hands.
Jodi Rowley says FrogID was instrumental in reviving Spalding’s rocket frog (not pictured here).(

Supplied: Stewart Humphreys/Australian Museum


‘Such a weird frog’

The relisting came about in part thanks to an NT citizen scientist known only as Matt, who recorded the bizarre ribbit on an app and helped get Spalding’s find out of the wilderness and into the frog hall of fame.

Space to play or pause, M to mute, left and right arrows to seek, up and down arrows for volume.
Hear the call of Spalding’s Rocket Frog (Litoria spaldingi).(Supplied: FrogID)
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Australian Museum amphibian curator Jodi Rowley said Matt’s involvement demonstrated the importance of the FrogID citizen science project.

“They’re actually incredibly rarely recorded,” she said.

“So the FrogID recordings have some of the best evidence around to help describe the call of Spalding’s rocket frog for the first time.

“But more recordings are needed as it’s still hard to differentiate between Spaldings and Wotjulum frogs — it’s pretty hard because they’re so variable.

“Because they are such a weird frog, with that crazy chicken and then going into the lawnmower, or whatever it is, we’re going to need a few more for analysis, that’s for sure.”

The Wotjulum frog is found in the same region and also in the Kimberley.

A man of late middle age, bespectacled and conservatively dressed, holding a frog.
Professor Michael “The Frog Man” Tyler AO incorrectly considered the Spalding’s and Wotjulum rocket frogs as being one and the same.(

Supplied: University of Adelaide


How did science get it wrong?

In the 1960s, Mike Tyler did not have the tools available to modern scientists and Ms Rowley said the similarities of frogs could be deceiving.

“We’ve been a bit clumsy when we’ve been identifying them,” she said.

“It does take a bit of detective work looking at the calls, looking at the DNA, and looking a little bit more closely at the frogs themselves.”

Close-up of a frog on a rock at night.
The Wotjulum rocket frog (Litoria watjulumensis) is found in WA’s Kimberley through to the Victoria River Catchment in Gregory National Park in the NT.(

Supplied: Jodi Rowley/FrogID


There are now 242 identified native frog species in Australia, but Ms Rowley says the discovery is still important.

“This has huge implications when it comes to conservation,” she said.

Map of Australia marking out areas of the Top End and north-west Queensland.
Spalding’s rocket frog occurs from near the NT-WA border into northwest Queensland.(

Supplied: FrogID


More calls to come

Dr Donnellan said all frog species were now getting a closer look.

He expects about 20 to 30 new frog species will be described in the next decade.

“We’re all highly motivated to get this job done as quickly as possible because of the potential climate change impacts on water-dependent species,” he said.

The frog was named after Philip Spalding Jr, who sponsored the 1960 Spalding-Hosmer American Museum of Natural History Expedition to the NT.

The Irish-born Mr Hosmer was eventually a Queenslander via Canada, and worked for the Chicago Field Museum.

He died in Ingham in 2002.

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SpaceX Rocket Deploys Record-setting Cargo

SpaceX on Sunday launched its Falcon 9 rocket carrying a record number of satellites on board, the private space company said.

The rocket successfully launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida at 10:00 am (1500 GMT), 24 hours after its initial take-off had been scrubbed due to bad weather.

Andy Tran, a SpaceX production supervisor, said in a video of the launch that the Falcon 9 was carrying 133 commercial and government “spacecraft” as well 10 SpaceX satellites.

“The most spacecraft ever deployed on a single mission,” Tran said.

SpaceX is flying Falcon 9 under a “rideshare” program through which other firms and governments pay the Elon Musk-founded company to deliver their technologies to space.

A framegrab of video of the SpaceX launch on January 24, 2021
 SPACEX / Handout

Minutes after taking off, the Falcon 9’s main booster that had thrust the rocket to the edge of space separated from the rest of the craft and dropped back down to Earth in a controlled fall.

It landed itself on an unmanned spaceport drone ship called “Of Course I Still Love You” in the Atlantic Ocean, marking the booster’s fifth successful deployment and recapture.

In a series of tweets, SpaceX said all 143 satellites had been successfully deployed.

SpaceX aims to send thousands of small satellites into space to form a global broadband system called Starlink.

Scientists have expressed concerns about the number of objects clogging the space around Earth. SpaceX say their satellites are designed to burn up in the atmosphere within a few years.

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Virgin Orbit Just Launched a Rocket From a 747

On Sunday morning, Virgin Orbit became the third privately funded American rocket company to reach orbit—and the only one to accomplish the feat from mid-air. The company’s liquid-fueled rocket, called LauncherOne, was released from beneath the wing of Cosmic Girl, Virgin Orbit’s customized Boeing 747, off the coast of California. Cosmic Girl’s pilot, Kelly Latimer, parted ways with the rocket at around 30,000 feet—the cruising altitude of a typical passenger jet—and after a few seconds of freefall, LauncherOne ignited its engines and boosted itself into space. Once it reached orbit, the rocket released its payload of 10 cubesats built by researchers from NASA and several American universities before it fell back to Earth.

The successful launch was a welcome win for the Virgin team, which has been buffeted by setbacks since its first launch attempt last spring. That first test flight in May was aborted seconds after the rocket was released due to a breakage in its propellant line. After engineers had identified and fixed the problem, company officials planned a second launch in December, but decided to postpone it as Covid-19 cases spiked around their headquarters in Los Angeles.

“We’ve done a huge amount to assure the safety of the team, and so much of our launch operations and our activities are virtual,” Virgin Orbit CEO Dan Hart told reporters on a call ahead of Sunday’s launch. “Doing it in the face of a pandemic is really amazing.”

The WIRED Guide to Commercial Human Space Flight

Everything you need to know about Blue Origin, SpaceX, Virgin Galactic, and what actually happens to your body if you go live in space.

Today’s launch marked the culmination of nearly a decade of work by engineers at Virgin Orbit, which is one of two rocket companies founded by billionaire Richard Branson. In 2018, Virgin Orbit’s sister space company, Virgin Galactic, made history by launching a spacecraft carrying two humans from beneath a custom plane, which sent them rocketing to the edge of space. Branson clearly loves launching stuff from planes and has staffed both companies with engineers and pilots who make it look easy. Now the question is, can he turn it into a sustainable business?

Air launch is typically associated with missiles that are bound for targets on the Earth’s surface, but it has a long history in the space industry too. The first orbital air-launched rocket, known as Pegasus, was sent to orbit in early 1990 by Orbital Sciences Corporation, which has since been folded into Northrop Grumman. Like LauncherOne, Pegasus is able to boost around 1,000 pounds of payload into space, and the rocket is dropped from the belly of a gutted passenger jet. But in the last 30 years, Pegasus has flown only 44 missions. To put that in perspective, SpaceX has flown more than twice as many in the past decade.

“When I started looking at feasibility studies and thinking about whether we should do this, Pegasus was the blinking neon sign that was flashing in my vision 24/7,” Will Pomerantz, the vice president of special projects at Virgin Orbit, told WIRED ahead of the company’s first launch attempt last May. “Technologically, Pegasus is a huge success. But from a market perspective, perhaps not.”

Pomerantz says the reason Pegasus failed to attract many customers is because when it launched, those customers didn’t exist. The commercial small satellite industry has exploded in the past few years, and now there are hundreds of companies looking for a cheap ride to space. Pegasus is still around, but its launch cost has ballooned over the past few decades. In the 1990s, NASA paid $16 million for a Pegasus launch. Today it costs closer to $60 million. Even accounting for inflation, that cost has nearly tripled, and it is beyond what most of these small satellite companies can afford. Air launch was once an idea ahead of its time—but now Pomerantz believes its time has come.

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Russia’s Angara rocket challenges NASA’s Artemis program

One does not want to think much about worldliness on New Year’s Eve. The Year of the Rat is going away under the banner of the struggle against the coronavirus infection, and this is a highly worldly matter. Russia has launched the Sputnik V vaccine, which has every chance of triumphantly defeat the disease on the entire planet. Does Russia have any chances to extend its influence beyond planet Earth?

The Soviet Union used to be the leader in space exploration. Unfortunately, today’s Russia cannot boast of the same. At the same time, NASA has taken a long way ahead with the help of public and private partnership. Elon Musk’s SpaceX has pushed many players on the market with the help of Falcon launch vehicles and Dragon cargo ships.

The flight of the manned spacecraft Crew Dragon to the ISS became an unprecedented challenge to Roscosmos in 2020.

For comparison, the design of the new Russian spaceship “Oryol” (“Eagle”) started back in 2009, and there is still no light at the end of the tunnel. It is expected, though, that the test launch of the Oryol spaceship on the Angara-A5 carrier rocket from the Vostochny cosmodrome is to take place in late 2023. If successful, the first unmanned flight to the ISS will take place next year, and a manned one – in 2025.

The Angara is a whole family of space rockets: from the light Angara-1.1 version to the super-heavy Angara-A5B. Their development began in the 1990s to replace the Soviet Protons. The advantage of the Angara rocket lies in the use of less toxic fuel (kerosene and liquefied oxygen). The new rocket also boasts adjustable carrying capacity as universal rocket modules can be added to its design.

Can we consider the recent successful launch (the second one after a long break) of the Angara-A5 heavy rocket from the Plesetsk cosmodrome a worthy response to Elon Musk and NASA? It can hardly be called a breakthrough, but, nevertheless, this is another step towards the intended goal.

Artemis eyes the Moon

Russia will be able to claim leadership positions in the field of civil space exploration if the country switches to the new rocket and space technology of the Angara rocket family in the coming years. In addition, Russia also needs to develop a new manned spacecraft, the head of Roscosmos Dmitry Rogozin believes.

Four years ago, while serving as Deputy Prime Minister, he announced an ambitious and interesting goal – the creation of a permanent Russian scientific station on the Moon until 2030. According to Rogozin, this would open up “great technological opportunities in space” for Russia.

To achieve it, one needs to do the following:

  • to make a technological breakthrough;

  • build a super-heavy rocket;

  • build an orbital module in lunar orbit;

  • build a reusable descent vehicle, etc.

However, it appears that the United States is much closer to the designated goal with its Artemis program.

A NASA project with the participation of US private companies, the European Space Agency, the UK, Canada, Australia, Japan and other countries envisages a manned mission to the Moon in 2024, the construction of Gateway lunar station and the creation of the lunar infrastructure.

  • NASA reported last summer that the Orion reusable spacecraft for the Artemis-1 mission was ready.

  • In September 2019, NASA concluded a contract with Lockheed Martin to build a minimum of six and a maximum of 12 Orion spacecraft.

  • Boeing Corporation is completing the work on the construction of the Space Launch System super-heavy launch vehicle.

  • The development of lunar landers was entrusted to Blue Origin, Dynetics and SpaceX.

According to NASA chief Jim Bridenstine, the successful implementation of the lunar program should be the forerunner of the planned manned mission to Mars in the 2030s. It is no coincidence that Elon Musk’s company works on a fantastic project – a giant reusable Starship spacecraft with a carrying capacity of 100 tons for flights to Mars. It will be launched into space by the largest-ever launch vehicle Super Heavy (a reusable one too), equipped with 28 Raptor methane-powered engines. With Elon Musk’s stubbornness in mind, such incredible plans do not seem to be empty words.

China is also making its significant contribution to space exploration. Not that long ago, the whole world learned about the triumph of Chinese specialists, when the Chang’e-5 probe successfully landed on the moon, collected soil samples and delivered about two kilograms of regolith back to Earth.

It was only the Soviet Luna-24 probe that could succeed in such a mission back in 1976. The implementation of the Chang’e program is to take China to the stage of the manned flight to the Moon no later than in 2036.

Russia in the lunar race: Flying in space at snail’s pace

Russian politicians were rather skeptical about the USA’s plans for the exploration of the moon. There are many critical remarks, but the main complaint is related to the great American habit of being always “at the head of the table.” Speaking about the Artemis program and NASA’s desire to involve Russia country in it, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov condemned “Washington’s departure from the principles of equal cooperation and attempts to impose secondary roles on potential partners.”

The head of Roscosmos also considered Russia’s participation in the Artemis program inappropriate, since this project in its current form aims to serve the interests of the American side in the first place.

“As you know, Artemis was a Greek goddess. We are now preparing Zeus amendments to this agreement,” Rogozin joked.

As the press service of the state corporation reported, Roscosmos is to resume the lunar program from next year. The implementation of the program is to take place in several stages until 2040.

  • By 2025, it is planned to build the basic module for the lunar station, test the Oryol manned spacecraft and explore the moon with the help of automated stations.

  • The second stage stipulates for first manned flights to the Moon and the installation of the first elements of the base.

  • In 2029, the Oryol spacecraft is to make a manned flight around the Moon.

  • The construction of the long-term lunar base is planned for the period from 2030 to 2035.

Experts believe that the carrying capacity of Angara launch vehicles will not be enough for manned missions to the Moon. That is why such super-heavy launch vehicles as Yenisei, Don and Leader are under development. Yet, these projects require trillions of rubles in financial investments. In addition, work is underway to create an oxygen and hydrogen-powered upper stage KBTK for the Angara rocket. Preliminary design of a reusable rocket on liquefied natural gas has begun, plus there are ideas for creating a reusable space nuclear-powered tug, etc.

The lunar program can be costly for the Russian budget. Is the game worth the candle? Russian  scientists are convinced that the answer to this question is positive. In particular, Lev Zeleny, scientific director of the Space Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, notes the presence of uranium, titanium, thorium and other rare metals on the Moon.

When the earth is depleted of its rare metals, without which the industry will suffocate, one will have to pay attention to the moon, the scientist believes.

In addition, the Moon is an ideal location for radio astronomy and other observations due to electromagnetic silence and absence of atmosphere.

The creation of the first extraterrestrial laboratory on the Moon to study lunar materials, meteorites and depths of the universe – all this sounds extremely tempting. And yet, as Dmitry Rogozin said, before exploring deep space we need to bring our own planet in order.

“We have a gigantic country that has not yet been properly explored, we still do not know how to use all the huge resources that we have, and if we do, then we often do it barbarically,” Rogozin said.

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Rocket Tiger wins for trainer Scott Spackman

Pocket dynamo Rocket Tiger provided trainer Scott Spackman with his first city winner after a typically tough effort in the opener at Royal Randwick.

Omen punters might have found Rocket Tiger who maintained his unbeaten record in the Boxing Day Plate (1100m). The two-year-old is by Cluster, sadly one of the buzz words for this pandemic year.

Spackman, who has eight in work at his Wagga Wagga stables, was understandably emotional after training his first metropolitan winner.

“We are so proud of this little horse,’’ Spackman said.

“I told Kathy (O’Hara) before the race he is the type of horse if he gets his head in front he doesn’t like anything go past it.

“He’s a home-bred and a half-brother to Takookacod (a winner of five races) but I think this little horse is the best I’ve had.’’

Rocket Tiger ($26) settled outside leader and hot favourite Vandoula Lass ($2.70) before finishing too strongly for that filly to beat her by a long head with Vianello ($4.20) a short neck away third.

Vandoula Lass began quickly and found the rail, leading comfortably under Tommy Berry until reaching the home turn.

Berry looked to have a lapful of horse at the 300m but a persistent Rocket Tiger would not go away.

Rocket Tiger, ridden by the in-form Kathy O’Hara, edged in front halfway down the straight and warded off Vandoula Lass in the drive to the line.

“I wanted to keep the favourite honest,’’ O’Hara explained. “I didn’t serve it up to him but I didn’t want to let that horse get away from me.

“I just kept him up to the gallop and made sure he was close to the leader. He was really good late.

“He was super tough and he put his head down when it counted, he wanted to win.’’

O’Hara has finished 2020 with a bang. She also won on Bowery Breeze in the Schweppes Handicap to complete her second successive city double in as many meetings after riding a brace at Warwick Farm last Wednesday.

Rocket Tiger, who has the distinctive “fish” image branding of owner-breeder and Murray cod farmer Noel Penfold, won on protest at his Canberra debut earlier this month.

Spackman said Rocket Tiger’s determination under duress at Canberra gave him the encouragement to set the gelding for the Randwick race.

“I identified this horse early and I didn’t tell Noel Penfold too much about the horse as I was a bit worried he might end up with a city trainer,’’ Spackman revealed.

“I was shocked at the time he ran in Canberra (breaking 33s for the final 600m) so we came here with some confidence. He is as tough as nails and just keeps improving and improving.

“He will go for a quick little break now and I’ll speak to the owner but we’ve probably got to think about a Black Opal or a Wellington Boot.

“But they’re talking a (Golden) Slipper chance here, too, and we’ve knocked them off so I don’t know — the world is his oyster.”

Spackman has only been training for eight years but has prepared some very handy gallopers, most notably O’ So Hazy, winner of the Country Championships Qualifier at Wagga Wagga and a third placegetter behind Victoria in the 2018 Country Championships Final.

Vandoula Lass and Vianello had their chances to win but found Rocket Tiger simply too tough under pressure.

The start of the race was delayed for a few minutes when Silver Thorn became cast in the barriers and was subsequently scratched.

Jockey James McDonald was noticeably limping as he walked back after the race but was subsequently passed fit by doctors to continue riding and duly won the next race on boom bush sprinter Pinnacle Prince.

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Rocket Internet – Why Rocket Internet has come down to earth | Business

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