Two Americans, one Russian blast off for ISS from Kazakhstan

NASA astronauts Richard Arnold (L), Andrew Feustel (R), and Roscosmos cosmonaut Oleg Artemyev (C) pose for a picture after a press conference at the Russian-leased Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on March 20, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 21 March 2018
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Two Americans, one Russian blast off for ISS from Kazakhstan

BAIKONUR, Kazakhstan: Two astronauts, a cosmonaut and a ball set to be used in the forthcoming football World Cup in Russia blasted off Wednesday for a two-day flight to the International Space Station.
NASA’s Drew Feustel and Richard Arnold lifted off from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan for a five month mission in a Soyuz MS-08 under the command of Russian colleague Oleg Artemyev at the expected time of 1744 GMT.
All three crew members have been in space before although NASA duo Feustel, 52, and Arnold, 54, have never served on a long-duration spaceflight and have just 40 days in orbit between them.
Artemyev, who is commanding a Soyuz craft for the first time, spent 169 days at the International Space Station during his previous mission in 2014.
In the build up to the launch, Russian media coverage homed in on Artemyev taking to the orbital laboratory a football that is expected to kick off the 2018 World Cup the country is hosting this summer.
“We are taking a ball with us,” Artemyev told a pre-flight press conference on Tuesday.
“Possibly the one that will be used in the first game,” said the 47-year-old, who attended school in the steppe town right next to the cosmodrome in central Kazakhstan.
His colleague from the Russian space agency Anton Shkaplerov is expected to take the ball back down to earth less than two weeks before the national team take on Saudi Arabia in the tournament opener on June 14.
The three men will join Expedition 55 commander Shkaplerov NASA’s Scott Tingle and Norishige Kanai of the Japanese space agency at the orbital lab on Friday.
The ISS laboratory, a rare example of American and Russian cooperation, has been orbiting Earth at about 28,000 kilometers per hour since 1998.


Samsung receives reports of Galaxy Fold screen problems, says to investigate

Updated 18 April 2019
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Samsung receives reports of Galaxy Fold screen problems, says to investigate

  • Some tech reviewers of the Galaxy Fold said the phone malfunctioned after only a day or two of use
  • The splashy $1,980 phone resembles a conventional smartphone but opens like a book to reveal a second display

NEW YORK/SEOUL: South Korea’s Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. said it has received “a few” reports of damage to the main display of samples of its upcoming foldable smartphone and that it will investigate.
Some tech reviewers of the Galaxy Fold, a splashy $1,980 phone that opens into a tablet and that goes on sale in the United States on April 26, said the phone malfunctioned after only a day or two of use.
“We will thoroughly inspect these units in person to determine the cause of the matter,” Samsung said in a statement, noting that a limited number of early Galaxy Fold samples were provided to media for review.
The problem seems to be related to the unit’s screen either cracking or flickering, according to Twitter posts by technology journalists from Bloomberg, The Verge and CNBC who received the phone this week for review purposes.
Samsung, which has advertised the phone as “the future,” said removing a protective layer of its main display might cause damage, and that it will clearly inform customers such.
The company said it has closed pre-orders for the Galaxy Fold due to “high demand.” It told Reuters there is no change to its release schedule following the malfunction reports.
The South Korean company’s Galaxy Fold resembles a conventional smartphone but opens like a book to reveal a second display the size of a small tablet at 7.3 inches (18.5 cm).
Although Galaxy Fold and Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd’s Mate X foldable phones are not expected to be big sellers, the new designs were hailed as framing the future of smartphones this year in a field that has seen few surprises since Apple Inc. introduced the screen slab iPhone in 2007.
The problems with the new phone drew comparisons to Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 phone in 2016. Battery and design flaws in the Note 7 led to some units catching fire or exploding, forcing Samsung to recall and cancel sales of the phone. The recall wiped out nearly all of the profit in Samsung’s mobile division in the third quarter of 2016.
Samsung has said it plans to churn out at least 1 million foldable Galaxy Fold handsets globally, compared with its total estimated 300 million mobile phones it produces annually.
Reviewers of the new Galaxy Fold said they did not know what the problem was and Samsung did not provide answers.
Bloomberg reporter Mark Gurman tweeted: “The screen on my Galaxy Fold review unit is completely broken and unusable just two days in. Hard to know if this is widespread or not.”
According to Gurman’s tweets, he removed a plastic layer on the screen that was not meant to be removed and the phone malfunctioned afterwards.
Dieter Bohn, executive editor of The Verge, said that a “small bulge” appeared on the crease of the phone screen, which appeared to be something pressing from underneath the screen. Bohn said Samsung replaced his test phone but did not offer a reason for the problem.
“It is very troubling,” Bohn told Reuters, adding that he did not remove the plastic screen cover.
Steve Kovach, tech editor at CNBC.com tweeted a video of half of his phone’s screen flickering after using it for just a day.