Tag Archives: mission

U.S. Closes Jerusalem Consulate and Downgrades Its Diplomatic Mission to Palestine

U.S. Closes Jerusalem Consulate and Downgrades Its Diplomatic Mission to PalestineThe United States has officially shuttered its consulate in Jerusalem, downgrading the status of its main diplomatic mission to the Palestinians by folding it into the U.S. Embassy to Israel.



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U.S. Palestinian mission in Jerusalem to merge with Israel embassy on Monday

U.S. Palestinian mission in Jerusalem to merge with Israel embassy on MondayThe decision to create a single diplomatic mission in Jerusalem was announced last October by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and had been widely expected for early March. The State Department announcement on Sunday gave the official date for the move. The planned merger has raised Palestinians’ fears that the Trump administration is downgrading the handling of their concerns in the disputed city of Jerusalem, home to sites holy to Judaism, Islam and Christianity.



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US decision to merge Palestinian mission with Israeli embassy sparks anger

US decision to merge Palestinian mission with Israeli embassy sparks angerThe US has officially closed its consulate in Jerusalem, which served Palestinians, and has folded it into the US embassy to Israel. The consulate functioned as a de facto embassy to the Palestinians for decades, but now that mission will be handled by a Palestinian affairs unit under the command of the embassy.



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Flag comes down on U.S. Palestinian mission in Jerusalem

Flag comes down on U.S. Palestinian mission in JerusalemThe Palestinians, who have boycotted the Trump administration since it shifted long-standing U.S. policy in December 2017 by recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, voiced anger at what they see as Washington’s latest move against them. Whereas previously the consulate reported on Palestinian matters directly to Washington, its staff have now been repurposed in the embassy as a “Palestinian Affairs Unit” under the U.S. ambassador to Israel, David Friedman. Israeli-Palestinian talks collapsed in 2014 and the White House says it intends to present a new peace plan after a national election in Israel in April.



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Israel confirms Syria strike, ends mission on Lebanon border

Israel confirms Syria strike, ends mission on Lebanon borderJERUSALEM (AP) — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday confirmed that Israel has struck hundreds of Iranian and Hezbollah targets in Syria, including a weapons facility in a weekend airstrike, as the military announced the discovery of a sixth and final tunnel dug by the Lebanese militant group for cross-border attacks.



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Israel confirms Syria strike, ends mission on Lebanon border

Israel confirms Syria strike, ends mission on Lebanon borderJERUSALEM (AP) — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday confirmed that Israel has struck hundreds of Iranian and Hezbollah targets in Syria, including a weapons facility in a weekend airstrike, as the military announced the discovery of a sixth and final tunnel dug by the Lebanese militant group for cross-border attacks.



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China lunar mission: probe makes historic landing on far side of moon

China lunar mission: probe makes historic landing on far side of moonA Chinese spacecraft has made the first successful landing ever on the far side of the moon, a mission seen as an important step as the country looks to push forward its space programme.  The lunar explorer Chang'e 4 touched down at 10:26 am and relayed a photo of the "dark side" of the moon to the Queqiao satellite, the official China Central Television reported on Thursday. The moon is tidally locked to Earth, rotating at the same rate that it orbits our planet, so the far side – or the "dark side" – is never visible from Earth. Previous spacecraft have seen the far side of the moon, but none has landed on it. The landing "lifted the mysterious veil" from the far side of the moon, and "opened a new chapter in human lunar exploration", the broadcaster said.  China launched the Chang'e-4 probe earlier this month, carried by a Long March-3B rocket. It includes a lander and a rover to explore the surface of the moon. An image taken by China's Chang'e-4 probe after its landing Credit: AP "The far side of the moon is a rare quiet place that is free from interference of radio signals from Earth," mission spokesman Yu Guobin said, according to Xinhua. "This probe can fill the gap of low-frequency observation in radio astronomy and will provide important information for studying the origin of stars and nebula evolution." Unlike the near side of the moon that offers many flat areas to touch down on, the far side is mountainous and rugged. The tasks of the Chang'e-4 include astronomical observation, surveying the moon's terrain, landform and mineral composition, and measuring the neutron radiation and neutral atoms to study the environment on the far side of the moon. The near side (l) and far side (r) of the Moon show marked differences China aims to catch up with Russia and the United States to become a major space power by 2030. It is planning to launch construction of its own manned space station next year. However, while China has insisted its ambitions are purely peaceful, the US Defence Department has accused it of pursuing activities aimed at preventing other nations from using space-based assets during a crisis. Apart from its civilian ambitions, Beijing has tested anti-satellite missiles and the US Congress has banned Nasa from bilateral cooperation with its Chinese counterpart due to security concerns. A simulated landing process of Chang'e-4 lunar probe is seen through the monitor at Beijing Aerospace Control Center in Beijing Credit: AP The United States is so far the only country to have landed humans on the moon. US President Donald Trump said in 2017 he wants to return astronauts to the lunar surface and establish a foundation there for an eventual mission to Mars. It was not until 1959 that the Soviet Union captured the first images of the moon's mysterious and heavily cratered "dark side". No lander or rover has ever previously touched the surface there, and it is no easy technological feat – China has been preparing for this moment for years. The first image of the moon's far side taken by China's Chang'e-4 probe Credit: Barcroft images A major challenge for such a mission was communicating with the robotic lander: as there is no direct "line of sight" for signals to the far side of the moon. As a solution, China in May blasted the Queqiao ("Magpie Bridge") satellite into the moon's orbit, positioning it at a 'Lagrange point' so that it can relay data and commands between the lander and Earth. A Lagrange point is a location in space where the combined gravitational forces of two large bodies, such as Earth and the sun or Earth and the moon, equal the centrifugal force felt by a much smaller third body. The interaction of the forces creates a point of equilibrium where a spacecraft may be "parked" to make observations. In another extreme hurdle, during the lunar night – which lasts 14 Earth days – temperatures drop to as low as minus 173 degrees Celsius (minus 279 Fahrenheit). Long March-3B rocket carrying Chang'e 4 lunar probe takes off from the Xichang Satellite Launch Centre Credit: Reuters During the lunar day, also lasting 14 Earth days, temperatures soar as high as 127 C (261 F). The rover's instruments have to withstand those fluctuations and it has to generate enough energy to sustain it during the long night. The pioneering landing demonstrates China's growing ambitions as a space power.  In 2013, Chang'e 3 was the first spacecraft to land on the moon since the Soviet Union's Luna 24 in 1976. China plans to send its Chang'e 5 probe to the moon next year and have it return to Earth with samples – the first time that will have been done since 1976.



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NASA space probe 'phones home' in landmark mission to solar system's edge

NASA space probe 'phones home' in landmark mission to solar system's edgeThe nuclear-powered space probe has traveled 4 billion miles (6.4 billion km) to come within 2,200 miles (3,540 km) of Ultima Thule, an apparently peanut-shaped, 20-mile-long (32-km-long) space rock in the uncharted heart of the Kuiper Belt. Engineers at Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in Maryland cheered when the spacecraft’s first signals came through the National Aeronautic and Space Agency’s Deep Space Network at 10:28 a.m. EST (1528 GMT). “We have a healthy spacecraft,” Mission Operations Manager Alice Bowman declared.



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NASA space probe 'phones home' in landmark mission to solar system's edge

NASA space probe 'phones home' in landmark mission to solar system's edgeThe nuclear-powered space probe has traveled 4 billion miles (6.4 billion km) to come within 2,200 miles (3,540 km) of Ultima Thule, an apparently peanut-shaped, 20-mile-long (32-km-long) space rock in the uncharted heart of the Kuiper Belt. Engineers at Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in Maryland cheered when the spacecraft’s first signals came through the National Aeronautic and Space Agency’s Deep Space Network at 10:28 a.m. EST (1528 GMT).



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NASA probe believed to have passed distant space rock on landmark mission  

NASA probe believed to have passed distant space rock on landmark mission  The body is farther from Earth than any other that has had such a close encounter with a NASA probe, scientists believe. The New Horizons probe was slated to reach the “third zone” in the uncharted heart of the Kuiper Belt at 12:33 a.m. Eastern. Scientists will not have confirmation of its successful arrival until the probe communicates its whereabouts through NASA’s Deep Space Network at 10:28 a.m. Eastern, about 10 hours later.  Once it enters the peripheral layer of the belt, containing icy bodies and leftover fragments from the solar system’s creation, the probe will get its first close-up glance of Ultima Thule, a cool mass shaped like a giant peanut, using seven on-board instruments.



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