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Showing posts from June 4, 2014

Villeneuve back at Brickyard chasing Indy 500 magic

Much has changed in the motor racing world since Jacques Villeneuve pulled his car into Victory Lane 19 years ago and chugged on the traditional quart of milk that goes to the Indianapolis 500 winner. Back at the Brickyard to run the 500 for the first time in nearly two decades, and where the youngest driver in Sunday's race was two months old when the Canadian won here in 1995, Villeneuve has had to familiarize himself with a new car, new rules and new faces. Even Villeneuve appears different, evolved from the intense, humorless competitor that captured the Formula One drivers crown in 1997.   true       By his own admission, the Quebecer has mellowed, now more patient on and off the race track. But listen to Villeneuve for a moment and it is as if time has stood still. While his delivery may be different, the 43-year-old remains as opinionated and outspoken as ever, still as fearless at speaking his mind as he is behind the wheel. Since leaving Formula One in 2006, Villene

Bjorn storms clear after six straight birdies

An exhilarating run of six birdies in a row, two shy of the European Tour record, catapulted veteran Thomas Bjorn into a five-stroke lead after the BMW PGA Championship third round on Saturday. After an overnight downpour delayed the start of play by three hours, it was raining birdies for the 43-year-old Dane as he left a world-class field trailing in his wake with a dynamic five-under-par 67 at the tour's flagship event. Bjorn, who has been at the top of the leaderboard since firing a record 62 in the opening round, picked up strokes at the 11th, 12th, 13th, 14th, 15th and 16th before adding another at 18 to rack up a 15-under total of 201 at Wentworth. The performance was all the more laudable after he began his round with an ugly double-bogey six at the first caused by a hooked drive. Luke Donald (68), the 2011 and 2012 champion, was in second place on 206, one ahead of Irishman Shane Lowry (73). Former world number one Rory McIlroy (69), looking more assured with every

Mann only woman on Indy 500 grid this year

After years of building up a presence at the Indianapolis 500 there will be a noticeable lack of girl power when the green flag drops at the Brickyard on Sunday. At one time, the only females on starting grids were the glamorous models holding placards with drivers' names on them, but last year there were four women in last year's 33-car field at the Indianapolis 500. But on Sunday when Pippa Mann takes the command to "start your engines," the Briton will be waving the female flag alone. "It's actually a little strange, I'm used to seeing a few other women out here," said Mann, who will be lining up in her third Indy 500. "I don't notice it when I'm out in the car but I do when I look around the garage. It feels a little odd to be just me." Women have been part of every Indy 500 discussion since 2005 when Danica Patrick burst onto the IndyCar scene claiming rookie of the year honors after she led the race and finished fourth.

Real recover to beat Atletico and win 10th European cup

Real Madrid secured a 10th European Cup when they snatched a stoppage-time equalizer before extra-time goals by Gareth Bale, Marcelo and a Cristiano Ronaldo penalty gave them a 4-1 win over Atletico Madrid in the Champions League final on Saturday. Atletico, who won the Spanish league title a week ago, looked set to complete a double after Diego Godin’s 36th-minute header, helped by a blunder from Real keeper Iker Casillas, put them in control of the first European final between teams from the same city. Real attacked relentlessly in the second half at Lisbon's Stadium of Light but had to wait until the third minute of stoppage time for an equalizer when Sergio Ramos headed in powerfully from a corner. Atletico looked a spent force in extra time and Real completed the comeback win when world record signing Bale headed them into the lead in the 110th minute before Marcelo slammed in a late third. Ronaldo, the class="mandelbrot_refrag"> Portugal captain playing i

Ancelotti trumps Simeone to secure Real's 10th title

Real Madrid overcame Atletico in the Champions League final because coach Carlo Ancelotti was able to adjust his tactics and go on the attack in time to rescue the game while his opposite number Diego Simeone had no cards left to play Ancelotti fielded a cautious starting lineup at Lisbon's Stadium of Light, with Sami Khedira in a deep-lying central role despite having only recently returned from knee surgery, and Real were outplayed for long periods in the first half. Atletico deservedly went ahead when Diego Godin outjumped a sluggish-looking Khedira and nodded the ball over a stranded Iker Casillas in the 36th minute and they looked comfortable with their lead well into the second period. Ancelotti responded with around half an hour remaining by hauling off Khedira and left back Fabio Coentrao and replacing them with attacking midfielder Isco and zippy fullback Marcelo. The tone of the match changed immediately, with Real pushing forward relentlessly and carving out a numb

Montgomerie leads Senior PGA Championship, Langer one back

Colin Montgomerie sank a 30-foot birdie putt at the final hole to earn a one-stroke lead over Bernhard Langer after the third round of the Senior PGA Championship in Benton Harbor, Michigan on Saturday. _0"> After missing a five-foot par putt at the 17th hole, the Scot made amends at the last when his slick downhill putt broke perfectly into the middle of the cup for a three-under-par 68 at Harbor Shores. On a day when overnight co-leader Tom Watson fell four shots from the lead with a 72, Montgomerie edged within sight of his first official victory in the United States. "Any time you're one ahead of (Langer, you're) doing something right," Montgomerie told NBC TV after posting a seven-under 206 total with one round left. After having complimented his great European rival, Montgomerie wasted no time tweaking the German, who is renowned for playing with glacial speed. "It's tough in many ways because he's not the quickest," said Montgom

Kenyan women break 4x1500 meters relay world record

Kenya's women shattered their world record in the infrequently run 4x1500 meters relay when they clocked 16 minutes, 33.58 seconds at the inaugural IAAF World Relays on Saturday. _0"> The Hellen Obiri-anchored team crushed the previous record of 17:05.72 that a different Kenyan squad had set in Nairobi last month. The United States also dipped under the former record as the Americans ran 16:55.23 with class="mandelbrot_refrag"> Australia placing third in 17:08.65. (Reporting by Gene Cherry in Nassau, Bahamas; Editing by Ian Ransom )

Matsuyama in four-way tie for lead at Colonial

Japan's Hideki Matsuyama moved into a four-way share of the lead at the Crowne Plaza Invitational in Texas on Saturday, setting up what promises to be a wild final round with 36 players jammed within four strokes. _0"> Matsuyama carded a bogey-free six-under 64 to join Americans David Toms (65), Chad Campbell (68) and Chris Stroud (69) at seven-under 203. American Kevin Chappell shot 63, the low round of the week, to join a group of six one stroke behind, while newly-crowned world number one Adam Scott (66) is among another group of seven only two strokes back. However, so many players are in striking distance that the only thing that can be stated with confidence is that the winner will have to go low on Sunday. Chappell had visions of shooting the magical 59 when he holed a bunker shot for eagle at the par-five 11th to go eight-under on the day. He needed to pick up three more shots to break 60, but a bogey at the 14th hole brought him back to reality. Still, he ha

Jamaicans shatter 4x200 meters relay world record

Olympic silver medalist Yohan Blake led Jamaica to a world record in the men's 4x200 meters relay when they clocked one minute 18.63 seconds at the IAAF World Relays on Saturday. _0"> The sizzling time clipped 0.05 seconds off the mark the Carl Lewis-anchored U.S. team set in 1994. St. Kitts and Nevis finished a surprising second in 1:20.51 while class="mandelbrot_refrag"> France took third in a European record 1:20.66 after the U.S. team were disqualified. (Reporting by Gene Cherry in Nassau, Bahamas; Editing by Ian Ransom )

Serena to meet French friend in Paris opener

World number one class="mandelbrot_refrag"> Serena Williams begins her French Open title on Sunday against local favorite Alize Lim, a training mate she uses to hang around with off the courts. _0"> American Williams, who is bidding for an 18th grand slam singles title to move alongside Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova, is third on Court Philippe Chatrier in what is likely to be a chilly, and possibly rainy day in Paris. "We were talking about it before the draw was made. It's ironic, I guess. It is what it is," the 32-year-old, a huge favorite after winning the Rome title last week, told reporters after discovering her first opponent. Before her on center court is Swiss crowd favorite class="mandelbrot_refrag"> Roger Federer , who takes on unheralded Slovakian Lukas Lacko as he looks to add to his record 17 grand slam titles having not won a major since Wimbledon 2012. Closing proceedings will be Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, probably

Carter and Quick drive Kings to 2-1 series lead

The Los Angeles Kings rode a strong second period from center Jeff Carter and goaltender Jonathan Quick on Saturday to a 4-3 Game Three victory over the Chicago Blackhawks, taking a 2-1 series lead in the NHL's Western Conference Final. After falling behind 2-1 in the opening period at the class="mandelbrot_refrag"> Staples Center, Carter scored the game-tying goal and then produced the assist for Tyler Toffoli’s go-ahead score, his third point of the game after assisting on the Kings' opening goal to Slava Voynov. The two goals came from just four shots in the period, with Quick proving a rock at the other end to turn the game the home team's way. Quick let through a double to Chicago captain Jonathan Toews in the opening period, but was outstanding in the second, making 10 saves despite facing nearly six minutes of Blackhawk power plays. Drew Doughty then provided an important insurance goal midway through the final period before Patrick Sharp added a

Heat recover to take 2-1 lead over Pacers in East final

The Miami Heat took a 2-1 lead over the Indiana Pacers in the Eastern Conference finals after coming back from 15 points down in the second quarter to win 99-87 on Saturday. Miami's habit of making a slow start was particularly acute - they trailed 17-4 in the first quarter and were 37-22 behind midway through the second as the Pacers made them pay for some loose turnovers. Heat coach Erik Spoelstra shuffled his pack however and Miami came out strong in the third quarter though and took the lead for the first time on the night with a LeBron James dunk putting them 52-51 up with 7:36 left in the quarter. The game turned decisively in Miami's direction when Wade made a superb steal and set up a three-pointer from Ray Allen and put the Heat eight points ahead. Allen (16 points) had three other three-pointers in the final quarter for the Heat while James made 26 points and Dwyane Wade 23. While James and Wade top-scored, James was quick to praise the contribution of some of

Beaten Atletico face tough task to stay at top

It took Atletico Madrid 40 years to reach a second European Cup final and it might be a similarly long wait for a third appearance with wealthy clubs set to poach the La Liga champions' key assets. A week after Diego Godin headed the goal against Barcelona that won them the La Liga title for the first time since 1996, the Uruguayan nodded in a corner against Real Madrid in the final of the Champions League in Lisbon. They looked set for a miraculous league and European double before Sergio Ramos equalized in the 93rd minute to force extra time and deflate Atletico, who collapsed to a 4-1 loss after the extra 30 minutes. The effects of a limited squad finally catching up with them against a blockbuster Real lineup, clearly fresher as the game wore on. The loss resembled their sole previous final appearance when they were denied victory in the 1974 European Cup final against Bayern Munich by a late equalizer before losing the replay 4-0. Despite their remarkable successes this

Radwanska rolls into second round in Paris

Polish third seed Agnieszka Radwanska capitalized on Chinese Zhang Shuai's meltdown and advanced into the second round of the French Open with a 6-3 6-0 win on Sunday. _0"> As clouds rapidly gathered over Court Philippe Chatrier on a chilly morning, the first seven class="mandelbrot_refrag"> games went against serve before Radwanska bagged the remaining eight games. She ended her hapless opponent's ordeal on the first match point with a fine volley to set up a meeting with Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic or French wildcard Mathilde Johansson. "It's important that I settled in two sets and spent only one hour on court," Radwanska told a courtside interviewer. (Reporting by Julien Pretot ; Editing by Pritha Sarkar )

Federer breezes into Roland Garros second round

class="mandelbrot_refrag"> Roger Federer barely broke sweat as he eased into the second round of the French Open with a 6-2 6-4 6-2 win against unheralded Slovakian Lukas Lacko on Sunday. _0"> The fourth seed, chasing a second Roland Garros trophy and a record-extending 18th grand slam title, produced some fine attacking tennis in an 84-minute master class. Swiss Federer, who claimed his last grand slam title at Wimbledon in 2012, won a lot of quick points thanks to thumping backhands and whipping forehands on court Philippe Chatrier. He will next face Portuguese Gastao Elias or Argentine Diego Sebastian Schwartzman. (Reporting by Julien Pretot , editing by Pritha Sarkar)

Frenchman Stal plays on at Wentworth despite mother's death

Gary Stal has had to push personal tragedy aside to play in the BMW PGA Championship after his father made an emotional trip to Wentworth to inform the Frenchman his mother had died of cancer. The little-known Stal is only featuring at the European Tour's flagship event on the outskirts of London as a late reserve after fellow countryman Victor Dubuisson pulled out with a damaged shoulder at the start of the week. "I played in honor of my father today," the 22-year-old told reporters on Saturday after signing for a three-under-par 69 in the third round to chalk up a five-under total of 211, 10 strokes adrift of runaway leader Thomas Bjorn of Denmark.   true       "Tomorrow I will fight for my mother. I will be very aggressive in my play." Stal, who won the French amateur championship by an eight-shot margin three years ago, secured his 2014 European Tour card at Qualifying School. He may be making his debut at the BMW PGA Championship but he said his golf

Former European No 1 Karlsson proud to reach 500 up

Former European number one Robert Karlsson failed to mark his 500th Tour appearance with a standout display this week but the Swede could still look back with pride at a career packed with success. The North Carolina-based professional readily admits he is toiling with his game at the moment and takes encouragement from the form being shown by contemporaries like Spaniard Miguel Angel Jimenez, 50, and Dane Thomas Bjorn, 43. "I've seen a lot of things traveling around the world in my career, seen a lot of ups and downs," Karlsson told Reuters in an interview after a poor closing 78 left him way down the field on six-over 294 in the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth. "But if someone had told me after my first five events that I'd play in 500 of these things and win 11 times, play in the Ryder Cup a couple of times and also win the World Cup alongside Henrik Stenson I'd have been very happy. "I haven't done well enough to play in the Ryder Cup the

World Cup a minefield for Brazil's Rousseff in election year

The script was simple enough: host the soccer World Cup, win it for a record sixth time and ride a wave of national euphoria to another four years in power. Yet Brazil's ruling Workers' Party may find it's not that easy. Recent history shows little correlation between being crowned world soccer champions and winning elections, despite endless speculation to the contrary among Brazilians of all political stripes. At best, President Dilma Rousseff could get a temporary bump from a victory for the heavily-fancied home team in July but it would likely wear off in a few weeks, leaving more than two months for reality to set back in before election day on October 5. At worst, a disastrous early exit from the tournament could add to frustrations with the way class="mandelbrot_refrag"> Brazil is run and fuel a growing desire for change. With no home team to root for, more Brazilians might feel tempted to join anti-World Cup street protests, creating a poten

McIlroy ends tumultuous week by winning Wentworth showpiece

Former world number one Rory McIlroy ended a tumultuous week by firing a six-under-par 66 in the final round to score a fairytale victory in the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth on Sunday. The Northern Irishman, who broke up with tennis-playing fiancee class="mandelbrot_refrag"> Caroline Wozniacki a few days ago, finished with a 14-under total of 274 after a remarkable day of ebbing and flowing at the European Tour's flagship event. Ireland's Shane Lowry carded a 68 to take second place on 275 while Dane Thomas Bjorn, who went into the last round holding a five-stroke lead, ballooned to a 75 and had to be content with a share of third spot alongside twice former winner Luke Donald (70). On a topsy-turvy day of glorious sunshine during which the swirling winds and tricky pin positions caused the lead to constantly change hands, it was McIlroy who held his nerve the best. A succession of long putts were holed by the leading players and Donald twice chipped i

American Hunter-Reay wins Indianapolis 500

Ryan Hunter-Reay became the first American in eight years to win the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday and denied hard-charging Brazilian Helio Castroneves a record-equaling fourth victory at the Brickyard. Billed as "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing," the Indy 500 lived up to the hype with a heart-stopping finish as Hunter-Reay beat Castroneves to the checkered by less than a car length to become the first American winner since Sam Hornish in 2006. "I've been watching this race since I was in diapers sitting on the floor ... I'm thrilled," said Hunter-Reay after chugging from the traditional quart of cold milk in Victory Lane. "This is American history this race, an American tradition." Staged on the U.S. Memorial Day holiday weekend, the Indy 500 may indeed be a uniquely American event but it had taken on an international flair with only two homegrown drivers reaching Victory Lane since 1998. Hunter-Reay, who started the race well back on the 33-c

Russia loses $275 million satellite in latest rocket failure

A Russian rocket carrying a $275 million telecommunications satellite failed and burned up shortly after launch on Friday, the latest in a series of setbacks for Russia's once-pioneering space industry. _0"> It was the second failure for Russia's workhorse Proton-M rocket in less than a year, and the second time that it had failed to deliver a European satellite intended to provide advanced telecoms and Internet access to remote parts of class="mandelbrot_refrag"> Russia , after the last one crashed shortly after launch in 2011. Friday's unmanned mission went awry when the engine on the third stage of the Proton-M booster rocket failed, Oleg Ostapenko, head of the Russian space agency Roskosmos, told Russian news agencies. He said the precise cause was unknown. The failure occurred at an altitude of 160 km (100 miles), about nine minutes after the early-morning lift-off from the Russian-leased Baikonur facility in Kazakhstan. The state-run RIA qu

Polar explorers' telegraph station back in service in high Arctic

Visitors to the high class="mandelbrot_refrag"> Arctic can now walk in the footsteps of great polar explorers like Roald Amundsen and send messages from the telegraph station that was first to receive news of the North Pole's conquest nearly 90 years ago. _0"> class="mandelbrot_refrag"> Norway has renovated Amundsen's telegraph station at Ny-Aalesund, the world's northernmost permanent settlement on the remote Svalbard archipelago, and tourists, arriving mostly on cruise ships, will from next week be able to use it to send electronic messages around the world. Amundsen, the first to reach the South Pole in 1911, had his sights on the North Pole but settled for class="mandelbrot_refrag"> Antarctica when American Robert Peary beat him to the top of the world. When credible doubts later emerged about Peary's feat Amundsen took up the quest again. In 1926, along with Italian airship designer Umberto Nobile, he sailed

Scientists unearth unique long-necked dinosaur in Argentina

It's not exactly small at 30 feet long (9 meters), but you might want to call this newly identified dinosaur the littlest giant. Scientists in class="mandelbrot_refrag"> Argentina on Wednesday announced the discovery of the fossilized remains of a unique member of the famous long-necked, plant-munching dinosaurs known as sauropods, the largest land creatures in Earth's history. The dinosaur, named Leinkupal laticauda, may be the smallest of the sauropod family called diplodocids, typified by the well-known Diplodocus, which lived in North America, they said. It also is the first of them found in South America. It lived about 140 million years ago, millions of years after scientists had previously thought diplodocids had disappeared, according to Argentine paleontologist Pablo Gallina, one of the researchers. "Finding Leinkupal was incredibly exciting since we never though it possible. A diplodocid in South America is as strange as finding a T. rex in

U.S. allows limited exceptions to ivory ban for instruments, art

The U.S. government on Thursday took steps to allow limited exceptions to its broad prohibition on the commercial trade in elephant ivory, exempting certain older musical instruments with ivory components as well as ivory in museum and art exhibitions. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe said in a statement the "common-sense adjustments" were made after the agency listened to "very real concerns" lodged since the near-total elephant ivory ban announced in February. The ban was designed to combat wildlife trafficking that threatens African elephants and other species with extinction. Ashe signed an order that allows musicians to transport internationally certain musical instruments containing African elephant ivory. The order also allows for the import of certain museum and art specimens not intended for sale. Fish and Wildlife Service officials said the owners of such items had to prove they were legally acquired before the date in 1976, when Afr

U.S. health agency to erase sex bias in biomedical studies

The U.S. government's class="mandelbrot_refrag"> medical research agency is taking steps to erase sex bias in pivotal biomedical studies that pave the way for human clinical trials, saying scientists too often favor male over female laboratory animals and cells. A new requirement announced on Wednesday by the National Institutes of Health for researchers applying for NIH funding is likely to have a big influence because the agency is one of the world's top financial backers of biomedical studies, spending about $30 billion annually. Beginning October 1, researchers seeking NIH grants must report their plans for balancing male and female cells and animals in preclinical studies, with only "rigorously defined exceptions." The NIH also plans to train grant recipients and its own staff on designing studies without sex bias. "Our goal is to transform how science is done," wrote NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins and Dr. Janine Clayton, direct

Tropical cyclones packing more punch further from the equator

People in heavily populated Pacific and Indian Ocean coastal regions beyond the tropics should take heed, U.S. scientists said on Wednesday, because tropical cyclones increasingly are packing their biggest punch farther from the equator. Over the past 30 years, the location where these powerful storms reach their maximum intensity has shifted away from the equator and toward the poles in both the northern and southern hemispheres at a rate of about 35 miles (56 km) per decade, they said. That amounts to half a degree of latitude per decade. The trend may be linked to factors that have contributed to global climate change including human activities like the burning of fossils fuels, the researchers said. The scientists documented the greatest migration in tropical cyclones in the northern and southern Pacific and south Indian Oceans. This march away from the equator was not seen in the Atlantic, although class="mandelbrot_refrag"> hurricanes have registered increases

NASA's planet-hunting Kepler telescope given new mission

NASA plans to revive its planet-hunting Kepler space telescope for a new mission after a positioning system problem sidelined the observatory last year, officials said on Friday. The telescope was launched in 2009 to search for Earth-sized planets suitably positioned around their parent stars for liquid water, a condition believed necessary for life. Kepler scientists are still analyzing data to find a true Earth analog but already have added 962 confirmations and 3,845 candidates to the list of 1,713 planets discovered beyond the solar system. Kepler’s steady gaze was broken last year when it lost the second of four positioning wheels. Three are needed for precision pointing. "Good news from NASA HQ," Kepler deputy project manager Charlie Sobeck wrote in a status report posted on the Kepler website. "The two-wheel operation mode of the Kepler spacecraft ... has been approved." The first observations of the new campaign, called K2, are scheduled to begin on M

SpaceX Dragon splashes down to Earth from space station

A Dragon cargo ship owned by California-based Space Exploration Technologies ended a 28-day stay at the International Space Station on Sunday, parachuting into the Pacific Ocean. Space Station commander Steven Swanson used a robotic crane to release the Dragon capsule, built and operated by the company more commonly known as SpaceX, at 9:26 a.m. ET (1326 GMT) as the two vehicles soared in orbit 266 miles (428 km) above Earth. "Thanks to everybody who worked this Dragon mission. It went very well," Swanson radioed to flight directors at NASA's Mission Control Center in Houston after Dragon left the station's orbit. About five and a half hours later, the capsule made a parachute descent into the Pacific, splashing down about 300 miles (482 km) west of Mexico’s Baja California peninsula. “Splashdown is confirmed! Welcome home, Dragon,” SpaceX posted on Twitter. The capsule returned with more than 3,500 pounds (1,586 kg) of science samples for analysis on Earth, al

Tel Aviv, Tsinghua universities set up $300 mln research center

Tel Aviv University and Tsinghua University of Beijing will inaugurate on Tuesday a $300 million joint center for innovative research and education to be funded by government and private enterprise. _0"> The XIN center, meaning new in Chinese, will seek to develop solutions for pressing problems in areas such as water, energy, the environment and medicine. It will also focus on fields enjoying growth in both countries, such as nanotechnology. The center will operate concurrently at both universities and bring together top scientists and students from both campuses. Almost a third of the $300 million has been raised, Tel Aviv University President Joseph Klafter told a news conference on Monday. Tsinghua President Jining Chen said that while his university has collaborations with many academic institutions around the world, "in terms of class="mandelbrot_refrag"> innovation this (in Israel) is the leading one". XIN ventures will be backed, among oth

What do you want in a spouse? Genetic similarity may help

He leaves the toilet seat up, prefers old Japanese monster movies to romantic comedies and fancies mixed martial arts over ballet. So what do you have in common with your husband? More than you may think. People tend to choose spouses who have similar DNA, according to scientists who reported on Monday the results of a study exploring the genetic resemblance of married couples. The researchers examined the genetic blueprints of 825 U.S. married couples and found a significant preference for a spouse with DNA similarities across the entire human genome.   true       The study compared this affinity for husbands or wives with similar DNA makeup to the well-established and strong tendency of people to marry mates with similar educational levels. The researchers found that the preference for a genetically similar spouse was about a third as strong as the preference for a spouse with comparable education. The 1,650 people studied in the research were non-Hispanic, white men and women

Lockheed-Boeing venture says rocket launch costs lower than claimed by rival

A joint venture of class="mandelbrot_refrag"> Lockheed Martin Corp and class="mandelbrot_refrag"> Boeing Co on Monday said its rocket launch costs were far lower than claimed by its rival, privately-held Space Exploration Technologies, or SpaceX, which is suing the U.S. government for shutting it out of the lucrative rocket launch class="mandelbrot_refrag"> business . United Launch Alliance President Michael Gass told reporters at a space conference in Colorado that his company was providing rocket launches to the U.S. Air Force and other customers for an average cost of $225 million per launch, far less than the $460 million amount cited by SpaceX. He said the price of each lighter-weight rocket launch was around $164 million in a 36-unit block buy that is being challenged by SpaceX. He also said ULA could provide additional lighter-weight launches for under $100 million, about the same price that SpaceX says its rocket launches will cos

Global spending on space grew 4 percent in 2013 to $314 billion: report

Worldwide spending on satellites, launches and support services increased to $314 billion in 2013, up 4 percent from 2012, even though the U.S. government reduced its own space spending, an industry association reported this week. Commercial space activity, including rocket launches to fly cargo to the International Space Station, fueled most of the growth, the report by the U.S. Space Foundation said. “Fifty-seven years after the launch of the first satellite, the space industry is rapidly evolving,” said the foundation's annual Space Report, released on Monday. “It is clear that space technology continues to become more accessible each year to a wider variety of end-users in an increasing number of countries,” it said. “The outlook for the space sector is very bright in the years to come.” Globally, commercial revenues and government spending on space projects totaled $314 billion -- $12 billion than the $302 billion spent in 2012, the report showed. Commercial