Making the most out of your space – Long Island Business News

Annette Jaffe’s design for this office space is part of a larger trend by Long Islanders investing in their homes. / Photo by Annette Jaffe Interiors

Design experts shed light on the trends being driven by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Black hole’s structure possibly glimpsed as dust ring casts shadows and rays far across space — RT World News

Astronomers believe they are getting a glimpse of the structure of a black hole, after the Hubble Space Telescope spotted a collection of rays and shadows beaming out from the center of a galaxy millions of light-years away.

Black holes are the universe’s greatest monsters, rapidly consuming everything in their vicinity. Their gravity is so powerful that not even light can escape them, an extraordinary fact which also makes them invisible to us and thus incredibly hard to study.

However, experts have noticed vast shadows and narrow, bright rays stretching out from the center of the galaxy IC 5063, as if something enormous is standing in the way of the intense light. 

Experts believe this could be a black hole in the heart of the galaxy casting its shadow into space, and a quirk of alignment may be allowing them a glimpse of its structure.

Some shafts of light penetrate the gaps in the dust ring, creating bright rays that resemble the beams of light that can be seen radiating from the sun at sunset. 

“We think we’ve found evidence that there is probably dust all over the galaxy scattering light from the accreting black hole in the galaxy’s active nucleus, and that the light can illuminate almost the whole galaxy,” explained astronomer Peter Maksym of the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.

Because scientists have never witnessed this phenomenon before, it may take them some time to definitively prove that a black hole is causing the strange shadows and beams. However, the development presents a tantalizing scientific discovery and a rich opportunity for further research.

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SpaceX capsule with four astronauts onboard reaches International Space Station

SpaceX’s newly launched capsule with four astronauts onboard has arrived at the International Space Station, their home until spring.

The Dragon capsule docked late Monday night (local time) following a 27-hour, completely automated flight from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.

“Oh, what a good voice to hear,” space station astronaut Kate Rubins called out when the Dragon’s commander, Mike Hopkins, first made radio contact.

The linkup occurred 422 kilometres above Idaho.

Mr Hopkins and his crew Victor Glover, Shannon Walker and Japan’s Soichi Noguchi join two Russians and one American who flew to the space station last month from Kazakhstan.

Mr Glover is the first African American to move in for a long haul.

A space newcomer, Mr Glover was presented his gold astronaut pin on Monday.

They will remain at the orbiting lab until their replacements arrive on another Dragon in April.

The four astronauts named their capsule “resilience” to provide hope and inspiration during an especially difficult year for the whole world.

They broadcast a tour of their capsule on Monday, showing off the touchscreen controls, storage areas and their zero-gravity indicator: a small plush Baby Yoda.

This is the second astronaut mission for SpaceX but the first time Elon Musk’s company delivered a crew for a half-year station stay.

The two-pilot test flight earlier this year lasted two months.


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‘One heck of a ride’: SpaceX launches astronauts into space

Cape Canaveral, Fla. November 16 (Reuters) – Elon Musk’s rocket company SpaceX launched four astronauts on a flight to the International Space Station on Sunday, NASA’s first full-fledged mission sending a crew into orbit aboard a privately-owned spacecraft.

SpaceX’s newly designed Crew Dragon capsule, which the crew has dubbed Resilience, lifted off atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket at 7:27 p.m. eastern time (0027 GMT on Monday) from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.

“That was one heck of a ride,” astronaut Mike Hopkins said from Crew Dragon to SpaceX mission control about an hour after liftoff. “There was a lot of smiles.”

Crew Dragon will gradually raise its orbit for the next 27 hours through a series of onboard thruster firings, giving the astronauts time to eat pre-packaged dinners and roughly eight hours to rest before docking at the International Space Station at 11 p.m. eastern time on Monday.

An air leak caused an unexpected drop in capsule pressure less than two hours before launch, NASA officials said. But technicians said they conducted a successful leak check, and the scheduled launch was still on.

The Resilience crew includes Hopkins and two fellow NASA astronauts, mission pilot Victor Glover and physicist Shannon Walker. They were joined by Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi, making his third trip to space after previously flying on the U.S. shuttle in 2005 and Soyuz in 2009.

The 27-hour ride to the space station, an orbiting laboratory some 250 miles (400 km) above Earth, was originally scheduled to begin on Saturday. But the launch was postponed for a day due to forecasts of gusty winds – remnants of Tropical Storm Eta – that would have made a return landing for the Falcon 9’s reusable booster stage difficult, NASA officials said.

The astronauts donned their custom white flight suits and arrived at the Kennedy Space Center launch pad on schedule at 4:30 p.m. in three white Tesla SUVs, flanked by NASA and SpaceX personnel.

SpaceX mission operator Jay Aranha, speaking from the company’s Hawthorne, California headquarters, told the crew to “have an amazing trip, and know that we are all for one.”

Mission commander Mike Hopkins responded, saying “to all the people at NASA and SpaceX, by working together through these difficult times, you’ve inspired the nation the world.”

“And now it’s time for us to do our part, Crew 1 for all,” Hopkins said.

Vice-President Mike Pence attended the launch and said beforehand that under President Donald Trump, America had “renewed our commitment to lead in human space exploration.”

President-elect Joe Biden Tweeted his congratulations, saying the launch was “a testament to the power of science.”


NASA is calling the flight its first “operational” mission for a rocket and crew-vehicle system that was 10 years in the making. It represents a new era of commercially developed spacecraft – owned and operated by a private entity rather than NASA – for sending Americans into orbit.

A trial flight of the SpaceX Crew Dragon in August, carrying just two astronauts to and from the space station, marked NASA’s first human space mission to be launched from U.S. soil in nine years, following the end of the space shuttle program in 2011. In the intervening years, U.S. astronauts have had to hitch rides into orbit aboard Russia’s Soyuz spacecraft.

NASA contracted SpaceX and Boeing in 2014 to develop competing space capsules aimed at replacing its shuttle program and weaning the United States from dependence on Russian rockets to send astronauts to space.

Crew members of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket commander Mike Hopkins, Victor Glover, Shannon Walker and Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi, gesture as they depart for the launchpad for the first operational NASA commercial crew mission at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, U.S. November 15, 2020. REUTERS/Joe Skipper

SpaceX’s launch on Sunday was the first of six operational missions for NASA. The company has also booked private astronaut missions, including one slated to carry actor Tom Cruise in the coming years.

Musk, the billionaire SpaceX chief executive who is also CEO of electric carmaker and battery manufacturer Tesla Inc TSLA.O, did not watch the liftoff from the Kennedy Space Center launch control room, NASA officials said. Musk said on Saturday he “most likely” has a moderate case of COVID-19.

SpaceX and NASA have conducted contact-tracing and determined Musk had not come into contact with anyone who interacted with the astronauts.

“Our astronauts have been in quarantine for weeks, and they should not have had contact with anybody,” NASA chief Jim Bridenstine said on Friday. “They should be in good shape.”

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Virgin Galactic executive appointed to lead Australian Space Agency

CANBERRA, Nov. 13 (Xinhua) — Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has appointed an executive from the U.S. spaceflight company Virgin Galactic as the new head of the Australian Space Agency (ASA).

The prime minister and Minister for Industry, Science and Technology, Karen Andrews, on Friday announced that Enrico Palermo, chief operating officer at Virgin Galactic, will lead the ASA from 2021, succeeding inaugural head Megan Clark who will become chair of the ASA Advisory Board.

Morrison said that Palermo, a West Australian who was the first person recruited by Richard Branson for his space tourism venture in 2006, would bring a wealth of industry experience to the role.

“Mr Palermo’s leadership will rocket Australia toward our goal of becoming a major player in the international space industry, while providing benefits across our economy,” he said in a statement.

“By 2030, we want to triple the size of our space sector – adding 12 billion Australian dollars (8.6 billion U.S. dollars) to our economy and creating up to 20,000 new, high-skilled jobs,” he said.

“I extend my deepest thanks to Dr Clark who has led the Agency from its infancy in 2018 and set a clear path forward.” he added.

The ASA was established in July 2018 with headquarters in South Australia.

Palermo, a mechanical engineer, said he was excited and honoured to be joining the ASA.

“In its first two years, the ASA has made significant progress and achieved many firsts. I look forward to working with the Agency team to continue the mission of growing and transforming Australia’s space industry,” he said.

Andrews said that Palermo’s background made him an ideal fit for the ASA as it enters a new stage.

“The economic benefits of space exploration are vast, with highly skilled jobs right along the supply chain from manufacturing to robotics, engineering, and resources,” she said.

“The Australian space sector continues to expand at the speed of light, and I look forward to working closely with Mr Palermo to capitalize on the opportunities for Australian businesses and manufacturers in the space industry,” she said.

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SpaceX, NASA plan second commercial taxi to the space station this weekend

The International Space Station is about to get more crowded.

NASA will launch four astronauts aboard a SpaceX Dragon capsule this weekend in the company’s first regular crew rotation to the orbiting lab. The trip, three months after SpaceX completed a high-profile trial run, will open a new era in human spaceflight for NASA as commercial firms start dominating U.S. missions in low-earth orbit.

“I hope people realize this isn’t just another launch — this is something a lot bigger,” Michael Hopkins, commander of the Crew-1 mission scheduled for Saturday, said in a NASA post on Tumblr. “Hopefully it’s setting the stage, one of those first steps to getting us to the Moon and on to Mars.”

For Space Exploration Technologies and founder Elon Musk, the flight caps almost two decades of efforts to fly people as well as cargo. The Dragon and SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket won NASA approval for regular crewed missions this week, making them the first vehicles the U.S. has certified to carry humans since the Space Shuttle, which was retired in 2011.

The Crew-1 launch is scheduled to blast off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, at 7:49 p.m. on Saturday, with docking at the station planned eight and a half hours later. If that attempt is scrapped, a backup launch would be set for 7:27 p.m. on Sunday with docking 27 hours later due to orbital mechanics.

Beyond becoming the U.S. space agency’s first regular commercial launch, the Crew-1 mission is also the first NASA-staffed mission licensed by the Federal Aviation Administration. The regulator is assuming responsibility for public safety because the flight will be conducted by a commercial company.

NASA on Friday was checking on Musk’s recent contacts with agency personnel after he tweeted late Thursday that he might be infected with the new coronavirus. His health isn’t likely to affect the launch, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said at a news conference. Astronauts self-quarantine for two weeks before liftoff.

Hopkins, 51, an Air Force colonel and test pilot, will make his second sojourn to the space station, seven years after his first. He will be joined by three others on the mission:

  • Shannon Walker, 55, a physicist and Houston native, will serve her second stint on the orbiting lab.
  • Victor Glover, 44, a Navy pilot from California, will be taking his first flight to space. He will be the first Black astronaut to stay on the space station for a full six-month rotation, according to NASA.
  • Soichi Noguchi, 55, a Japanese astronaut and aeronautical engineer, has the most space experience among the crew and will become one of the very few people to leave the Earth on three vehicles: Russia’s Soyuz, the retired NASA Space Shuttle and the SpaceX Dragon.

The four astronauts will push the space station to maximum occupancy when they join the three people already there. That will require changes in how mission controllers schedule the daily exercise regimen for each crew member. There will also be a squeeze on personal quarters where the astronauts sleep and have time to themselves.

The space station currently has a half-dozen crew berths, and NASA is completing work on a seventh. In the meantime, Hopkins will sleep aboard the Dragon capsule.

If that doesn’t work out, a crew member could “camp out” in one of the space station’s modules, David Wiedmeyer, a training officer at Johnson Space Center, wrote Nov. 12 in a Reddit “Ask Me Anything” session about the mission.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration began its commercial crew program in 2010 to field a replacement for the shuttle. NASA selected SpaceX and Boeing Co. in September 2014. Boeing, which suffered delays in its work following a botched December 2019 test flight, plans a second trial without crew in the first quarter of next year.

SpaceX completed its test-flight program Aug. 2 when astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley returned from a two-month stay aboard the station.

Since then, the company has bolstered parts of the Dragon’s heat shield, made adjustments so that the landing parachutes deploy at a slightly higher altitude and reinforced some areas of the capsule so it can withstand rougher seas.

Three months ago, when Behnken and Hurley splashed down south of Pensacola, Florida, recreational boaters approached the spacecraft. When the crew of the latest mission returns in the spring of 2021, NASA has already announced one major change for the landing site: A larger flotilla of Coast Guard ships to keep pleasure craft away.

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