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Graphic truth: Spacex vs. Boeing

Boeing’s long-awaited Starliner space vehicle has made its first successful manned trip, docking with the International Space Station on Thursday after a decade of rocky going — including on the way to space. Astronauts aboard had to patch helium leaks detected at the last minute and scramble to compensate when five of the craft’s docking rockets failed at the 11th hour.

It’s a slow start for America’s aerospace behemoth’s bid to serve NASA missions with commercial spaceships. And while Boeing has struggled for a decade to get its manned missions off the ground, upstart rival SpaceX has built nine spacecraft, which have collectively made 13 crewed launches and another 10 without astronauts aboard. It also just launched an unmanned test flight of its next generation of space vehicles, the rather unimaginatively named Starship.

They may not be winning any marketing awards, but they have their eyes on a much bigger prize: government contracts. With NASA aiming to hitch all its rides aboard commercial spaceships, whoever can deliver the most reliable rockets stands to see their valuation go straight to the moon.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul speaks to press after an incident at the Rainbow Bridge U.S. border crossing with Canada, in Niagara Falls, New York, U.S. November 22, 2023.

REUTERS/Lindsay DeDario

Hard Numbers: NYC congestion charge delayed, RSF’s deadly attack in Sudan, One heck of a Brazilian cow, South China Sea exercises, SpaceX rocket makes giant leap

15: Grab your keys, New Yorkers. Gov. Kathy Hochul has indefinitely postponed the $15-a-day congestion pricing plan that was set to begin June 30 for drivers entering Manhattan south of 60th Street. Hochul expressed concern that the plan, the first of its kind in the country, could affect the Big Apple’s post-pandemic economic recovery — echoing worries shared with her by very vocal business leaders, commuters, and … voters.

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Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks during a joint statement to the media in Baghdad, Iraq April 22, 2024.


Hard Numbers: Erdoğan cannot bank on change, US asks EU to double down on sanctions, SCOTUS mifepristone ruling may not be final word, Chile’s giant camera, Menendez and his love of steak

5: Turkey’s Constitutional Court has ruled that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan lacks the authority to fire the country’s central bank governor, a move he’s madefive times in the past five years. It’s a remarkable rebuke for a leader who is battling 75% annual inflation and has repeatedly compromised the independence of Turkey’s leading institutions.

50 billion: According to a leaked document, the US intends to organize a$50 billion loan for Ukraine that’s repaid by profits from frozen Russian assets – but only if the EU agrees to indefinitely extend sanctions against Moscow. Washington wants to avoid accepting full responsibility for the loan if the EU lifts sanctions before the end of the war.

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Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky addresses Ukrainian people with Orthodox Easter message, as Russia's attack on Ukraine continues, at the Saint Sophia cathedral in Kyiv, Ukraine April 23, 2022. Picture taken April 23, 2022.

Ukrainian Presidential Press Service/Handout via REUTERS

Hard Numbers: Ukraine’s bloody Easter Sunday, China on the dark side of the moon, Afghanistan loses last woman diplomat, Madonna’s massive show

3: On Sunday, Ukraine marked its third Orthodox Easter under Russian attack, as Moscow’s forces targeted villages in the East with a drone barrage that killed six people. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky (of Jewish descent) asked his compatriots to be “united in one common prayer” on the steps of Kyiv’s St. Sophia Cathedral.

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A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifts off from the launch pad at Launch Complex 39-A at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fl. in April 2022.

Alex G Perez/AGPfoto/Sipa USA via Reuters Connect

The next frontier of warfare: Russian space-based nukes

Maybe Russia should’ve been invited to Munich after all … News dropped on Thursday that Moscow is developing new space-based nuclear weapons.

Could these new nukes hit American cities? No, according to the White House. But they could hit satellites, wreaking havoc on terrestrial communications, transportation systems, and even financial transactions. In other words, Russia could take cyberattacks to a higher level, literally.

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The Smart Lander for Investigating Moon, aka SLIM, is seen in this handout image taken by LEV-2 on the moon, released on Jan. 25, 2024.

Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), TAKARA TOMY, Sony Group, Doshisha University /via REUTERS

Comeback kid: Japan’s moon lander resurrected by the sun

Hey Alexa, play “The Power” by Snap! Japan’s moon lander has come back to life after it was put to sleep for over a week to save juice. The spacecraft, known as Slim (no relation to Eminem), has power again after an awkward, upside-down landing initially prevented sunlight from hitting its solar panels. It just needed to wait for a change in the sunlight’s direction.
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Hundreds of Muslim activists gather to protest in solidarity in the wake of the conflict between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip outside the US embassy in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on October 20, 2023

Zahim Mohd/NurPhoto via Reuters

Hard Numbers: Malaysia backs Hamas, Democrats win key races, fighting in Ethiopia's Amhara region, South Africa’s highway terror, Europe invests in space

77 billion: Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim jeopardized his country’s $77 billion trade relationship with the United States this week by coming out hard in support of Hamas, with which Malaysia has long maintained ties. Anwar, who compared the group to Nelson Mandela, could run afoul of the Hamas International Financing Prevention Act and invite US sanctions on his country — but the rise of the Islamist PAS party and the fragility of his multi-ethnic coalition are pushing him to appeal to such sentiment despite his reputation as a liberal reformer.

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Vehicles are seen departing the Burning Man festival in Black Rock City, Nevada, U.S., on Sept. 4, 2023.

REUTERS/Matt Mills McKnight

Hard Numbers: Muddy festival, climate credits, Ukrainian amputees, astronauts return, "Barbie" tops charts

70,000: An unexpected storm this weekend trapped 70,000 attendees of the annual counter-culture Burning Man festival in the Black Rock Desert of northern Nevada, as floods turned the sand to mud. One person reportedly died, but officials said the incident was “unrelated to the weather.” Many have now begun their trips home.

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