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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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Report: North Korean ballistic missile fired by Russia into Ukraine contained components sourced from U.S.

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A new report from Conflict Armament Research (CAR), a U.K.-based investigative organization, determined that a North Korean ballistic missile which was fired by Russia into Ukraine contained “numerous” electronic components sourced from the U.S. and Europe.

The Daily Caller News Foundation reported on the findings, noting approximately 75% of the 290 components analyzed in the missile originated from U.S.-based companies, and an additional 16% of components came from European firms, according to the CAR report.

The electronic components came from 26 countries in total and were largely utilized in the missile’s navigation system, according to the report. It isn’t clear how the components ended up in North Korea’s possession, as the country is strictly sanctioned by a bulk of the international community, but it’s possible other foreign companies, acting as middlemen, bought the components and then diverted them to the communist country.

However, the fact that North Korea was able to acquire so many American electronic component parts suggests “that the country has developed a robust acquisition network capable of circumventing, without detection, sanction regimes that have been in place for nearly two decades,” according to the report.

CAR documents “weapons at the point of use and track their sources back through the chains of supply.”North Korea gathered the components, assembled the missile and shipped it to Russia, all within a relatively short time period, according to the report. The missile was recovered by CAR on Jan. 2, and the investigators determined it could not have been manufactured before March 2023.

The U.S. government and intelligence agencies are working to stop sensitive American intellectual property from ending up in the hands of several foreign adversaries. North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un and Russian President Vladimir Putin have strengthened their relationship since Russia first invaded Ukraine in February 2022.

“Due in part to our export and sanction controls, Russia has become increasingly isolated on the world stage, and they’ve been forced to look to like-minded states for military equipment,” White House National Security Council (NSC) spokesman John Kirby said during a press briefing in January. “One of those states is North Korea.”

 

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