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Naveen Jain’s ‘Moon Express’ cleared for first commercial launch

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The Florida-based startup got permission from the Federal Aviation Administration to send a robotic lander to the moon, the first-ever private company to secure the go-ahead.

The Florida-based startup got permission from the Federal Aviation Administration to send a robotic lander to the moon, the first-ever private company to secure the go-ahead.

SAN FRANCISCO (Diya TV) — For the first time in U.S. history, the government will allow a commercial venture to travel and explore beyond the earth’s orbit — Moon Express, a private company co-founded and funded by Indian billionaire entrepreneur Naveen Jain, has been approved for a mission to the moon.

By next year, the California-based company hopes to fly a commercial mission to the lunar surface in exploration of valuable resources that could be utilized back on earth. Scientists believe the moon to be filled with large amounts of iron ore, water and other precious metals believed to be worth trillions of dollars.

A plethora of carbon, nitrogen, hydrogen and helium-3 are also believed to be on the moon.

“This is not only a milestone, but really a threshold for the entire commercial space industry,” Moon Express co-founder and CEO Bob Richards told Space.com.

The process to obtain government approval took some time, according to Richards, since there wasn’t any real clue how to address such a proposal, he said. In April, Moon Express filed an application with the FAA, slowly making its way out to other federal departments, including NASA and the Department of Defense.

“Getting this approval shows what a few entrepreneurs are capable of,” said Chairman Naveen Jain. “It’s a good first step for commercial space pioneers.”

Moon Express stands to benefit from substantial gains if the mission is a success — the company would be awarded $20 million as part of Google’s Lunar XPrize competition if the commercial vehicle makes its landing, moves 1,640 feet across the moon, and manages to send high-definition pictures and video back to Earth.

The second team to achieve the goal receives a $5 million prize. There are currently 16 teams vying for first place.

“We’re still shooting for the end of 2017,” Richards said of the maiden MX-1 moon mission. “A lot has to go right, but at least we have a shot at our moon shot, given this regulatory approval.”

Moon Express plans to blast off next year, carrying six payloads for a variety of customers, including Google, the International Lunar Observatory, Celestis, the University of Maryland, and the National Laboratories of Frascati, Italy. Their spacecraft will be equipped with a “mooncam,” which will provide views of the lunar surface.

Google intends to broadcast the images captured through YouTube.

NASA will also send at least one payload on the Moon Express mission. Dr. Christopher McKay, a NASA Ames Center astrobiologist, will be sending an incubated mustard seed to study how plants could be cultivated in the moon’s low gravity and high radiation environment.

“Space travel is our only path forward to ensure our survival and create a limitless future for our children,” Jain said in a recent statement. “In 15 years, the moon will be an important part of Earth’s economy, and potentially our second home.”

The company will be given the choice of two launch sites — Space Launch Complex 17 and 18 at Cape Canaveral or a site owned by Rocket Lab in New Zealand.

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Harvard to host 17th annual India Conference this February

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CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (Diya TV) — For the 17th year in a row, the graduate students at Harvard University will host an India Conference. It will take place during the weekend of February 15-16, 2020. Two days of exciting discussions through panels, mixers and networking will fill the halls of the Harvard Business School and Kennedy School of Government.

The theme for this year’s conference is Foresight 20/20 – a look at what to expect from India in 2020 and beyond. As one of the largest student led conferences in the USA, the Harvard India conference attracts the biggest headliners from every field – from politics, business, entertainment & the arts. And this year is no different.

India Conference
India Conference at Harvard

With more than 100 speakers and 1000 attendees, the conference promises to have something for everyone. This year’s biggest draw from the entertainment genre is veteran Bollywood actor and self proclaimed ambassador to India, Anupam Kher. Kher has a long standing list of accolades within the film industry. In addition to his acting roles, he has been a producer, director and teacher at his own acting school. Most recently he played the role of Dr. Vijay Kapur on NBC’s primetime drama ‘New Amsterdam‘.

Some other notable speakers this year include founder of the India Today Group, Aroon Purie, Indian Olympic athelete Dutee Chand, comedian and actor, Vir Das, partner at Softbanks’ Vision Fund Lydia Jett & politician and India’s ruling party (BJP)’s sherpa to the G20, Suresh Prabhu.

The harsh winter in Harvard doesn’t seem slow down or dull these brilliant minds in any way. The India Conference at Harvard continues to retain its standing as the conference of choice for deliberating issues ranging from technology, media, politics and eduction to creating solutions for India’s path towards global leadership. The event features brainstorming sessions and sincere discussions on the very real and large scale problems that are uniquely Indian.

Diya TV is a media sponsor to the event and will be on-site covering conference. To receive a 20% discount use code RDAY20 here and to know more about the conference or speakers, head to the IndiaConference.com

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Indian Ambassador, Shringla speaks to U.S. Congress about Kashmir

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AMB. Shringla speaks to congress about Kashmir | Diya TV News

WASHINGTON (Diya TV)  — Indian Ambassador to the U.S. Harsh Shringla met with members of Congress at a private roundtable briefing, hosted by Southern California Congressman Brad Sherman. Sherman, who has been a supporter of India, took to Twitter recently to share his concerns about Kashmir and said serious questions about Kashmir were asked at the briefing.

President Trump is being urged to fix the H1-B visa process and do away with country-specific limits, with the latest effort for reform being spearheaded by 60 U.S. business school deans and CEO’s.

In an earthquake, seconds matter. So on the anniversary of the deadly 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake that rocked Northern California, state officials announced the launch of America’s first statewide earthquake early warning system.

Tabla Maestro Zakir Hussain will be coming to Boston next month to perform at the Berklee India Exchange, where he will also be conferred with an honorary doctorate by the esteemed music school. A Zakir Hussain Scholarship at Berklee is also being established.

And we have incredible video of three kids from India rescuing their dog from a snake that’s equal parts courageous and nuts.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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Federal Court rules Trump must turn over tax returns | Diya TV News

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Trump Tax Returns

NEW YORK (Diya TV) — A federal judge ruled President Trump must turn over eight years of his personal and corporate tax returns to Manhattan prosecutors, striking down the President’s argument that a sitting president cannot be criminally investigated. The ruling was quickly appealed and this case could end up in the Supreme Court to answer the constitutional question of whether presidents can be charged with a crime.

Meanwhile, the President celebrated a victory by FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, as a federal appellate court upheld most of the FCC’s repeal of net neutrality. It also ruled the FCC cannot preempt state net neutrality laws, meaning the rules of the road in states like California remain in place.

The U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee announced their Asia-Pacific and Non-Proliferation Subcommittee will be holding a hearing asking State Department officials and human rights activists to chime in on Human Rights in Kashmir, the Tamils of Sri Lanka, Muslims in Assam and the human rights situation in Pakistan, which includes the Sindh Province.

Lockheed Martin announced they will build F-16 wings exclusively in India, helping in integrating Indian industry into the $165 billion fighter aircraft market.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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