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Onlookers watch as SpaceX’s mega rocket Starship is prepared for its upcoming launch from Starbase in Boca Chica, Texas, on Thursday.
(AP/Eric Gay)
Onlookers watch as SpaceX’s mega rocket Starship is prepared for its upcoming launch from Starbase in Boca Chica, Texas, on Thursday. (AP/Eric Gay)

Second launch of Starship set for today

SpaceX is preparing for the second test flight of Starship, the giant rocket that is being built to carry NASA’s astronauts to the surface of the moon and Elon Musk’s ambitions to Mars. The Federal Aviation Administration granted regulatory approval for the launch Wednesday, setting up an attempt today.

Starship launches from Boca Chica, Texas, a site on the Gulf of Mexico coast near Brownsville that SpaceX has nicknamed Starbase.

The flight could lift off as early as 7 a.m. Central time today. SpaceX will stream the launch live on X, formerly Twitter, that is also owned by Musk.

There is a two-hour window during which SpaceX could launch. Test missions frequently lift off later in a launch window as flight managers work to assure that systems are functioning as designed.

If the flight is fully successful, Starship will complete a partial trip around the Earth before belly-flopping into the Pacific Ocean off the island of Kauai.

For NASA, Starship is a future moon lander for astronauts under the Artemis missions. But for Musk, founder and CEO of SpaceX, the vehicle is central to his vision of carrying settlers to the Red Planet. That means Starship has to be big.

Taylor civil-rights case ends in mistrial

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A federal judge declared a mistrial Thursday afternoon after a jury deadlocked on civil-rights charges against a former Louisville police officer who fired stray bullets in the deadly raid that left Breonna Taylor dead.

Brett Hankison was charged with using excessive force that violated the rights of Breonna Taylor, her boyfriend and her next-door neighbors. Hankison fired 10 shots into Taylor’s window and a glass door after officers came under fire during the flawed drug warrant search on March 13, 2020. Some of his shots flew into a neighboring apartment, but none of them struck anyone.

The 12-member, mostly white jury struggled to reach a verdict over several days. On Thursday afternoon, they sent a note to the judge saying they were at an impasse. U.S. District Judge Rebecca Grady Jennings urged them to keep trying, and they returned to deliberations before Jennings declared a mistrial.

The mistrial could result in a retrial of Hankison, but that will be determined by federal prosecutors.

Hankison, 47, was acquitted by a Kentucky jury last year on wanton endangerment charges. State prosecutors had alleged he illegally put Taylor’s neighbors in danger. Months after his acquittal last year, the U.S. Department of Justice brought the new charges against Hankison, along with a group of other officers involved in crafting the warrant.

Atlantic City Boardwalk fire investigated

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — Investigators were trying Thursday to determine what touched off a fire on the Atlantic City Boardwalk a day earlier that burned a section of the historic walkway and damaged part of the facade of Resorts casino.

Although the fire damaged the casino’s main Boardwalk entrance, Resorts remains open through a secondary entrance on the Boardwalk as well as several entrances along its side across from the parking lots.

By Thursday afternoon, the casino was allowing patrons to enter from the Boardwalk through one door that was undamaged, with the rest of the entrance blocked off by metal barriers.

The fire that broke out shortly before 4 p.m. Wednesday burned parts of the Boardwalk-facing facade of the casino, including an awning and doors.

Fire Chief Scott Evans said Thursday a cause of the fire had not yet been determined.

Investigators were looking into several possibilities, including an electrical malfunction in one of the numerous utility lines running underneath the wooden walkway, or the possibility that homeless people taking shelter under the Boardwalk accidentally started the fire.

Chicago train plows into snow equipment

CHICAGO — A Chicago commuter train collided with rail equipment Thursday morning, injuring nearly 40 people, some of them critically, fire officials said.

The Chicago Fire Department said the Chicago Transit Authority train crashed into snow-removal equipment just before 10:35 a.m. on the city’s North Side near the Howard CTA station.

The Yellow Line train carrying 31 commuters and seven CTA workers was southbound from Skokie when it collided with the slower-moving rail equipment, said Robert Jurewicz, the Chicago Fire Department’s second district chief.

Thirty-eight people, including four children, were injured. Twenty-three were taken to area hospitals and three of the injured were in critical condition, although no one suffered life-threatening injuries, said Keith Gray, assistant deputy chief paramedic. The train's operator was among the most seriously hurt, the Chicago Sun-Times reported. The children suffered bumps and bruises, the newspaper reported.

Gray said 15 train passengers declined medical treatment at the scene.

  photo  Chicago Fire Department and Chicago Police Department personnel triage patients Thursday after a Chicago Transit Authority train crashed into a piece of equipment that was on the rails near the Howard CTA Station on the North Side in Chicago. (AP/Chicago Sun-Times/Ashlee Rezin)

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