Dennis Praeger asks: Do you know anyone whom you could trust to hide you from the Nazis?

Link here. The essay begins with something that is always in the back of the mind of every Jew since the day the Romans kicked our ancestors out of Israel:

There is something about most Jews that few non-Jews know: We Jews often ask ourselves if a non-Jew in our lives would hide us in the event of a Nazi-like outbreak.

I don’t know if young Jews think about this, but nearly all Jews who grew up in the decades following the Holocaust often wondered: Would this non-Jew hide me?

If you are Jewish and have been educated at all about your people’s history, you can’t help thinking about this. It is a variation of an essay I wrote back in January, when it was clear the intolerant and power-hungry Democratic Party was going to take power. At that time I said that America was becoming like Soviet Russia, where you chose your friends very carefully because if you didn’t, you might find yourself betrayed and reported to the secret police.

My example was generic, applying to everyone under the thumb of a dictatorship. Praeger gives a more nuanced example, from the Jewish perspective where repeatedly the larger society decided all Jews must be killed. In both cases, you no longer can be at ease with everyone you meet. You need to look at each new acquaintance in very stark and cold terms. And as Praeger notes, you need to ask: Would this person turn me over to the Gestapo to save their own lives, or would they do the righteous thing, no matter the risk, and protect me?

These are questions Americans now unfortunately have to think about. More significantly, we are at a moment where we can not only think them, but we can ask them aloud, to people’s faces. We can say to people we know: Would you save me from the Nazis? Or would you hide in fear, or turn me in? By asking that bluntly we might finally get some of the “go-along-to-get-along” types to finally wake up.

Read Praeger’s essay. He goes into great detail describing the kind of people who are more likely to protect the innocent from evil, no matter the risk. You might be surprised by what he says.

The question you next have to ask: Does this describe myself?

Today’s blacklisted American: Private school threatened with shut down by Colorado

Rick, stating the truth in Casablanca
Still asleep, and tragically, too many refuse to wake up.

They’re coming for you next: A private Christian school in Loveland, Colorado, is planning to sue the local health department because it demanded their students wear masks or else the school would be shut down.

Parents at Resurrection Christian School in Loveland, Colorado, were told on Sept. 15 that all persons entering school buildings the next day must wear a mask, by order of the Larimer County Health Department, or their school would be closed. The order allowed for medical exemptions but made no distinction in regards to vaccination status or acquired immunity.

The same evening, school Superintendent Jerry Eshleman vowed in a video message to parents and staff to fight the health department’s edict in court. He urged parents to comply with the public health order for the time being, so that the students wouldn’t have their school year disrupted by a forced school closure while the case was being fought.

Based on the article, it appears that many parents are trying to get medical exemptions for their children, with some succeeding.

Regardless, forcing kids to put on masks is the height of stupidity. » Read more

Former Blue Origin employee blasts company for sexism and safety issues

Food fight! While the past two days have been filled with silly back-and-forth barbs between Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos, none of which really matters (which is why I haven’t posted anything about it here), today came the publication of a long scree by a former Blue Origin employee blasting the company for sexism and safety issues.

The rant by Alexandra Abrams, former head of Blue Origin Employee Communications, claims it is co-signed by twenty other present and former Blue Origin employees, but provides no information as who those individuals are. The accusations themselves are all hearsay, since Abrams simply recounts experiences of unnamed others, without any documentation.

Could there be management problems at Blue Origin? Certainly. The real evidence in the past five years suggests that CEO Bob Smith has not done well to get the company off the ground. Not only has Blue Origin accomplished little under his tenure, employees are apparently not happy there, with many fleeing the company.

Abrams’ rant however comes off more like she is a disgruntled former employee who was let go because she was pushing social justice issues rather than focusing on getting her job done. Her use of worn leftist phrases like “climate justice” and “gender gaps” suggests this strongly. The response from Blue Origin to her essay reinforces that impression, noting that she was fired for doing things that could have gotten Blue Origin shut down by the federal government:

Ms. Abrams was dismissed for cause two years ago after repeated warnings for issues involving federal export control regulations.

If so, and Blue Origin would not say this publicly if it wasn’t true, Abrams misconduct could have been very serious indeed. Moreover, as noted at this last link, she was the head of the company’s employee communications department, a division that shouldn’t really be involved in such issues anyway.

This whole kerfuffle reminds me of a similar affair at SpaceX several years ago. A disgruntled former employee made all sorts of similar charges, sued, and lost. I expect a similar result here.

Both companies are in the business of building rockets. Their goal is not “gender equality” or “climate justice”. If that becomes any employee’s first priority, as it appears might have been the case with Abrams, that employee has got to be culled from the company, as that person will only become a cancer that will destroy what everyone else there is trying to accomplish.

FAA extends comment period for SpaceX Starship/Superheavy environmental reassessment

Capitalism in space: The FAA today announced that it has extended the comment period for its environmental reassessment of SpaceX’s operations at Boca Chica, Texas two weeks until November 1st.

From the email announcement:

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has received requests for an extension of the public comment period for the Draft Programmatic Environmental Assessment for the SpaceX Starship/Super Heavy Launch Vehicle Program at the SpaceX Boca Chica Launch Site in Cameron County, Texas (Draft PEA). In consideration of these requests, the FAA is extending the public comment period.

The agency has also changed the dates for the two public hearings it will hold to October 18 and October 20. It will announce more information on those hearings on October 15th.

Orbit of biggest comet ever detected refined

Astronomers have now been able to better refine the orbit and size of Comet Bernardinelli-Bernstein, comet with the largest nucleus ever detected.

A new analysis, led by Bernardinelli and Bernstein themselves, found that the comet nucleus is around 150 km wide, based on its brightness. If so, that makes it the largest comet ever discovered, by quite a margin. Most are only a few kilometers to several dozen kilometers wide, while some particularly big ones, like Hale-Bopp, may be up to 80 km (50 miles) wide. The previous record-holder, Sarabat’s Comet of 1729, has been estimated at about 100 km wide.

The team was also able to calculate the orbit of Comet BB in more detail. This object is on an incredibly long round trip into and out of the solar system – at its most distant point, some 1.5 million years ago, it was about 40,400 AU away. Last time it swung through our neighborhood was about 3.5 million years ago, when it came within 18 AU of the Sun.

But its current inward journey will be its closest so far. Astronomers have already calculated that in 2031, Comet BB will peak at 10.9 AU, almost reaching the orbit of Saturn.

It is presently unclear how bright the comet will be when it reachest its closest point. It will be much farther from the Sun than most bright comets, but its large size may change what is normally expected.

Yutu-2 and Chang’e-4 successfully complete another lunar day on the Moon

According to China’s state-run press, its lunar rover Yutu-2 and the lander Chang’e-4 have now successfully completed another lunar day on the far side of the Moon, with both still functioning well.

Yutu-2 has traveled a total of 839.37 meters, or about 2,753 feet. They are aiming for a location that is still about 3,400 feet away. Based on the rover’s travel pace, about 100 feet per lunar day, it will take them about another two or four years to get there.

FAA clears Virgin Galactic to fly

Capitalism in space: FAA yesterday closed out its investigation into the flight path deviation during the July Virgin Galactic suborbital flight, clearing the company to resume flights.

To prevent future issues, the company will request that a larger zone be restricted on future flights. The FAA also criticized the company for not revealing the flight deviation to the FAA immediately, and demanded the company make sure it doesn’t happen again.

The article at the link also notes that the Virgin Galactic employee whose job it was to provide that information to the FAA resigned the day before this announcement. There is no evidence however that there is any link to the two events, though it is very likely that person was made the fall guy to satisfy the FAA and Virgin Galactic.

Whether flights will resume in mid-October as the company has stated earlier is not clear, as there is no word about whether the manufacturing defect in the flight control equipment revealed by a third-party supplier has been resolved.

Ingenuity’s 14th flight scrubbed by helicopter

Though Ingenuity successfully completed a preflight high speed test of its rotors on September 15th, when it came time to do its fourteenth flight two days later, intended as a short airborne test of that high speed, the helicopter’s computer sensed an issue prior to take-off and scrubbed the flight.

The goal of the high speed test and short flight were to see if Ingenuity could fly during the winter months when the atmosphere of Mars is thinner, thus requiring a higher rotor speed. Initially it was not expected the helicopter would still be operational at this point, so this is another example of it pushing its expected capabilities. The scrub however might be signalling the end date for Ingenuity, related to servo motors that help control the helicpoter:

Ingenuity performs an automated check on the servos before every flight. This self-test drives the six servos through a sequence of steps over their range of motion and verifies that they reach their commanded positions after each step. We affectionately refer to the Ingenuity servo self-test as the “servo wiggle.”

The data from the anomalous pre-flight servo wiggle shows that two of the upper rotor swashplate servos – servos 1 and 2 – began to oscillate with an amplitude of approximately 1 degree about their commanded positions just after the second step of the sequence. Ingenuity’s software detected this oscillation and promptly canceled the self-test and flight.

Our team is still looking into the anomaly. To gather more data, we had Ingenuity execute additional servo wiggle tests during the past week, with one wiggle test on Sept. 21, 2021 (Sol 209) and one on Sept. 23, 2021 (Sol 211). Both of the wiggle tests ran successfully, so the issue isn’t entirely repeatable.

One theory for what’s happening is that moving parts in the servo gearboxes and swashplate linkages are beginning to show some wear now that Ingenuity has flown well over twice as many flights as originally planned (13 completed versus five planned). Wear in these moving parts would cause increased clearances and increased looseness, and could explain servo oscillation. Another theory is that the high-speed spin test left the upper rotor at a position that loads servos 1 and 2 in a unique, oscillation-inducing way that we haven’t encountered before.

Because communications with Mars are now paused for two weeks because the Sun is in the way, the engineering team is holding off further tests until communications resume.

A Mars mesa carved by floods and lava?

Overview map of Kasei Valles

With today’s cool image we once again start our journey from afar, and zoom in. The overview map to the right focuses in on the thousand-mile-long Kasei Valley on Mars.

The blue area is where scientists postulate a lake once existed, held there by an ice dam (indicated by the white line). At some point that ice dam burst, releasing the water in a catastrophic flood that created the braided flow features that continue down Kasei Valles to the northern lowland plain of Chryse Planitia.

The black area marks a giant lava flow that scientists believe came later, following the already carved stream channels for a distance of 1,000 miles, traveling at speeds of 10 to 45 miles per hour.

The red dot near the Kasei Valles resurgence is today’s cool image.
» Read more

Today’s blacklisted American: Suspended for refusing to exempt black students from finals, UCLA professor sues

King's dream banned at UCLA
King’s dream of equal treatment for all
called racist at UCLA

They’re coming for you next: Gordon Klein, an accounting professor at UCLA for 39 years, has sued that university’s Anderson School of Management and its administrators for suspending him for three weeks in June because he refused to favor black students in grading or exempt them from final exams.

Prof. Klein’s alleged offense was that he insisted on treating black students equally. He refused a request by a white student to allow black students preferential treatment on final exams. Because such a racial preference would violate UCLA’s anti-discrimination policies (and maybe even the law), Klein refused. Students then launched a defamatory campaign against Prof. Klein, and the cowards who run UCLA’s Anderson School capitulated, denouncing and suspending Klein. He eventually was reinstated — because he did absolutely nothing wrong — but not before his reputation and career were severely damaged.

..Prof. Klein has just filed a lawsuit in California state court, and among the things he wants, is for UCLA administrators to be held personally liable. [emphasis mine]

During his suspension Klein was also threatened with violence, requiring an increased police presence at his home to protect him.
» Read more

Flooding from crater lakes on Mars

Loire Valley on Mars

According to a new paper published today, scientists estimate that flooding from crater lakes on Mars — caused by sudden breaches in the crater rims — could have created as much as 25% of the volume of the valley networks that have been identified there.

Mars’ surface hosted large lakes about 3.5 billion years ago. Some of these lakes overtopped their rims, resulting in massive floods that rapidly formed deep canyons. Similar lake breach floods occurred in the northwest United States and central Asia at the end of the last glacial period over 15,000 years ago.

“We found that at least a quarter of the total eroded volume of Martian valley networks were carved by lake breach floods. This high number is particularly striking considering that valleys formed by lake breach floods make up just 3% of Mars’ total valley length,” Morgan said. “This discrepancy is accounted for by the fact that outlet canyons are significantly deeper than other valleys. These floods would have shaped the overall Martian topography, affecting the flow paths of other valleys. Our results don’t negate the importance of precipitation-fed runoff on early Mars. On the contrary, liquid water had to be stable for long enough for lakes to fill from inlet rivers.” [emphasis mine]

The map above shows in white the Loire Valles on Mars, located at about 20 degrees south latitude in transition zone between the northern lowland plains and southern cratered highlands. The paper cites this valley as a typical example of a flood valley caused by a crater rim breach.

This research only makes the geological and climate history of Mars more puzzling. Though the geological evidence strongly suggests lakes and liquid water once existed on Mars, and this research strengthens that conclusion (as indicated by the highlighted sentence above), no model of the planet’s climate has ever satisfactorily created a situation where that was possible. Either there are factors about Mars’ ancient history we have not yet identified (likely) and don’t yet understand (very likely), or the planet’s geology was formed by processes alien to Earth and thus not yet recognized by us.

Government shutdown threatens Lucy asteroid mission

Government marches on! The possibility that the federal government could shut down because of the inability of Congress and the Biden administration to pass a funding bill or raise the debt limit now threatens the launch of the Lucy mission to the asteroid belt.

If no budget agreement is reached the government will shut down on October 1st. If the debt limit isn’t raised that shutdown could follow soon thereafter, even if a budget is passed.

The launch window for the mission is from October 16 to November 7, 2021. If the spacecraft does not launch in that window the science team says it will likely require a major rethinking of the entire project, as it will be difficult to find another opportunity to visit the same set of asteroids.

Right now the chances of a shutdown are very high, as the Democrats are pushing big spending bills without any negotiations with the Republicans. In answer, the Republican caucus has said that none of its members will support raising the debt limit. Without the latter any passed spending bill will soon be moot, as the debt limit will soon be reached, blocking further government spending.

Though I personally would be very saddened if Lucy was prevented from launching, that loss would be well compensated for by having the federal government out of business. The evil and corruption promoted by it far outweighs the good work done by several minor space missions.

Hazygreyart – All SpaceX Launches From KSC in 4 Minutes 20 Seconds

An evening pause: The video covers all launches through the beginning of this summer, when SpaceX paused for two months. Watch how the pace steadily picks up. If you watch closely you can also see boosters landing in the background.

I lot of people like to talk. Elon Musk likes to do. I’ll take his approach any day.

The song is Audionautix by Opus One.

Hat tip Martin Kaselis.

Today’s blacklisted American: New cancel culture database lists more than 1,400 examples of censorship and blacklisting in academia

Orwell's 1984
The instruction manual of today’s academia.

The new dark age of silencing: The news outlet The College Fix today released a new database it calls the Campus Cancel Culture Database, listing all the stories that it has covered in the past decade of blacklisting and censorship on college campuses.

To see the complete list, go here. They plan to update it regularly. As Jennifer Kabbany, editor of The College Fix writes,

At some point, I lost count of how many incidents [of blacklisting] we’ve documented. Earlier this year, however, we began to compile them systematically — and today The College Fix releases the Campus Cancel Culture Database. The detailed repository of information lists more than 650 successful cancellations. They include everything from statues hauled off campuses to renamed buildings to memory-holed mascots. The database also cites more than 750 attempted cancellations.

We define cancel culture as any effort by people or groups to identify someone or something as offensive or unacceptable and seek in some way to censor or punish the transgressor or item.

It includes professors who have been suspended or lost their jobs for saying or researching something unpopular, student groups attacked or barred for their conservative, pro-life or libertarian views, and guest speakers shouted down or disinvited.

Overall, the database documents the terrible state of academic thought in the United States. Across the country college administrators, teachers, and students have teamed up to silence any ideas or opinions they do not like, with the bulk of the attacks going against conservatives and the traditions and concepts of western civilization. Not only have people been fired and blackballed, even discussing openly the history of our nation has become verboten. You must either condemn the American dream as racist white supremacy, or you must shut up.
» Read more

Perseverance as seen from orbit

Perseverance as seen from orbit
Click for full image.

Overview map
Click for interactive map.

The science team for the high resolution camera on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) have snapped a picture of Perseverance at its present location in Jezero Crater.

The first image to the right, cropped to post here, shows the rover as a white dot to the right of the two long sand dunes. If you look close image, you can see the rover’s tracks near the bottom of the image.

Ingenuity is likely also in the full image, but is likely too small for MRO’s high resolution camera to pick out.

The second image is a overview map. The green dot marks the rover’s position, with the red dot Ingenuity’s present position. The dotted white line shows the route the rover has taken so far. The light brown line indicates the flight paths for all of Ingenuity’s flights. The yellow dotted line indicates the future planned route of Perseverance.

With Mars about to slip behind the Sun, communications with both rovers, Perseverance and Curiosity, as well as all the orbiters, will shortly go silent for about two weeks.

When that pause ends, the question will be where Perseverance goes next. The original plan was to retreat back along its previous path, going to the southeast before heading north past the landing site. I strongly suspect that they will instead head directly to the landing site, going to the northeast across the rough terrain, both to see something new as well as further test the rover’s ability to travel tougher ground.

They avoided that area initially because they were still in the rover’s check out period. Now that they know it works, there is no reason to avoid that ground, especially because it will be ground they have not viewed before. They could even use Ingenuity to scout it out more thoroughly.

BepiColombo about to make first of six Mercury flybys

The European/Japanese BepiColombo probe will make its first of six fly-bys of Mercury on October 1, 2021, as it steadily adjusts its flight path to enter orbit around the planet in 2025.

The mission is made up of two Mercury orbiters, Europe’s Mercury Planetary Orbiter and Japan’s Mio orbiter.

During the flybys it is not possible to take high-resolution imagery with the main science camera because it is shielded by the transfer module while the spacecraft is in cruise configuration. However, two of BepiColombo’s three monitoring cameras (MCAMs) will be taking photos from about five minutes after the time of close approach and up to four hours later. Because BepiColombo is arriving on the planet’s nightside, conditions are not ideal to take images directly at the closest approach, thus the closest image will be captured from a distance of about 1000 km.

The first image to be downlinked will be from about 30 minutes after closest approach, and is expected to be available for public release at around 08:00 CEST on Saturday morning. The close approach and subsequent images will be downlinked one by one during Saturday morning.

The cameras provide black-and-white snapshots in 1024 x 1024 pixel resolution, and are positioned on the Mercury Transfer Module such that they also capture the spacecraft’s solar arrays and antennas. As the spacecraft changes its orientation during the flyby, Mercury will be seen passing behind the spacecraft structural elements.

These will be the first close-up pictures of Mercury since the Messenger orbiter mission ended in 2015.

United Kingdom’s new comprehensive space strategy: develop a robust private sector

Map of UK space strategy

Capitalism in space: The United Kingdom yesterday released a new comprehensive space strategy that seems generally focused on encouraging the growth of a private aerospace industry.

You can read the actual strategy here [pdf].

Though most of the text is high-sounding but mostly meaningless political talk, the overall strategy is excellent. It is focused not on creating a “space program” that the British government will design and build — what had been the traditional but generally unsuccessful approach since the 1960s — but to instead find ways to encourage the private sector to achieve what it wants to do. The map to the right, taken from the strategy document, illustrates this. The focus is entirely in supporting the growth of a commercial private industry by either creating industrial centers for space manufacturing or spaceports for launching satellites.

In this context, the vagueness of the strategy’s goals makes sense. The UK government has properly concluded that it is not its place to set those goals, but to let the commercial sector do it based on where they think they can make the most profit.

All in all, this strategy bodes well for the UK’s future in space.

Blue Origin sets October 12th for next suborbital tourist flight

Capitalism in space: Blue Origin announced yesterday that it has scheduled October 12, 2021 for its next New Shepard suborbital tourist flight, carrying four passengers, two of which have been revealed.

The company has revealed two of the four crewmembers will be Chris Boshuizen, co-founder of Earth observation company Planet Labs, and Glen de Vries, vice chair for life sciences and healthcare at French software company Dassault Systèmes. The remaining two crewmembers will be announced in the coming days, Blue Origin said in a statement.

The NS-18 mission, the 18th flight overall for the New Shepard rocket, will lift off from Blue Origin’s Launch Site One in West Texas at 9:30 a.m. EDT (8:30 a.m. CDT or 1330 GMT) on Oct. 12. In addition to the four passengers, the flight will carry thousands of postcards from Blue Origin’s foundation, Club for the Future, which aims to inspire future generations to pursue careers in sciences, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

There have been rumors that William Shatner will be one of the other passengers, but this has not yet been confirmed.

Satellite company Terran Orbital to build big satellite factory in Florida

Capitalism in space: The satellite company Terran Orbital announced yesterday it will build a large factory to manufacture more than a 1,000 small satellites per year.

At the Launch and Landing Facility, formerly known as the NASA Space Shuttle Landing Facility, Terran Orbital, the parent company of Tyvak and PredaSAR, plans to claim 10 hangars for what Space Florida calls “the world’s largest satellite manufacturing facility.”

“Not only will we be able to expand our production capabilities to meet the growing demand for our products, but we will also bring valuable space vehicle manufacturing opportunities and capabilities to the State of Florida, investing over $300 million in new construction and equipment,” Marc Bell, Terran Orbital co-founder and CEO said in a statement. “By the end of 2025, we’re going to create approximately 2,100 new jobs with an average wage of $84,000.”

It appears that Lockheed Martin is both a customer for these satellites as well as one of Terran Orbital investors.

Regardless, with that many smallsats in the pipeline for construction provides one explanation why investors have been flocking to finance new rocket companies.

China’s Long March 3B successfully launches satellite, which then fails

China’s Long March 3B rocket successfully launched a military satellite yesterday, though the satellite then had an undisclosed issue which caused it to fail.

Though the satellite failed to function immediately after launch, it appears the launch itself was successful, which based on my criteria means this launch is counted in China’s 2021 launch totals. The leaders in the 2021 launch race are thus:

34 China
23 SpaceX
15 Russia
4 Northrop Grumman

The U.S. still leads China 35 to 34 in the national rankings.

Data suggests the winds in Jupiter’s Great Red Spot are changing

Changing wind speeds in Great Red Spot
Click for original image.

Data accumulated from 2009 to 2020 by the Hubble Space Telescope suggest that the outer winds in Jupiter’s Great Red Spot have speeded up by about 8%, while the winds in the spot’s inner regions have slowed.

The change in wind speeds they have measured with Hubble amount to less than 1.6 miles per hour per Earth year. “We’re talking about such a small change that if you didn’t have eleven years of Hubble data, we wouldn’t know it happened,” said Simon. “With Hubble we have the precision we need to spot a trend.” Hubble’s ongoing monitoring allows researchers to revisit and analyze its data very precisely as they keep adding to it. The smallest features Hubble can reveal in the storm are a mere 105 miles across, about twice the length of the state of Rhode Island.

“We find that the average wind speed in the Great Red Spot has been slightly increasing over the past decade,” Wong added. “We have one example where our analysis of the two-dimensional wind map found abrupt changes in 2017 when there was a major convective storm nearby.”

The graphic above shows the different wind speeds between the spot’s inner and outer regions, not the increase in speed described in this press release.

To put it mildly, these results are uncertain. We simply could be seeing the long term random fluctuations in the storm, or the change could simply be a reflection of the data’s margin of error. Moreover, since the data covers only the top layer of the Great Red Spot, it tells us nothing about the storm’s deeper regions or its more fundamental origins.

Rivulets in Martian lava

Overview map

Today’s cool image is another example of scientists finding cool things hidden within distant pictures. The small white rectangle on the overview map to the right shows us where we are heading, to the severely eroded lava plains to the southwest of Mars’ largest volcano, Olympus Mons.

The white spot is about 500 miles from the caldera of Olympus Mons. In elevation it sits about 58,000 feet below that caldera, more than twice the height of Mt. Everest. Yet, despite these great distances, the material at that white rectangle was almost certainly laid down during an eruption from Olympus Mons, thus illustrating the gigantic scale of volcanic events on Mars. Because of the red planet’s light gravity, about 38% of Earth’s, not only can lava flow farther, it does so much faster.

The second image below is a wide angle photo taken by the context camera on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) in January, 2012, rotated, cropped, expanded, and enhanced to post here.
» Read more

Today’s blacklisted American: Unvaccinated students at Penn State banned from remote classes

Coming to your town in America soon!
Rounding up the unclean unvaccinated: It is coming.

They’re coming for you next: Unvaccinated students at Penn State who fail to get a COVID test for three weeks in a row are now banned from the school, including a ban from even attending remote classes.

At Penn State University, 117 students have been placed on interim suspension for failure to comply with the university’s weekly COVID-19 testing requirement.

Students at University Park who are subject to required weekly COVID-19 testing and who have missed at least three weeks of testing have been notified by Penn State that they are out of compliance with the university’s health and safety policies and have been placed on interim suspension through the Office of Student Conduct, a statement from Penn State said.

Students on interim suspension may not participate in classes, in-person or remotely; are not allowed on university property; and may not attend any Penn State-sponsored events, programs, and activities, including football games. On-campus students on interim suspension also are temporarily removed from their residence halls.

The highlighted word prove the insanity and irrationality of this policy. » Read more

ULA successfully launches Landsat 9

Capitalism in space: Using its Atlas-5 rocket ULA today successfully launched Landsat 9, built by Northrop Grumman.

At the time of writing, the rocket and payload are in orbit and in a 60-minute coast phrase prior to payload deployment.

This was only the third launch this year by ULA, tying them with Rocket Lab but still too few launches to make the leader board. The leaders in the 2021 launch race remains the same:

33 China
23 SpaceX
15 Russia
4 Northrop Grumman

The U.S. now leads China 35 to 33 in the national rankings. In 2020 the U.S. completed 40 launches total, the most since 1968. At the moment there are sixteen more U.S. launches scheduled for launch in 2021. If all occur as planned, that would make 51 launches, making ’21 the fifth best launch year for the U.S. ever, exceeded only by four years in the mid-1960s.

For ULA, the low number of launches so far this year continues a slow downward trend since 2014, when the company completed fourteen launches. ULA still has four launches listed for ’21, but one, the unmanned Starliner demo launch, is likely to get delayed till ’22. The dates of two other launches remain “too-be-determined”, which also makes them questionable.

China launches Earth observation satellite

China today successfully launched an Earth observation satellite using its smallsat Kuaizhou-1A rocket, the first launch of this quick response rocket since a failure in November 2020.
The satellite is supposedly for commercial use, but little information has been released about it and its constellation.

The leaders in the 2021 launch race:

33 China
23 SpaceX
15 Russia
4 Northrop Grumman

The U.S. still leads China 34 to 33 in the national rankings, with these numbers changing in a few hours should ULA successfully launch Landsat 9 using its Atlas-5 rocket.

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