Soyuz Arrives At ISS On First Manned Mission Since October Failure


The Soyuz is the only means of reaching the ISS since the US retired the space shuttle in 2011.

Baikonur: 

A Soyuz spacecraft carrying Russian, American and Canadian astronauts arrived at the International Space Station on Monday, following the first manned launch since a failed launch in October.

Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko, Anne McClain of NASA and David Saint-Jacques of the Canadian Space Agency blasted off from Kazakhstan’s Baikonur Cosmodrome earlier in the day.

They successfully docked at the ISS on schedule at 1736 GMT to begin an expected six and a half months aboard the ISS, the Russian Roscosmos space agency said via Twitter. 

It was the first manned voyage for the Soviet-era Soyuz since October 11, when a rocket carrying Russia’s Aleksey Ovchinin and US astronaut Nick Hague failed just minutes after blast-off, forcing the pair to make a harrowing emergency landing.

They escaped unharmed but the failed launch — the first such incident in Russia’s post-Soviet history — raised concerns about the state of the Soyuz programme. 

The Soyuz is the only means of reaching the ISS since the United States retired the space shuttle in 2011.

Kononenko, McClain and Saint-Jacques smiled and gave thumbs up to the cheering crowd including relatives as they ascended into the Soyuz capsule on Monday morning.

Minutes after take off, Roscosmos said the capsule was in orbit. NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine meanwhile thanked the US and Russian teams “for their dedication to making this launch a success”.

“Risk ‘part of our profession”

In a successful rehearsal for Monday’s flight, a Soyuz cargo vessel took off on November 16 from Baikonur and delivered several tonnes of food, fuel and supplies to the ISS.

Russia said last month the October launch had failed because of a sensor damaged during assembly at the Baikonur cosmodrome, but insisted the spacecraft remained reliable.

While flight commander Kononenko is beginning his fourth mission to add to an impressive 533 days in space, both Saint-Jacques and McClain are making their maiden trip.

Crew commander Kononenko, 54, said during a press conference on the eve of the launch that “risk is part of our profession”. 

But he added that his team “absolutely” trusted those who had prepared for the flight.

European Space Agency astronaut Alexander Gerst, NASA’s Serena Aunon-Chancellor and Sergei Prokopyev of Roscosmos were set to greet the trio on arrival at the ISS.

Veteran Kononenko said the crew would conduct a spacewalk on December 11 as part of an investigation into a mysterious hole that has caused an air leak on the ISS.

While on board, Saint-Jacques will be involved in an experiment called “At Home in Space” which “takes a closer look at how crew members adapt to living with each other by creating a shared culture,” according to the Canadian Space Agency. 

Among the dozens of other experiments the new crew members will take part in is one that will use worms to examine muscle loss in space, led by British scientists.

The experiment could pave the way to new treatments for muscular conditions for people on Earth, according to the UK Space Agency.

“Spacewalking like rugby”

McClain, 39, served in Iraq and has represented the United States in women’s rugby.

She has said that training to spacewalk resembled the sport since it demands “grit, toughness, mental focus, and more”. 

Russia-US cooperation in space has remained one of the few areas not affected by a crisis in ties between the former Cold War enemies.

But comments by the combative chief of the Russian space agency, Dmitry Rogozin, have raised eyebrows.

He recently joked Russia would send a mission to the Moon to “verify” whether or not NASA lunar landings ever took place.

In recent years Russia’s debt-laden space industry has suffered a number of mishaps including the loss of cargo spacecraft and satellites. 

At a press conference following the successful docking, Rogozin announced March 1, 2019, as the date for the next manned launch to the ISS. 

He said Ovchinin and Hague would be on board, along with NASA’s Christina Koch. 

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)





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Soyuz Blasts Off On First Manned Mission Since October Failure


(L-R) NASA’s Anne McClain, Russia’s Oleg Kononenko, Canadian Space Agency’s David Saint-Jacques. (AFP)

Baikonur: 

A Soyuz rocket carrying Russian, American and Canadian astronauts took off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan today for the first manned mission since a failed launch in October.

Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko, Anne McClain of NASA and David Saint-Jacques of the Canadian Space Agency launched for a six-and-a-half month mission on the International Space Station at the expected time of 1131 GMT.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)





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Jio GigaFiber Tops Netflix ISP Speed Index for October 2018 in India


Netflix has released its latest monthly ISP speed index and Reliance Jio GigaFiber has been declared to have the best average Internet speed in India. Earlier this year, Reliance Jio started taking registrations for the highly anticipated Jio GigaFiber broadband service, but the service is yet to receive a wider public rollout in India. As per Netflix ISP Speed Index for October 2018, Jio GigaFiber’s average monthly speed increased from 3.41Mbps to 3.48Mbps. Interestingly, the Internet service provider had debuted at the top of the list in September this year.

While Jio, a new entrant in the sector, continues to maintain its position as the top telco in India in terms of affordability of data consumption, incumbents have been coming up with plans and offers to match Jio’s prices and bundled data. However, Jio GigaFiber is yet to see a wider rollout but is expected to be available across the country soon. Netflix’s ISP Leaderboard shows that Jio GigaFiber continues to stay on top for two months in a row, while Airtel managed to receive the fourth position.

Meanwhile, 7 Star Digital has been positioned at the second spot in Netflix’s ISP Speed Index for October 2018. Its monthly average speed increased from 3.15Mbps to 3.19Mbps. In October, 7 Star Digital managed to topple Spectranet, which is now at the third place in India. At the fifth position in the list released by Netflix, is ATRIA Convergence Technologies.

netflix story Reliance Jio  Reliance Jio GigaFiber  Netflix  Netflix ISP Index  ISP

Spectranet, Airtel, and ATRIA Convergence managed to deliver monthly average speeds of 3.14Mbps, 3.10Mbps, and 2.89Mbps respectively during October. Further, the top 15 was rounded off by YOU Broadband, Hathway, Syscon Infoway, D-VoiS, Excitel Broadband, Alliance Broadband, Tikona, BSNL, MTNL, and Tata Communications.

It is worth noting that India does not even feature in Netflix’s list of top 10 internet providers in the Asia-Pacific region. In this list, Hong Kong is at the top with a monthly average speed of 3.85Mbps while India has a monthly average speed of 2.73Mbps. Globally, Switzerland has the highest average speed, that is 4.18Mbps.

“The Netflix ISP Speed Index is a measure of prime time Netflix performance on a particular ISP and not a measure of overall performance for other services/data that may travel across the specific ISP network. Faster Netflix performance generally means better picture quality, quicker start times and fewer interruptions,” Netflix noted in its blog.



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Passenger Vehicle Segment Records 1.55 Per Cent Growth In October


Though the PV segment has witnessed a growth, rise in fuel prices and onetime payment of insurance premium remain a concern.




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The PV segment has recorded a marginal growth of 1.55 per cent in October.

Passenger Vehicle (PV) sales is back on the growth track in October after witnessing a slump in the previous month. The PV segment recorded a marginal growth of 1.55 per cent in October selling 284,224 units in the domestic market compared to 279,877 units in the same month last year. The major gainers in October were utility vehicles (UV) which posted a growth of 3.90 per cent at 82,414 units compared to 79,323 units in October last year followed by vans segment which grew at 3.55 per cent selling 16,410 units in October against 15,848 units in the corresponding month last year. However, the growth of passenger cars in the same month was nominal at 0.38 percent selling 185,400 units against 184,706 units in the same month last year.

The cumulative sales in the April-October period grew 6.10 per cent selling 20,28,529 units compared to 19,11,883 units in the same period last year. On cumulative basis, Vans recorded the highest growth at 12.96 per cent selling 126,799 units as against 112,251 units. The growth was followed by passenger cars at 5.87 per cent selling 13,54,897 units in the April-October period compared to 12,79,783 units in the same period last year. In the same time, 546,833 units of UVs were sold against 519,849 units in the April-October period last year, recording a growth of 5.19 per cent.

Also Read: Car Sales October 2018: Maruti, Toyota Sales Stay Flat While Ford, Hyundai See Growth

According to Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM), the fillip in sales is a result of slightly improved customer sentiments during the festive season especially in tier two cities. Moreover, the automobile industry was under the pressure of a high base for last couple of months primarily because of the pre-buying on the predictions of GST revisions which happened in the same time last year coupled with early arrival of festive season. “Finally after three months we have seen a positive change in the PV sales, though the growth is nominal. The base was high in last few months mainly because of the anticipations that happened last year due to GST revisions and then the festive season was also there,” said Sugato Sen, Deputy Director General, SIAM. Moreover, some of the recent launches like the 2018 Hyundai Santro and Ford Aspire along with being a growth driver for their respective companies have also subtly contributed in the overall sales.

However, the growth in sales is attributed to the wholesale figures and the industry is yet to observe the impact of some of the headwinds like rise in the fuel prices and onetime payment of insurance premium that may be affecting the retail business. “SIAM only has access to the wholesale data which automakers provide. The rise in fuel prices or insurance premium may be affecting at the retail level now and we can only have a clear idea about it in coming months,” added Sen.

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The rise in fuel prices and other micro factors if have affected the retail sales then the growth in coming months is also likely to be subdued due to inventory build-up. If the dealers will have stock left with them, chances are that the wholesale will be affected.

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Huawei Mate 20 Series Leads AnTuTu’s List of Top Performing Android Phones of October 2018


AnTuTu, regarded as one of the popular benchmarking apps for Android phones, has released the top ten smartphones who have the highest average score in the month of October. Smartphone benchmarks provide a general idea of how a handset performs during tough conditions, such as gaming or multitasking. All the smartphones in the AnTuTu benchmark list are flagship handsets that are powered by top-of-the-line processors. While the website has been releasing monthly lists for a while now, the October 2018 ranking sees a new winner at the top.

As per the list of top ten performing Android smartphones for October 2018, shared by AnTuTu on Weibo, the top three positions have been captured by the HiSilicon Kirin 980 SoC-powered Huawei Mate 20, Mate 20 Pro, and Mate 20 X. It is interesting to see that no smartphone running on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 845 SoC did not figure in the top three. According to the image shared by AnTuTu, the Huawei Mate 20 managed an average score of 311,840, the Mate 20 Pro received a score of 307,693, and the Mate 20 X scored 303,112. To be noted of course, is that the Kirin 980 SoC is based on the 7nm fabrication process, while the Snapdragon 845 is based on the 10nm process.

At the fourth and fifth spot is the recently launched Xiaomi Black Shark Helo and its previous variant Black Shark. They managed average benchmark scores of 301,757 and 293,544, respectively. This could be because the processor on these phones is overclocked for intense gaming sessions. Next up, is the Meizu 16 smartphone that was launched back in August. It recorded a score of 293,554.

antutu top 10 list weibo AnTuTu

Photo Credit: Weibo/ AnTuTu

OnePlus 6, the previous variant of the recently launched OnePlus 6T, is positioned at the seventh spot. The smartphone with Snapdragon 845 SoC received an average benchmark score of 292,371. Notably, since the OnePlus 6T has just been launched, the smartphone has not been added in the list – though we shouldn’t expect any real improvements in performance as most of the internals are the same.

Further, the eighth, ninth, and tenth spots were taken by Asus ROG Phone, Smartisan R1, and Nubia Z18, which managed scored of 291,701, 291,102, and 290,332 respectively. It is interesting to see that flagships from Samsung and Google have not made it to the list.

Smartphones such as the Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 and Honor Magic 2 have just been launched, and understandably did not make it to the list. However, the November data will ascertain how the smartphones, including the OnePlus 6T fares against the Huawei Mate 20-Series and others. However, as of now, it is clear from AnTuTu’s listing that Huawei’s Kirin 980 SoC has outperformed the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 SoC.



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Honda Cars India’s Sales Stay Flat In October 2018


The front runner in the company’s growth story has been the Amaze as the company has already sold 50,000 units of the car since 5 months of its launch and this strong growth continues even in the festive season.

Honda Cars India Ltd registered monthly domestic sales of 14,233 units in October 2018 while exports of the company stood at 440 units. The company showcased a marginal growth as it sold 14234 units in the same period last year. The company has registered a cumulative growth of 3 per cent selling 108,652 units during April- October period in 2018, against 105,503 units in the corresponding period of April – October in 2017.


Honda

The front runner in the company’s growth story has been the Amaze as the company has already sold 50,000 units of the car since 5 months of its launch and this strong growth continues even in the festive season.

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Rajesh Goel, Sr. Vice President and Director, Sales and Marketing, Honda Cars India Ltd, said “Despite the festival season, the consumer sentiment has remained subdued last month in comparison to other years. However, Amaze continued its strong performance and the recently launched CR-V created fresh excitement in its segment with its premium offering.”

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Royal Enfield Sells More Than 70,000 Bikes In October


Volumes are impressive, but Royal Enfield’s growth has been muted, despite being the middle of the festive season.




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Royal Enfield sales remain flat in October 2018

Sales of Royal Enfield motorcycles continued on a positive sentiment in October, with total sales volumes exceeding 70,000 units. In all, Royal Enfield sold 70,451 motorcycles in October 2018, although growth over the same month a year ago remained flat. The festive season should have been enthusiastic for sales of Royal Enfield motorcycles, but a strike at one of the factories may have led to a production slowdown, resulting in a slump in production of 25,000 motorcycles in September and October. Despite the workers’ strike, interest in Royal Enfield motorcycles continues to remain strong, although growth was just 1 per cent over the same month a year ago.


Royal Enfield

Also Read: Labour Strife Hit Royal Enfield Production

In the domestic market, Royal Enfield despatched 70,044 motorcycles in October 2018, a growth of just 3 per cent. But exports were hit hard, with just 407 motorcycles exported in October. Part of the low numbers of exports is also due to the fact that Royal Enfield is also getting ready to launch the new 650 Twins, both in India and abroad. The new motorcycles, based on an all-new, air-cooled, 650 cc, parallel-twin engine, will be the mainstay of Royal Enfield’s push into export markets, including existing markets, and new markets abroad.

Also Read: Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 First Ride Review

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The Royal Enfield 650 Twins will be launched in India on November 14

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The Royal Enfield Interceptor 650, as well as the Royal Enfield Continental GT 650 will be launched in India in November, and sales are expected to begin by December in the domestic market. For overseas markets, the 650 Twins are likely to be delayed by a couple of months till production stabilises at Royal Enfield’s plants in Chennai. In any case, the new models are expected to be priced competitively in the domestic market, so expect a lot of demand, both from existing Royal Enfield customers looking to upgrade within the family, as well as new customers looking to be part of the new Royal Enfield ‘modern classic’ models.

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Two-Wheeler Sales October 2018: Hero MotoCorp Sells Over 7 Lakh Units For 2nd Consecutive Month


Hero MotoCorp continues to retain its number one position in sales with 735,668 units sold in October 2018, a growth of 16 per cent.

India’s largest two-wheeler maker Hero MotoCorp managed to retail over seven lakh units for the second consecutive month in October this year. The company sold 734,667 units last month, witnessing a growth of 16.4 per cent, as opposed to 631,105 units in the same month during the previous fiscal. This is the fourth time in this financial year (2018-19) that Hero’s sales have crossed the seven lakh sales mark. It was in September 2018 though that the company recorded its highest-ever monthly sales with 769,138 units sold.


Hero

Hero said that the company recorded strong growth despite a sub-par festive season thus far in the year. In contrast, rival Honda 2Wheelers India sold over five lakh units last month, growing over 12 per cent over the same period last year.

Citing issues regarding the sub-par sales during the festive season, Hero MotoCorp said that “the significant increase in insurance cost, followed by the associated confusion over the coverage amount and period in the matter of two-wheeler insurance. The company is looking forward to see sales improve this month on account of the festival of Diwali.

The previous month also saw Hero MotoCorp enter the 125 cc segment with the Destini 125 scooter. The all-new offering is priced between ₹ 54,650 and ₹ 57,500 (ex-showroom, Delhi). While bookings for the model have commenced, deliveries will begin only by the end of November or early December 2018.

 

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Two-Wheeler Sales October 2018: Honda Maintains Over 5 Lakh Sales; Witnesses 12 Per Cent Growth


Honda 2Wheelers India registered a 12 per cent growth in October 2018 with 521,159 units sold. This is the fifth time, the two-wheeler maker has crossed the 5 lakh sales mark in a month this year.

Continuing its strong sales growth, Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India (HMSI) registered a 12 per cent growth in October 2018, with over 5 lakh units sold. This is the fifth time, the two-wheeler maker has crossed the 5 lakh sales mark in a month this year. Honda sold 521,159 units last month, as opposed to 466,552 units sold during the same month last year. Honda’s scooter sales stood at 322,108 units in October, a jump of 10 per cent over 293,117 units sold in October last year. Meanwhile, exports too grew by 7 per cent with 31,035 units shipped last month, as against 29,004 units exported during the same month in 2017.


Honda

With respect to year-to-date sales between April and October 2018, Honda 2Wheelers India has sold 40,44,681 units in seven months. Domestic sales during this period contributed 38,86,785 units, an increase from 35,84,045 units sold last year. Exports between April and October this year jumped by 22 per cent, standing at 257,896 units, as opposed to 211,552 units shipped last year.

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October 2018 was an equally important year for Honda 2Wheelers India with its best-selling Honda Activa crossing the 2 crore sales milestone. The world’s most popular 125 cc motorcycle, the Honda CB Shine crossed the 70 lakh sales mark last month. The Honda Grazia 125 cc scooter crossed the two lakh sales milestone in 11 months of launch.

 

In addition, the company also announced the Honda Joy Club for the festive, commencing a one-of-its-kind loyalty programme for existing and new customers. The membership opens new avenues for customers including discounts and offers across different sectors. The manufacturer also announced its plans to expand capacity at the Vithalapur plant with a fresh investment of ₹ 630 crore. Once completed in 2020, the scooter only plant will have an additional capacity of six lakh units per annum.

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Ford India Registers Almost 30 Per Cent Growth In October 2018


Domestic wholesales in October rose to 9,044 vehicles from 4,218 units in the same month last year. Exports grew to 12,302 vehicles compared to 10,815 units in October 2017.




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Ford’s domestic wholesales in October reached 9,044 units and exports at 12,302 vehicles

Ford India today released its sales report for the month of October 2018. The company registered total sales of 21,346 units, compared to the 15,033 vehicles sold in October 2017, registering a growth of almost 30 per cent. Similarly, the company domestic wholesales rose to 9,044 units against 4,218 units sold during the same month last year, registering a growth of 53 per cent. On the other hand, exports also grew by 12 per cent to 12,302 vehicles compared to 10,815 units in October 2017.


Ford

Commenting on the company’s sales performance, Anurag Mehrotra, president & managing director, Ford India, “The industry continues to face headwinds of low consumer sentiment, high fuel price and interest rate in the near term. At Ford, we continue to deliver on our four strategic pillars of Strong Brand, Right Product, Competitive Cost and Effective Scale, that has enabled us to grow faster than the industry.”

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In the month of October, Ford also launched the facelifted version of the Aspire subcompact sedan, which now comes as a starting price of ₹ 5.55 lakh, going up to ₹ 8.49 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi). The 2018 Ford Aspire, like the pre-facelift model, will come with two petrol and one diesel engine option. Both the petrol engines are from the new dragon series – the 1.2-litre three-cylinder unit that was introduced with the Freestyle, and the 1.5-litre three-cylinder unit that was introduced with the EcoSport facelift.

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