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NASA’s moon rocket on track for Wednesday launch attempt



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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Central Florida News

Senator Linda Stewart: Electric Scooters Join Tax Free Holiday In July



State Senator Linda Stewart Re-Files 6 Bills Ahead of 2024 Legislative Session

Orlando, FL – Beginning July 1st as part of the month long Freedom Summer Sales Tax holiday personal electric scooters will be sales tax free. The provision exempting scooters was added by Senator Linda Stewart (D- Orlando) and would eliminate sales tax collected on scooters retailing for $500 or less.

“This tax exemption can help personal autonomy in transportation, reduce our overall emissions, and help close the transportation access gaps experienced by many Floridians,” said Stewart. “There are countless examples I could give where one of these devises could transform someone’s life and unlock opportunities in employment, education, and access to greater transportation resources.”

These personal mobility devices join the long list of other items aimed to help Floridians enjoy the summer months. Other sales tax exempt goods include fishing supplies, outdoor recreation equipment, and admissions to state parks and museums sales.

To qualify for the exemption the electric scooter must be a vehicle having two or fewer wheels, with or without a seat or saddle for the use of the rider, which is equipped to be propelled by an electric motor and which weighs less than 75 pounds, is less than 2 feet wide, and is designed for a maximum speed of less than 35 miles per hour, with a sales price of $500 or less.

“By providing this sales tax break over the course of a month we give people the chance to save a good amount of money on these sometimes expensive purchases and grant them greater access to opportunities through expanding their mobility,” said Stewart.

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Central Florida News

Unopposed: Does Carlos Guillermo Smith has a Straight Shot to the Florida Senate?



ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN) – Today, incumbent state Senator Bryan Avila picked-up Democratic challenger Adrian Jesus Jimenez in Senate District 39 race. This move leaves Democratic former state Representative Carlos Guillermo Smith the only state Senate candidate running unopposed.

Its appears that Smith has a straight shot to the Florida Senate. He’s running for state Senate District 17 open seat held by Senator Linda Stewart. She can not run for reelection due to term limits. No Democrat or Republican has filed paperwork to run before the qualifying deadline, June 14.

Here’s a list below of candidates who filed to run for the Florida Senate 2024

1Gaetz, Don (REP)Active
Newell, Lisa (DEM)Active
3Nesmith, Kimblin Eugene (DEM)Active
Parks, Daryl (DEM)Active
Simon, Corey J. (REP) *IncumbentActive
5Davis, Tracie (DEM) *IncumbentActive
Jeanty, Francky L. (DEM)Active
7Gist, Michael Levone (NPA)Active
Hill II, George Anthony “T” (DEM)Active
James, Gerald Gerry (REP)Active
Leek, Tom (REP)Active
9Dore, Sylvain (DEM)Active
McClain, Stan (REP)Active
11Holleran, Marilyn (DEM)Active
Ingoglia, Blaise (REP) *IncumbentActive
13Blancett, Cheryl “CJ” (REP)Active
Dukes, Stephanie L. (DEM)Active
Entsuah, Ebo (REP)Active
Kou, Bowen (REP)Active
Truenow, Keith (REP)Active
15Bracy, Randolph (DEM)Active
Thompson, Geraldine F. (DEM) *IncumbentActive
17Smith, Carlos Guillermo (DEM)Active
19Ahrens, Vance (DEM)Active
Fine, Randy (REP)Active
Hattaway, Robyn (REP)Active
Sheridan, Charles Chuck (REP)Active
21Carroll, Doris H. (DEM)Active
Hooper, Ed (REP) *IncumbentActive
Siamas, John (REP)Active
23Braver, Benjamin Grant (DEM)Active
Burgess, Danny (REP) *IncumbentActive
Houman, John (IND)Active
25Arguello, Jon H. (REP)Active
Arrington, Kristen Aston (DEM)Active
Martinez, Jose Augusto (REP)Active
Torres, Carmen (DEM)Active
27Albritton, Ben (REP) *IncumbentActive
Carter, Phillip Ray (DEM)Active
29Aldieri, Randy James (DEM)Active
Grall, Erin (REP) *IncumbentActive
31Bauer, Joseph Alan (REP)Active
Harrell, Gayle (REP) *IncumbentActive
Hawkins, Aaron James (DEM)Active
33Martin, Jonathan (REP) *IncumbentActive
Proia, Christopher Joseph (DEM)Active
35Jacobs Jr., Rodney W. (DEM)Active
Klitzman, Chad (DEM)Active
Parlatore, Vincent (REP)Active
Sharief, Barbara (DEM)Active
37Mohammad, Imtiaz (REP)Active
Pizzo, Jason (DEM) *IncumbentActive
39Avila, Bryan (REP) *IncumbentActive
Jimenez, Adrian Jesus (DEM)Active


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Central Florida News

BOGO Orlando Auto Museum passes this Father’s Day



ORLANDO, Fla. (June 3, 2024) — Wondering what to get your car-obsessed or movie-buff Dad for Father’s Day? Gift him an experience any dad would love with a trip to Orlando Auto Museum.

On Sunday, June 16, guests can take advantage of buy-one-get-one-free passes to the Orlando Auto Museum. For each children’s pass purchased for the Orlando Auto Museum, guests can receive a free adult ticket. To redeem this offer, tickets must be purchased in person.

The Orlando Auto Museum is the country’s largest auto museum which is home to more than 2,000 vehicles valued at over $200 million. Dad will love exploring the museum to discover vehicles from a variety of decades and countries around the world, learn about military vehicles used in combat and snap family photos with vehicles made famous by television and movies.

If guests are looking for more attractions to explore with dad, they can purchase a play card and enjoy Florida’s longest indoor karting track with four skill and speed levels, the on-site boutique bowling alley, a trampoline park, Pinball Palace, Toxic Blast and more.

Guests can also enjoy a meal from a variety of cuisines in Dezerland Action Park’s food hall or an immersive dining experience at the 007 Bond Lounge with the $100 Million James Bond exhibit, the world’s largest collection of James Bond vehicles and memorabilia.

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