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Astronaut quits halfway through training, 1st in 50 years

Astronaut quits halfway through training, 1st in 50 years

Technology
For the first time in 50 years, an astronaut-in-training is quitting NASA. Astronaut candidate Robb Kulin has resigned halfway through his two years of training at Johnson Space Center in Houston. NASA spokeswoman Brandi Dean said his departure is effective Friday and that he is leaving for personal reasons that the space agency cannot discuss due to privacy laws. Kulin was among 12 new astronauts chosen last summer from a record 18,300 applicants. Kulin, 34, was working as a senior manager at SpaceX when selected and said at the time he was hoping to fly on a vehicle he helped design. SpaceX and Boeing are developing NASA's first commercial crew capsules, due to launch within the next year. He grew up in Anchorage, Alaska, and worked as a commercial fisherman in Alaska and an ice drille...
Nuclear fusion project hails halfway construction milestone

Nuclear fusion project hails halfway construction milestone

Technology
A vast international experiment designed to demonstrate that nuclear fusion can be a viable source of energy is halfway toward completion, the organization behind the project said Wednesday. Construction of the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor, or ITER, in southern France has been dogged by delays and a surge in costs to about 20 billion euros ($ 23.7 billion). ITER's director-general, Bernard Bigot, said the project is on track to begin superheating hydrogen atoms in 2025, a milestone known as "first plasma." "We have no contingency plan," he told The Associated Press in a phone interview from Paris. Scientists have long sought to mimic the process of nuclear fusion that occurs inside the sun, arguing that it could provide an almost limitless source of cheap, safe and cle...