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NASA’s moon rocket on track for Wednesday launch attempt

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CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — NASA remained on track for Wednesday’s planned liftoff of its new moon rocket, after determining that hurricane damage provided little extra risk to the test flight.

Hurricane Nicole’s high winds caused a 10-foot (3-meter) section of caulking to peel away near the crew capsule at the top of the rocket last Thursday. The material tore away in small pieces, rather than one big strip, said mission manager Mike Sarafin.

“We’re comfortable flying as is,” based on flight experience with this material, Sarafin told reporters Monday night.

Liftoff is scheduled for the early morning hours of Wednesday from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, with test dummies rather than astronauts on board. It’s the first test flight for the 322-foot (98-meter) rocket, the most powerful ever built by NASA, and will attempt to send the capsule into lunar orbit.

The nearly monthlong $4 billion mission has been grounded since August by fuel leaks and Hurricane Ian, which forced the rocket back into its hangar for shelter at the end of September. The rocket remained at the pad for Nicole; managers said there wasn’t enough time to move it once it became clear the storm was going to be stronger than anticipated.

Sarafin acknowledged Monday night that there’s “a small likelihood” that more of the pliable, lightweight caulking might come off during liftoff. The most likely place to be hit would be a particularly large and robust section of the rocket, he noted, resulting in minimal damage.

Engineers never determined what caused the dangerous hydrogen fuel leaks during the two late summer launch attempts. But the launch team is confident that slowing the flow rate will put less pressure on the sensitive fuel line seals and keep any leakage within acceptable limits, said Jeremy Parsons, a deputy program manager.

The space agency plans to send astronauts around the moon in 2024 and land a crew on the lunar surface in 2025.

Astronauts last visited the moon in December 1972, closing out the Apollo program.

A microwave oven-size NASA satellite, meanwhile, arrived Sunday in a special lunar orbit following a summer liftoff from New Zealand. This elongated orbit, stretching as much as tens of thousands of miles (kilometers), is where the space agency plans to build a depot for lunar crews. The way station, known as Gateway, will serve astronauts going to and from the lunar surface.

The satellite, called Capstone, will spend six months testing a navigation system in this orbit.

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Mister Rogers’ Week of Kindness Coming March 2023

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WINTER PARK, Fla. (Florida National News) – Mister Rogers’ Week of Kindness, inspired by the children’s TV host and icon, comes to Orlando in March 2023. This week-long series of events was announced today at the Edyth Bush Charitable Foundation in Winter Park.

“Fred McFeely Rogers devoted his entire life to reminding us of some of the most important ideas of what it means to be human among humans: love, respect and kindness,” explained Buena Vista Events & Management President & CEO Rich Bradley. “Many of us find that nearly 20 years after Fred’s passing, it is important to focus on his teachings once again, perhaps now more than ever. This is a week to re-engage with his massive body of work with some folks, and to introduce his teachings to others.”

Mister Rogers’ Week of Kindness begins March 20, 2023, the date which would have been Fred’s 95th birthday, and concludes on Saturday, March 26 with the Red Sweater Soiree, a community dinner to recognize ten ordinary members of the community who inspire and exemplify the affinity that Fred Rogers had for showing kindness to our “Neighbors”.

Mister Rogers Week of Kindness coming March 20-26, 2023. Photo Credit: Mike Brodsky (Florida National News)

Activities planned for the week will include early childhood education activities and faculty training, as well as events open to the public.

“The events will be offered free or at low cost,” continued Bradley. “This week-long celebration is not a series of fundraisers, but rather about once again remembering and sharing some of the great work that Fred Rogers created, not only in early childhood education, but in reminding us that we are all part of one big ‘neighborhood’. Fred taught us the importance of accepting our Neighbors just the way they are and engaging in kindness with our interactions. I can’t think of another period in my lifetime where we needed to reflect on those messages again more than today.”

“There are three ways to ultimate success,” Fred Rogers was once quoted as saying. “The first way is to be kind. The second way is to be kind. The third way is to be kind. Imagine what our neighborhoods would be like if each of us offered, as a matter of course, just one kind word to another person.”

Many of the activities of Mister Rogers’ Week of Kindness will be attended by members of the cast and crew of Mister Rogers Neighborhood, which ran from 1968 – 1975, and again from 1979 – 2001. David Newell, known as “Mr. McFeely,” the “Speedy Delivery” man, appeared at today’s media conference via video, and looks forward to visiting Central Florida next March.

David Newell, “Mr. McFeely.” Photo Credit: Mike Brodsky (Florida National News)

Mister Rogers’ Week of Kindness is supported by the McFeely-Rogers Foundation, the Fred Rogers Institute, and Fred Rogers Productions. Details regarding the specific activities and venues will be released over the next few weeks.

For more information on the events, visit https://www.BuenaVistaEvents.com or https://www.MisterRogersWeekofKindness.com.

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Central Florida News

ICON Park hosts “Toys for Tots” toy drive

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ICON Park President & CEO Chris Jaskiewicz. Photo via The Business Journals.
ORLANDO, Fla. – With the arrival of Santa Claus at ICON Park, the holidays are officially here. But the holidays aren’t just about presents or special treats – it’s a time to give back to the local community.
ICON Park is proud to join forces with the U.S. Marine Corps to support the 75th anniversary of the world-famous “Toys for Tots” campaign. Now through Dec. 19, there will be donation boxes located throughout the entertainment district to collect toys for children in need.
Each guest who donates to the toy drive can receive 50 percent off tickets to The Wheel. ICON Park’s goal is to fill an entire capsule of The Wheel with toys for little boys and girls who deserve a special gift this year.
To participate, bring in a new and unwrapped toy.
ICON Park is at the center of the new Orlando Entertainment District. With free parking and conveniently located near I-4, Universal Boulevard and the Beachline, this premiere entertainment complex is easy to access for any Central Florida resident or Orlando tourist.
To learn more about ICON Park, visit: https://iconparkorlando.com.

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Central Florida News

Orange County Mayor Jerry L. Demings Launches 12th Annual Toy Drive

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WHAT:

With the community continuing to recover from the effects of recent storms and many families in need, Orange County Mayor Jerry L. Demings has launched the 2022 Orange County Mayor’s Toy Drive. Now in its 12th year, the Toy Drive has collected over 65,000 gifts that directly benefit local youth. Last year, the drive collected more than 9,500 toys and serviced Orange County Neighborhood Centers for Families and 17 other local organizations.

The Orange County Mayor’s Toy Drive serves children and youth – from infants through teens. Please include extra items where appropriate. For example, batteries with electronic toys, or crayons with a coloring book. Please note that we are unable to accept cash, gift cards or plush toys. Visit www.ocfl.net/ToyDrive for a full list of suggested toys and gifts for various age groups.

WHO:

Residents are encouraged to purchase new, unwrapped toys or gifts to support the Orange County Mayor’s Toy Drive. For safety and convenience, donations can be made online through Tuesday, December 6, 2022; or toys can be dropped off at one of the 21-countywide collection sites through Monday, December 12, 2022.

This contactless donation option is available through Tuesday, December 6, 2022, by simply visiting www.ocfl.net/ToyDrive and following the online option link. This allows donors to purchase items for the Mayor’s Toy Drive from their phones or computer. All donations ship to the Orange County holiday warehouse.

Local businesses are encouraged to support the drive by forming teams and setting goals with either a dollar value or a number of items goal for their drive. Visit www.ocfl.net/ToyDrive for more information about participating as a business.

IN-PERSON DONATIONS:

In-person donations will be accepted now through Monday, December 12, 2022, for donors who prefer to purchase their toys for donation in person, and drop them off at a collection site. For a full list of the 21 public-drop off locations throughout Orange County, visit: www.ocfl.net/ToyDrive

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