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US astronauts prepare station for commercial space taxis

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Two NASA astronauts left the International Space Station on Friday for a 6-1/2-hour spacewalk to install a parking spot for upcoming commercial space taxis, which will end U.S. reliance on Russia for rides to the orbiting outpost.

Station commander Jeff Williams and flight engineer Kate Rubins floated outside the station’s airlock at about 8:15 a.m. EDT (1215 GMT) and headed toward the berthing slip once used by NASA’s now-retired space shuttles, a NASA TV broadcast showed.

“Great view,” said Rubins, who is making her first spacewalk.

Since grounding the shuttle fleet in 2011, the United States has been dependent on Russia to ferry astronauts to and from the space station, at a cost of more than $70 million per person.

During Friday’s spacewalk, Williams and Rubins plan to attach an adapter onto the shuttle’s docking port that will allow commercial space taxis under development by Space Exploration Technologies and Boeing to park at the station, a $100 billion research laboratory that flies about 250 miles (400 km) above Earth.

California-based SpaceX, owned and operated by technology entrepreneur Elon Musk, plans to begin test flights of its new passenger Dragon capsule to the station in 2017.

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Boeing’s debut flight of its CST-100 Starliner capsule is expected in 2018.

NASA had hoped to have the first of two new docking ports installed last year, but the equipment was destroyed during a SpaceX cargo ship launch accident in June 2015.

A replacement docking port is under construction and expected to be delivered to the station in early 2018.

(Reporting by Irene Klotz in Cairns, Australia; Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Paul Simao)

Report typos and corrections to [email protected].
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Conservative columnist Max Boot: ‘It’s reality that’s pushing for impeachment’

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Max Boot, a conservative columnist for The Washington Post, argued on Sunday that "reality" is "pushing for impeachment."

On CNN's Reliable Sources program, host Brian Stelter asked if it is the media's fault that the possible impeachment of President Donald Trump has become a topic of discussion.

"Journalist are doing their jobs and reporting the facts," national security analyst Samantha Vinograd insisted. "I don’t think that putting the press in one basket is helpful. Trump does that, but we shouldn’t do that."

Boot said that attacking the media over impeachment amounts to "blaming the messenger."

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New York Times drops the hammer on the ‘breathtaking arrogance’ of Kelleyanne Conway in brutal editorial

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Addressing a report from the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel recommending White House counsel Kellyanne Conway should be fired for flagrant violations of the Hatch Act, the New York Times editorial board hammered President Donald Trump's confidante over her smirking response.

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‘Be ashamed’: Anthony Scaramucci’s wife deletes tweet after Soledad O’Brien opens a can of whoop ass on her

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Soledad O'Brien

Soledad O'Brien, a former CNN anchor, clashed with the wife of Trump surrogate Anthony Scaramucci over the weekend.

In a tweet on Friday, O'Brien complained that cable new networks were continuing to book the former White house communications director even though he has little of substance to add to the discussions.

"Why do you guys put this crap on tv?" O'Brien wrote after seeing an interview with Scaramucci. "Seriously it’s an insult to your viewers. And also absurd. Is there no one else in the whole world to book but this mediocre dude?"

Scaramucci's wife, Deidre, was moved to criticize O'Brien.

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