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US Company Says Its Moon Landing Attempt Is In Jeopardy Because Of A ‘Critical’ Fuel Leak

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CAPE CANAVERAL, FLORIDA – The first U.S. Moon landing in more than 50 years was put in peril Monday when a private company’s recently launched spacecraft discovered a “critical” fuel leak.

Astrobotic Technology, based in Pittsburgh, raced to orient its lander toward the sun so that the solar panel could collect sunlight as battery power ran low. Flight controllers’ efforts to charge the battery were successful, as a special crew assessed the status of “a failure in the propulsion system.”

However, it quickly became clear that “a critical loss of fuel” had lowered prospects even further.

“We are currently assessing what alternative mission profiles may be feasible at this time,” the corporation stated.

The malfunction was noticed roughly seven hours after Monday’s pre-dawn launch from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. Astrobotic’s Peregrine lander was launched by United Launch Alliance’s Vulcan rocket, sending it on a long, winding trip to the Moon.

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US Company Says Its Moon Landing Attempt Is In Jeopardy Because Of A ‘Critical’ Fuel Leak

According to the corporation, if the propulsion system fails, it “threatens the spacecraft’s ability to soft land on the moon” on February 23.

Astrobotic aimed to be the first private company to successfully land on the Moon, a feat only four countries had achieved. A second lander from a Houston startup is scheduled to launch next month. NASA awarded the two corporations millions to build and launch their lunar landers.

The space agency wants the privately owned landers to scout the area before astronauts arrive, carrying technology and science experiments for the space agency, other countries, and institutions and random items for other consumers. Astrobotic’s contract with NASA for the Peregrine lander cost $108 million.

Before the flight, NASA’s deputy associate administrator for exploration, Joel Kearns, stated that while employing private enterprises to make deliveries to the Moon will be less expensive and faster than traditional government methods, there will be an increased risk. On Monday, he emphasized that the space agency was willing to take that risk, stating that “each success and setback are opportunities to learn and grow.”

moon

US Company Says Its Moon Landing Attempt Is In Jeopardy Because Of A ‘Critical’ Fuel Leak

The United States last launched a lunar landing mission in December 1972. Gene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt of Apollo 17 became the 11th and 12th men to walk on the Moon, marking the end of an era that has remained NASA’s apex.

The space agency’s new Artemis program, named after Apollo’s twin sister in Greek mythology, aims to return people to the lunar surface within the next few years. The first mission will be a lunar fly-around with four people, possibly before the end of this year.

The eagerly anticipated first test launch of the Vulcan rocket from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station made Monday’s moonshot stand out. The 202-foot (61-meter) rocket is essentially an enhanced version of ULA’s highly successful Atlas V, which is being phased out alongside the Delta IV. Blue Origin, Jeff Bezos’ rocket business, furnished the Vulcan with two primary engines.

ULA announced success when the lander was released from the rocket’s upper stage, over an hour into the mission, and before the spacecraft’s propulsion system failed, preventing the solar panel from properly facing toward the sun. The lander is outfitted with engines and thrusters for manoeuvring throughout the voyage to the Moon and during lunar descent.

moon

US Company Says Its Moon Landing Attempt Is In Jeopardy Because Of A ‘Critical’ Fuel Leak

Landing on the Moon has historically been a series of successes and failures. In the 1960s and 1970s, the Soviet Union and the United States conducted a series of successful moon landings before pausing the program. China joined the elite group in 2013, and India in 2023. Last year, however, Russian and private Japanese landers slammed onto the Moon. In 2019, an Israeli nonprofit crashed.

Next month, SpaceX will launch Intuitive Machines’ lander. The Nova-C lander’s more direct one-week course may result in both spacecraft attempting to land within days or even hours of one other.

Aside from flying experiments for NASA, Astrobotic established its own freight business, packing the 6-foot-tall (1.9-meter-tall) Peregrine lander with everything from a chip of rock from Mount Everest and toy-size cars from Mexico that will catapult to the lunar surface and cruise around, to the ashes and DNA of deceased space enthusiasts such as “Star Trek” creator Gene Roddenberry and science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke.

The Navajo Nation has asked to postpone the launch due to the human remains. Arguing that it would be a “profound desecration” of a celestial body treasured by Native Americans. Astrobotic CEO John Thornton acknowledged that the December objections arrived too late but offered to work with the Navajo to find “a good path forward” for future missions.

Celestis, one of the spaceflight memorial firms that purchased space on the lander, said that no single culture or faith owns the Moon and, therefore, does not have the authority to veto a trip. More remnants are aboard the rocket’s upper stage, launched into a constant orbit around the sun extending as far as Mars.

Peregrine cargo prices varied from a few hundred dollars to $1.2 million per kilogram (2.2 pounds), insufficient to cover Astrobotic’s costs. However, Thornton believes this is not the goal of the first flight.

“A lot of people’s dreams and hopes are riding on this,” Thornton explained days before the journey.

SOURCE- (AP)

Kiara Grace is a staff writer at VORNews, a reputable online publication. Her writing focuses on technology trends, particularly in the realm of consumer electronics and software. With a keen eye for detail and a knack for breaking down complex topics, Kiara delivers insightful analyses that resonate with tech enthusiasts and casual readers alike. Her articles strike a balance between in-depth coverage and accessibility, making them a go-to resource for anyone seeking to stay informed about the latest innovations shaping our digital world.

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North Korea Appears To Have Fired A Missile Into The Sea, Japan And South Korea Say

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TOKYO — North Korea launched a missile into the sea on Monday, according to Japan and South Korea, just hours after announcing preparations to launch a rocket into space, reportedly carrying its second military reconnaissance satellite.

North Korea had previously informed Japan’s coast guard of its plans to launch “a satellite rocket” during a launch window from Monday to June 3.

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Korea | News Arab Image

North Korea Appears To Have Fired A Missile Into The Sea, Japan And South Korea Say

Following North Korea’s launch, the Japanese Prime Minister’s Office canceled a missile alert for the island of Okinawa, stating that the missile was not considered to be headed for the region.

North Korea launched its first military reconnaissance satellite into orbit in November of last year as part of attempts to establish a space-based monitoring network to counter what it considers growing US-led military threats. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un later said at a governing party conference that the country would launch three more military spy satellites in 2024.

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Korea | NDTV Image

North Korea Appears To Have Fired A Missile Into The Sea, Japan And South Korea Say

The United Nations prohibits North Korea from carrying out any satellite launches, perceiving them as cover for testing long-range missile technologies. North Korea has consistently claimed that it has the right to launch satellites and test missiles. Kim has stated that spy satellites will help his military to better observe US and South Korean military activity while also increasing the threat posed by its nuclear-capable missiles.

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Korea | Japan Times Image

North Korea Appears To Have Fired A Missile Into The Sea, Japan And South Korea Say

North Korea provides Japan with launch information because the Japanese Coast Guard coordinates and disseminates maritime safety information throughout East Asia.

SOURCE – (AP)

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China Has Threatened Trade With Some Countries After Feuds. They’re Calling ‘The Firm’ For Help

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China | AP News Image

Washington — Business is adept at “the firm.”

The State Department’s eight-person team is leading Washington’s efforts to mitigate the economic consequences for China-targeted countries

It sprang from the scramble to assist Lithuania during a dispute with China over Taiwan two years ago. Today, “the firm” is assisting many governments in dealing with what diplomats call economic pressure emanating from Beijing.

Countries “knock on the door, they call,” Undersecretary of State Jose Fernandez said in a recent interview with The Associated Press. “We run a consulting firm that does not have to advertise for clients, as they come.”

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China | AP news Image

China Has Threatened Trade With Some Countries After Feuds. They’re Calling ‘The Firm’ For Help

Led by State Department senior adviser Melanie Hart, the group assesses risks and creates responses for countries that are cut off or fear losing trade with global giant China. Fernandez said that since the group’s inception with Lithuania, more than a dozen countries have sought assistance from the Biden administration.

The attempt comes as Washington intensifies its campaign to counter China’s worldwide influence, as tensions between the rivals rise.

The Chinese Embassy in Washington rejected the claim that Beijing is exerting economic pressure on other countries, calling it “completely unfounded.” It claimed that the United States was bullying China economically by misusing export regulations, treating Chinese enterprises unfairly, and accusing Beijing of economic pressure.

According to Fernandez, China “uses this tactic repeatedly.” They believe intimidation works, which is why we engaged in it. It was time to put a stop to this.

For example, after a Norwegian jury awarded a Chinese dissident the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010, Beijing stopped purchasing salmon from Norway. Two years later, China blocked banana imports from the Philippines due to a territorial dispute in the South China Sea. In response to Australia’s request for a probe into the origins of the COVID-19 outbreak, Beijing raised duties on Australian barley and wines in 2020.

Then came Lithuania. Lithuanian enterprises’ cargo shipments to and from China were stalled in late 2021 and early 2022, and large European businesses warned them that Lithuanian-made auto parts would be prevented from entering the Chinese market.

That came when Lithuania allowed Taiwan’s de facto embassy in Vilnius to use the name Taiwan rather than Taipei, Taiwan’s capital city, as Beijing preferred. China considers the self-governed island to be part of its territory and has disputed Taiwan’s use.

Instead of caving in, the northern European country requested assistance. The United States and its allies stepped up.

china

China | AP News Image

China Has Threatened Trade With Some Countries After Feuds. They’re Calling ‘The Firm’ For Help

American diplomats sought new markets for Lithuanian products. The Export-Import Bank of Washington granted Vilnius $600 million in export credit, and the Pentagon inked a procurement arrangement with the country.

“The firm” persevered. The State Department serves as the first line of action and can cooperate with other U.S. agencies to access “every tool that the U.S. government has,” according to a department official who requested not to be named to disclose team details.

While it takes years to reorganize global supply chains to lessen dependency on nations like China, the team aims to provide a faster approach to alleviate a crisis, the official said, equating the team to ambulance services that “help you get past that scary emergency time.”

According to the official, the United States may strive to collaborate with partners to assist a country in quickly diverting agricultural exports to new markets, building more cold storage so products can reach further markets, or improving product quality to win admission into more markets.

The support is confidential, according to the person who declined to detail the instruments at the team’s disposal or identify the countries that have sought assistance.

Shay Wester, director of Asian economic affairs at the Asia Society Policy Institute, described it as “a significant and much-needed initiative.”

“China’s growing use of economic coercion to pressure countries over political disputes is a significant challenge that requires a concerted response,” said Wester, who co-authored an April paper on the subject.

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China | Pixa Bay Image

China Has Threatened Trade With Some Countries After Feuds. They’re Calling ‘The Firm’ For Help

According to Wester, answers from other countries demonstrate a high demand for this type of support.

Lithuania organized a seminar on opposing economic pressure last month, and Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis stated that the action “is to crush the victims by forcing reversal and public renunciation of its policies.”

The Chinese Embassy’s spokesman, Liu Pengyu, stated that the problem with Lithuania was “political, not economic.” It was triggered by Lithuania’s poor faith actions, which harmed China’s interests, not by Chinese pressure on Lithuania.

Fernandez, who attended the summit, praised Lithuania for standing up to China. “Lithuania gave us the opportunity to prove that there were alternatives to the coercion,” he stated.

SOURCE – (AP)

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Canada’s Trudeau Called Out for Failing to Meet NATO Commitment

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Trudeau Called Out for Failing to Meet NATO Commitment: Getty Image

A bipartisan group of 23 senators in the United States has written to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, pressing his country to meet its promise to spend 2% of GDP on defense, amid fears that major NATO allies are not doing their part.

“As we approach the 2024 NATO Summit in Washington, D.C., we are concerned and profoundly disappointed that Canada’s most recent projection indicated that it will not reach its two percent commitment this decade,” the senators stated in their letter. “In 2029, Canada’s defense spending is estimated to rise to just 1.7 percent, five years after the agreed upon deadline of 2024 and still below the spending baseline.”

The unusual letter from lawmakers to a head of state comes just two months before NATO’s next annual meeting in Washington, DC, which will commemorate the alliance’s 75th anniversary as Russia’s war against Ukraine continues.

At last year’s leader-level conference, the allies decided that each member countries should devote at least 2% of its GDP to defense. The senators used the agreement to argue that Canada should follow through on its commitment.

Ted Cruz of Texas

US Senator Ted Cruz of Texas calls out Trudeau: Reuters Image

NATO will suffer

And senators, including Republicans Mitt Romney of Utah and Ted Cruz of Texas, as well as Democrats Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire and Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, cautioned that if Canada fails to meet its commitments, NATO will suffer.

“Canada will fail to meet its obligations to the Alliance, to the detriment of all NATO Allies and the free world, without immediate and meaningful action to increase defense spending,” the senators stated in their letter, CNN reports.

Canada is a founder member of the defense alliance, which currently has 32 members. The senators praised Canada’s efforts to NATO on a variety of fronts, including taking the lead in supporting its military operations and creating standards for democracy, economic resilience and human rights.

However, the senators also noted that many other countries are taking the required efforts to meet and exceed the 2% target.

“By the end of 2024, 18 NATO members will have achieved the Alliance’s goal of ensuring NATO’s ongoing military readiness. This is a historic investment in our collective security, spearheaded by NATO allies such as Poland, which has already spent more than three percent of its GDP on defense,” they said.

Canada has long been painted as a nation not carrying its weight

Canada has long been painted as a NATO nation not carrying its weight under Trudeau: Reuters Image

Trudeau has no plan to meet targets

On Thursday, Canadian Defense Minister Bill Blair reacted to the letter, saying that “Canada is on a very strong upward trajectory in defense spending,” adding that “we know we’ve got work to do.”

Blair did not provide a particular date for when the UK aims to meet its 2% objective. “Our job has begun, but there is a lot more to do. “It’s critical that we spend hard-earned Canadian taxpayer dollars wisely,” he stated.

Earlier this year, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg stated that he expects Canada to “deliver on the pledge” or clarify preparations to meet the target budget. More than a dozen other NATO countries, including Canada have yet to meet the alliance’s aim.

The senators chose to write to Trudeau because, unlike other countries, Canada does not appear to have a plan in place to meet the target, according to a congressional aide. Under Trudeau’s leadership, Canada has long been portrayed as a country that isn’t doing its fair share to support NATO.

With the 75th anniversary of the 32-member alliance approaching, there appears to be renewed pressure on Canada to step up and join the 18 countries on track to fulfill the spending target by the end of the year.

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