European Space Agency inks deal to deploy massive space pincers to clean up orbit

The European Space Agency (ESA) has inked a deal with ClearSpace SA to clean up orbit with craft equipped with pincers designed to grab space junk. 

As space agencies and private companies go beyond research and start exploring the potential of commercial space and tourism, the space ‘junk’ we are accumulating will only grow.

This is a severe issue, considering the smallest satellite or piece of defunct technology zooming around at thousands of meters per second, if it collides with craft or other objects, can cause massive damage that also sends additional debris into space. 

To tackle the problem, the ESA has signed an €86 million contract with startup ClearSpace to fund and launch debris-removal missions. 

Due to launch in 2025, the first active debris removal mission, dubbed ClearSpace-1, will propel a craft into space equipped with pincers able to capture satellites. In this test, the ESA says that ClearSpace craft will “rendezvous, capture and bring down for reentry a Vespa payload adapter.”



The adapter, a leftover from a 2013 mission, has a mass of 112kg and is roughly the size of a small satellite. 

“Cleaning space is no longer optional,” ClearSpace says in its mission statement. “Removing human-made space debris has become necessary and is our responsibility to ensure that tomorrow’s generations can continue benefiting from space infrastructures and exploration.”

ClearSpace was selected out of 12 candidates in 2019 by the ESA to develop a commercial debris removal solution for space. 

The ESA is only partially funding the mission and the agency intends to raise the rest of the mission cost from commercial investors interested in the technology. 

See also: Intel sends AI to space in launch of a satellite the size of a cereal box

According to the ESA’s latest Space Environment report, there are over 25,000 objects in space — including satellites and various hunks of debris — and rocket bodies, upper stages leftover from launches, and malfunctioning satellites that can’t be deorbited are forms of space junk causing the most concern. 

The majority of objects on the list were launched before 2000 and modern space junk mitigation guidelines were adopted by space agencies. 

In October, IBM revealed a separate project designed to tackle the emerging problem of space junk. A new open source venture between the tech giant and Dr. Moriba Jah at the University of Texas at Austin is focused on predicting where space objects are in orbit, and where they are likely to go. 

By accurately predicting future orbit positions through the creation of machine learning (ML)-based algorithms, this could help companies such as ClearSpace track junk and clean up orbit more effectively. 

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Europe signs $102M deal to bring space trash home

BERLIN — The European Space Agency says it is signing a 86 million-euro ($102 million) contract with a Swiss start-up company to bring a large piece of orbital trash back to Earth.

The agency said Thursday that the deal with ClearSpace SA will lead to the “first active debris removal mission” in 2025, in which a custom-made spacecraft will capture and bring down part of a rocket once used to deliver a satellite into orbit.

Experts have long warned that hundreds of thousands of pieces of space debris circling the planet — including an astronaut’s lost mirror — pose a threat to functioning satellites and even the International Space Station. Several teams are working on ways to tackle the problem.

The object being removed from orbit is a so-called Vespa payload adapter that was used to hold and then release a satellite in 2013. It weighs about 112 kilograms (247 pounds).

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Texas State University football player shot dead in drug deal gone bad

A football player at Texas State University was shot dead in a drug deal gone bad, police said Wednesday.

Khambrail Winters, a 20-year-old defensive back for the Texas State Bobcats, was found with a gunshot wound to the chest at an apartment complex in San Marcos Tuesday at around 9:15 p.m., police said in a statement.

Detectives said that Winters and two others, Enalisa Blackman and Michael Ifeanacho, had gone to The Lodge Apartments that night to buy a couple of ounces of marijuana.

“During the drug deal, Winters was shot and died on scene,” San Marcos police said.

Blackman and Ifeanacho, both 20, were arrested and each charged with capital murder in the student’s death. Both were being held in the Hays County Jail.

Texas State football coach Jake Spavital said he shared news of Winters’ death with his teammates on Wednesday morning and that they were “deeply saddened.”

“We will stand together as a team and support one another during this difficult time,” Spavital said in a statement. “Our thoughts and condolences are with Khambrail’s family and loved ones.”

The team also issued a statement, telling his family that “we cannot possibly know what you’re going through, you are in our thoughts as you go through this incredibly tough time.”

“Remember to tell people you love them every day. Once a Bobcat, always a Bobcat,” the statement said.

Winters, a Houston native, didn’t play in any games in the 2020 season as he was recovering from a torn ACL he suffered in fall camp, according to The Austin American-Statesman.

He was named an honorable mention at the All-Sun Belt conference in 2019, and played in 11 games and started in nine contests, according to the Texas State football website.

Texas Longhorns wide receiver Brennan Eagles, who was a former teammate of Winters at Alief Taylor High School in Houston, also mourned his death.

“God watch over my brothers in this world full of hate that we live in 💔. Love you kham,” Eagles wrote on Twitter.

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Glenview teenager Queeva makes big career move with Nashville publishing deal

So many have traveled the road to Nashville.

Sitting in the back seat, just another teenage girl with another tantalizing dream watching the miles go by outside her window, praying that someone in Music City would give her the chance to help her make her music dreams come true.

The singer/songwriter in this case is Queeva McDonagh.

Donning a light blue crop top with ruffled sleeves, the Glenview resident — who goes professionally by the singular Queeva — found herself in Nashville in September seated at a conference table signing a a publishing deal contract with Songs of New Town.

“I just can’t read or understand contracts, so I’m hoping that’s what I signed,” the 17-year-old says with a hearty laugh during a recent phone chat just days after returning from yet another trip to Nashville, this time to film a music video at a local roller rink. “Those contracts just have too many words if you ask me.”

It’s in fact her words and her songs and her innate way of staying humble that as her star continues to rise that have allowed Queeva to begin her trek to become a country music star.

“Oh, she never came in here saying she wanted to be a star,” says Chicago area talent mentor Maggie Malone, who helped direct her career starting at the age of 6. “She came in here saying that she wanted to lead a normal life while developing her talents.”

It was that poise. Malone says, that floored her from the very beginning.

“She just had so much raw talent,” says Malone, who quickly helped Queeva land some acting gigs in shows such as “Chicago Fire.” “She had natural abilities that she was just born with. She always had this intensity to her and a focus on what she wanted to accomplish.”

While acting and modeling seemed to be Queeva’s earliest creative pursuits, it was music that seemed to speak to her soul. One of six children in a classic Irish clan, Queeva has music running through her veins, as her grandmother was an accomplished singer in Ireland. The Glenbard South High School student has long spent her summers there, with her name itself having roots meaning “gentle,” “beautiful” and “precious.”

“I think my dad was the one that first saw that I had a passion for music,” recalls Queeva, who spoke Gaelic as a child while being raised on a hearty dose of Randy Travis and Johnny Cash. “When I was 3 years old, I would sing full Dolly Parton songs. My parents thought it was pretty unique that I could remember all of the words and stay on key at the same time.”

At the age of 9, Queeva started listening to country songstress Taylor Swift and took her first trip to Nashville under the watchful eye of her mentor, country star Jamie O’Neal.

In middle school, Queeva began juggling time in school and time in Nashville.

“I don’t think a lot of my teachers

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Syracuse University alum Craig Carton finalizing deal to return to WFAN

The prodigal son is about to return home.

Newsday reports Syracuse University alumnus Craig Carton is close to sealing the deal which will put him back on the airwaves with WFAN.

Barring a late contractual glitch, WFAN likely will rehire Craig Carton in the coming weeks and install him in afternoon drive time, by early January at the latest and perhaps sooner than that, sources said.

Carton’s return will come as no surprise. His career has been trending in that direction ever since his release from federal prison.

Carton resigned from WFAN shortly after his arrest in 2017. He was convicted for his role in a Ponzi-like ticket brokering scheme in November 2018 after misappropriating investment funds to pay off gambling debts. Carton was sentenced to three-and-a-half years in federal prison in April 2019 and was released in June 2020 on good behavior.

News of Carton’s potential WFAN return surfaced before HBO’s “Wild Card: The Downfall of a Radio Loudmouth,” which aired earlier this month. At the end of the documentary is a final scene informing the viewer Carton has “negotiated a radio comeback” and “vows to be as outrageous as ever on air.”

Carton’s anticipated return is expected to lead to more musical chairs among WFAN’s daily lineup. While Carton’s former partner, Boomer Esiason, is expected to remain with Gregg Gianotti on the morning show, Carton’s return is expected to lead to Joe Benigno’s retirement while Evan Roberts shifts back to middays, possibly teaming with Maggie Gray at the expense of Marc Malusis.

Carton graduated from SU’s Newhouse School in 1991 with a degree in broadcast journalism.

(NJ Advance Media’s James Kratch contributed to this report.)

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Opus One Renegotiates Its Fecteau Property Deal and Reiterates Its Confidence in the Exploration Potential of the Project for Gold

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MONTREAL, Oct. 15, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — OPUS ONE Resources Inc. (the “Company” or “OPUS ONE”) – (TSX Venture Exchange: OOR), is pleased to announce that it has successfully amended the original option agreement on the Fecteau property in order to give the Company more time to complete its exploration effort on this strategically located property. For more details, see news release dated from June 27th, 2016.

The Fecteau property consists of 84 claims, located in the Urban-Barry greenstone belt, some 25 km to the east of Osisko’s Windfall deposit. It covers approximately 10 km of an east-west striking felsic volcanic package ending at both ends with a fold. Although the felsic package is of interest for base metal exploration (based on numerous gossans along the top of the unit), the overall environment, including the two folds at both ends of the felsic package, is particularly favorable for gold deposits.

In recent years, Opus One completed two programs of till sampling as well as lithogeochemical sampling, prospecting, trenching and limited drilling on a narrow quartz vein found at surface. Results are pending from the laboratory for the lithogeochemical sampling program. However, partial results are available for the till sampling programs. These programs outlined four gold target areas that have not been explored by drilling yet. These four unexplored gold targets are clearly significant and more exploration, in the form of ground geophysics and drilling, are planned for the coming year. The gold anomalies in the till (chemical analysis and gold counts) compare advantageously in intensity and quality with other anomalies associated with known deposits in the Abitibi and James Bay.

Based on these highly positive results, the Company decided to present to the property owners a proposition to amend the initial agreement in order to give the Company more time to complete its exploration effort. Under the amendment, the Company has agreed to pay the property owners an amount of $50,000, half of which is payable in common shares of the Company at a deemed price of $0.08 per share (312,500 common shares), as consideration for the amendment. Furthermore, as per the amendment, the Company now has until December 31, 2023 to acquire a 100 % interest in and to the Fecteau Property by completing its remaining payment and exploration expenditure obligations under the option agreement. As such, the Company’s remaining option payments total $250,000 (of which an amount of $75,000 is payable on or before January 31, 2021) and exploration expenditures commitments total $500,000 (of which an amount of $150,000 is to be incurred on or before December 31, 2021). Also, the parties have agreed that 50% of the remaining option payments to be completed by the Company under the option agreement, as amended, shall be payable in common shares of the Company at a price per share equal to the closing price

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