US-backed rebels, bolstered by constant coalition air support, now control 70 percent of the contested Syrian ISIS stronghold of Manbij, a spokesman for the Syrian Democratic Forces said. The spokesman told Reuters that the SDF fighters pushed back Sunni militants into the old quarter of the city and had seized most of the rest of the city. Thousands of residents are still in the city, with militants attempting to keep them inside the city as protection from airstrikes, Kurdish sources told the news service. US-led coalition aircraft have been hitting the city hard, with eight strikes on July 31 alone targeting ISIS tactical units, fighting positions, a vehicle, and other equipment, according to US Central Command. The area around Manbij has been the site of multiple reported civilian casualties in US strikes, CENTCOM said last week.
NASA, SpaceX, and United Launch Alliance are all preparing to launch their next-gen rockets from Florida’s Space Coast, two of them before the year is out. One is expected to liberate the U.S. launch enterprise from its reliance on Russian-made RD-180 engines, while all three rockets could eventually carry astronaut crews.