• American astronaut returns to earth after one-year mission in space

    After setting the record for the most consecutive days spent in space by an American, NASA astronaut Scott Kelly is home.

    Kelly landed in Kazakhstan from the International Space Station on Tuesday and made it to Ellington Field in Houston, Texas shortly after midnight on Wednesday morning. Kelly returned to Earth along with his crewmates, Russian cosmonauts Mikhail Kornienko and Sergey Volkov.

    The One-Year mission is a collaborative project between Russia and the United States. Now that the three astronauts have returned to earth, data analysis will continue and will be shared between the two countries. The mission is meant to embody the cost and risk-reduction benefits that international collaboration can have on space exploration and research, according to the NASA website.

    The One-Year mission was designed to test seven categories of research that tested the medical, physical and physiological changes to the human body in space over long periods of time. Serving as a stepping stone for missions NASA hopes to embark on in the future, data collection from the mission will help NASA plan a trip to Mars and will be shared between Russia and the United States as data analysis continues on Earth.

    Scott Kelly’s identical twin brother, Mark Kelly, who is a retired U.S. astronaut, remained on earth for the duration of the mission as part of the study. Scientists will use Mark and Scott to analyze the physical effects, such as radiation and visual impairment, and the mental effects, such as the impact of isolation, that long-term space travel has on the human body. The “One-Year mission” served as a preparation for a trip to Mars, which NASA hopes will occur by the 2030s.

    Crew members on the One-Year mission spent a full year in the International Space Station, twice as long as a typical U.S. mission. During their time in space, Scott Kelly celebrated two birthdays.

    “When I left here in February I was 50 and now I’m 52,” Scott Kelly, a veteran of three previous missions, told the crowd that greeted him at Ellington Field in Houston. “It’s great to be back in Texas, on U.S. soil. It’s an unbelievable feeling to be back here on Planet Earth, back in our great country and back with all my family and my friends.”

    More about Scott and Mark Kelly and the One-Year mission, including videos and tweets from Scott’s year in space, can be found here.

  • UT incident meteorologist warns against inclement weather

    The Austin, Travis County, and south-central Texas areas will experience potentially severe thunderstorms from midnight tonight to the early hours of tomorrow morning, according to a weather warning issued by UT Incident Metorologist Troy Kimmel earlier this evening.

    Kimmel said the storm will pass through the area at a steady rate, and Austin can expect up to two inches of rainfall over the next several hours as the system passes through the area. 

    As a result of the surface cold front that moved through the Austin area at 9 p.m. Sunday night, there is also a considerable risk for hail up to one inch in diameter in west and southwest Austin through tonight and tomorrow morning, according to the weather warning report.

    Additionally, cloud-to-ground lightning and gusty winds are also expected as the weather system moves through the area. A severe thunderstorm watch was expected to occur as early as 7 p.m. yesterday evening. Storms are expected to intensify throughout the night but the threat of severe thunderstorms should end late tomorrow morning.

    Urban street flooding affecting low-water crossing areas is also expected.

    The chance of rain is expected to diminish or partially clear by late afternoon tomorrow.

  • President Obama to visit Austin on March 11

    President Barack Obama will visit Austin on March 11, the first day of the South by Southwest festival, according to a page on the Democratic National Committee’s website.

    Obama will be attending an event and reception sponsored by the DNC that hopes to fundraise for the Democratic National Party.

    The exact time has yet to be released, but tickets are available for the event online.

    Ticket prices range from $250 to $33,400. Those wishing to just attend can purchase a general guest ticket for $250. Other ticket options include a $500 preferred guest ticket, a $10,000 ticket that includes a photo opportunity, and then a grand ticket price of $33,400, which allows the buyers to be co-hosts of the reception.

    Click here for more information regarding the event.

  • Teenager shot to death by APD officer

    A local teen was shot and killed Monday morning during a confrontation with an Austin Police Department officer.

    According to police reports, the fatal shooting occurred Monday morning at about 10:30 a.m on the 12000 block of Natures Bend in Northeast Austin.

    Brian Manley, Austin police chief of staff, confirmed the incident and identified the victim as David Joseph, and the officer as Geoffrey Freeman during a Tuesday afternoon press conference.

    Manley said Freeman was originally responding to a disturbance call from the 300 block of East Yager Lane involving a man chasing others near an apartment complex. When Freeman found Joseph about 30 minutes later at another location, he began to fire shots after Joseph did not comply with the officer’s commands for him to stop.

    Joseph did not have a gun or weapon when the incident occurred, according to police.

    According to a press release, only some of the footage from the incident was captured on camera. There is also an audio recording of Freeman telling Joseph to stop repeatedly at the scene.

    Manley said Freeman has been with the police department for more than 10 years. Investigations to determine if the shooting was in accordance with APD policies are currently underway. 

    “Anytime we have an officer-involved shooting — this is a tragic event,” Manley said during the press conference. “No matter what the circumstances are behind that shooting, someone has lost a loved one.”

  • APD officers respond to disturbance incident at Castillian

    After responding to a reported disturbance, police cars and ambulances occupied San Antonio Street in front of The Castilian Tuesday night.

    Austin Police Department Cpl. Michael Chancellor said officers immediately responded to a drug-related incident inside the large student residence building.

    “We responded to a disturbance call of two intoxicated individuals,” Chancellor said. 

    Both individuals were taken to a local hospital and that no charges were filed as of last night, Chancellor said.

    Benjamin Acosta, nursing freshman and Castilian resident, said he arrived at the scene shortly after the incident occurred.

    “I was just walking back from Starbucks and I saw all the cars here,” Acosta said. “Then, I saw when they brought both of the guys out into the ambulance.”

    Chancellor said he cannot confirm if the two individuals were UT students or not at this time.

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