Grind for December 28th
“What I don’t like about office Christmas parties is looking for a job the next day.” – Phyllis Diller
Boeing test flight fails to reach destination
The Boeing CST-100 Starliner crew capsule failed to reach the International Space Station as scheduled during an uncrewed test flight this week.
About 30 minutes after a flawless liftoff from Cape Canaveral, the capsule’s onboard clock malfunctioned and caused the spacecraft’s engines to fire incorrectly.
The craft reached a stable orbit, but was not in the right position to dock with the ISS.
Experts insist that had astronauts been on board the flight, they would have been safe and able to correct the capsule’s path.
“We trained extensively for this type of contingency and had we been on board there, there could have been actions that we could have taken,” says NASA astronaut Nicole Mann. “That’s why you have test pilots on board, especially for these early missions,” she added. “We don’t have any safety concerns.”
Mann is scheduled to pilot the first crewed Starliner mission in 2020.
Boeing’s Starliner is part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, a project designed to facilitate a new generation of spacecraft and launch systems capable of carrying passengers into orbit and to the ISS.
Boeing’s failure is great news for SpaceX, which is also working with NASA. SpaceX successfully docked its Dragon capsule with the ISS in March.
Unfortunately for Boeing, its failure to reach the ISS will remind consumers of the 737 MAX airplane – which was grounded worldwide following two fatal crashes. The scandal cost Boeing more than $8 billion dollars.
Earlier this week, the company decided to further suspend production of the 737 MAX planes. As America’s top exporter, Boeing’s decision is expected to cut US economic growth by half a percentage point.
British Parliament supports Boris Johnson’s Brexit proposal
British lawmakers on Friday voted overwhelmingly in favor of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal – the first time any withdrawal agreement has cleared the chamber.
The deal, which is an amended version of the proposal Johnson negotiated with the bloc in October, outlines Brexit details including: the divorce settlement, citizens’ rights, and an arrangement that avoids a physical border in Ireland.
The deal also gives Johnson expanded latitude over trade talks, eliminates guarantees for workers’ rights under EU law, and removes lawmakers from the government’s negotiating process with the EU.
The final endorsement will occur next month with a second vote in the House of Commons and a vote from the House of Lords. The deal will also need to be approved by the European Parliament.
As it stands, Brexit is scheduled to begin on January 31st.
“This is the time when we move on and discard the old labels of leave and remain,” said Johnson. “In fact, the very words seem tired to me.”
The current relationship between the UK and the EU will remain for 11 months, after which Johnson can decide whether to extend talks (Johnson already says he won’t).
“There would be nothing more dangerous for the new future that we want to build than allowing the permanent possibility of extending,” he said.
GOOD TO THE LAST DROP:
Did you know… There’s a bar in Ireland (presently named Sean’s Bar) that was opened in 900AD.