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      A nearly 20-year ban on human spaceflight regulations is set to expire

      news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Thursday, 27 July, 2023 - 11:00

    A crew of six passengers, including former professional football player and television anchor Michael Strahan, stroll past the Blue Origin New Shepard booster they rode into space in December 2021.

    Enlarge / A crew of six passengers, including former professional football player and television anchor Michael Strahan, stroll past the Blue Origin New Shepard booster they rode into space in December 2021. (credit: Mario Tama/Getty Images )

    In 2004, Congress passed a law that established a moratorium on federal safety regulations for commercial astronauts and space tourists riding to space on new privately owned rockets and spacecraft. The idea was to allow time for new space companies to establish themselves before falling under the burden of regulations, an eventuality that spaceflight startups argued could impede the industry's development.

    The moratorium is also known as a "learning period," a term that describes the purpose of the provision. It's supposed to give companies and the Federal Aviation Administration—the agency tasked with overseeing commercial human spaceflight, launch, and re-entry operations—time to learn how to safely fly in space and develop smart regulations, those that make spaceflight safer but don't restrict innovation.

    Without action from Congress, by the end of September, the moratorium on human spaceflight regulations will expire. That has many in the commercial space industry concerned.

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      Amazon and others ordered to slash diesel pollution from warehouse trucks

      Tim De Chant · news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Tuesday, 11 May, 2021 - 15:37 · 1 minute

    An Amazon Prime delivery truck drives through the Port of Los Angeles and Long Beach on April 22, 2020, in Long Beach, California. (Photo by Robyn Beck / AFP)

    Enlarge / An Amazon Prime delivery truck drives through the Port of Los Angeles and Long Beach on April 22, 2020, in Long Beach, California. (Photo by Robyn Beck / AFP) (credit: Robyn Beck / AFP )

    The trucks that move goods sold by Amazon and other e-commerce retailers have become a growing source of diesel pollution across the US, and few places are feeling the effects as acutely as Southern California. Now, the region is pushing back with a new air pollution rule aimed at slashing noxious emissions from warehouse trucks. The rule could serve as a template for other areas.

    As e-commerce has grown in recent years—and surged during the pandemic—retailers have been building warehouses at a breakneck pace. Amazon, for example, plans to expand the square footage of its fulfillment centers in the US by 50 percent this year. Each new or expanded warehouse requires more trucks both to stock its shelves and to distribute its orders.

    Though the warehouses serve customers scattered throughout the region, pollution is heaviest on the streets around the warehouse, and the people living nearby suffer most acutely. Diesel pollution from heavy trucks causes everything from asthma to heart attacks, and even Parkinson’s disease. Previously, such pollution tended to be concentrated around shipping ports and highways, but the growth of e-commerce has created a new source that is affecting neighborhoods farther inland.

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