Return to Transcripts main page


Commercial Rocket Takes Off for International Space Station

Aired May 23, 2012 - 04:00:00   ET



UNIDENTIFIED STUDENT: This is Mrs. Maynard`s social studies class from Ridgeview Junior High School in Perinton, Ohio.




CARL AZUZ, HOST: We appreciate the students at Ridgeview Junior High for getting us started today.

Hi, I`m Carl Azuz.

It`s May 23rd and we are ready to launch into today`s headlines.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Three, two, one, zero and launch of the SpaceX Falcon 9 Rocket, as NASA turns to the private sector to resupply the International Space Station.

AZUZ: What you`re watching is the beginning of a new era in space exploration. It`s the first time a commercial rocket, one owned by a private company, has taken off for the International Space Station.

SpaceX`s Falcon 9 Rocket is carrying 1,300 pounds of food, clothes and supplies. The company has a contract with NASA worth nearly $400 million. And it`s trying to show that private companies can get to the ISS safely and efficiently.

John Zarrella explains this shift in space exploration.


JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: No one is going to any planets right now, because there are no vehicles that can take anybody to the planet. So all of these companies are trying to develop their own rockets, their own spacecraft, in order to take U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station.

What NASA decided to do was to get out of the low Earth orbit business.

How do you do that?

You start turning over to commercial companies the flights to the International Space Station, taking crew, taking cargo and eliminating the Space Shuttle program. It was the only way that NASA was going to be able to move out and do the things that NASA does best, which is to do deep space exploration.

So now you have several commercial companies competing for contracts for taking cargo to the International Space Station, competing for contracts to ultimately take astronauts to the International Space Station.

The only place to go right now, until there are space hotels, until there are private space stations, is the International Space Station. So, you know, these companies really need NASA`s money and NASA`s seed money in order to develop their spacecraft.

And at this point, the only real customer out there to go to the International Space Station, you know, is NASA.

SpaceX is saying that it can charge NASA $20 million a seat to fly astronauts to the International Space Station. Right now, because NASA has no way to get there but using the Russians and their Soyuz rocket, NASA is paying $50 million to $60 million a seat to the Russians.

So a big difference in how much it`s going to cost if someone like SpaceX or Orbital, U.S. commercial companies, start flying astronauts. It will bring the cost way down.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Today`s Shoutout goes out to Mrs. Eickhoff and Mr. Zoucha`s social science classes at Boone Central High School in Albion, Nebraska.

Which of these U.S. states has the longest coastline?

Here we go.

Is it Florida, Michigan, California or Alaska?

You`ve got three seconds.




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Alaska has more than 6,600 miles of coastline, far more than any other U.S. state.

That`s your answer and that`s your Shoutout.

AZUZ: Officials are worried about what`s washing up along some of those coastlines -- massive amounts of debris from Japan that was carried out into the ocean by last year`s tsunami. Some Alaskans say it`s causing an environmental disaster.

Casey Wian examines what`s floating ashore and some of the potential dangers.


CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Debris washes up on these beaches all the time, has been doing so for years. But locals say they`re seeing things that they`ve never seen before, like these big buoys that are used in oyster farming in Japan.

Also, building insulation material, the spray-on foam that`s used to insulate buildings.

And most dangerous of all for right now, in terms of the wildlife, is this sty -- these Styrofoam buoys. You can see how easily these little pieces break off. And when they break off, fish and birds eat them. And then it becomes a real big problem.


AZUZ: Some of you have been asking me on Twitter about what`s going on with the Costa Concordia. It`s the Italian cruise ship that wrecked back in January. Ever since then, it`s been laying on its side in the water.

Brian Todd explains the plan to get it out.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: (voice-over): Nearly 1,000 feet long, weighing close to 50,000 tons, every day on its side is a looming environmental disaster. Experts now say they`ll salvage the wrecked Costa Concordia cruise ship in one piece, off the coast of Italy.

One marine expert says it`s like raising a floating city. A salvage leader calls it the largest ship removal by weight in history.

American-owned Titan Salvage, its Italian partner and the cruise line provided journalists with footage and animation of their plan. They`ll attach heavy cables from poles to keep the Concordia from slipping hundreds of feet into greater depth; then, steel-plated slings to support the hull.

(on camera): Then, underwater platforms 40 meters by 40 meters will be anchored to the seabed by the hull to support the entire vessel. Then tanks filled with water called caissons will be fixed to the side of the ship that`s above water to help with leverage.

(voice-over): At that point, possibly the most crucial part of the operation. It`s called parbuckling. Massive cranes fixed to the platform will pull the Concordia upright. The caissons will be emptied of their water, replaced by air, which will lift the ship from the seabed. Then Concordia will be towed to a nearby port and demolished.

Salvage and cruise line officials say this recovery operation could take up to a year and could cost around $300 million. Joseph Farrell says cutting the vessel up to sell the metal and other parts for scrap could recoup some of the money lost.


AZUZ: According to a study from 2006, 22 percent of U.S. high school dropouts leave school to take care of a family member. That`s who Connie Siskowski had in mind when she launched an organization to help young people who are helping others.

Here`s her story.




Here, let me help you.

My mom has been sick for as long as I can remember.

You need more methadone.

Helping her out is a bigger priority than going to school, because I don`t know what I would do if something happened to her. I wouldn`t be able to really live.

CONNIE SISKOWSKI, CHAMPIONING CHILDREN: In the United States, there are at least 1.3 million children caring for someone who is ill or injured or elderly or disabled. They can become isolated. There are physical effects and the stresses of it and the worry.


Thank you so much.

SISKOWSKI: But these children suffer silently. People don`t know they exist.

I`m Connie Siskowski.

I am bringing this precious population into the light to transform their lives so that they can stay in school.

Good to see you.

We offer each child a home visit.

Has a ramp been helpful?

We look at what we can provide to meet the need. We go into the schools with a peer support group and we offer out of school activities that give the child a break.

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: This is so relaxing.

SISKOWSKI: So they know that they`re not alone. We give them hope for their future.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now I`m getting As and Bs and I feel more confident.

SISKOWSKI: But we have a long way to go. There are so many more children that really need this help and support.


AZUZ: To do what Siskowski does takes character. And that`s the kind of thing that we`re talking about going into the Memorial Day weekend. You`ve seen your school describe character, you`ve heard your parents talk about it.

How would you define it?

Any cat lovers out there are going to flip for today`s Before We Go segment.

This little guy willing to work for his food. Either that, or he just wants to show off. But so would you if you could do that. Watch that again in slow maintain. It`s a backward feline flip.

And I guess it`s true, cats do always land on their feet. This acro- cat does it purrfectly.

Now, you might expect this kind of talent from a black and white cat, because, after all, some are pepper and some are salt.

It`s time for us to go.

But don`t flip out, we`ll be back tomorrow with more CNN STUDENT NEWS and more puns.

See you then.