DragonX Capsule Docks with ISS
The Dragon capsule launched Sunday, October 7 has successfully docked with the International Space Station (ISS). The mission continued despite the unexpected mid-flight malfunction of one of the Falcon 9 rocket’s nine engines, according to the SpaceX website. After the rockets fell away, the capsule followed the ISS in its Earth orbit on a slow approach. The New York Times reports that the capsule was successfully maneuvered into place with a robot arm and docked at around 9 a.m. EDT
Wednesday, October 10.
Since NASA has discontinued the space shuttle program, the responsibility for moving cargo to and from the ISS has fallen into the hands of private companies. The first commercial mission to the ISS took place in May. It was a full-on test run for SpaceX technology: a Falcon 9 rocket launching a Dragon space capsule. After a successful run, a capsule containing more precious cargo was launched.
After the astronauts unpack and repack the Dragon capsule, it will go hurtling through the atmosphere and land in the ocean. It is scheduled to splash down on Earth again October 28.
Chávez Wins Election by Smallest Margin Yet
Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez won his third presidential election Sunday, October 7, with 55 percent of the vote. According to the New York Times, this margin pales in comparison to his 2006 victory, where he captured nearly 63 percent of the vote. In his upcoming term, Chávez promises to continue his “21st century” brand of socialism, but did not delve into specific policy goals.
His opponent Henrique Capriles Radonski represented an amalgam of 23 parties that oppose the United Socialist Party of Venezuela, which Chávez founded in 2006. Because of the diverse interests of the opposition parties, it is difficult to unify their votes. Additionally, Chávez used some of the country’s financial resources in his campaign.
Despite years of growth throughout Chávez’s incumbency due to ever-rising oil prices, many economists predict that the Venezuelan economy has rough times ahead. They credit the current positive growth to increased government spending. Chávez attempted to secure votes before the election by increasing funding for many social programs, according to the New York Times.
Pakistani Girl Shot for Advocating Education
On Tuesday, October 9, a Taliban attack left a 14-year-old Pakistani activist critically wounded. According to CBS News, Malala Yousufzai was shot in Mingora, Pakistan while on a bus home from school. Malala’s advocacy for female education and vocal disapproval of the Taliban made her a target. According to the New York Times, a Taliban spokesman justified the attack by accusing Malala of spreading Western culture in Pakistan.
Malala was well known before the attack, reported the New York Times. The Taliban controlled the Swat Valley where Malala lives from 2007 to 2009. During this time, they mandated that girls’ schools be closed. BBC Urdu, a local radio station broadcasting in Pakistan’s official language, published a journal she wrote about the mandate.
The nation has responded to the attack by holding rallies and prayer sessions, according to the BBC. Pakistanis and U.S. leaders have both condemned the attack. The Taliban still enjoys some popular support in Pakistan, but in light of the recent shooting, the public is reconsidering their support of the militant group.
As of press time, Malala is recovering from surgery but still in urgent care.