Russian spaceship delivers three astronauts to space station.

Russia’s Soyuz spacecraft arrived at the International Space Station on Saturday, carrying a European, a Russian and an American astronaut for a six-month mission at the orbiting outpost.

“Capture confirmed,” said a NASA commentator as the spacecraft docked at the ISS at 4:58 pm (2158 GMT), US space agency live television images showed.

The trio — Frenchman Thomas Pesquet, Russian cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy and American astronaut Peggy Whitson — launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Thursday.

Pesquet, 38, a rookie astronaut and amateur saxophone player, is the first French national to be sent to the ISS by the European Space Agency since 2008.

Novitskiy, 45, a Russian Air Force pilot and decade-long veteran of the space agency Roscosmos, is making his second trip to the ISS.

Whitson, 56, is an experienced veteran and biochemistry expert who will break records with this space mission, including the title of the most days in space by a US astronaut.

She is scheduled to surpass NASA astronaut Jeff Williams’s 534 days on April 24. In February, Whitson will become the first woman to command the space station twice.

She previously commanded the station in 2007, when she became the first woman to hold this post, NASA said.Their arrival means the staff at the orbiting outpost goes back up to six. Already staffing the ISS are Russians Andrei Borisenko and Sergey Ryzhikov, and American Shane Kimbrough.

But even after a two-day journey in cramped quarters, the three new arrivals were not allowed to exit the spacecraft right away.

More than two and a half hours of checks were needed to make sure the seal was airtight between the station and Soyuz.

When the hatches finally opened at 7:40 pm (0040 GMT Sunday) the crew was all smiles as they floated into the space station — first Novitskiy, then Pesquet and finally Whitson — and exchanged hugs with their crewmates.

“Watching you, we could not be more proud,” said NASA administrator Charles Bolden, speaking to the crew from Earth.

Russia’s Soyuz capsules offer the only way for global astronauts to reach the space station since the American space shuttle program was retired in 2011.

Astronauts pay more than $71 million per seat for a ride on the Soyuz, which carries three people at a time.

Private industries including SpaceX and Boeing are designing spacecraft to once again ferry astronauts from US soil. Their first flights are not expected until late next year or in 2018.

Humans have lived continuously at the space station for more than 15 years. More than 200 people from 18 countries have visited the microgravity laboratory that circles Earth at a distance of about 250 miles (400 kilometers), NASA said.

Nigerian Astronaut To Land In Space By 2030

The Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, on Thursday in Abuja, said a Nigerian astronaut would land in space on or before 2030.

 

Onu made the assertion when the management team of the Defence Space Agency, led by the Director-General, Air Vice Marshal Victor Udoh, visited him.

 

The minister said the Federal Government was putting all the structures on ground to ensure that Nigerian astronauts landed in space on or before 2030.

 

“The space programme is very important for a country like Nigeria.

“The ministry will work very hard in the years ahead to strengthen all the structures of the agencies that will help us to ensure that the nation plays a role in the space’’, he said.

 

He said the ministry would intensify efforts to ensure that all the arrangements needed were provided.

 

According to him, the space “is a major asset which nations like Nigeria must also be involved in for the purposes of protecting national interest.”

 

Onu assured the team that the ministry would support and work with the agency in the best interest of the nation.

Earlier, the Director-General said the agency would like to collaborate with the ministry in order to be more efficient and effective.

He said working with the ministry would fast-track accomplishments of the agency’s stated objectives.

 

(NAN)

We Never Denied APC Broadcast Space- AIT

Management of DAAR Communications, owners of Africa Independent Television (AIT), has denied allegations that it exhibited bias against the presidential campaign of Muhammadu Buhari, ahead the March 28 election.

This was as the company refuted claims that it denied the All Progressives Congress (APC) considerable airtime on its medium.

In a statement issued by the management of DAAR Communications, following a statement credited to the head of President Muhammadu Buhari media team, Garba Shehu, said “we wish to state categorically and emphatically that at no time did we reject or deny the presidential candidate of the APC broadcast space on our station – Africa Independent Television (AIT).

“It has always been our policy to open up the democratic space to all the broad spectrum of actors in the political horizon.

“For the benefit of discerning members of the public and political academics who will obviously document some facts for historical purposes and the stock of public information compendium, we hereby challenge Mallam Garba Shehu to state the names of the officer(s)/department(s) that he dealt with, wherein the materials that he wanted aired were out rightly rejected.”

It added that “we feel pained, disappointed and betrayed by the allegation of maltreatment of APC presidential campaigns by Mallam Garba Shehu who, at various times, requested for unusual discounts and concessions, at short notices, which we often obliged in our spirited efforts of ensuring that we engaged all political parties; most especially the APC in our broadcasts so that we would be fair to all parties.”

Credit: Tribune

Freeman Osonuga Gets Closer To Being The 1st Black African In Space

We are this close to making history people!!! Please read Freeman’s statement below and support his bid by clicking on this link: Krugercowne.com/rising star

Quick historical fact: No Nigerian has ever been to space, no Black African even. That could change next year. My name is Freeman Osonuga, I am an African, I am a Nigerian, I am a humanitarian. I was recently selected as one of 30 people to participate in the Rising Star Programme, a collaboration between Kruger Cowne, One Young World and Spaceship Earth Grants which will send one person to space in 2016.

 I am happy to inform you that I have been shortlisted as one of 3 finalists. More than just being the journey of a lifetime, this spaceflight will help bring commercial space travel closer to being a reality. It is quite important.
For the next stage of the competition, I will travel to Bangkok, Thailand with the two other finalists to address 1,300 delegates and a panel of renowned judges at a special session of the 2015 One Young World Summit which will hold from November 18-21 next month. This session will be live-streamed to a global audience. I am a little nervous I must confess, but I’m quite confident that I’ll make Africa, Nigeria and you proud.
To show your support and help make history, please tweet #SendFreemanToSpace whenever you can. It’ll also be great if you can get your friends to do the same. Also here’s what you can do right now to help- click the following link and share my finalist profile via the social media platforms provided below my video. 
I look forward to sharing more good news with you soon.
Thank you for your time. 
– Freeman Osonuga
For enquiries please contact 07035010768 or 08160549635