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Four astronauts arrive at International Space Station for historic SpaceX-NASA mission



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The four-astronaut team aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft safely arrived at the International Space Station (ISS) late Monday night after having taken off on Sunday.

This mission funded by NASA called Crew-1 is set to break a few records, said NASA officials. Not only is this the first full-length mission that the company SpaceX will conduct for NASA, but this will also potentially be the longest-length human mission that has ever been launched from U.S. territory.

The current record-holder is a Skylab mission from 45 years ago that saw a 84-day stay. It goes without mentioning, too, that this is only the second time that SpaceX has launched humans and not empty spaceships that are piloted remotely into space.

The spacecraft, named Resilience, docked safely at the famous low-Earth orbit station at around 11 pm (Eastern Standard Time) on Monday after sailing toward the facility and locking onto one of the ports on the station’s central module. The four astronauts, who had been in the vehicle for almost more than 30 hours, disembarked from the vehicle two hours after arriving so that a series of diagnostics for safety could be performed and they were smiling when they exited the spacecraft.

SpaceX tweeted the news about Resilience successfully docking at the ISS Monday night, writing, “Docking confirmed – Crew Dragon has arrived at the @space_station!”

The four astronauts included Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover and Shannon Walker from NASA, and Soichi Noguchi, an astronaut from Japan’s space agency.

One story from this trip to the ISS that has been gathering a decent amount of traction in the news reports is that the crew brought along with them a little friend: a plush Baby Yoda doll from the Disney+ show “The Mandalorian” set in the Star Wars fictional universe.

When a SpaceX mission controller told the flight crew that the docking was complete, the mission’s commander, Hopkins, said, “Excellent job, right down the center. SpaceX and NASA, congratulations: This is a new era of operational flights to the International Space Station from the Florida coast.”

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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Trump: Tanks to Ukraine could escalate to use of ‘NUKES’



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Former President Donald Trump stated bluntly on Truth Social,  “FIRST COME THE TANKS, THEN COME THE NUKES. Get this crazy war ended, NOW. So easy to do!”

Trump was referring to the escalation of war in Ukraine. He, like many other commentators and lawmakers, are warning that the decision to continue sending weapons – and now tanks – could potentially lead to the use of “nuclear weapons.”

It’s mission creep and it’s dangerous, they say.

Why? Because Russian President Valdimir Putin has indicated in two different speeches that he would use nuclear weapons to defend Russia, if needed. Those warnings are not just bluster but a very real possibility.

And the escalation of war is visible.

Russia launched 55 missiles strikes across Ukraine Thursday, leaving 11 dead. The strikes come one day after the United States and Germany agreed to send tanks to Ukraine in an effort to aide the country. 47 of the 55 missiles were shot down according to Ukraine’s Air Force command.

Eleven lives were lost and another 11 were injured additionally leaving 35 buildings damaged in the wake of the attacks. According to The New York Times, Denys Shmyhal, said in a post on Telegram. “The main goal is energy facilities, providing Ukrainians with light and heat,” he said.

Ukraine is now demanding that they need F-16 fighter jets. In a post on twitter Ukrainian lawmaker, Oleksiy Goncharenko said, “Missiles again over Ukraine. We need F16.”

The US has abstained from sending advanced jets in the chances that a volatile decision could foster more dangerous attacks like former President Trump’s post on Truth referred to. If the US did authorize the decision to lend Ukraine the F-16 jets Netherlands’ foreign minister, Wopke Hoekstra, would be willing to supply them. According to The New York Times, Hoekstra told Dutch lawmakers, “We are open-minded… There are no taboos.”

F-16 fighter jets are complex to work on, they are not the average aircraft that can be learned in a matter of weeks. It can take months for pilots to learn how to fly these birds. European and US officials have the concern that Ukrainian forces could potentially use the jets to fly into Russian airspace and launch attacks on Russian soil.

Western allies are trying to avoid such a provocation, because that could lead to nuclear warfare in reference to what Putin has said he would do to defend his country.


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