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News Article | February 20, 2017
Site: phys.org

Astrowatch.net: You grew up during the Apollo era. How much did moon landings inspire you to become an astronaut? Mike Fossum: I was born two months after the launch of Sputnik and grew up enthralled with the space program. I distinctly remember the night the dream of flying in space became personal to me. I was laying on my back as our Boy Scout campfire died down, looking up at a beautiful star-filled sky. I was about 12 years old and the dream became crystal clear: I want to reach for those stars, too. This seemed like an impossible dream and it faded over time, but it did help motivate me throughout my education and early work career. Astrowatch.net: How much did your education in systems engineering and physical science, together with Air Force experience prepare you for being an astronaut? Fossum: For me, this was the perfect preparation for a career as an astronaut. I enjoyed my undergraduate work in mechanical engineering, but wanted to broaden myself in the field of systems engineering. In that program, I learned more about other discipline areas and how the design of complex systems requires a balance of many conflicting considerations. I later earned another master's degree in physical science which had a strong emphasis on space science. I had always had a strong interest in our natural world, including things like geology and astronomy. This program allowed me to learn about planetary geology, how stars work, and the science of creation. My defining years in the Air Force were as a Flight Test Engineer at Edwards Air Force Base (AFB). I loved the challenge of figuring out how we could test new systems and technology to ensure it was safe and performed the mission properly. We tested some new ideas which did not work during those years. Some might consider those failures, but I call it a success when we were able to run a disciplined series of tests and could definitively prove something was not a good idea. Astrowatch.net: You began your career at NASA as a systems engineer. Could share some details about this job? What were you responsible for? Fossum: I actually worked at two different times at NASA. From 1982 to 1984, I was detailed from the Air Force to NASA's Johnson Space Center (JSC) and served as a space shuttle procedure specialist. My job was to help manage the complex procedures used by the astronauts to operate the space shuttle orbiter and its systems. I directly supported every flight in Mission Control during those years beginning with STS-3 (NASA's third Space Shuttle mission). When I came back to NASA as a civilian in 1993, I started working on a project for NASA dedicated to buying Russian Soyuz spacecraft that could be used as an emergency escape vehicle for the International Space Station (ISS). Later that year, NASA started a major effort to redesign the Space Station and to include the Russians as new partners in the program. I worked for two to three years to help finalize the designs and the details of how the elements would come together. This involved a lot of work in the robotics and spacewalk areas. I wrote the flight test plan for the Simplified Aid for EVA (extravehicular activity) Rescue, or SAFER – a self-rescue backpack to be worn by spacewalking astronauts. I later convinced the ISS program that we needed to invest in this capability to protect our crews. In another challenge, I worked closely with astronaut Charles "Lacy" Veach to justify the need for the ISS cupola to provide direct viewing for robotics support. Having had the pleasure of using the cupola on orbit, I cannot imagine the ISS without this incredible asset. Astrowatch.net: What was your role in the development of the experimental re-entry vehicle X-38? Fossum: Together with Col. Don Reed, I helped lead the flight test program for the X-38 test program. We both had military flight test experience and were brought onto the team as the first test vehicle, V-131, was nearing readiness for test. We supported parafoil and systems testing at Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona, and led the efforts at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards AFB (now NASA's Armstrong Flight Research Center) for the captive carry and free flight program of the X-38 test vehicle. Astrowatch.net: Could you recall the moment when you were chosen by NASA as an astronaut in 1998? What did you feel back then, what was your reaction? Fossum: I was at Yuma supporting an X-38 test and heard a phone ringing in an empty conference room. On a whim, I went in and answered the phone. Duane Ross (NASA veteran managing astronaut candidate selection and training at JSC) was on the other end and asked me if I was still interested in being an astronaut. I was in shock and stammered something about maybe that would work out and hung up on him. I literally fell to my knees with a prayer of thanks for making this dream come true after so many years. I must note that I submitted my first application in 1985 and went through five interviews before I was finally selected 13 years later, so my emotions were definitely very high. I was told I could not tell anyone but my wife until NASA made the public announcement the next day, but it was impossible to keep the secret from the NASA friends with whom I was deployed in Arizona. When they saw my face, they knew something big had just happened and quickly guessed the truth. There was no time for celebration until much later that evening because we were preparing for a test mission in a few hours. Astrowatch.net: Which of your three spaceflights do you remember the most and why? Fossum: It is very hard to narrow this down – all were very special – but I will have to say it my first flight (STS-121 – July 4, 2006). We were on a return-to-flight mission after the accident (Space Shuttle Columbia disaster on Feb. 1, 2003). There was a lot of internal controversy concerning the integrity of the foam on the external tank and whether or not NASA was ready to attempt another flight before making more modifications to the foam. The NASA Administrator, Mike Griffin, spent three hours meeting with our crew in quarantine the night before the final Flight Readiness Review (FRR). He wanted to look each one of us in the eyes to make certain we were ready to proceed. There were tough calls being made by the managers and careers were on the line, but he wanted to hear directly from the individuals who would be on the rocket. The launch was spectacular with an astonishing rush of acceleration as the rocket burned fuel. When we reached orbit and the main engines abruptly shut down, my arms and checklist floated up from my stomach. My job was to get photos of the external fuel tank as it fell away, so I immediately removed my helmet and gloves, unstrapped, and floated up to the window. Since I got there in about a minute, we had not pitched around enough to see the external fuel tank. Instead, I was looking at an expanse of the blue Atlantic Ocean with a dappling of white clouds. Also visible was the blackness of space with a thin, curved band of atmosphere separating the two. It suddenly hit me this was not a photo or a video replay but this was me looking back at planet Earth through a window from space! I wondered if this might also be God's view looking down from above and I said a quick prayer of thanks for getting us to orbit safely and for making my lifelong dream come true. Then the external tank came into view and I got to work. In short, that first ride to orbit and view of the Earth below is a vivid memory I hope will never fade. Astrowatch.net: How much does a Soyuz flight differ from a space shuttle mission? Fossum: There are a huge number of differences. Space shuttle mission lasts only about two weeks. The Soyuz flight to ISS is almost half a year. Space shuttle was spacious inside while the Soyuz is a tight fit, but excellent for crew of three and some cargo. Space shuttle launch included a lot of dynamic vibrations from the solid rocket boosters. Soyuz was smooth all the way up, except for a brief "bump" between the second and third stage. Space shuttle landings were so smooth, it was hard to tell exactly when touchdown occurred. The same is not true for the landing of a Soyuz! Astrowatch.net: What were your duties when you served as the ISS Commander during Expedition 29 in 2011? Fossum: As the ISS Commander, my job was to look out for the safety and wellbeing of my crew, to take good care of the ISS, and to accomplish our mission objectives. The greatest challenge we faced was a delay in Soyuz launch operations after the failure of Progress cargo mission. Due to similarities in the rockets, the second half of my crew was delayed for two months. Not only were we short-handed, but nobody was certain when they would arrive, so we had to prepare for the possibility of extending our mission by two months and even leaving the ISS before the next crew arrived. A lot of work went into this, but in the end we were only extended by a week and the new guys arrived with four days of overlap to hand over the keys. Astrowatch.net: You have conducted an impressive seven spacewalks. Which one was the most challenging? Fossum: My most difficult EVA was probably my first during STS-121. During this EVA, my lead, Piers Sellers, and I were tasked with trying to determine if we could perform the kinds of dynamic tasks which might be required to repair damage to the orbiter's thermal protection system. In order to get access to a potential repair site, we needed to extend the reach of the shuttle remote manipulator system and provide a work platform for the EVA crew. This was done with the Orbiter Boom Sensor System (OBSS) – a new boom system which had a suite of inspection sensors on one end. Piers went up first for a solo run, then the arm was maneuvered back to the orbiter's payload bay. I secured my feet in the footplate while Piers hung onto the side and we were lifted into free space for the tests. To excite structural modes in the extended system, I made big, intentional moves with my waist and legs, then held still while the dynamics damped out. It is important to note that my heels were loosely rotated into a boot plate and I was positioned such that I could not see anything made by a human – the ISS and orbiter were out of my view. The only sense of security I had was pressing my heels outward to ensure I remained firmly attached to the boot plate. After completing several test points, we reached the point where I was required to rotate my feet out of the boot plate, climb down to change the configuration of the Articulating Portable Foot Restraint (APFR), then re-ingress the APFR. I was secured to the robotic devices with two tethers, so in no real danger of floating away, but there were a few moments of sheer, stark terror as I floated free and looked back at the very disturbing sight of the long, spindly robotic arms and the safety of our space shuttle orbiter a very long distance away. I managed to control my voice, but my heartrate gave me away. For this first EVA and all subsequent, I maintained a healthy respect for the environment and never allowed myself to feel too confident, lest I get complacent. EVA remains the most dangerous thing we do, other than launch and landing. Astrowatch.net: How could your spaceflight experience help you in your new role as a vice president of Texas A&M? Fossum: I have lived a life of service to our country through NASA and the US Air Force. I have been blessed to experience my childhood dream of flying and working in space, and I have greatly enjoyed helping others achieve the same goal while working with amazing teams on the ground who made it possible. At this point in my career, I am proud to serve the university I love which prepared me for this journey, and I look forward to inspiring and equipping our next generation of leaders and explorers. I really am moving from one dream job to another!


On Tuesday, 28th February, JSC “Latvian Shipping Company” successfully completed its loan refinancing procedure, receiving a loan of USD 121 million from a syndicate of three banks and simultaneously repaying the previous loan. The new loan has been issued with a repayment deadline of the 30th of June 2022. “We are delighted to have completed the refinancing of 14 vessels in our fleet of 16 handy and medium sized tankers.  This new loan facility enables the company to plan ahead whilst managing our cash flow in a challenging market,” said Robert Kirkup, LSC Chairman of the Board. As announced, JSC “Latvian Shipping Company” reached an agreement at the end of 2016 year with a syndicate of three banks – HSH Nordbank (as an agent), DVB Bank SE, Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken AB (Stockholm) – on the main terms and conditions of the contract on refinancing the USD 360 million loan facility with the maturity in June 2017. The initial sum of the loan was USD 360 million. The outstanding balance at the moment of refinancing was USD 121 million. JSC “Latvian Shipping Company” (Nasdaq Riga: LSC1R) is vessel owner in the segment of medium and handy size tankers. The company owns 16 modern vessels employing more than 1300 professional and high-skilled seamen from Latvia. Besides, LSC subsidiary “LSC Ship management” Ltd is technically serving 7 more vessels, thus managing a fleet of 23 vessels. The average age of the LASCO fleet is 9 years. All of the vessels have received ISM (International Safety Management) certificates.


News Article | February 28, 2017
Site: www.marketwired.com

ASTANA, KAZAKHSTAN and COPENHAGEN, DENMARK--(Marketwired - Feb 28, 2017) - Kazakhstan Temir Zholy Express (KTZE), the leading provider of transportation and logistics for China's New Silk Road, and global supply chain visibility specialist Globe Tracker International (GT) announce the deployment of hundreds of intermodal GT Smart UNIT45 reefer containers. These assets will travel along one of the longest rail trade route journeys in the World from ChongQing, China to Duisburg, Germany. "The technology deployed for KTZE's solution is very robust, state of the art, with two-way communication to the reefer controller and multiple wireless sensors all customized to their specifications. The system is built to handle the harsh winter environments in Kazakhstan and Russia where temperatures often fall below -40 degrees centigrade," said Globe Tracker CEO, Jakup Lamhauge. "We have worked hard with Globe Tracker and UNIT45 to develop this unique system for our valued customers and we couldn't be happier with the results," noted Daulet Kakim, Container Transport Department Director of KTZE. The new KTZE - GT technology development, along with the rail route transit times from China to Europe approaching 13 days, is providing an exciting alternative trade route and solution that is attracting attention from traditional ocean and airfreight shippers. Kazakhstan Temir Zholy (KTZ), a subsidiary of Joint Stock Company (JSC), provides a full range of transportation and logistics services to all the Eurasian routes. KTZE integrates rail, sea, air and road transport, port and airport infrastructure, warehouses and a network of terminals across the world. KTZE is also the dry port operator and the Management Company of the Special Economic Zone "Khorgos - Eastern Gate" on the border with China. The trust management of "KTZ Express" operates airports in Kazakhstan. KTZ Express operates its own fleet of refrigerated containers, dry cargo vessels, and other owned assets to private operator-partners. Globe Tracker is a privately held Danish company and leading global provider of sensor-based tracking, monitoring, and supply chain analytics solutions specializing in Cold Chain, Security and Visibility. Globe Tracker has offices in Copenhagen, Denmark; Reykjavik, Iceland; Tórshavn, Faroe Islands, Sarasota and Melbourne, Florida in America.


News Article | March 1, 2017
Site: www.prnewswire.co.uk

326 delegates from more than 100 countries gathered in Astana for the third International Participants' Meeting of EXPO 2017 to discuss the preparations for the forthcoming key "green energy" event. "It is already the third International Participants' Meeting, and I would like to say that with each meeting in the run up to Expo 2017 Astana, the organizers and participants have forged stronger and more beneficial ties with each other. The organizers' partnership with the Bureau International des Expositions has also been strengthened," said Vicente G. Loscertales, the Secretary General of the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE). He believes that the exhibition is being prepared to a very high standard. "I would like to thank the organizers of EXPO 2017, who have been responsible for every level of preparations, and we are currently at the final stage. I am confident that our joint efforts will lead to success," stated the head of the BIE. In turn, Akhmetzhan Yessimov, the Chairman of the Board of JSC "National company Astana EXPO-2017", said that the construction of the pavilions is complete, and that for the final stage a lot of active involvement of the participants is required. "There are a little over 100 days before the exhibition starts, and therefore we invite all the participants to actively join in with the organization of their pavilions. At the moment, the pavilions are being actively transferred to the international participants for further installation works. In particular, 20 countries have already received their pavilions and begun construction works," said Yessimov. 14 more participating countries, including Serbia, Great Britain, Uzbekistan, and Angola, signed the relevant transfer document during the meeting itself. For the participants' comfort, a Unified service centre has been created to provide visa support, as well as tax, banking, insurance and other state services. A campus with 1374 apartments was built on the EXPO grounds for the national sections' Commissioners, their families, and the staff of the exhibition. On the second day the delegates visited the EXPO 2017 facilities. They highly appreciated the preparations for the grand event in Astana and stressed how impressed they were by the scale of the construction works and by the design of the facilities.


The unaudited consolidated financial report of Valmieras stikla šķiedra JSC shows that the consolidated net sales of the Valmieras stikla šķiedra JSC and its subsidiaries in 2016 was EUR 124.3 million. This is the highest annual net sales reached in Valmieras stikla šķiedra JSC since it was founded. Compared with 2015 results the sales has increased by EUR 3.1 million or 2.6 % related to strong sales strategy in key export markets. In 2016 Valmieras stikla šķiedra JSC and its subsidiaries (hereinafter also - Group) have been profitable. The consolidated operating profit (EBITDA) of the Group has increased by 10 % or EUR 1.6 million reaching EUR 17.74 million. The Group’s unaudited consolidated net profit amounts of EUR 5.09 million, which is EUR 0.39 million less than the audited net profit of the Group in the year 2015. In 2016 the Group experienced a record number of orders for its products and the demand for glass fibre products was extremely high. The 4th quarter sales of 2016 were strong and the Group continued to strengthen its positions in the current markets. In 2016 the main export markets remained the same: European Union countries (76 %), North America (11 %) and other export countries. In year 2017 the Group was able to continue the Q4 2016 development. The provisional data of the Group show that the consolidated net sales in January 2017 reached EUR 12.7 million and the provisional consolidated net profit of the Group is significant higher than in January 2016. The consolidated operating profit (EBITDA) of the Group has increased by 62 % compared to January 2016 reaching EUR 2.5 million. The Group’s production capacities are fully sold out in the global markets and the Management expects this situation to continue. Considering the positive growth trends in the global glass fibre market, the constantly developing fibreglass industry and the high demand for glass fibre products the management of the joint stock company predicts that the Group’s consolidated net sales in 2017 will reach EUR 135 to EUR 142 million, which will make a consolidated net profit of EUR 9.5 to EUR 10 million. In 2016 the Group employed 1207 employees with a number of 1032 employees employed by Valmieras stikla šķiedra JSC in Latvia. Whereas the subsidiary company Valmiera Glass UK Ltd. employed 130 employees and the subsidiary P-D Valmiera Glass USA Corp. 45 employees. Valmieras stikla šķiedra JSC and its subsidiaries (hereinafter referred to as the Valmiera Glass Group or the Group) is one of the leading glass fibre manufacturers in Europe. Valmiera Glass Group companies operate in three countries on two continents: Latvia, the United Kingdom and the United States of America. Valmieras stikla šķiedra JSC production facilities have more than eighty years of experience in textile processing, and their products are aimed at various industrial markets. The Group consists of four companies: the parent company Valmieras stikla šķiedra JSC and its three subsidiary companies - Valmiera Glass UK Ltd. in the United Kingdom, P-D Valmiera Glass USA Corp. and Valmiera Glass USA Trading Corp. in the United States of America.


News Article | March 1, 2017
Site: globenewswire.com

JSC “Grindeks” announces it has received the statement of the company’s Member of the Board Ibraim Muhtsi on his resignation from the position of Member of the Board on his own volition starting from 1 March 2017. Until further notice the Board of JSC “Grindeks” will consist of Chairman of the Board Juris Bundulis and Member of the Board, Chief Finance and Administrative Officer Janis Romanovskis. “Grindeks” is an international, vertically integrated pharmaceutical company. Main fields of action are research, development, manufacturing and sales of original products, generics and active pharmaceutical ingredients. The Group of “Grindeks” consists of five subsidiary companies in Latvia, Estonia, Russia and Slovakia as well as representative offices in 12 countries. “Grindeks” specializes in the heart and cardiovascular, CNS and anti-cancer medication therapeutic groups. A range of products covers a successful combination of original products and generics, with the original products Mildronate® and Ftorafur®. Currently “Grindeks” produces 23 active pharmaceutical ingredients. Products of the company are exported to 71 countries and its export comprises 91% of the total turnover. The key markets include the EU countries, Russia and other CIS countries, the U.S., Canada, Japan and Vietnam. To increase production capacity and develop infrastructure, the company has accomplished many significant investment projects, investing more than 90 million euros over the last 15 years.


Profit of JSC „PATA Saldus” for the year 2016 are 902 064 EUR at the net turnover of 43 166 342 EUR, representing a profit per issued share 2.33 EUR. Please refer to the attachment.


News Article | February 28, 2017
Site: globenewswire.com

The action type of the Joint Stock Company “KURZEMES ATSLEGA 1” during 2016 has not changed in comparison with previous periods of time: door locks, ironware, furniture fittings, forged products, building structures, production tools etc. are still being produced and services of galvanization provided. The fixed capital of the JSC “KURZEMES ATSLEGA 1” is 1285401 EUR, net turnover of the 2016th 1 508 226 EUR. Net turnover of the 2016 compared with 2015 has reduced by 357 730 EUR, what makes 19.2% of turnover of the 2015th. The 2016 has finalized with losses in amount of 228 465 EUR. Please find the document „KA1_Non-aud_Fin_Report_2016.pdf" in attachment.


JSC ‘’Riga electric machine building works’’ consolidated annual report for the year 2016 (non-audited).


News Article | February 28, 2017
Site: globenewswire.com

JSC “Tosmares kuģubūvētava” has finished the report period with gross profit in the amount of EUR 528 315 (in 2015 gross profit was EUR 1 070 428), whereas a net profit in 2016 was in the amount of EUR 51 840 (respectively in 2015 there was a net profit in the amount of EUR 145 453). In 2016 a total net turnover of JSC "Tosmares kuģubūvētava" was EUR 5 107 267, of which the turnover from ship building was EUR 1 169 394 and ship repair EUR 3 937 873 (in comparison in 2015 a total net turnover was EUR 6 139 677, including ship building EUR 438 552 and ship repair EUR 5 700 948).

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