Monday, October 03, 2005

Astronauts, U.S. Businessman world's third space tourist boarded the International Space Station

Moscow - A Russian- The 12th astronaut crew and U.S. space tourist Gregory Olsen ( New Jersey businessman who paid $20 million for his trip to the station ) arrived at the International Space Station (ISS) early Monday after their Russian Soyuz spacecraft docked flawlessly at the orbital laboratory.

Olsen and the ISS Expedition 12 crew, commanded by NASA astronaut Bill McArthur with cosmonaut Valery Tokarev serving as flight engineer, docked at the space station at 1:27 a.m. EDT (0527 GMT). Both spacecraft were flying 220 miles above Central Asia as the Soyuz TMA-7 spacecraft eased into its berth at the Russian-built Pirs docking compartment outside the station’s Zvezda service.

Aboard were NASA Commander William McArthur, 54, Russian Flight Engineer Valery Tokarev, 52, and Gregory Olsen, 60. Olsen, founder and chairman of Sensors Unlimited, a Princeton, New Jersey-based maker of night-vision gear for the U.S. military that was bought by Goodrich Corp. earlier this month, became the third private citizen into space.

Olsen, 60, is the third fare-paying visitor to the ISS, following the successful flights of South African Mark Shuttleworth in 2002 and U.S. entrepreneur Dennis Tito in 2001, respectively. Olsen’s $20 million flight, like those of Shuttleworth and Tito, were brokered with Russia’s Federal Space Agency by the space tourism firm Space Adventures.

“Dad, we love you so much and we’re so proud of you,” said one of Olsen’s two daughters, who attended his launch. “You look great up there.”

Saturday, October 01, 2005

15 round trips has been temporarily canceled by US Airlines due to fuel prices

September 30, 2005

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) - American Airlines, the No. 1 U.S. air carrier, on Friday said it decided to temporarily cancel 15 daily round-trip temporarily in markets it serves from its two largest hubs, Chicago O'Hare and Dallas-Fort Worth international airports.

Refinery outages caused by Hurricanes Rita and Katrina have made worse an already bad situation for U.S. airlines. In addition to record crude prices, the airlines are paying as much as a 60 percent premium for refined jet fuel.

American's cutbacks were announced a day after Continental Airlines raised most fares on flights within the United States and between the U.S. and Canada, also blaming jet fuel costs. The Houston-based carrier raised one-way fares $10 and round-trip fares $20.

"The skyrocketing price of jet fuel has forced American Airlines to take the regretful step," according to a statement issued by the Fort Worth-based airline, a unit of AMR Corp.

American also said it would discontinue flights between Chicago O'Hare and Nagoya, Japan at the end of October because of fuel prices.

Jet fuel costs have risen 39 percent in the past month. That alone prompted the decision, said Dan Garton, American executive vice president. American said jet fuel cost 91 percent more Thursday than in September 2004, while crude oil prices had increased just half of that amount, 45 percent, in the same period.

American said it cut back markets that would have plenty of other American flights operating.