There’s plenty riding on NASA’s next-generation Space Launch System, the modern-day rocket that will carry the Artemis missions. But after delaying its most recent test to make urgent repairs to the fuel system, the SLS is once again ready for another milestone. Today, the craft is on its way over to Launch Pad 39B to prepare for its “wet” dress rehearsal (so they fuel it, even if they have no intention of launching) later this month.
That test will take the rocket all the way to the countdown procedure while fully fuelled, giving engineers plenty of new data ahead of a planned real-world launch. If that all goes to plan, we could be a few months away from sending an uncrewed vehicle into orbit around the Moon. Give it a couple more years, and we’ll hopefully send a crew beyond Earth’s gravity for the first time since 1972.
— Dan Cooper
The biggest stories you might have missed
This is not an out-of-season April Fools’ joke.
The Diablo Immortal reviews all said pretty much the same thing: There’s a good game hidden beneath all of that loot-box crud. Unfortunately, if you were using a Samsung phone with one of the company’s own Exynos chipsets, the game feels a lot more broken than that. It appears as if the title isn’t working well with that silicon, making the title almost unplayable. A Blizzard spokesperson said the company is exploring the problem and may block downloads of the title to some affected phones while they scramble for a fix.
Now SpaceX is its best friend (for now).
NASA has purchased an extra raft of crewed missions from SpaceX to ensure the International Space Station retains its full personnel complement until 2030. The five trips are enough to provide an “uninterrupted” US presence on the station until its planned retirement date. Not only will it help give NASA options during its launch program, it’ll also cover any gaps made by Boeing’s yet-to-be-certified Starliner vehicle, which isn’t due to fly until next year. If nothing else, that’s some egg on the face of the aerospace giant, which has lost ground to its upstart rival in the spaceflight world for some time now.
No Orange MacBook Air for you.
It’s the week of Apple’s big developer event, which means we’re likely to get a whole host of new hardware and software announcements as part of the main show. But if you were hoping the next-generation MacBook Air would have the same bunch of color options as the new iMac, prepare for disappointment. Those in the know claim an updated M1 MacBook Air will only sell in four hues: space gray, silver, blue and gold. That said, it’s hard to know what the company will announce given the factory closures caused by China’s fresh round of COVID-19 lockdowns.
The country’s homegrown space station is getting a big push toward completion.
Astronauts aboard China’s Shenzhou-14 mission have successfully arrived on the nation’s Tiangong space station. The crew of three will spend the next six months on the station to make a significant stride toward completing its setup. Next month, the country will launch a lab module to expand the station’s footprint, with a second unit going up in October, and astronauts will conduct several EVAs to get everything connected and ready. If successful, the nation expects Tiangong to be fully operational by the end of the year.
It paid a $300 million fine.
Stellantis, parent company of Fiat Chrysler and PSA Group, has pleaded guilty to charges of criminal conspiracy after covering the extent of its diesel emissions. The automotive giant was accused of violating the Clean Air Act, misleading regulators around tailpipe emissions and installing defeat devices to cheat government tests. As part of the settlement, the company must submit compliance reports to the Justice Department for three years. Meanwhile, three of its employees are awaiting criminal charges. Given the outsize impact that tailpipe emissions have both on people’s health and the climate, and that the company’s net profit was reportedly nearly $15.2 billion in 2021, the penalty seems like something of a bargain.
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