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tv   Click  BBC News  September 8, 2019 4:30am-5:01am BST

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in a new blow to the prime minister, borisjohnson. amber rudd called mrjohnson‘s expulsion of 21 conservative mps from the party for voting against his brexit policy in parliament "an assault on decency and democracy". president trump has cancelled peace talks with the taliban after a deadly attack in kabul, revealing that he'd been due to hold a secret meeting with leaders of the group at camp david on sunday. a us envoy to afghanistan had reached a draft peace deal with the militant group last week. the canadian teenager bianca andreescu has beaten serena williams to win us open women's singles title. the 19—year—old won her maiden grand slam title after beating williams 6—3, 7—5. she becomes canada's first grand slam champion. now on bbc news, it's time for click.
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this week: spaceport america. superfast weather satellites. and using vr to understand cancer treatment and recovery. 50 years after the first humans landed on the moon, a new space race is under way. but today, it is notjust nations that are competing to put ships and people into space. private companies are getting in on it as well. in fact, they are leading the charge. elon musk‘s spacex already
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delivers cargo to the iss and is now one of several companies exploring the notion of space tourism — putting non—professional astronauts into space. it has already signed up billionaire yusaku maezawa to take a trip around the moon. amazon boss and the world's richest man, jeff bezos, is also planning to take passengers to the edge of space by the end of 2019 with his company blue origin, and has ambitions to land humans on the moon by 202a. but there is one company that is further along the space tourism journey than any other, and now virgin galactic has opened the doors to its new hq and given marc cieslak exclusive access.
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fire, fire! it is a little after 7am, and i'm heading into the desert in new mexico, about 20 miles past a place called truth or consequences. the reason for that really early start is that we are going to get a very rare glimpse inside that. it bills itself as the world's very first commercial spaceport. hi there! thank you very much. welcome to spaceport! thank you. the only way that you can get to space today is with the russians, and they're currently charging nasa about $80 million a ticket. spaceport america is the new home of virgin galactic, the company founded by billionaire sir richard branson to take paying customers on 90—minute flights
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to the edge of space. the spaceport‘s exterior is the product of british architects foster + partners. eventually, five spaceships and two carrier aircraft will reside in the hangar. passengers will also receive three days‘ training here before blasting off into the upper atmosphere. and spaceship from base, you go from zero minus 10 on time. it is also home to mission control, where all flight operations are monitored from, and this is the very first time that a tv crew has been allowed to film inside this room. winds are holding, 1.62... -- winds are holding, 1.60 at 10 knots... virgin galactic has moved all of its operations to new mexico from its original base in mojave, california. the white knight two mothership aircraft has already moved in, and continues flight testing. but the actual spacecraft, dubbed spaceshiptwo, will arrive at spaceport
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america at a later date. the white knight carrier aircraft is really performing a rehearsal for a real space flight. it is going to ascend to the altitude where it would normally release a spaceship, perform a few manoeuvres, and come back around to land on this runway. scotsman dave mackay is virgin galactic‘s chief pilot. he takes me for a drive along the spaceport‘s two mile runway. this is something that i wanted to do all my life. i wanted to be an astronaut, i wanted to go to space. dave successfully completed a space flight earlier this year, and has been awarded his commercial astronaut‘s wings. welcome to the club, astronaut! chuckles. thanks, base! i like this club! what's the spaceship like to fly? the spacecraft is amazing to fly. at launch, we're sitting underneath white knight two. at release, it's like going over
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the top of a roller—coaster, so you get this lightness in your stomach, which is nice. two, one — release, release, release. you haven't lit the rocket motor yet, so there is silence just for a few seconds. we light the rocket motor. fire, fire! so we accelerate away. within a few seconds, we go through the sound barrier. we go mach 1. we are going to space. the sky goes from blue to a very dark blue to a black in what seems like a few seconds. immediately after shutdown, you are in weightlessness. at that point, we're going to allow the customers to unstrap. at the end of boost, you are there with no forces on your body, no motion, because it'sjust sitting there, and no sound.
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as we are coming back down, in this feathered configuration, now we're a glider, and we've got about 15—20 minutes of gliding to come back down and land at spaceport. so different, really, to what i expected. ijust — these are the words that came out of my mouth was "this is unreal. "just astonishing." the curvature of the earth, you see so much of it that you now get a sense of scale, of the size of the planet. and in the meantime, you're looking out into this blackness of space, and you can't help but think, "well, what else is out there?" i think something that a lot of people will take away with them after their space flight is how thin the atmosphere is and how important it is to look after it. so far, over 600 people have signed up to take a flight with virgin galactic,
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with tickets costing £200,000. but at a time of increased concern about the environment, is it responsible to send wealthy people to space for fun? actually, environmental impact, the c02 impact of this vehicle is much less than you would think. by air—launching it, and because it's so small and uses carbon fibre, we actually don't have a very big rocket motor in the back. and so the per person co2 emissions is, for the average flight, around that of a business—class flight from new york to the uk. there's an awareness of our planet documented scientifically with astronauts. they come back changed, with a greater realisation of the fragility of our ecosystem and ecosphere. the irony of this idea isn't lost on space experts, though. the fact that they have to go that far into space above the planet to have that emotion of feeling protective over the world that they live in is
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sort of ridiculous. but you have to put it into perspective of the fact that space travel is very limited in how much it actually contributes to c02 emissions, in comparison to aircraft. it's a tiny fraction of what aircraft put out there. there have been delays and setbacks for virgin galactic. in 2014, one of its spacecraft crashed during flight testing, resulting in the death of its co—pilot and serious injuries for the pilot. dave mackay acknowledges the time that testing is taking. so if you look at military test programmes, the risk levels are different. we're building a safe, reliable commercial system. it's very, very different to everything that has been done before. but we still have some more flights to do, with more people in the back, and once we've done a few more of those flights, we'll be ready to start commercial operation. so we're getting very close. it has taken longer than i guess we thought it would do initially,
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but i don't think — with hindsight, i don't think that's at all surprising. on paper, space tourism can seem a bit frivolous but we're moving into an era of commercialisation of space travel anyway. most government—funded experiments in space — either on a space station or probes for other planets — are going to be shipped out to commercial companies and so, furthering space travel in that sense is actually going to benefit from space tourism as well. so we have to take into account not just the impact of space tourism in the sense of our economy, but also the impact on the life—changing impact that the people who will be on those planes will go through, and the impact they will have when they return to earth. when do you think virgin galactic is going to be putting paying customers up into space? when is the date? when is that going to happen? right now, according to our current projections, we think that we can start commercial operations next year. so the race is on.
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space could be about to get a lot more crowded — for those that can afford the price of a ticket, of course. wow! that was marc. this is marc. how was your trip to almost—space? it was great! it's difficult not to get excited by spaceships. yeah. so we've got amazon doing blue 0rigin, we have spacex doing a variety of space tourism projects, and now we have virgin galactic as well. they look like they have the most advanced proposition. but how would you rate these different companies at the moment? they're all completely different, and they all have their own advantages, their plus points, but, you know, virgin has got a spaceport that is pretty much up and running. looking at sort of blue 0rigin‘s idea, jeff bezos is suggesting that their capsule might be autonomous.
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so might actually launch, the capusle would detatch with the tourists inside, they'd look out the windows and see the earth, and then it will land back on the earth, without a pilot. now, i've got an amazon echo, and alexa can barely understand me. so whether the company behind the technology — whether i would trust them to send me to space or not autonomously, i don't know. to be fair, though, spacex are launching rockets and landing them autonomously. yes, they are, in all fairness. there is talk that they might be building one or even more spaceports here in the uk. yes, there is! is that a realistic goal? yes! there is a lot of chatter about spaceports being built in the uk. the most serious one is probably the cornwall project, so a runway project. so it would be very similar to what we saw out in new mexico, so aircraft—launched space vehicles. so something like launching from virgin 0rbit, a big 7117
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with a rocket underneath the wing or the white knight two mothership, looks as if it is a goer. looks as if it could happen, but not for quite a long time yet. the second project is up in scotland, and that is more likely to be a traditional rocket launch facility, so just rockets go straight up, no runway. 0k, marc, cheers. hello and welcome to the week in tech. it was the week that twitter ceo jack dorsey had his own account hacked. the profile, which has more than 4 million followers, posted a flurry of racist tweets for about 15 minutes. paypal suspended an account in the united states being used to raise funds for the ku klux klan. and facebook said it was considering testing hiding likes, following a similar experiment on instagram in august. details of a full—scale rollout haven't been revealed. now, it may not be the most efficient way to send mail, but a british inventor has delivered a letterfrom the uk mainland to the isle of wight using only a jet—powered suit 80 years after the idea of a rocket post failed.
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richard browning has followed in the footsteps of german entrepreneur gerhard zucker, who tried to send mail by rocket to the island in 193a. researchers at mit have developed a new robotic thread which could help treat blood clots in stroke patients. the thread is steered through blood vessels by magnets instead of the current hand—operated method, potentially making it safer for both patients and surgeons. it is hoped, in the future, procedures could even be carried out remotely. and finally, is that 0bi—wan bon jovi? nope, it is the lego droid 0rchestra! conductor and programmer sam battle took 3000 hours assembling 30 ipads, 46 r2—d2s, 25 gonks and 2a mouse droids to recreate the iconic star wars theme. robots play star wars theme. a truly stellar performance. in the uk, 1 in 2 of us will be diagnosed with cancer at some point
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in our lifetimes. that is a terrifying statistic. yet unless you or someone close to you has been through it, it can be hard to really comprehend the experience. and whilst everybody‘s journey is different, one woman has made a vr experience to illustrate hers. it is the last chemo today... bafta award—winning film—maker victoria mapplebeck has created the waiting room, combining a smartphone—shot video documentary and this virtual reality experience. she aims to fully immerse the audience in the unnerving position of being up close and personal with cancer diagnosis, treatment and, in this case, recovery. i wanted to make visible
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the often invisible parts of cancer treatment — the hair loss and the nausea and the fear and the effect on family. this reconstruction of victoria's final radiotherapy session is combined with a cgi journey through her body, looking at the cancer cells and what ct scans, mammograms and ultrasounds found. when the experience first starts, you can initially feel as though you are actually the patient, then when you look down you realise you're not, you're a fly on the wall. what makes you want to do this as somebody looking at what was going on, rather than being the person experiencing it? we did, at the beginning of the project, think very hard about whether we wanted it to be an embodied experience, where you are effectively the patient, and ifelt quite uncomfortable with that,
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and i wanted instead to sort of create a fly—on—the—wall perspective, you feel it is very intimate, you feel as if you are looking right down on me, almost next to me... what were the benefits you felt there were in conveying this in virtual reality? in a flat film you are in a cinema and looking at what is happening to the characters, what is happening to the story, you're not necessarily thinking about your own position within that. with vr, you are almost thinking, who am i? what am i doing in this space? this was shot on a head—mounted gopro — some more interactive elements like allowing the user to hear their own heartbeat and breath have been trialled, but i agreed with victoria's conclusion that they were actually distracting. midway through chemo, i asked my oncologist if they still have my tumour samples. when it came to sound, though, subtle effects could convey the found meaning. on phone: hiya, it's dad... we would like that... you have the actual sound of the scene with the nurses around you and you hear them
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around you as they are, so we created this relationship composite of voices, so we have her son in the centre of her life, then we have the father is basically on her right—hand side on the opposite side of the mum, then we have to the left and to the right, we have her brothers... we feel that you will have a better chance. then we have the oncologist, which is basically a little bit above the son, because he is also right in this situation in the centre of her life. wow. that was quite something. amazing storytelling, but also, i think the thing that really, really stood out to me was a feeling of loneliness, of being really isolated, in being the person who has cancer, going through all that treatment where your life enters another zone, and hearing all the voices of friends and family, medical experts, but still feeling quite lonely inside. oh, god, it is more than i thought.
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victoria came to make this feeling there wasn't enough out there from the patient‘s perspective. and now, she is hoping forfunding to take the project to hospitals and cancer centres to share her experience. satellites. they're always up there, watching us, connecting us, guiding us. but it's an expensive business. building a satellite costs a lot. getting it into orbit costs even more. that was until 1999 when two engineers invented the idea of the cubesat — a cheap, standardised mini satellite that could be fitted into the spare space around other payloads in a rocket. suddenly, you didn't have to organise your own launch, you could just hitch
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a ride on someone else‘s. that made satellites available to places who could never have afforded them before — small companies, researchers and even university students. we basically took this approach of giving them minimum resources so they cannot do anything too complicated. and then you standardise it and make it small so two things happen. one, it's cheap and easy to put on a rocket, and second, you have a lot of people building the same thing, so now we have numbers behind us. before, every university was trying to launch their own spacecraft. the industry is now worth hundreds of millions of pounds, and over the years, we've looked at cubesats that observe the ocean, the land and mayjust create fireworks for the 2020 tokyo olympics. and to help mark the 20th anniversary of this remarkable invention, we've sent meteorologist peter gibbs to find out about the latest edition, an all—new weather cubesat. the river clyde here in glasgow used to be one of the main
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shipbuilding centres in the world. that's now long gone, but they're building a different kind of ship here now — spaceships. just up the road, they're putting together a revolutionary new kind of weather satellite, and that's what i'm here to see. clyde space is one of the companies who have built some of the nearly 2,000 cubesats launched into space in the last four years. —— two decades. as a meteorologist and a bit of a space fan, i am excited to see the tech that could potentially improve weather forecasting. but before i get a chance to get near a cubesat, well, i have to look a little ridiculous. so, this is a basic cubesat unit. just 10 centimetres by 10 centimetres. packed with electronics, you can see the solar panels on the side. if you need something bigger, you canjust add more units
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to whatever size you need. it's a fantastic innovation. one thing that's really clever about these cubesat satellites is their adaptability. so we've got a standard chassis, some solar panels, some electronics, these are all off the shelf, into the satellite, and then the customer can put their own bespoke bit of kit into that, but get it into space much quicker? yep, absolutely. so you can see from these systems, they are a uniform size, those stack up into what we call the avionic stack, and within the structure itself, this is a common structure, what we call a sixth unit, and within that, you can there is an avionic stack will only take up a certain amount of volume, and that leaves us with a huge amount of space to stick in whatever we want to provide those data products and services in addition to that. us company orbital microsystems has been working with clyde space to launch a prototype satellite to measure weather using something called a microwave radiometer. now, these things are normally the size of a coffee table
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and hugely expensive. but oms have developed their own, much cheaper miniature version. they aim to provide and sell weather updates every 15 minutes from a constellation of a0 cubesats — and that's compared to the 3—hour updates from the smaller number of big government—run satellites. but that extra data could improve the monitoring and prediction of fast—changing weather systems like thunderstorms and hurricanes like devastating hurricane dorian. we actually see ourselves as being complementary to all of the government satellites, and we are excited that they still fly these instruments, they are great, we can calibrate to them, but it's another observation that we don't have to fly. so, we are flying in between, we're filling in the gaps to make it a more robust observation. cubesats make it much easier for private companies like oms to put groundbreaking kit into space. but to really benefit everyone‘s weather forecasts, that data needs to be shared.
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at the european centre for medium—range weather forecasts in reading, there are some concerns. as long as we can guarantee that working with these cubesat providers we will have that same open dialogue, the same collaborative spirit and a joint passion to make sure these satellite instruments have an impact. and really, it is a question for them — are they happy to work in this open, collaborative environment? because for us, that is the only way of working. cubesat technology could have a real positive impact on our ability to monitor and predict the weather. but the tech goes far beyond that. cubesats are already helping with space exploration to mars, earthquake detection and even tracking illegal logging in kenya. even this weatherman is finding it hard to predictjust what the next 20 years of cubesat technology might bring. i can't wait to find out. that was peter gibbs, and that's it for this week.
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don't forget, we live on social media, on youtube, facebook, instagram and twitter at @bbcclick. thank you very much for watching and we'll see you soon. hello. after a fine start to the weekend, sunday will continue on a similar note for most of us, but there are some changes on the way. this view from northern ireland came during saturday. some sunshine, but we'll expect more cloud on sunday. why? because while most of us stay under this finger of high pressure giving us sunny spells, this weather front is moving into it with cloud into northern and western scotland and northern ireland. but most will start sunday clear and chilly. temperatures widely in single figures, low single figures in the countryside, and close to freezing in the coldest parts of eastern scotland and north—east england, where a touch of frost
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is possible to begin the day. so it's chilly on the start line at the great north run in the morning, but after that, with a mixture of cloud and sunshine, the temperature is not going up too far too quickly. perfect conditions for running. good luck to everyone taking part. light winds too. for the rest of us, sunday is looking like this — england, wales, eastern scotland — lot of sunshine, some patchy cloud around. maybe an isolated shower, more so towards the coast of east anglia, maybe the far east of kent, though most stay dry. but in northern ireland, northern and western scotland, because of that weather front we saw earlier, it's a cloudier day and you may encounter a bit of light rain and drizzle — not amounting to too much, mind you. temperatures on a par with what we had on saturday but feeling a little warmer in parts of eastern scotland along that north sea coast of england, despite the chilly start. now, anyone hoping for rain on the final day of the test match at old trafford will be disappointed. another rather cool but dry day is on the way. but there is some rain moving in, but it's coming in on sunday night
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and into monday as this system comes in from the atlantic. so as that comes in, it brings in more cloud, so it will be a milder start on monday morning, with the exception of easternmost parts of england staying clear overnight, so still quite chilly here to begin the day. so during monday then, we're going to take outbreaks of rain a little further east, but more persistent and heavier at times into wales, south—west england, and not much reaching eastern parts of england. as for temperatures, around about the mid teens. it is going to be a cooler—feeling day. now that weather system dies a death as we go into tuesday but here comes another, and actually, this is what is left of hurricane dorian getting close to iceland. but with trailing weather fronts that are coming into the uk, nothing to worry about from that. yes, there'll be some rain, the winds will start to pick up as well, and there'll be further western systems coming in as we go deeper into the week. so wet at times — not all the time — and turning windier too, perhaps a little bit warmer towards the end of the week.
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this is bbc world news. i'm simon pusey. our top stories: a senior member of the british government, amber rudd, has resigned over brexit in a new blow to the prime minister, borisjohnson. the conservative party that is such a force for good in government in this country no longer has a place for people who have different views on the european union, and i can't stand by that. peace negotiations between the taliban and the united states have been called off. in a tweet, president trump blames a deadly attack in the afghan capital, kabul. the released iranian tanker is apparently spotted off the syrian coast. britain says it's "deeply troubled" by the reports. the canadian teenager bianca andreescu beats serena williams to win the us open women's singles title.


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