World’s Largest Plane Takes Flight, Can Air-Launch Rockets Into Space

World's Largest Plane Takes Flight, Can Air-Launch Rockets Into Space

Stratolaunch lifted off from the Mojave Air and Space Port in the California desert (AFP)

Stratolaunch, the massive aircraft dreamed up by the late Paul Allen, flew for the first time Saturday, becoming the largest plane by wingspan ever to take to the skies.

Larger than Howard Hughes’s Spruce Goose – which flew only once, in 1947 – Stratolaunch lifted off from the Mojave Air and Space Port in the California desert and stayed aloft for a couple of hours, according to photos and videos posted on social media.

The plane is a behemoth, with a twin fuselage, 28 wheels, six 747 jet engines and a wingspan longer than a football field, end zones included.

But Allen, the billionaire co-founder of Microsoft, died in October, leaving the future of the plane and the company behind it in doubt. From the beginning, Allen’s dream was to use the plane to help make getting items, and possibly people, into space more affordable and accessible.

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Built by Scaled Composites, a subsidiary of Northrop Grumman, Stratolaunch was designed to carry as many as three rockets tethered to its belly into the skies; the rockets would then drop, ignite and shoot off into space with their payloads.

Allen was fascinated with the capabilities of small satellites, how they could help keep tabs on Earth’s environment, and thought “air-launching” rockets, as the process is called, could help usher in a new era of space flight.

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Stratolaunch is a behemoth, with a twin fuselage, 28 wheels, six 747 jet engines and a wingspan longer than a football field, end zones included (AFP)

“The capabilities of these small satellites is something that’s really interesting and fascinating,” he said. “Both for communications, where a lot of people are putting up constellations of satellites, and for monitoring the challenged health of the planet.”

The Pentagon, which is looking to become more responsive in space, had also taken an interest in Stratlolaunch. Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson visited the plane, as did Vice President Mike Pence, the head of the National Space Council.

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Stratolaunch was financed by Paul Allen, a co-founder of Microsoft as a way to get into the market for launching small satellites

The company was even thinking about human spaceflight, and had preliminary plans to develop a mini space shuttle, called “Black Ice.”

But for now all those plans appear to be on hold.

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Stratolaunch was designed to carry as many as three rockets tethered to its belly into the skies; the rockets would then drop, ignite and shoot off into space with their payloads (AFP)

Allen, a space enthusiast for much of his life, funded the development of the spaceplane that won the $10 million Ansari X Prize in 2004 by becoming the first nongovernmental vehicle to pass the threshold in space.

At the time, however, the risks of human spaceflight worried him, and he decided to get out of the business. In 2011, though, he was back, announcing his plans to build the world’s largest airplane.

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Stratolaunch: The Pentagon, which is looking to become more responsive in space, had also taken an interest in Stratlolaunch

“You have a certain number of dreams in your life you want to fulfill,” he said at the time. “And this is a dream I’m very excited about.”

[“source=ndtv”]

Out of phone storage? Five Android apps that help you clean up space, make phone snappy

There are a number of apps that can help you do more with the existing storage of your phone

By Zia Askari

Let’s face it, we all hate to wake up and find there is little space in the internal memory of our mobile phone. Whether you have a device that carries 16GB internal storage or 128GB of storage, it becomes a daunting task to optimise the performance of storage in your device, more so for a not-so-tech-savvy person. There are a number of apps that can help you do more with the existing storage of your phone such as organising files in a better manner, compressing files, and managing duplicate content on the device. We take a look at five Android apps that can help you organise storage in an efficient manner.

Astro File Browser
Astro File Browser is one of the oldest file manager apps that have been designed to help manage storage in a simplistic and yet effective manner. Some of the important features of this app include support on cloud storage, SD card support, file compression, app management. This app also provides archive extraction support.

File Manager
As simple as it may sound, File Manager is another good app that can help you manage your storage quite efficiently without adding too much of pressure on your computing resources. This app provides basic file management features along with cloud storage.
You can browse your installed apps, photos, audio, video and downloads, etc., with this app.

Clean Master
Clean Master is a widely used app because of its seamless storage cleaning capabilities. It lets you clean the app cache, residual files, history within the apps and many other junk files which pile up after you start using apps in your device. The most important factor contributing to the success of this app is the fact that this does not cause battery drainage.

Total Commander
Total Commander is one of the most powerful storage management apps on Play Store. It comes with a number of interesting features such as network storage, cloud storage support, book marks, plugin support, and also comes with an included text editor.

X-Plore File Manager
Yet another innovative storage management app, this delivers a unique interface in the form of dual panes—which means that you will be managing two windows at once pretty much all the time. This helps if you need to copy/paste between folders or need to move files quickly between two folders. This app also comes with support for various types of files, network storage, cloud storage, network storage (FTP, DLNA/UPnP), root support, and other features.

Duplicate Media Remover
Most of the time, unknowingly, we all have a lot of duplicate content in the form of pictures, voice files and videos occupying our precious internal memory space. This app can help you scan, find and remove all similar files including audio, videos, images and other files and manage your phone storage quite effectively. It provides options to select folders and to find and remove identical files between them. Using this tool, you can schedule scans on a weekly basis where it will scan device as per your convenience and help you manage your storage in an easy manner.

[“source=financialexpress”]

Astronauts say look forward to space launch after Soyuz accident

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The launch of the Soyuz MS-11 spacecraft is scheduled on December 3, 2018 from the Russian-leased Kazakh Baikonur cosmodrome.
BAIKONUR(KAZAKHSTAN): Astronauts set to board the first manned space mission since an unprecedented accident aboard Russia’s Soyuz, on Sunday brushed aside safety concerns, saying they were ready to take risks.

Oleg Kononenko of Roscosmos, Anne McClain of NASA and David Saint-Jacques of the Canadian Space Agency will launch to the International Space Station (ISS) from Baikonur in Kazakhstan on Monday.

They will head to the ISS after a Soyuz rocket carrying Russia’s Aleksey Ovchinin and US astronaut Nick Hague failed on October 11 just minutes after blast-off.

The pair escaped unharmed, but the failed launch was the first such incident in Russia’s post-Soviet history and a new setback for the country’s once proud space industry.

The crew heading to the ISS dismissed any possible concerns about their safety.

“Risk is part of our profession,” crew commander Oleg Kononenko told a news conference at Baikonur, adding they “absolutely” trusted teams preparing them for the flight.

“We are psychologically and technically prepared for blast-off and any situation which, God forbid, may occur on board,” the 54-year-old said.

Anne McClain, a 39-year-old former military pilot, struck a similar note.

“We feel very ready for it,” she said.

Canada’s Saint-Jacques added that Soyuz spacecraft was “incredibly safe,” noting it was “actually reassuring” to witness the October aborted launch from Baikonur.

The accident highlighted the “smart design of the Soyuz and the incredible work that the search and rescue people here on the ground are ready to do every launch,” the 48-year-old said.

Russia said last month the launch of the Soyuz rocket failed because of a sensor that was damaged during assembly at the Baikonur cosmodrome. But officials insisted the spacecraft remains reliable.

Saint-Jacques will be the first Canadian astronaut to visit the space station since Chris Hadfield, who recorded a version of David Bowie’s Space Oddity classic aboard the ISS in 2013.

Canada’s governor general and former astronaut Julie Payette is expected to be among dignitaries to watch Monday’s launch.

Of the trio set to reach the ISS six hours after blastoff, both Saint-Jacques and McClain will fly for the first time. Kononenko is beginning his fourth mission to add to an impressive 533 days in space.

NASA’s McClain was deployed to Iraq and represented the United States women’s national rugby union team in the past.

She has said that training to spacewalk was similar to rugby since it demands “grit, toughness, mental focus, and more”

[“source=forbes]

Watch This Spectacular Launch of the Soyuz Rocket From Space

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A new video from the European Space Agency shows the spectacular launch of the Soyuz rocket.

The video was captured by ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst and shows the Russian Progress MS-10 cargo spacecraft taking off from the Soyuz rocket on Nov. 16. The spacecraft was carrying food and supplies for astronauts aboard the International Space Station and fuel to resupply the ISS. The spacecraft was carrying 5,653 lbs of supplies and fuel.

[“source=cnbc”]