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Astronauts break record for longest time in space by U.S.-launched ship

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The crew of four astronauts who arrived at the International Space Station (ISS) using a SpaceX Crew Dragon back in November have broken the record for most consecutive days spent in space by a U.S.-launched ship.

On Monday, The Washington Post reported that the Crew-1 astronauts beat the decades-long record Sunday after docking at the ISS on November 15. The previous record, set in 1974 by the Skylab 4 crew, was 84 days.

According to The Post, this mission is the first operational mission launched from the U.S. since the Space Shuttle was retired back in 2011. On top of that record, this mission has made history for also being the first time a privately owned spacecraft has ventured to the ISS.

The Crew-1 quartet launched from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida using a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and docked at the space station 27 hours later in the spacecraft they nicknamed “Resiliance.”

While there are three NASA astronauts part of Crew-1—Victor Glover, Michael Hopkins, and Shannon Walker—the fourth crewmate is Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi. They are scheduled to stay for about six months on the low-Earth orbital station.

Glover tweeted that the crew spoke over video chat with Edward Gibson, a member of the crew that in 1974 flew to Skylab, the United States’ first space station.

The news of this record being broken comes after a no-crew prototype of SpaceX’s Starship last week crashed and exploded while attempting to land during a test flight, after another crash in December. In response, the Federal Aviation Administration said it will oversee an investigation into last week’s crash, per The New York Times.

SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk plans to send the Starship to Mars as part of his longtime dream of eventually colonizing the Red Planet with humans, however, more work still needs to be done to perfect the technology.

RELATED: Elon Musk: I’m ‘highly confident’ SpaceX’s first crewed Mars mission will launch in 2026, maybe as early as 2024

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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Shanghai: China’s Potemkin Village

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Following a recent outbreak of COVID-19, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has imposed a month-long draconian lockdown on the residents of Shanghai. The CCP has used the outbreak to persecute its own citizens, including through forced evictions and quarantines, and placing alarms on doors to prevent COVID-19 people from leaving their homes. The harsh measures have resulted in food and healthcare shortages and separation of families.

But of course, we wouldn’t know that by reading the CCP-run press readily available in the United States. Instead of presenting the facts, the CCP engages in a comprehensive propaganda campaign that props up Shanghai as a Chinese Potemkin village. The CCP media asserts that China’s actions in Shanghai are benevolent and wise, while Western criticism is a product of malice. Chinese state-run media also insists that the Shanghai lockdown promotes economic stability in China and the world.

Claim 1: China Has the Best Policy for Combating COVID-19

The CCP media portray the Shanghai lockdown as the best and ideal policy. As cited by a XinhuaNet editorial, “China’s dynamic zero-COVID approach” is “the best option to save lives,” according to a “Rwandan researcher and publisher,” “…a miracle for us to learn,” according to a Kenyan scholar, and “a very ideal response,” according to Ethiopia’s National COVID-19 Response Task Force Coordinator. According to CCP media, Chinese citizens have greeted the Shanghai lockdown warmly, even with “[a] mixed sense of intensity, unity and hopefulness,” according to China Daily.

Claim 2: The West Hypocritically Defames China

The CCP press also accuses the West of lying about the Shanghai lockdown, and using COVID policies for nefarious ends. According to XinhuaNet, “Shanghai…has never imposed what Western media described as a ‘lockdown.’” Other CCP editorials actually accuse the West of malice. One Global Times editorial claims that the lockdown “has been deliberately exaggerated by the West.” Another Global Times editorial asserts that the Western approach of “coexisting with the virus” amounts to a way “…to drive out a large number of the vulnerable people with low immunity,” and a form of “cruel social Darwinism.”

Claim 3: China’s COVID Policies Result in an Economic Windfall to China and the World

The CCP also portrays the lockdown as necessary to achieve great economic growth in China and beyond. One Global Times editorial, while conceding that the lockdown amounted to a “sealing-off,” it is “a temporary measure to better resume work and production and to make the economy and society function more effectively. Its effectiveness has been proven.” According to another Global Times editorial, China’s policy is “widely considered to be the best strategy…to both contain the epidemic and ensure stable economic development.”

In an Orwellian fashion, Chinese press claims that China is solving, not causing, the world’s economic problems. According to XinhuaNet, “China has played a decisive role in stabilizing the global economy and resuming the supply chain disrupted by COVID-19.” Citing a Bloomberg article, the same XinhuaNet editorial claims that China “has prevented a huge number of deaths at home and ensured that everything from iPhones and Teslas to fertilizer and car parts continues to flow to the rest of the world.” Chinese citizens, of course, are collateral damage: Ji Qiwei, vice-general manager of SAIC Motor Passenger Vehicle, stated that “The domestic market may be impacted a little by the COVID-19 outbreak this year, but our export market will continue to see strong growth,” according to China Daily.

While the world continues to suffer economic and human damage as a result of COVID-19, China continues to revise history regarding its role. Through its propaganda in its English publications of Xinhua, China Daily, and Global Times, China seeks to portray itself as a benevolent force in the fight against the virus.

You can follow Steve Postal on Twitter @HebraicMosaic

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