NASA’s record-setting Koch, crewmates safely back from space

NASA’s Christina Koch spent 328 days aboard the International Space Station. (NASA)
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Updated 06 February 2020

NASA’s record-setting Koch, crewmates safely back from space

  • NASA’s Christina Koch shatters spaceflight record for female astronauts

MOSCOW: NASA astronaut Christina Koch, who has spent nearly 11 months in orbit on the longest spaceflight by a woman, landed safely in Kazakhstan on Thursday along with two of her International Space Station crewmates.

The Soyuz capsule carrying Koch, along with station Commander Luca Parmitano of the European Space Agency and the Russian space agency Roscosmos’ Alexander Skvortsov, touched down southeast of Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan, at 3:12p.m. (0912 GMT).

Koch wrapped up a 328-day mission on her first flight into space, providing researchers the opportunity to observe the effects of long-duration spaceflight on a woman. The study is important since NASA plans to return to the moon under the Artemis program and prepare for the human exploration of Mars.

Koch smiled and gave a thumbs-up as support crew helped her get out of the capsule and placed her in a chair for a quick post-flight check-up alongside her crewmates. Russian space officials said they were in good shape.

Koch, who grew up in Jacksonville, North Carolina, and now lives near the Gulf of Mexico in Galveston, Texas, with her husband, Bob, told The Associated Press last month that taking part in the first all-female spacewalk was the highlight of her mission.

Koch said she and fellow NASA astronaut Jessica Meir appreciated that the Oct. 18 spacewalk “could serve as an inspiration for future space explorers.”

Parmitano and Skvortsov spent 201 days in space.

After preliminary medical evaluations, the crew will be flown by Russian helicopters to the city of Karaganda in Kazakhstan. Koch and Parmitano will then board a NASA plane bound for Cologne, Germany, where Parmitano will be greeted by European space officials before Koch proceeds home to Houston.

Skvortsov will be flown to the Star City Cosmonaut Training Center outside Moscow.

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Saudi Arabia’s Mawid smartphone app offers coronavirus self-assessment

Updated 03 April 2020

Saudi Arabia’s Mawid smartphone app offers coronavirus self-assessment

  • Mawid helps users book appointments at 2,400 health care centers in Saudi Arabia
  • The service provided by Mawid is free of charge

The Saudi Health Ministry has introduced a self-assessment feature on its Mawid smartphone app amid the global outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), offering a consultation window for the public.

The feature includes a list of questions, guidelines and instructions based on the users’ recent travel history and their symptoms.

“Importantly, if you suspect you have COVID-19 symptoms, please download the Mawid app and use the self-assessment tool to get guidance,” said Saudi Minister of Health Dr. Tawfiq Al-Rabiah.

Consultation services have been provided for half-a-million people by the Health Ministry and around 250,000 self-assessment tests have been made through its Mawid app.

Mawid helps users book appointments at 2,400 health care centers in the Kingdom. The application follows the “Central Appointment System” that allows them to manage their referral appointments.

Launched in 2019, the app was launched as part of the ministry’s plan to implement digital transformation through technology.

The service provided by Mawid is free of charge. Once the user has downloaded the app, they will be required to sign in with their Absher username and password.

The user will be taken to another window and will be required to fill out the required information, where they will be able to see a self-assessment banner that takes them to a survey.

When the user has finished the assessment, they will receive guidance according to their symptoms.

Pakistani expat Talha Mohammad has been using the app to book appointments for his son’s vaccinations. “It is a really good app, and easy to use,” he said, adding: “The best part is that they send you reminders repeatedly which is perfect since I have trouble remembering appointments.”

Saudi citizen Fatimah Ahmed used the app for COVID-19 self-assessment with the help of her eldest daughter. “We went through the self-assessment process, answered the given questions and were given tips to follow.”

She was told to rest assured and visit the ministry’s COVID-19 guide for more information. “It is a good tool for other features, such as booking appointments and whatnot. However, I am very paranoid about the virus and when it comes to health, I am old-fashioned and prefer physical checkups to smart apps.”

The Mawid app is available for both Android and iOS.