'This is probably jail time for life, huh?' – Troubling audio released from stolen plane in the US

The man who stole the plane from Seattle airport discussed landing the plane with air traffic control and also apologised to those who care for him. Source: Associated Press

'Hold, hold, hold' - Last-minute technical problem delays NASA's flight to sun

A last-minute technical problem yesterday delayed NASA's unprecedented flight to the sun.

The early morning launch countdown was halted with just one-minute, 55 seconds remaining, keeping the Delta IV rocket on its pad with the Parker Solar Probe.

Rocket maker United Launch Alliance said it would try again today, provided the helium-pressure issue can be resolved quickly.

As soon as the red pressure alarm for the gaseous helium system went off, a launch controller ordered, "Hold, hold, hold".

Once on its way, the Parker probe will venture closer to our star than any other spacecraft.

The $2.2 million (USD) mission is already a week late because of rocket issues.

Yesterday's launch attempt encountered a series of snags; in the end, controllers ran out of time.

Thousands of spectators gathered in the middle of the night to witness the launch, including the University of Chicago astrophysicist for whom the spacecraft is named.

Eugene Parker predicted the existence of solar wind 60 years ago.

He's now 91 and eager to see the solar probe soar.

He plans to stick around at least another few days.

The United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket with the Parker Solar Probe onboard shortly after the Mobile Service Tower was rolled back. Source: Associated Press


West Australian pet welfare programmes get million dollar cash boost

Pets caught out in family and domestic violence will be a little better off with the West Australian government's $1.1 million-plus splash for welfare programs, animal shelter upgrades and equipment.

The RSPCA WA has been given $111,000 to continue the Pets in Crisis program which allows pets to be temporarily fostered out anonymously while their parents escape unsafe home situations.

More than $1 million will be used for equipment and upgrades at the Malaga site while the rest will go to other projects including four new vehicles for remote travel to kennel upgrades.

Prevention of Family and Domestic Violence Minister Simone McGurk said the money would go to "long-overdue upgrades" and help produce positive results in keeping women and children safe.

"People may find it difficult to seek help due to concern for the pet's safety so this program may help to save both human and animal lives," she said.

A yellow Labrador Retriever puppy playing with ball tennis outdoors in the grass
Labrador Retriever puppy playing with tennis ball. (File) Source: istock.com