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tv   Click - Short Edition  BBC News  September 7, 2019 3:30am-3:46am BST

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this is bbc news, the headlines: rescuers in the bahamas are searching the island of great abaco for the bodies of people killed by hurricane dorian. hundreds are still missing. a relief operation is under way with un, us and british involvement — however some communities haven't yet been reached and are in desperate need. india's attempt to land a spacecraft on the moon appears to have failed. scientists lost contact with the landerjust as it was about to touch down on the lunar surface. the unmanned vikram probe was above the moon's south pole when data stopped transmitting from the spacecraft. the british prime minister's demand for an early general election looks set to be rejected, after opposition parties agreed to block it when it's put to mps on monday. they said that preventing the uk
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leaving the eu without a deal at the end of october is their priority. it's 3:31am. later in this half hour, newswatch. but first here on bbc news, it's click. 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
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leading the charge. elon musk‘s spacex already 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 also 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 7:00am, and i'm heading into the desert in new mexico, about 20 miles past the 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. 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 us about $80 million a ticket. spaceport america is the new home of virgin galactic, the company
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founded by billionaire sir richard branson to take paying customers on 90—minute flights 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... virgin galactic has moved all of its operations to new mexico from its original base in mojave, california. the 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 two carrier aircraft is really performing a rehearsal for a real spaceflight. 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, and i wanted to go to space. dave successfully completed a spaceflight earlier this year, and has been awarded his commercial astronaut‘s wings. welcome to the club, astronaut. thanks, base. i like this club. what is the spaceship like to fly? the spacecraft is amazing to fly. at launch, we're sitting
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underneath white knight two. at release, it's like going over the top of a rollercoaster, 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 dark blue to black in what seems like a few seconds. immediately after shutdown, you are in weightlessness. that point, we want the customers to unstrap. at the end of boost, you are there with no forces on your body, no motion,
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because it'sjust sitting there, and no sound. 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, that 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 spaceflight is how thin the atmosphere is, and how important it is to look after it. so far, over 600 people have
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signed up to take a flight with virgin galactic, 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
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to have that emotion of feeling protective over the world that they live in is 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
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we thought it would do initially, 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 are 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 from 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.
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so the race is on. 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? 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 blue 0rigin‘s idea, jeff bezos is suggesting that it might be autonomous.
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so they might launch, 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 fairness. that's it for the short cut of click this week. 20 more in the full version which is waiting for you now when i player. you will find us on youtube, facebook, instagram and twitter, and give watching and we will see you soon. —— thank you for watching.
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hello, and welcome to newswatch. presenters outside parliament are now wearing the type of headset
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more often seen on pop stars. has this satisfied those complaining of noisy protesters disrupting outside broadcasts? and will the andrew neil show, just launched on bbc two, get the big political hitters on? and offer any clarity on brexit? one way you can tell the levels of excitement and drama at westminster is by counting the number of temporary structures put up by broadcasters on college green, opposite the houses of parliament. this week we seem to be getting pretty near to peak gazebo, with journalists jostling for space, mps scurrying from interview to interview, and of course the noisy presence of protesters representing all shades of opinion. we have discussed before on newswatch how some viewers find the presence of protesters distracting and annoying and there were more objections this week, following moment such as this. a date that they choose, and i think
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thatis a date that they choose, and i think that is bonkers. we have our next guest, as well, alice mcgovern, a labourmp. guest, as well, alice mcgovern, a labour mp. good morning. good morning. there are so many divisions. let's be clear. who are you going to vote for today?” divisions. let's be clear. who are you going to vote for today? i am going to vote. no deal. melanie cox was one of a number of viewers


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