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China’s space test hits snag with capsule ‘anomaly’

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Chinese Space Launch (AFP)

A cargo capsule that was part of a key test in China’s space programme experienced an “anomaly” Wednesday during its return trip, the space authority said.

The cargo capsule was launched Tuesday aboard a new type of carrier rocket along with a prototype spacecraft, and the latter is expected to return to Earth on Friday.

The launch is a major test of China’s ambitions to operate a permanent space station and send astronauts to the Moon.

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But “an anomaly occurred today during the return” of the cargo capsule, the China Manned Space Agency said in a statement.

“Experts are currently analysing the data,” it said without offering details.

The cargo capsule was not designed to transport astronauts, only equipment. The device, developed by China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation, is an experimental prototype.

The capsule was fitted with an “inflatable” heat shield. This type of structure, also being tested by the American and European space agencies, aims to eventually replace the classic metal heat shields that are heavier and thereby reduces the amount of cargo that can be carried into space.

Tuesday’s launch was also the maiden flight of the Long March 5B rocket, considered the most powerful rocket made in China to date. State media said the launch was a “success”.

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It comes after two previous failures when the Long March 7A malfunctioned in March and the Long March 3B failed to take off in early April.

Beijing has invested heavily in its space programme in recent years as it plays catchup to the United States, the only country to have sent a man to the Moon.

Assembly of the Chinese Tiangong space station, whose name means Heavenly Palace, is expected to begin this year and finish in 2022.

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China also became the first nation to land on the far side of the Moon in January 2019, deploying a lunar rover that has driven some 450 metres so far.

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Chad Wolf’s authority is ‘illegitimate’: Hispanic Caucus chairman demands DHS chief ‘resign in disgrace’

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Immigrant rights groups and Texas Democrats are urging a review on the legality of Trump administration immigration policies after a government watchdog found two of the White House’s top immigration officials are not legally eligible to serve in their respective positions.

The Government Accountability Office on Friday determined that Chad Wolf, acting Department of Homeland Security secretary, and Ken Cuccinelli, a senior official performing deputy secretary duties, aren’t legally qualified to hold those posts.

United We Dream, an advocacy group pushing for immigration reform, said the GAO’s conclusion calls into question the latest guidance from the DHS on the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program that was initiated in 2012.

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2020 Election

Lots of red hats — but not many COVID masks — at Bedminster ‘Cops for Trump’ event with the president

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Enhanced unemployment benefits have expired and there is still no deal on the next COVID-19 stimulus package, but the president of the United States left Washington, DC on Friday for yet another weekend at Trump National Golf Club Bedminster.

"This weekend’s trip to Trump National Bedminster is the president’s 23rd since taking office, and will increase his golf-related taxpayer tab to $142 million in travel and security expenses," HuffPost White House corresponded S.V. Dáte reported Friday. "Trump has already spent 268 days on golf courses that he owns in his 1,303 days in office, of which 85 have been at Bedminster."

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2020 Election

Trump declares that Fox News is ‘no longer the big deal’ in the 2020 presidential campaign

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Donald Trump on Friday reflected on what he sees as the key differences between his 2016 and 2020 presidential campaigns.

"The biggest difference between the Presidential Race in 2020 and that of 2016 is the 2016 candidate, Crooked Hillary Clinton, was much smarter and sharper than Slow Joe, we have even more ENTHUSIASM now, and [Fox News] has become politically correct and no longer the big deal!" Trump tweeted after arriving at his Bedminster Golf Club for the weekend.

Trump has grown increasingly frustrated by the network and its polls, which gave him more bad news on Thursday.

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