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TALKING POINTS

Stories you may have missed from the world of business

AEROSPACE

SpaceX’s 1st astronaut launch breaking new ground for style

The first astronauts launched by SpaceX are breaking new ground for style with hip spacesuits, gull-wing Teslas, and a sleek rocketship — all of it white with black trim. The color coordinating is thanks to Elon Musk, the driving force behind both SpaceX and Tesla, and a big fan of flash and science fiction. NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken like the new look. They’ll catch a ride to the launch pad in a Tesla Model X electric car. “SpaceX has gone all out’’ on the capsule’s appearance, Hurley said. ‘‘And they’ve worked equally as hard to make the innards and the displays and everything else in the vehicle work to perfection.” The true test comes Wednesday, when Hurley and Behnken climb aboard a SpaceX Dragon capsule atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and, equipment and weather permitting, shoot into space. It will be the first astronaut launch from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center since the last shuttle flight in 2011. It will also mark the first attempt by a private company to send astronauts into orbit. Musk named his rocket after the “Star Wars” Millennium Falcon. The capsule name stems from “Puff the Magic Dragon,” Musk’s jab at all the doubters when he started SpaceX in 2002. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

HOSPITALITY

Wyndham Hotels now operating near 50% occupancy, CEO Says

Wyndham Hotels & Resorts CEO Geoff Ballotti said the company’s mid-scale hotels are operating at occupancy levels of about 50 percent after five weeks of increasing demand, which he expects to continue. “The most important thing anyone can do is follow the guidelines of the CDC, the WHO, and the states,” Ballotti said on CBS News’s “Face the Nation.” The emergency aid Congress and the Federal Reserve have made available “is incredibly helpful and we applaud the administration, we applaud Congress,” he said, adding that franchisees “look at this support as a lifeline.” About 90 percent of the franchisees have applied for a Paycheck Protection Program loan. Ballotti said he’d like more flexibility in the PPP system in terms of stretching out the funds from four weeks to 26 weeks and the repayment period from two years to five years, and easing the rule that requires 75 percent of the loan be used to pay salaries, because franchisees “have other operating costs, like utilities, like taxes and like their mortgage.” Wyndham includes more than a dozen hotel brands, including Days Inn, Ramada, Super 8, and Howard Johnson. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

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FEDERAL RESERVE

Rosengren sees Main Street loans within next two weeks

The president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, Eric Rosengren, said he expects companies to begin receiving money through the central bank’s Main Street Lending Program within two weeks. “This is a program that’s just starting up, so we’re expecting to have the loan documents up this week,” Rosengren said Sunday on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” “We then have to register the banks, and then we’re going to be ready to start issuing the loans.” The Boston Fed is administering the Main Street program, part of the emergency lending effort announced by the central bank to keep credit flowing during the pandemic. It’s designed to provide up to $600 billion in credit to small and medium-size companies. The Fed first announced its intention to create the program on March 23 and has been under scrutiny over its slow launch. “We’ve been working on it very hard over the last several months,” Rosengren said. “I expect it will be a relatively smooth opening.” Main Street is one of nine Fed emergency lending programs. Rosengren said he doesn’t expect a rapid rebound in employment this year. “Unfortunately, I think it’s likely to be double digit unemployment through the end of this year,” he said. “Getting back to the low level of unemployment we saw at the end of February probably takes either a vaccine or other innovations that make it much less risky to go out.” — BLOOMBERG NEWS

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