NASA has selected three U.S. companies to design and develop human landing systems for the agency's Artemis program, one of which will land the first woman and next man on the surface of the moon by 2024.
The three companies are Blue Origin of Kent, Washington; Dynetics of Huntsville, Alabama; and SpaceX of Hawthorne, California, according to a release of the agency on Thursday night.
The human landing system awards are firm-fixed price, milestone-based contracts, and the total combined value for all awarded contracts is 967 million U.S. dollars for the 10-month base period, the release said.
"With these contract awards, America is moving forward with the final step needed to land astronauts on the Moon by 2024, including the incredible moment when we will see the first woman set foot on the lunar surface," said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine.
"This is the first time since the Apollo era that NASA has direct funding for a human landing system, and now we have companies on contract to do the work for the Artemis program," he said.
NASA's commercial partners will refine their lander concepts through the contract base period ending in February 2021. During that time, the agency will evaluate which of the contractors will perform initial demonstration missions.
NASA will later select firms for development and maturation of sustainable lander systems followed by sustainable demonstration missions. NASA intends to procure transportation to the lunar surface as commercial space transportation services after these demonstrations are complete, according to the release.
Charged with returning to the moon in the next four years, NASA's Artemis program will reveal new knowledge about the moon, Earth, and the origins in the solar system.
The human landing system is a vital part of NASA's deep space exploration plans, along with the Space Launch System rocket, Orion spacecraft, and Gateway.
A hotel in Tokyo is using robot staff to attend mildly sick coronavirus patients, as part of a plan to free up beds at hospitals struggling to accommodate severe cases.
Pepper, a talking robot, greets new guests at the lobby, while Whiz, a cleaning robot, operates in areas where patients pick up meals and other daily necessities to reduce infection risks for human staff.Pepper, wearing a white surgical mask, greeted Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike as she walked into the hotel during Friday's demonstration. Pepper also reminds patients to check their temperature and rest well.
Guests can also access health management applications on computers and tablets to record their temperatures and symptoms.
The robots, made by SoftBank Robotics, will also be deployed at other hotels rented by Tokyo's metropolitan government for patients with no or mild symptoms. So far, Tokyo has secured five hotels and aims to increase the number of rooms from the current 1,500 to 2,800.
The hotels are also staffed by doctors and nurses, but officials hope the robots can cheer up an otherwise lonely time for guests who are isolated in single rooms for their weekslong stay. Japan has 14,281 confirmed cases, with 432 deaths, according to the health ministry.
In other developments around the Asia-Pacific region:
— JAPAN TO EXTEND EMERGENCY: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Friday that the coronavirus state of emergency that is scheduled to end next week will continue for roughly another month. Abe, citing a report by a government task force, said the country's medical system is still under severe pressure even though Japan has averted an explosion of infections as occurred in many other countries. "We still need you to continue cooperating, and that's the experts' view," Abe said. The state of emergency is voluntary and only requests social distancing and remote work rather than orders that actions be taken. Health experts worry that the lack of urgency doesn't reflect the serious risk in a country with the world's oldest population.
— INDIA EXTENDS LOCKDOWN: India has decided to extend the lockdown of its 1.3 billion people for two more weeks, with some relaxations. The government has identified "red" and "orange" zones where coronavirus cases have been found, where stricter measures will continue. In low-risk "green" zones, some movement of people and most economic activities will be allowed. Although the number of red zones has dipped since the lockdown, the number of green zones has also declined. Most of India's major cities, including New Delhi and Mumbai, are red zones. India has confirmed over 35,000 cases, with 1,147 deaths. The lockdown had been scheduled to end on May 3.
— MALAYSIA TO PARTLY REOPEN ECONOMY: Malaysia will allow most business activities to reopen from Monday. Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin says the economy needs to be revived as billions have been lost during the partial lockdown that began in March. Most businesses, including restaurants, can open with social distancing and health screenings. Mass gatherings are still banned, keeping schools, cinemas and worship houses shut and prohibiting group sports. Muhyiddin said Muslims cannot return to their villages to celebrate when Ramadan ends, as inter-state travel will remain banned. Daily infections have dropped to double-digits in the past two weeks, with Malaysia now recording 6,002 infections with 102 deaths.
— FORBIDDEN CITY REOPENS: Beijing's parks and museums including the ancient Forbidden City reopened to the public after being closed for months by the coronavirus pandemic. The Forbidden City, past home to China's emperors, is allowing just 5,000 visitors daily, down from 80,000. Parks are allowing people to visit at 30% of the usual capacity. China on Friday reported 12 new cases of the virus, six of them brought from overseas, and no new deaths for the 16th day. It has reported a total of 4,633 deaths from the virus among about 83,000 cases.
— SKOREA'S CASES REMAIN LOW: South Korea reported nine new cases, raising its total to 10,774 infections with 248 deaths. Its domestic cases have slowed, and infections linked to overseas travel are dropping as well after border controls were strengthened. That has allowed the government to relax social distancing guidelines as it shifts its focus to easing the shock on the economy.
— THAI AIRLINES RESUME SOME FLIGHTS: Domestic airlines in Thailand are resuming some flights as half the country's provincial airports reopen. The Department of Airports said 14 of the 28 airports it oversees reopened Friday. Domestic flights also resumed at international gateways, including Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang airports and Chiang Mai airport in the north. The airlines include Nok Air, Thai AirAsia, Thai Lion Air and Thai Vietjet Air. Don Mueang airport plans to handle 150 arrivals and departures Friday, compared to four or five in recent weeks. International passenger flight arrivals remain banned. All airports must implement social distancing measures and passengers must wear masks.
— CHINA BOYCOTT THREAT WORRIES AUSTRALIAN BUSINESS: China's warning of trade repercussions from Australia's push for an independent inquiry into the beginnings of the coronavirus has rattled Australian business leaders. China has accused Australia of parroting the United States in its call for an inquiry independent of the World Health Organization to determine the origins of the virus and the early response. Chinese Ambassador Cheng Jingye warned this week that pursuing an inquiry could spark a Chinese consumer boycott.
If you are a novice in the field of graphic design, start with this one! This course will introduce you to the basic principles of graphic design, like skills of typography, ethics of color and pattern, basic principles of shape, image-making techniques, composition, visual contrast, etc. The lessons are taught through visual examples. After the successful completion of this course, you will get a clear concept of the core set of graphic design skills. It would help you to identify which sector of graphics design attracts you most to get further specialized knowledge. Click on the link below to join this course.
Do you have a passion for digital painting, but don’t have an opportunity to learn yet? If yes, jump to this free Udemy Graphic Design course. This course will teach you the basic lessons of Adobe Photoshop software. Taking this course you will learn the core functions of Photoshop along with the application of the key tools. The complex and wide-ranging interface of Photoshop may scare novice graphic designers. But don’t worry! This course aims to navigate the various functionalities of Photoshop through easy-to-follow lessons sequentially. Click on the link below to join this Udemy course.
After learning the basic principle of Graphic design, you can get specialized in some practical skills to get hired on different freelance online marketplaces. For instance, many professions and business owners tend to hire designers online to design their business cards. SkillShare offers you a free course that can teach you the nuts-and-bolts techniques of creating a business card in Adobe Photoshop. Going through all the classes, you get to learn how to design a business card ranging from developing initial concepts, designing templates, creating the frontside and backside of a business card, and displaying the digital version of the final product. Click on the link below to join this course by SkillShare.
If you are eager to learn Adobe Illustrator, but a bit scared of it, then this course is for you! Illustrator is a worldwide popular Graphic Designing software, which is applied for designing logos, typography, vector images, figure/cartoon characters, T-shirt, infographics, etc. This course has been wittily divided into a bunch of lessons with an aim to teach you the application of diverse tools dip-down the Adobe illustrator software. For instance, you will learn the application of drawing tools, pen tool, paint tool, brush tool, and many more applications. Click on the following link to join this course free of cost.
When you have the fundamental knowledge of Adobe Illustrator software, and ready to learn any practical skill, logo design can be a great option to start with. Udemy offers a valuable course on how to create a professional logo in Illustrator. Attaining this course you will learn the basic components, concept, design ideas, techniques, and methodical approach to create logos. The lessons will help you to decode some critical world-famous logos to understand their meaning and functionality. Moreover, this smart online course will teach diverse techniques like applying the right typeface, making simple shapes, adding color, texture, shine, edges, space, and transparency. Click the link below to join this course.
Want to design a T-shirt that can stand out from the crowd? Today T-shirt designing is a lucrative profession for graphic designers. Learning this skill you can sell your T-shirt designs online to various local and international marketplaces like T-Spring, Amazon, eBay, etc. The renowned online learning platform SkillShare offers a resourceful course with the purpose to teach people about how to design T-shirts in Adobe Illustrator free of cost. However, this course requires the attendees to have fundamental knowledge regarding Illustrator software. Click on the following link to join this course.
Whether you design a logo or business card, the incompetent application of typography can suck the beauty and merit of your painstaking design work. On the contrary right typography can make an ordinary project look more unique, pleasant, readable, and smart. If you want to take graphic design as a career, you must have knowledge about different kinds of Typography and the ways how they work. Thanks again to SkillShare for designing a course that can teach you the principles, composition, and functionalities of Typography. Click on the link below to join this free SkillShare Graphic Design course.
Adobe InDesign is a renowned Graphic Designing software that is used to design the layout of brochures, eBOOKs, online magazines, etc. SkillShare has designed a free online course that aims to teach you the fundamentals of Adobe InDesign software. Taking this course you will learn the techniques of creating a layout of threaded frames, where you can import text and make the text flow nicely through different columns. Furthermore, this course will teach you practical techniques like adding texts, images, and static captions into the grid of frames. What is more? You will get to learn color palette application utilizing the Color Theme Tool of InDesign software. Clicking the following link, you can join this course.
So far we have shared a bunch of free graphic design courses online by Udemy, SkillShare, and Coursera. Taking these courses you can open a new door to your career. With specialized knowledge about Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, or Adobe InDesign, you can apply for a wide range of Graphic Design jobs and earn money. To participate in these free Graphic Design courses, all you need is access to a laptop or PC with a stable internet connection. Happy learning!
Popular social media platform Instagram has launched a new tool in a bid to support small businesses (SMBs) from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka during this global pandemic.
Small businesses in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka can now share food orders in Instagram Stories and as a button on their profiles, said a press release from Instagram.
The platform opened the tool on April 25, it said.
“We want to empower people to support their favourite businesses as many of the SMBs are facing various challenges during COVID-19,” it said adding that every sale helps right now.
"We want to do our part in helping SMBs stay open, keep in touch with customers, and stay informed on how to navigate this crisis. This new tool makes it easier for people to make delivery food orders from small businesses on Instagram,” said Kaylie Smith, head of market operations, Instagram APAC.
More tools to roll out in the coming weeks to support the businesses that people love in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, she added.
People in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka can order delivery & take-away food through Instagram.
Procedure of taking special facilities from Instagram—
Business accounts can activate an “Order Food” button on their Instagram profile by adding their delivery partner link in Settings, under Action Buttons.
Businesses can also add an “Order Food” sticker to their Instagram Stories, which is now available in their Stories tray.
People can tap on the Stories sticker or profile button, and will be taken to the food order platform to complete their purchase.
People can also re-share the Stories stickers in their own Stories to encourage their followers to support a small business.
An unmanned Russian cargo capsule docked with the International Space Station, bringing more than 2 tons of supplies to the three-person crew.
The Progress spacecraft docked at 0512 GMT Saturday, about 3 1/2 hours after blasting off from Russia's Baikonur launch complex in Kazakhstan.
The ship carried fuel, water, food, medicine and other supplies.
There are three astronauts aboard the space station: Russia's Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner, and Chris Cassidy of the United States.