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Authorities allow Virgin Galactic to resume launches after mishap probe

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The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration has closed its mishap investigation into the July 11 Virgin Galactic Unity 22 launch

The Virgin Galactic aircraft had deviated from its assigned airspace on its descent

The FAA stated that Virgin Galactic had implemented changes that the agency had required upon how it communicates during flight.

The authority then confirmed that the Richard Branson backed company will be allowed to resume operations.

The FAA investigation:

The government investigation found the Virgin Galactic spacecraft had deviated from its assigned airspace upon its descent from space and the company failed to communicate the deviation to the FAA as required.

Virgin Galactic confirmed earlier this month it was planning another SpaceShipTwo flight from New Mexico, Unity 23, pending technical checks and weather. That flight is to carry three crew from the Italian Air Force and National Research Council, it added.

Virgin Galactic confirmed the FAA had accepted the corrective actions it proposed

The space company include updated calculations to expand the protected airspace for future flights and additional steps in the company’s flight procedures to ensure real-time mission notifications to FAA Air Traffic Control.

“The updates to our airspace and real-time mission notification protocols will strengthen our preparations as we move closer to the commercial launch of our spaceflight experience,” said Virgin Galactic Chief Executive Michael Colglazier.

Richard Branson was among six Virgin Galactic employees who took part in the July 2021 space mission, soaring more than 80 km above the New Mexico desert.

Anthony Lucas is reporter, presenter and social media producer with ticker News. Anthony holds a Bachelor of Professional Communication, with a major in Journalism from RMIT University as well as a Diploma of Arts and Entertainment journalism from Collarts. He’s previously worked for 9 News, ONE FM Radio and Southern Cross Austerio’s Hit Radio Network. 

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Four-day office week for Snapchat employees

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Snapchat is asking workers to return to the office 80% of the time, or the equivalent of four days a week.

They want workers back from the start of next year.

It’s the latest sign of tech employees receiving less flexibility nearly three years after the pandemic took hold.

It also comes amid a wave of cost-cutting in the tech sector.

The company says in a statement: “We believe that being together in person, while retaining flexibility for our team members, will enhance our ability to deliver on our strategic priorities of growing our community, driving revenue growth, and leading in [augmented reality].”

The new policy will take effect at the end of February.

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Twitter quietly cancels COVID misinformation policy

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More big changes at Twitter under the new Elon Musk ownership.

This time, its Twitter’s controversial COVID misinformation policy, which the social platform has quietly canceled.

Twitter said in December 2020 that it would begin to label and remove misinformation about Covid-19 vaccines.

But Twitter CEO Elon Musk has been a vocal critic of how health officials reacted to the coronavirus pandemic.

Musk has committed to free speech on Twitter, which might explain why the change has now been enacted.

But online safety experts have contended his approach has led to an increase in hate speech, harassment and misinformation on the platform.

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Twitter users are flocking to smaller platforms

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Twitter users

Twitter users flock to smaller platforms, as Musk takes control

Twitter’s instability under Musk’s leadership has resulted in users joining smaller platforms.

The uncertain future of Twitter with mass firings and staff walk outs have caused a sea of doubt. Many are now weighing up their options in case Twitter crumbles over the next few weeks.

Smaller and lesser-known platforms such as Social Hive and Mastodon have become a life raft for Twitter users.

Mastodon is fast becoming known as a Twitter alternative and has 2.4 million active monthly users. It’s a dramatic increase from the 381,000 users the platform had the day Musk closed the Twitter deal.

Mastodon is an open-source, decentralised online software. It allows users to set up their own servers to communicate with each other.

It’s becoming a firm favourite with journalists and academics. With many of the same functions as Twitter, Mastodon has been described as a combination of Twitter and alternate microblogging site, Tumblr.

Hive Social is another social networking site attracting scores of Twitter users since Musk’s reign.

Hive now has 2 million users and recently hit the top of the App Store. Its founder is 24 years old and the platform has only two employees.

With a simple and user-friendly design, Hive has attracted Twitter users searching for a new home in preparation for Twitter’s possible demise under Musk’s impulsive leadership.

If Twitter turns the corner, it will also be very interesting to see if original users abandon Mastodon and Hive Social to return to their Twitter homes.

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