Returning to Space
NASA’s Commercial Crew Program and private industry partners Boeing and SpaceX continue to develop the systems that will return human spaceflight to the United States. Both commercial partners are undertaking absurd (1) amounts of testing in 2018 to prove the designing of space systems and the meeting of (2) NASA’s mission and safety requirement for regular crew flights to the International Space Station.
“The work Boeing and SpaceX are doing is incredible. We are (3) manufacturing spaceflight hardware, performing complicated testing intricately (4), and proving their systems to make sure they get it right.” said Kathy Lueders, manager of the NASA Commercial Crew Program.
Both Boeing and SpaceX plans (5) to fly test missions without crew to the space station prior to test flights with a crew onboard this year. After both company’s (6) test flights, NASA will work to certify the systems or (7) begin post-certification crew rotation missions. The current flight schedule for commercial crew systems provide (8) about six months of margin to begin regular, post-certification crew rotation missions to the International Space Station before contracted flights on Soyuz spacecraft end in fall 2019.
As part of its (9) normal contingency planning, NASA is exploring multiple scenarios as the agency accounts for potential schedule adjustments to ensure, continued U.S. access to the space station (10). One option under consideration would extend the duration of upcoming flight tests, with crew (11) targeted for the end of 2018 on the Boeing CST-100 Starliner and SpaceX Crew Dragon. The flights could be extended longer than the current two weeks planned for test flights, but likely less than a six-month full-duration mission. Therefore, (12) the agency is assessing whether there is a need to add another NASA crew member on the flight tests.
This would not be the first time NASA has grown (13) the scope of test flights; it had SpaceX carry cargo on its commercial demonstration flight to the International Space Station in 2012, which was not part of the original agreement. This decision allowed NASA to ensure the crew aboard the space station had the equipment, food, and other supplies needed on the station after the end of the agency’s Space Shuttle Program. (14)
Never one to take unnecessary risks, NASA will perform a thorough review, (15) including safety and engineering evaluations.Open passage in new window
Many might assume that since Olympic athletes are at the pinnacle of their respective sports, (16) they’re all able to live comfortably, either from endorsements or competing professionally. [A]
After all, Michael Phelps the Olympic swimmer, (17) has an estimated net worth of about $55,000,000. But most who do make it to Pyeongchang receive very little funding and most don’t make a lot of money, off their sport outside of the Olympics, (18) either. [B] For example, two-time Olympic javelin thrower Cyrus Hostetler recently told The Washington Post that the most he’s ever earned in a year is $3,000.
Similarly, (19) there are many celebrity athletes who have corporate endorsements. Snowboarder Shaun White and skier Lindsey Vonn compete in the Olympic Games and than return to a life (20) of material comfort. [C]
Many Olympians do accumulate a great deal of wealth after their athletic careers have ended, however. (21) According to the Track and Field Athletic Association, there’s a “steep pyramid of income opportunities” for track and field athletes, with only a “select few” able to earn a very good living. A decent number of (22) track athletes who rank in the top 10 in the U.S. in their event earn less than $15,000 annually from the sport.
Unlike many other countries, the United States federal government is not responsible for funding Olympic programs or to pay (23) athletes to compete, though some athletes get special funding from their national governing bodies. For example, USA Swimming reportedly provides nearly (24) $3,000 to national team members of its top 16 ranked athletes. But other athletes aren’t so lucky—some families have even gone (25) bankrupt trying to support their son’s or daughter’s Olympic dreams.
Countless hopefuls and current Olympians also hold down real jobs. You name it they do it: (26) waiter, teacher, coach, construction worker, public speaker, janitor, and many other jobs. [D] For example, swimmer Amanda Beard has worked as a model and as a public speaker for earning a living (27).
Many others are students whom (28) train at their universities, and a fortunate few live and train at regional Olympic training centers in specific regions, like (29) those at Colorado Springs, Chula Vista, and Lake Placid.Open passage in new window
Playgrounds seem to be made for fun, but does more time on a teeter-totter equate to less time in a reformatory? Can teamwork learned on a child-propelled merry-go-round, which requires children to cooperate to have fun, (31) and patience from waiting turns on a slide lead to better communities?
Manufacturers of playground equipment, (32) routinely made such claims in catalogs touting the social, physical, and moral benefits of their products. “Better the playground and trained leaders than reformatories and uniformed guards,” states (33) one 1926 advertisement.
Compared to the playgrounds we know today, the earliest American playgrounds were more like large sand gardens, though, (34) similar to those popular in Germany in the late 1800s. This changed as time went on: swings, slides, and climbing bars were added, (35) and instructors often led children in organized play.
Playgrounds at schoolyards and city parks helped socialize America’s new immigrant population, but (36) gave generations common community landmarks in the early days of the twentieth century.
 Frontier-land motifs with Conestoga wagons and teepees gave way to space travel, cartoon characters, and fairylands. Traveling sales representatives sold slides, whirls, monkey bars, and swings to schools and cities. Rocket slides encouraged big dreams and inspired the youth (38) as America’s space program captivated the citizenry.
“The rocket is not leaving,” says Deborah Baker, curator of collections at the Edmond Historical Society & Museum, who is a playground enthusiast (39).
A rocket slide, installed in the 1960s, anchors (40) Stephenson Park, where the museum and traveling exhibit (41) Edmond’s Depression-era Armory building houses. While the park is scheduled for a makeover, the rocket slide will stay.
“People don’t know us as the historical society or Stephenson Park,” she says. “They know us as ‘Rocket Park.’” 
The ExhibitsUSA traveling exhibit is showing in Edmond with support of (43) Oklahoma Humanities. Across the country, vintage playground equipment— including slides and swings (44)—has been scraped, mostly in the interest of safety.
But thanks to Edmond, the surviving artifacts have (45) a place to live on.Open passage in new window
Deforestation in Brazil
The rainforest shook with the sound of exploding tires and groaning steel as flames tore through a truck carrying giant tree trunks illegally sawn from the Amazon.
An agent of Brazil's environment police has, moments earlier ordered (46) the driver from his cab at gunpoint. The 25-year-old fought back tears as he learned his truck would be set alight right there. He walked away rather than watch it burn. [A]
When able to do his (47) job, agents of the Brazilian Institute for the Environment and Renewable Natural Resources, or Ibama (48) are decisive, punishing illegal loggers on the spot. But this seizure was the only success in four days of operations (49) this month near the town of Novo Progresso in Brazil's vast northern state of Para.
Being hampered by poor radios (50) with a maximum range of just 2 kilometers (1.3 miles) and pickup trucks easily recognized by those who cut down the forest, the exhausted Ibama agents were too often chasing shadows. [B]
Nearly twice the size of India: (51) the Amazon absorbs an estimated 2 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide (a major contributor to climate change) per year. Even so, (52) its preservation is vital in the fight to halt global warming.
Ibama, responsible for preserving Brazil's 65 percent share of the world's largest rainforest, one of (53) the most important groups in that fight. [C] But after years of success, however, (54) the rate of deforestation is on the rise again.
Over the past four years it has risen 35 percent, as Ibama suffered from (55) a lack of funding amid Brazil's worst recession in decades. Last year, an area of rainforest five times the size of Los Angeles were cut down (56).
Leaders from nearly 200 different countries met in Morocco this month to move forward on commitments to cut greenhouse gas emissions. [D] A 30 percent cut in Ibama's budget has meant fewer operations this year, helicopters (57) and jeeps have been idle because of a lack of fuel.
"We haven't even had enough money to pay for aptitude tests to allow our agents to carry guns," said Barroso, adding that the tests take less than an hour to complete. (58)
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|Question 59 ask about the preceding passage as a whole|
The writer is considering adding the following sentence to the essay:
Here, in the badlands of rural Para, the challenges to those commitments are all too clear.
If the writer were to add this sentence, it would most logically be placed at:.
Spelling Bee Champion
At age 13 our son, Aren (61) can’t cross the street by himself, or eat without dropping it (62) all over the floor. He is hyperactive and has trouble sitting still. He struggles with reading and has difficulty following simple instructions. And to top it all off, he has a speech impediment called cluttering that often makes his speech incomprehensible to others (63).
I could write pages about Aren’s many challenges and our struggles with figuring out how to work with it (64). But Aren also constantly surprises us with what he can achieve.  Early on, we decided that our mission as parents was to not focus on his disabilities. [A] Rather, we agreed to seek out to develop (66) Aren’s unique strengths—to be open to exploring his talents, even where he started out with marked depletions (67).
However, (68) we initially decided to pursue some homeschooling so Aren could work on both his strengths and challenges at his own pace. [B] Here, his teachers, principal, therapists, and tutors each provide him with individualized support and guidance. Instead of subjecting him to traditional classroom instruction, which he would likely have tuned out, therefore (69) we chose the path of close-guided training. The results have been remarkable. Aren, consistently thriving (70) in this supportive environment, has developed incredible visualization, drawing, mental math, and creative skills. He particularly loves drawing complex freeway interchanges that would make a commuter faint. Remarkably, his drawing is effortless, and he often does it for just a few minutes at a time (71).
When Aren was 9, my wife asked Aren if he’d like to compete in his school’s Spelling Bee. [C] To her surprise—and perhaps horror (72)—he said yes. We later found out that he didn’t know what a spelling bee was; he just wanted to see what freeways we would drive to the competition. As a “human GPS,” he desperately needed to input I-580 to I-205 to Highway 120 to 99 to his system! 
We were worried that Aren might be disruptive at the Spelling Bee. But he surprised us: he put in diligent effort, was able to sit still and write legibly, and won! This victory left us both shocked and extremely proud. [D] Aren went on to represent his school in the county-level competition, where he came in 5th place! This was one of many humbling moments when I learned from my son that when defeat is embraced, it can be just as meaningful as victory. (74)Open passage in new window
A student's GPA is determined by assigning each letter grade a certain number and taking the average of those numbers. If a certain high school determines that A's are worth 4.0, B's are worth 3.0, C's are worth 2.0, D's are worth 1.0, and F's are worth 0 and that a student gets 6 A's, 2 B's, and 2 C's over the entire school year, what is the student's GPA for that year?
A single shipping truck can transport either a maximum of 500 boxes with a volume of 30 cubic inches each or a maximum of 2 tons of weight. If a customer needs to ship 300 boxes, each with a volume of 30 cubic inches and weighing 6 pounds, how many shipping trucks will they need to use? (Note that 1 ton is equivalent to 2000 pounds)