• SpaceX Launched Two Astronauts—Changing Spaceflight Forever

    Behnken and Hurley arrive at the pad and emerge from the Tesla’s gull-wing doors in matching white SpaceX flight suits. After stopping to make a last phone call to their families using a phone in the launchpad tower—a NASA preflight tradition—they climb into the Dragon.

    T-2:00

    Now strapped in, Behnken and Hurley are spending nearly two hours checking out the capsule’s system. Abort system armed? Check. No leaks in the spacesuits? Check. Communication with mission control? Check. Once the initial system check is complete, a small SpaceX pad crew dressed head to toe in black seals the hatch on the capsule and verifies that the pressure holds.

    T-1:00

    A few miles from the pad, Air Force One touches down on the old shuttle landing strip, carrying President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump. Trump’s administration has made human spaceflight a cornerstone of its extraterrestrial policies. Shortly after taking

  • This is virtual therapy’s moment. Can it last?

    I open Instagram for the only glimpse I have of my friends in the outside world. As I scroll, ad after ad assures me that support for loneliness is just a click away.

    As much of the country shelters in place due to the global pandemic, virtual therapy is having a moment. The inability to visit a therapist in person, paired with the anxiety and isolation caused by mandatory social distancing, seems to have created a perfect storm for therapy apps to provide an umbrella.

    There’s a wide variety of options: Some services connect you to an actual human therapist via video chat, some walk you through self-help exercises to do on your own, while others are either a hybrid of those two approaches or meet somewhere in the middle. Over the last few months, companies across the virtual therapy spectrum have not only seen existing users checking in for

  • Watch NASA astronauts fly SpaceX’s Crew Dragon using touchscreens

    Nearly two hours after NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley became the first astronauts launched to space on a privately-owned rocket, they also became the first to pilot a spaceship using only touchscreen controls.

    SpaceX’s Crew Dragon eschews the famous maze of manual controls and switches found on retired spacecraft like the Space Shuttle or the Apollo command modules. Instead, Crew Dragon pilots have just three large touchscreen panels in front of them and a few spare buttons below. So during the few times that they have to manually control the spacecraft, they do so using a video game-style interface on those screens.

    Behnken and Hurley got to take that interface for a brief test ride Saturday afternoon when SpaceX had them manually operate the Crew Dragon to make sure everything was working.