Meet a NASA Astronaut at WonderWorks, As Science & Space Fans Enjoy an Intergalactic Weekend
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NASA Exhibit

WonderWorks in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee has planned a temporary exhibit that is out of this world, and everyone is invited to blast off with it.

The indoor park that combines amusement and educational opportunities is hosting a NASA exhibit from October 5-8, 2017 that will focus on the amazing world of science and the planets. The exhibit will feature scaled models of spacecraft and a virtual reality experience of NASA’s new rocket, the Space Launch System. There will also be artifacts such as a real moon rock that people can touch, and a meet and greet with former space shuttle astronaut Captain Robert “Hoot” Gibson. The fun and educational exhibit is slated to help further interest in STEM education and careers and is ideal for all ages.

“This is such an exciting exhibit for people and we are thrilled to be hosting it,” states Ed Shaffer, General Manager for WonderWorks. “Being able to meet a real astronaut and touch a moon rock is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and one that you don’t want to miss.”

astronaut Captain Robert “Hoot” Gibson
Former Astronaut-Captain Robert “Hoot” Gibson

The NASA exhibit will kick off with Captain Gibson visiting local middle schools to speak to students about his experience being in space. He will be at WonderWorks in Pigeon Forge on Saturday, October 7, 2017. Meet and greet opportunities are from 11 a.m. to noon, 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m., and from 3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m., where he will answer questions, pose for photos, and give autographs. Media interviews will also be available.

The NASA exhibit will feature:
• The Exploration Systems virtual tour allows participants to experience the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and Orion spacecraft up close as they sit on the mobile launcher at Kennedy Space Center. Users will be transported to Launchpad 39B where they will receive a brief overview of the different components that make up the most powerful rocket ever built, the SLS. Once the overview is complete, they will then be placed inside an Orion Spacecraft virtual environment prior to launch.
• Guest will be able to take and print a photo of themselves in a spacesuit with either an SLS, Orion, Mars rover, or International Space Station background. This is a one-of-a-kind keepsake!
• Space Launch System 1:50 scale model on a mobile launcher and a 1:20 scale Orion Spacecraft table top model.
• Touchable moon rock from the Apollo 17 mission.

“We are ready to grow interest in space explorations,” added Shaffer. “There will be plenty of opportunities for pictures, asking questions, and observing, making it an amazing experience for all.”

Capt. Robert “Hoot” Gibson served as a NASA astronaut from 1979 until 1996 and is a veteran of five space shuttle flights. He has logged more than 36 days in space, including having commanded the first docking of the space shuttle to the Russian space station Mir. He is also a graduate of the TOPGUN Navy Fighter Weapons School.

WonderWorks in Pigeon Forge offers 35,000 square feet of “edu-tainment” opportunities, billing itself as an amusement park for the mind. They offer over 100 hands-on exhibits covering natural disasters, space discovery, an imagination lab, a physical challenge zone, a far out art gallery, and a light and sound zone. WonderWorks is open daily from 10 a.m. until 9 p.m. For more information or to register for the event, log onto their site: wonderworksonline.com/pigeon-forge/nasa-journey-mars/.

About WonderWorks
WonderWorks, a science focused indoor amusement park, combines education and entertainment. With over 100 hands-on exhibits – there is something unique and challenging for all ages. Feel the power of 71mph hurricane–force winds in the Hurricane Shack. Make huge, life–sized bubbles in the Bubble Lab. Get the NASA treatment in our Astronaut Training Gyro and experience zero gravity. Nail it by lying on the death–defying Bed of Nails. Conquer your fear of heights on our indoor Glow-In-The-Dark Ropes Course. WonderWorks is also home to Wonders of Magic, starring Terry Evanswood, the award-winning and longest running performer in Pigeon Forge. WonderWorks hosts birthday parties and special events seasonally. Open daily from 9 a.m. until midnight. wonderworksonline.com/pigeon-forge.

Is Tesla really worth $500 billion?
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graphic of elon musk with pink and orange background and tesla label

By Rory Cellan-Jones for BBC News

It was the week when Elon Musk soared past Bill Gates to become the world’s second richest person, as Tesla’s value topped $500bn.

On Tech Tent, we ask just why investors think the electric car company is worth so much more than it was a year ago. At the beginning of 2020, Tesla was valued by the stock market at around $80bn – and even then, sceptics thought that was a high price for a business that was barely profitable.

(Image Credit – Getty Images)

Throughout the year its shares have soared, and its valuation climbed above $500bn on the news that the business was going to be included in the S&P 500 index of leading companies.

Just to put that into context: Tesla is now worth more than Toyota, Volkswagen, Hyundai, GM and Ford put together.

‘You’re being too rational!’

I’ve done some back-of-the-envelope calculations and those businesses, some of which are undoubtedly ailing, made a combined profit of more than $50bn last year.

This year, Tesla is on course to make something like $1bn. So to believe the current valuation, surely you have to have some confidence that its technology and its market dominance will deliver a 50-fold increase in profits over the not too distant future?

“You’re being too rational!” Passion Capital’s Eileen Burbidge told me when I put it to her that Tesla’s sky-high share price simply didn’t add up.

“All it means is that the people who are buying the stock at this price believe they’re going to be able to sell it at a higher price.”

Eileen’s work as a venture capitalist is all about putting a value on companies which are at a much earlier stage than Tesla – and she tells Tech Tent that this is often a similarly irrational process, dependent on the mood in the wider market, and not just the qualities of individual businesses.

Tesla’s many fans will rightly point out that it has sent the automotive industry in a new direction, has unique battery technology with many other applications, and has a visionary leader.

But that was all true at the beginning of 2020 when it was worth a mere $80bn.

A short-term bet

“There are clearly no business fundamentals that point to a five-six times increase in its valuation just since the beginning of the year,” Eileen Burbidge told me. But she returns to her point that investors are making a short-term bet.

“I would like to think that the markets are fundamentally rational at the end of the day. I think the question is one’s time horizon. These buyers – they really believe they’re going to be able to sell at a higher price. And so far, by the way, they’ve been right.”

It is foolish to try to apply too much logic to short-term moves in shares. When asked by his editors why prices were rising, one legendary Fleet Street stock market correspondent used to reply “more buyers than sellers”, giving the opposite answer when the market was falling.

Just like a bottle of 1945 Burgundy, or a Picasso, or a tiny flat in London or San Francisco, Tesla’s “value” is whatever someone is willing to pay for it, however irrational the price may seem.

Nevertheless, one person who should know said months ago that the electric car company was overvalued, tweeting on 1 May: “Tesla stock price is too high imo”.

Who says? Well, it was Elon Musk himself – and the tweet knocked $14bn off the company’s value.

Since then, the share price has increased fourfold – but, hey, what does he know?

Read the original article at BBC News.

Stressed out? Blame bad technology
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By Reuters

There is no question that we are all more dependent on technology than ever. So what happens when that tech does not work?

In the past, Emily Dreyfuss used an old-school strategy: She yelled.

When Amazon’s Alexa spat out wrong answers or misunderstood questions, Dreyfuss let the virtual assistant have it.

“I used her as a scapegoat for my feelings,” said Dreyfuss, a writer and editor for Harvard’s Shorenstein Center. “When you have a non-sentient and annoying device in your home, who isn’t doing what you want, I talked to her in not the nicest terms. And my husband ganged up on her, too.”

Tech frustrations like this have happened to all of us. Your wifi is always dropping out. Your passwords do not work. Your laptop crashes, and you lose everything you were working on. Just reading about those possibilities could be enough to raise your blood pressure.

Technology can damage our state of mind, and new research is bearing that out: Computer giant Dell Technologies, in partnership with neuroscience firm EMOTIV, put people through a gauntlet of bad tech experiences, and then measured their brainwaves to gauge their reactions.

Test subjects had trouble logging on, or had to navigate sluggish applications, or saw their spreadsheets crash.

“The moment people started using bad technology, we saw a doubling of their levels of stress,” said Olivier Oullier, EMOTIV’s president. “I was a bit surprised by that, because you rarely see those levels going so high. Tech stress had a lasting effect, Oullier added. “People don’t relax back into calmness quickly. It takes a long time.”

Company bottom lines have suffered along with the mental health of employees. Constant frustration with bad tech affects how staffers handle their daily workloads, especially younger workers. Gen Z and Millennial test subjects saw a whopping 30% productivity drop as a result.

“Bad experiences affect you regardless of computer literacy,” said Cile Montgomery, who leads customer experience initiatives for Dell. “But young people seem to be even more impacted, because they expect technology to work.”

Read the full article at Reuters.

The Problem With Technology
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computer technologies UI by Artificial intelligence (AI) hand touching low poly icon

By Forbes

What company these days doesn’t want to adopt the latest technology? Many companies today are like the proverbial kid in the candy store, reaching for the latest tools that come with shiny buzzwords like “AI” and “machine learning.” But while embracing technology can bring a lot of positive changes, the right technology is needed — not just the latest one. And all too often, companies lack solid criteria according to which to choose their tech stack.

I will share some observations of common shortcomings of technologies based on my experiences working with banks, insurers, telecoms and companies. Having worked with them and heard their experiences, I’ve come to identify the types of technologies that are more likely to provide a high ROI.

Here are some of the most common technology pitfalls, as well as the characteristics of technologies that are more likely to deliver. Despite high expectations, many technologies:

1. Are Static And Inflexible

Many tools are great for a limited time and then quickly outgrow their purpose. For example, portal apps, which are web-accessible tools that deliver additional services, are time-bound and not future-proof. Core systems also frequently have this issue. They become such an ingrained part of a company’s backend that they are cumbersome and expensive to adjust, let alone replace.

2. Promote Painful IT Siloes 

Many technologies are not easily integrated and thus promote siloes. For example, the analytics team may be able to generate business intelligence insights in the form of quarterly reports. Yet by the time these reports become available to the larger organization, they are already less relevant. Technology that isn’t real-time, that doesn’t make information widely available and actionable in the moment loses its purpose. Systems that don’t speak to each other in a holistic, timely way make it harder for different teams to coordinate their efforts. Ultimately, these IT siloes hurt end-customers.

3. Serve As Mere Point Solutions

Point solutions may be based on the latest technology, but they won’t be effective if they overlook the context of the greater problem or journey. For instance, an organization may allow customers to begin a process online, but then divert them to a physical location to complete it. Such technology will only frustrate customers. Imagine the frustration of customers who are able to add an e-signature to their documents, but must print and mail those documents — breaking the digital flow.

Continue to the full article at Forbes.

Farmworker turned astronaut Jose Hernandez urges kids not to give up
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Astronaut Jose Hernandez in spacesuit smiling holding his space suit helmet

Former NASA astronaut Jose Hernandez spent most of his youth working the fields.

So many kids have struggled with remote learning, but Hernandez wants them all to know when it comes to their future, the sky’s the limit.

As a young boy, Hernandez picked fruits and vegetables alongside his family.

“We spent nine months in California, three months in Mexico, but those nine months I went to three different school districts,” he explained.

The family settled in Stockton. Jose couldn’t speak English until he was 12 years old, but STEM subjects spoke to him.

“I gravitated towards math because 1 + 3 is 4 in any language,” Hernandez said.

When he was ten, Jose told his dad he wanted to be an astronaut, so his father laid out a five-part recipe for success.

First, set a goal. Then recognize how far away you are from that goal.

“The third thing is you have to draw yourself a road map to know where you’re at to where you want to go,” Hernandez added. “And then I asked what’s the fourth? He said you’ve got to get an education.”

The University of the Pacific grad called hard work the fifth ingredient.

But his path was a difficult one.

“NASA rejected me not once, not twice, not three times but 11 times. It wasn’t until the 12th time that I got selected,” he said.

Hernandez would blast off with the crew of the Space Shuttle Discovery in 2009.

“It’s a ride that even Disneyland would be envious of because you go from zero to 17,500 miles an hour in eight and a half minutes,” he recalled.

Jose worked on the International Space Station during the 14-day trip, which covered 5.4 million miles.

“I wish we had a frequent flyer program,” Hernandez laughed.

He circled the globe 217 times but remains a down to Earth guy who tells kids how to realize their own dreams.

“Hard work and perseverance and not being afraid to dream big,” he said.

Continue on to the NBC 7 to read the complete article.

New type of atomic clock keeps time even more precisely
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A newly-designed atomic clock uses entangled atoms to keep time even more precisely than its state-of-the-art counterparts. The design could help scientists detect dark matter and study gravity’s effect on time.

Atomic clocks are the most precise timekeepers in the world. These exquisite instruments use lasers to measure the vibrations of atoms, which oscillate at a constant frequency, like many microscopic pendulums swinging in sync. The best atomic clocks in the world keep time with such precision that, if they had been running since the beginning of the universe, they would only be off by about half a second today.

(Image credit – Science Daily)

Still, they could be even more precise. If atomic clocks could more accurately measure atomic vibrations, they would be sensitive enough to detect phenomena such as dark matter and gravitational waves. With better atomic clocks, scientists could also start to answer some mind-bending questions, such as what effect gravity might have on the passage of time and whether time itself changes as the universe ages.

Now a new kind of atomic clock designed by MIT physicists may enable scientists explore such questions and possibly reveal new physics.

The researchers report in the journal Nature that they have built an atomic clock that measures not a cloud of randomly oscillating atoms, as state-of-the-art designs measure now, but instead atoms that have been quantumly entangled. The atoms are correlated in a way that is impossible according to the laws of classical physics, and that allows the scientists to measure the atoms’ vibrations more accurately. The new setup can achieve the same precision four times faster than clocks without entanglement.

“Entanglement-enhanced optical atomic clocks will have the potential to reach a better precision in one second than current state-of-the-art optical clocks,” says lead author Edwin Pedrozo-Peñafiel, a postdoc in MIT’s Research Laboratory of Electronics.

If state-of-the-art atomic clocks were adapted to measure entangled atoms the way the MIT team’s setup does, their timing would improve such that, over the entire age of the universe, the clocks would be less than 100 milliseconds off.

Read the full article at Science Daily.

Doctor of Internal Medicine Creates Little Medical School
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Recognized as Innovator of Youth Health Education

By Rhonda Sanderson

Dr. Mary Mason’s deep love of family, medicine and education led her to a career in healthcare and success as an entrepreneur. 

Dr. Mason is an Internal Medicine Specialist in Saint Louis, MO and has over 26 years of experience in the medical field. She graduated from Wash U, School of Medicine medical school in 1994. In 1998 she founded Little Medical School which has a curriculum based on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) that provides students with a strong foundation to pursue careers in medicine. It all began with a quest to inspire young adults to pursue careers in medicine.

“Whether utilizing Science to understand anatomy, Technology to better utilize patient information, Engineering to develop solutions to complex medical issues, or Math to calculate the proper dose of medication; Health and STEM are inseparable. Beyond LMS focus on learning and critical thinking – our most important function is to INSPIRE an understanding of health and career options,” said Dr. Mason. 

(Photo Credit – Little Medical School)                             

In 1998, Dr. Mason wrote the first lesson plan and enlisted her medical school colleagues to teach local teenagers. This passion for encouraging careers in healthcare culminated in the creation of LMS in 2010. In 2015, responding to constant inquiries, LMS became a popular and unique franchise opportunity. Dr. Mason’s company recently celebrated its 10th anniversary with approximately 50 franchises in the United States and abroad.  A standard franchise is home or office based with protected territories of 100 elementary schools. Franchise Fees of $24,500 and an Equipment & Curriculum fee of $13,100, make this fun concept ultra-reasonable.

Today, the company is a pioneer and leading developer of award-winning, specialized curriculum and interactive resources for children 4-14. With corporate offices in St. Louis, all of its franchises are independently owned by those who share a common goal of inspiring health awareness through education — one student at a time. 

The Little Medical School curriculum has grown to include a wide variety of educational programs, including but not limited to personal health, safety, life-saving skills, nutrition, dental care, veterinarian, and wilderness medicine.  Whether after-school/summer programming, birthday parties, in-school field trips, scout badge fulfillment or special events – lessons can be customized.  In addition, LMS offers a variety of educational role-play kits, including:  How To Be A Pediatrician, Sports Surgeon, Veterinarian — and even a Great Sibling.  

LMS is committed to educational programming that creates an environment where students are able to learn, explore and enjoy while building self-confidence.  Through innovative programming, fun activities, and structured role-play – students often use realistic medical supplies and interactive utensils while dressed in white lab coats – to create a unique, entertaining, and engaging learning experience.  Lessons provide students the opportunity to explore the many functions of the human body, learn life-saving skills, and perform orthopedic procedures such as a realistic Tommy John Surgery.  LMS believes this role-play and hands-on experience can play a vital role in helping students to shape their attitudes towards personal health, well-being, and career options.  

Little Medical School has been nationally recognized by business, parent, and educational organizations:  Entrepreneur Magazine (Top 500 Franchises for 2019), Creative Child Magazine (2017 Product of the Year), 2017 National Parenting Product Awards and 2018 Stevie Award Winner for Women in Business.

For more information about a franchise please contact Leslie Manes at Lmanes@sfdpros.net 

Rhonda Sanderson is a franchise expert who has owned and operated Sanderson & Associates and Sanderson PR, both specializing in, traditional, social media and crisis PR in the franchise space since 1986. She has authored many articles, helped grow numerous franchise chains is considered one of the Top 30 Small Business Influencers (Fit Business) in the U.S. Find her at Rhonda@sandersonpr.com or on LinkedIn where she is the author of Franchise Stars at https://www.linkedin.com/in/rhonda-sanderson-a6b658/

 

How Business Can Engage Students And Educators With Technology
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If training the future workforce is a fundamental role of education, it’s just as important a role for business.

How can we get young people excited about developing technology skills? Parents sit with their children to read them books from a young age, but when kids hand over their iPads, parents often walk away knowing their kids will be distracted by the screen for a while. When we teach technology, we need to think about creating more personal connections by sharing stories, sparking imaginations and making learning both fun and real.

That may be easier said than done. Our recent PwC study, conducted in conjunction with the Business-Higher Education Forum, found that while educators strongly support teaching technology, very few — just 10 percent — feel confident doing so. More often than not, classroom lessons in technology are passive: watching videos instead of making them, or browsing websites instead of creating them.

Read the full article at HuffPost. 

Why Virtual Conferences Are the Future
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Woman is using tablet pc, pressing on virtual screen and select

Conferences have long been a staple of the professional calendar. Now with COVID-19, the landscape for events is changing.

Sophisticated digital platforms are enabling virtual environments that simulate the benefits of real events, and attendees are beginning to shift to accessing subject matter, experts and industry networking online.

But can the digital environment really displace brick-andmortar events, where eye-to-eye meetings and chance connections can justify the often-costly registration fees and travel costs? In organizations where hundreds of executives and professionals attend several conferences a year at $1,000 or more each in total cost, a virtual conference at $500 can be attractive.

Making virtual connections at an online conference may not be an adequate substitute for meeting a key client face to face, but it seems likely that virtual events will complement traditional conferences as organizations need to balance time and resources. Increasingly, virtual platforms are offering value that has never existed in this market. It is less obvious thinking that a virtual environment could be conducive to trade in luxury goods, cars or food, but industries where virtual conferences make sense include: Knowledge industries such as medicine, pharmaceuticals, and high technology; nascent industries where innovation clusters are globally dispersed; digital industries where the product can be delivered via a multimedia format; higher education.

Here are 20 reasons why you might consider attending a virtual conference:
1. Less travel time means more time for you at work or with your family
2. Dip in and out of events without being noticed
3. No flight delays, passport control or security checks
4. Juggle work demands with conference attendance
5. No packing or unpacking and wondering whether your luggage will make it through to the other side
6. Access all conference materials and audio online for 3 months after the event
7. Show your boss demonstrable cost savings
8. Connect with a larger and more global audience, many of whom may have not previously attended due to cost and travel constraints
9. Preview and review speaker presentations on your PC while listening to other material
10. Easily locate conference attendees and arrange a conference call, rather than searching hotel lobbies for your clients
11. No waste of paper on conference brochures/fliers that only go in the bin once home
12. Save hundreds of thousands of gallons of air fuel because of the aggregate efforts of attendees
13. Catch up on missed events in the evening or your free time
14. Learn new skills in managing virtual technologies and online tools
15. Access the whole event from the comfort of your own home or office
16. No big hole in your bank balance while you wait for the expense claim to clear
17. Use the time you would be traveling to report back to colleagues on the key lessons
18. Consider the efficient transfer of information and how that will translate directly to your bottom line
19. Registration fees are as much as four times less than a regular event
20. No expenditure on hotels and sundries

We hope that your next virtual conference experience is a great one.

Source: sharpbrains.com

NASA’s First Black Man to Arrive at Space Station for Long-term Stay
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NASA astronaut Victor Glover is seen during a NASA event where it was announced that he, and NASA astronaut Mike Hopkins are assigned to the first mission to the International Space Station onboard SpaceXs Crew Dragon

By Anna Sokiran

On November 17th, Victor Glover became the first African-American astronaut to begin a full six-month stay on the orbiting lab.

Victor is making history, joining the list of the Firsts Black Astronauts from NASA. The first-ever African-American man to join the NASA astronaut program was an Air Force test pilot Ed Dwight in 1961. He became the first astronaut candidate but never went to space. Guion S. Bluford Jr. was the first African-American in space in 1983, and Mae Jemison was the first African-American woman in 1992. In the past 20 years of people living on the International Space Station, the extended crew never included a black astronaut.

Along with other astronauts on SpaceX Crew Dragon, Victor Glover, will be staying on the I.S.S. for the next six months. Out of the 300 NASA astronauts to reach the International Space Station, he is not the first Black astronaut to visit the Station, 15th, to be exact. But he is the first one to stay on I.S.S. longer than a few weeks.

In 2021 Victor is likely to be followed by Jeanette Epps, who would be the first Black woman to become a member of the extended I.S.S. crew. Victor Glover is now the pilot and second-in-command on the capsule, named Resilience. In the next six months, he will be fulfilling the duties of the Flight Engineer.

NASA finally certified SpaceX to fly astronauts on its Crew Dragon spaceship, just days before its next launch
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Four Space X astronauts seated in SpaceX's Crew Dragon

SpaceX is about to launch four astronauts in the first human-rated commercial spacecraft.

This won’t be SpaceX’s first human mission. The NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley climbed aboard the company’s Crew Dragon spaceship this summer, rocketed into Earth’s orbit, and docked to the International Space Station. After two months of living and working at the space station, they climbed back into the Crew Dragon, screamed through the atmosphere, and safely parachuted back to Earth.

But that whole mission was considered a demo — a critical step for gaining NASA’s human-spaceflight certification.

On Tuesday, NASA announced it had finally certified SpaceX’s whole launch system for human spaceflight.

That decision was the result of the agency’s flight-readiness review, in which experts and officials spent two days reviewing SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket, the Crew Dragon spaceship, the software, and mission operations.

The certification came just days before SpaceX’s next planned astronaut launch, which is scheduled for Saturday. The company has already perched a new Crew Dragon on the rocket in preparation for that mission, its longest and most critical yet. Called Crew-1, the round-trip mission to the space station is the first of six that Elon Musk’s rocket company has contracted with NASA.

“People tend to think it’s just the spacecraft, but it’s the spacecraft, it’s the launch vehicle, it’s all the processing on the ground, it’s how you do your mission operations. All that will safely fly our crew up to the International Space Station and back and then recover,” Kathy Lueders, who leads NASA’s human-spaceflight program, said in a Tuesday press briefing. “You’ve shown us the data, and we trust you to do that. It’s a big trust factor here.”

If weather permits, SpaceX’s Falcon 9 will launch the Crew Dragon into space on Saturday at 7:49 p.m. ET. On board will be astronauts Mike Hopkins, Victor Glover, Shannon Walker, and Soichi Noguchi. They should dock to the space station eight and a half hours later, where they will stay for about six months, marking the longest human spaceflight in US history.

When it’s time to come home, the astronauts will climb back into the Crew Dragon, which will remain attached to the space station during their stay, then weather a fiery fall through Earth’s atmosphere.

“The crew’s lives are in our hands — very important responsibility,” Lueders said.

Continue on to Business Insider to read the full article. 

Photo Credit: Space X via NASA

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Air Force Civilian Service