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SpaceX Launches Latest Space Station Crew To orbit For NASA

SpaceX, Elon Musk’s rocket business, blasted a four-man crew to orbit en route to the International Space Station early Thursday, with a Russian cosmonaut and an astronaut from the United Arab Emirates joining two NASA crewmates for the flight.

The SpaceX launch vehicle, composed of a Falcon 9 rocket atop an autonomously flown Crew Dragon capsule dubbed Endeavour, lifted off from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, at 12:34 a.m. EST (0534 GMT).

The 25-story-tall spaceship was seen soaring from the launch tower as its nine Merlin engines roared to life in billowing clouds of vapor and a reddish fireball that lighted up the pre-dawn sky in a live NASA livestream

The flight came 72 hours after an original launch attempt was canceled in the closing minutes of the countdown early Monday due to a blockage in the flow of engine-ignition fluid. NASA stated that the issue was resolved by changing a clogged filter and purging the system.

The Crew Dragon was brought into preliminary orbit around nine minutes after the rocket’s launch on Thursday, as it rocketed through space at more than 20 times the speed of sound. Meanwhile, the reusable lower-stage Falcon booster returned to Earth and successfully landed on a recovery barge dubbed “Just Follow the Instructions” drifting in the Atlantic.

Shortly after the capsule reached orbit, a SpaceX mission control manager was heard humorously radioing to the crew: “If you enjoyed your flight, please don’t forget to give us five stars.”

“We’d like to thank you for the amazing voyage to orbit today,” said the crew’s commander, NASA astronaut Stephen Bowen.

The journey to the International Space Station (ISS), a laboratory orbiting about 250 miles (420 kilometers) above Earth, was slated to take roughly 25 hours, with a rendezvous scheduled for about 1:15 a.m. EST (0615 GMT) on Friday.

The crew’s six-month science mission will include over 200 experiments and technology demonstrations ranging from human cell growth in space to managing flammable materials in microgravity.

The mission, dubbed Crew 6, marks NASA’s sixth long-term ISS team to fly aboard SpaceX since Musk, the billionaire CEO of electric car maker Tesla (TSLA.O) and social media site Twitter, began transporting American astronauts to orbit in May 2020.

Bowen, 59, a former US Navy submarine officer who has spent more than 40 days in space as a veteran of three Space Shuttle flights and seven spacewalks, commanded the newest ISS crew. Warren “Woody” Hoburg, 37, an engineer and commercial aviator designated as Crew 6 pilot, was also making his maiden spaceflight.

The Crew 6 mission also was remarkable for its inclusion of UAE astronaut Sultan Alneyadi, 41, only the second person from his country to fly to space and the first to launch from U.S. soil as part of a long-duration space station team.

Completing the four-man Crew 6 consisted of Russian cosmonaut Andrei Fedyaev, 42, who, like Alneyadi, is an engineer and spaceflight novice selected as the team’s mission specialist.

Fedyaev is the second cosmonaut to fly aboard an American spacecraft as part of a renewed ride-sharing agreement struck in July by NASA and Russia’s Roscosmos, despite heightened tensions between Washington and Moscow following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Seven current ISS inhabitants will greet the Crew 6 team aboard the space station: three NASA crew members, including commander Nicole Aunapu Mann, the first Native American woman to travel into space, three Russians, and a Japanese astronaut.

The ISS, which is roughly the length of a football field, has been in continuous operation for more than two decades by a US-Russian collaboration led by Canada, Japan, and 11 European countries.

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Google Appoints Alex Okosi MD Africa

Google on Tuesday announced the appointment of Nigeria-born Alex Okosi as its Managing Director for Africa.

Vice President, EMEA Emerging Markets at Google, Meir Brand, in a statement said Okosi would be responsible for Google’s operations in Africa and help businesses and economies grow.

Brand said that the role is as well as expanding access and providing tools to help the next billion users get more from the Web.

“Alex is a proven leader with a wealth of experience in the media and technology industries.

‘’He has a deep understanding of African countries and a passion for using technology to empower people and businesses.

‘’Okosi is a seasoned media, entertainment, and technology leader,’’ he said.

According to him, prior to joining YouTube, Okosi held the position of Executive Vice President and Managing Director of Viacom International Media Networks Africa and BET International.

He said that in his most recent position at YouTube, Okosi played a pivotal role in steering the platform’s growth and expansion across Africa, the Middle East, and Turkey.

“I am excited at the prospect of leading Google’s team in Africa and the opportunity to be an even closer part of this diverse and dynamic region, which is so close to my heart,” Okosi said.

Okosi said that he believes in the potential for technology and in particular, the internet to improve people’s lives and to help individuals and businesses in Africa to thrive.

He said that Google has been operating in Africa for over a decade and has offices in Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa.

According to him, the company’s products and services are used by millions of people in Africa every day.

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Audio, Video Call Features Coming Soon On X- Musk

Microblogging platform, X( formerly known as Twitter ) is set to have video and audio call features.

Elon Musk, CEO of X, made this known in a terse tweet on Thursday.

This announcement is coming a few weeks after X commenced paying rewards to creators who are Twitter Blue subscribers.

In the tweet, Musk said the new features will work on iOS, Mac, Android, and even PC.

According to him, using these new features will not require the use of a mobile number, adding that the new features will be unique in the future.

He wrote, “Video & audio calls coming to X. Works on iOS, Android, Mac & PC. No phone number needed. X is the effective global address book. That set of factors is unique.”

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WhatsApp Introduces Screen Sharing For Video Calls

Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Meta says the company has introduced a new WhatsApp feature with the ability to screen share during video calls.

AT3 Resources, a consulting firm managing Meta in Nigeria, said Zuckerberg made the announcement on his Facebook page on Tuesday.

It said that the latest update offered users the ability to share their screens in real-time during conversations.

According to Meta, by clicking on the designated ‘Share’ icon, users can choose between sharing a specific application or their entire screen.

It said that this function opened up a variety of possibilities, from collaborating on work documents to browsing through photos with family, planning trips, shopping online with friends, or providing technical assistance to grandparents.

It said that the screen sharing adds a dynamic dimension to calls which enables users to provide a live view of their screen content during conversations.

“This feature is particularly useful for both personal and professional scenarios.

“Also, WhatsApp users can now enjoy video calls in landscape mode on smartphones

“This enhancement offers a wider and more immersive viewing and sharing experience during video calls,” it said

The  platform, initially, introduced video calling for its users in November 2016.

Since then, the platform has consistently added features to enhance the user experience and meet evolving communication needs.

In addition, WhatsApp is rolling out message editing support for media with captions on iOS devices.

This feature allows users to edit messages that include media, offering a greater level of control over their communication.

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