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Space

ICEYE initiates large scale manufacture of satellite

Space exploration has revolutionized over the years, with the space industry launching different rockets’ designs to the moon and the universe. Additionally, space exploration brought the universe closer to the earth through live pictures, consequently increasing scientific space knowledge. The revolution was instigated by commercial space exploration that attracted different investors to venture into space exploration. ICEYE is among the space companies that have ventured into space exploration.

ICEYE’s operations are based in Finnish and involve satellites that capture pictures of the earth’s surface while utilizing the Synthetic-Aperture Radar (SAR) technology. Resultantly, SAR technology obtains geospatial data that aids its client to get a clear and intellectual decision. Surprisingly, ICEYE is the first global industry to construct a SAR satellite weighing up to 100kgs. The company recently raised funding of $87 million, totaling $152 million from the initial rounds. ICEYE’s plans include launching four SAR satellites by the end of 2020 and an extra eight SAR’s by 2021. 

Dr.Mark Matossian, the managing director of the U.S. ICEYE, noted that the company is in the progress of space exploration and they are well equipped with a five-year experience of space exploration. He further added that the new move would transform the company’s goal and increase the market scope. On the other hand, the company has been in service since 2018 with its three satellites that serve the customers. The clients are exposed to quality imagery of the earth’s surface through cloud storage. 

ICEYE also delivers precise services that help meteorologists predict the weather and monitor the formation of weather catastrophes like floods and tornados. Conversely, the company also offers services to companies in the mining, insurance, and utility sector. For example, Tokio Marine, a global insurance organization based in Japan, is a client to ICEYE. The company seeks to establish its customer base in the U.S. Matossian, a former Google employee who worked with the Terra Bella Earth-imaging constellation, came on board to help ICEYE progress its market scope.

Matossian further notes that the funding will propel the company into an expansion phase, and more organizations will seek the services. Additionally, Matossian explains that construction companies will access the company’s services through distant asset monitoring. The benefit of expanding into different company sectors makes the clients uninformed about the source of data. For example, raw data given to the insurance company may seem irrelevant. Moreover, the company will provide a spreadsheet that will comprise of every possession they insure.     

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Energy

SK Innovation is hastening the initiation of operations at its EV battery facility in Georgia by recruiting employees

SK Innovation revealed its plan of recruiting over 1000 employees by the end of next year in the preparation to start operations at the company’s newly acquired electric vehicle battery center in Atlanta. The company revealed that this is its first step to ensure that Georgia becomes the biggest center for electric vehicle battery production globally.  

SK Innovation crossed the 60 employees mark this year, where most of them are administrative officers, engineers, technicians, and specialists in the various fields of production. These core employees will help lay down strategies to ensure that the other employees go through proper hiring procedures and procure mostly skilled employees for the efficient continuation of operations in the facility.

SK Innovation has so far managed to develop the frontal structures and foundations for the second plant of Georgia’s company. This new facility in Georgia will combine efforts with others to ensure they produce enough battery cells to fit over 200000 electric cars.

SK Innovation announced that the other projects, like the one in Jackson County, are making crucial steps towards the turnaround of the area to become a hub for clean energy vehicles. Commissioner Pat Wilson of the Georgia Department of Economic Development added that the facility would create over 2000 employment opportunities once its full potential becomes visible.

Pat Wilson expressed his gratitude to all the partners who facilitated employees’ training to ready them for absorption into the facility under development in Georgia. He reiterated that the project proceedings in Georgia would activate industrial development in the area and accelerate the creation of jobs through clean energy projects like electric vehicle production.

SK Innovation stated that its electric vehicle plants at Georgia would create employment for the people in this area and raise their living standards. Additionally, the other upcoming projects will create more jobs in the next three years while realigning the region to adopt electric vehicles and minimize emissions from the ICE cars.

Commerce Mayor Clark Hill stated that Jackson County and Commerce projects would activate economic growth in these areas while creating jobs through the battery manufacturing projects. In conclusion, SK Innovation will be collaborating with QuickStart and Lanier Technical College, which offer employee training and technical education to people to ensure they are ready for absorption into the electric vehicle battery manufacturing factories. SK Innovation chief executive Jun Kim reiterated that the training would make the employees viable for jobs in the coming transition to clean energy, especially in the auto industry.

Categories
Space

New Strategies unveil as NASA and Space Force partner

As humankind continues to advance in space exploration expeditions, new cohorts help facilitate humanity’s mission to explore other outer space bodies. Several space corporations and state agencies are collaborating to develop space technologies that draw humans closer to achieving the vision of living and working on a planet such as Mars. Every commercial space company seeks to bring onboard NASA as its potential customer or funder because of the agency’s comprehensive network, state-of-the-art space technologies, and expertise. Initially, numerous speculations about the much-anticipated partnership between the two United States agencies circulated public media, but all is clear. NASA officially affirmed the association between the agency and the United States Space Force to develop policies, research studies, and space industry technologies. The partnership seeks to protect the planet against hazardous bodies like asteroids. 

Jim Bridenstine, NASA’s administrator, and General John Raymond, the director of Space Operations, discussed the terms of their Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on September 22 during an online forum that the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies conducted. The MoU substitutes a prior agreement between NASA and the United States Air Force Space Command endorsed over two decades ago. The creation of Space Force back in December 2019 disestablished the cohort between the two agencies. Raymond said that the Space Force anticipates future partnership because NASA continues to advance into space exploration technologies for humanity’s benefits. The central objective of the Space Force is to ensure freedom of operation in space to support NASA’s program that aims to take a man back to the Moon and attain the most remarkable space exploration in the history of humanity by reaching Mars.

NASA is an agency that plays no military operations. NASA plans to sort for military support from agencies such as the Space Force to protect its assets, currently in orbit, against hostile attacks. Bridenstine said that there are many challenges in the space industry, and NASA faces the same risks, just like the agency’s peers who are commercial operators. The Space Force plays a vital role in supporting NASA to help the agency achieve its mission while protecting its space assets. 

Bridenstine stated that nations are designing, developing, and deploying laser technology and other techniques that interfere with satellite communications. Some countries use cyber weapons to enable them to hack and hijack space systems. Every nation using the space network domain is at risk from these potential threats. When an attack occurs on any spacecraft, the perpetrator’s identity becomes critically essential; however, it is challenging to point out space networks’ culprits.

In conclusion, NASA plans to take advantage of the agency’s international standing to foster new cohorts to facilitate peaceful space use. The agency continues to prepare for its lunar lander mission, encouraging private corporations to utilize the Moon’s resources.

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Energy

Proterra launches the Proterra ZX5 advanced electric car

Proterra’s ZX5 electric vehicle is the company’s latest electric vehicle that runs purely on electricity. The electric vehicle illustrates the sufficient technology with enough energy storage capacity that makes the car ready for speed and range maximization. 

The Proterra ZX5 has a power potential of 660 kWh of power, making it cover over 300 miles in a single charge. Proterra explained that the vehicle comes in both 35 and 40-foot lengths, allowing the customer to select the car with the capacity they require. Nevertheless, more details on these two models are accessible at the Proterra ZX5 social media platform. 

Proterra’s president, Jack Allen, stated that in 2010 the company ventured electric buses’ production and marketing. This move implied that the industry would soon be switching gears to this mode of transportation. Currently, the transition to clean energy is visible, with automakers agreeing to the change. Additionally, Proterra is rolling out its fifth electric bus, which will grace the North American roads.   

Proterra has admitted that this ZX5 electric bus meets the electrification requirements with a physical stature that will last for an extended period. Additionally, the make of the bus connotes the safety of the passengers and high reliability. 

The ZX5 has the best design with a body that enables the passenger to board it with much ease. Additionally, the charging system has easily accessible ports making the bus a beauty to maneuver around busy cities and recharge quickly. 

The engineers designed the bus to advance the previous model with high acceleration and an enhanced horsepower. Additionally, the model can move through the steep hills without wheezing like other cars struggling through the same path. 

With the latest battery design and technology, this ZX5 battery enables the vehicle to surpass the ICE cars’ efficiency rate since it does not require frequent maintenance and checking of parameters of the acceleration system. The dual drivetrain of the bus increases its efficiency in winding up the hills and steep landscapes. Additionally, the bus can accelerate from zero to 20 mph in less than seven seconds. 

The Proterra ZX5 features Proterra battery systems. Designed and manufactured in Proterra’s California battery manufacturing facility, Proterra says its battery systems are safe, durable, and efficient. Proterra batteries are manufactured with safety mechanisms built directly into the battery architecture and have undergone testing to ensure they can withstand a full-service life under the most challenging conditions. 

Finally, Proterra hopes that customers can purchase this new model and test its efficiency. The firm conducted its research and development on the battery technology and are confident of its capacity to sustain the car through the 300 mileage range.

Categories
Space

Germany’s Space Industry proposes the construction of a mobile Launchpad for satellites in the North Sea

The German government is reviewing a proposal from its space industry to develop mobile satellite launchpads. The initiative plans to use the launchpads for small satellites’ inauguration, not weighing more than one tonne, carried in Germany-built launch vehicle rockets. Although the government still intends to announce the site selected for the launchpad officially, many people speculate its location within Germany’s economic zone.

Current mainstream media reports show that the Federation of German Industries (BDI) advocates implementing the project. The German government declared that the project is a Public-Private Partnership (PPP). The BDI proposal for the country’s launchpad project is technically viable and seeks to develop strategic and economic meaning. Germany’s digital economy heavily relies on satellites that provide a network for upcoming technological advancements such as autonomous cars and other self-driving vehicles. 

Developments within the space industry unlock the potential for growth of the digital economy; such projects make the sector attractive to start-up companies. The Isar Aerospace, based in Ottobrunn, is one of the three German start-up companies involved in the launchpad project proposal. The Isar Aerospace specializes in the design and manufacture of two-stage rockets that measure 89ft high. The company plans to conduct its space launch missions for the rockets as of next year. Bulent Altan, formerly the deputy director at SpaceX, is among the advisors at Isar Aerospace. Elon Musk, a tech billionaire, is the CEO of SpaceX based in the United States.

The vision is to design launchpads to inaugurate rockets with no boosters, unlike the rockets that the European Space Agency launches at its Kourou inauguration site in French Guiana. The German government plans to develop launchpads, particularly for mini-rockets. Several space companies and agencies around the world continue to build miniature rockets of similar architecture. 

There is a growing popularity for compact satellites that operate on low-cost, miniature electronics. Space cooperations continue to launch these satellites in constellations of 30 to 60 satellites carried in big launch vehicle rockets. Space regulatory continues to urge companies within the industry to develop miniature and agile rockets that are more responsive to the market’s demands. The German government stated its intentions to finance projects within the country’s micro-launcher sector. Other Northern European states such as the United Kingdom, Norway, and Sweden are at the forefront of the initiative. 

In summary, there is unlimited potential for the development of the space industry as many space cooperations innovate technological advancements designed to help humankind reach for planets beyond. Countries that foster policies and regulations that favor growth in the space industry continue solidifying their digital technology economy’s reputation. 

Categories
Space

Speculations about Space Force developing heavy-lift military launch vehicles

Last month, the United States Space Force selected the United Launch Alliance’s Vulcan Centaur. SpaceX’s Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy as launch vehicles that satisfied the state security requirements to fly its satellites. 

Brig. Gen. Jason Cothern, the procurement supervisor of inauguration services at the U.S. Space Force, expressed the excitement and anticipations for future space exploration missions. Cothern made the statement as the vice commander of the Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) during an online forum conducted by the RAND Corporation on September 8. 

However, Cothern’s statement omitted the speculations that the Space Force plans to utilize ultra heavy reusable launch vehicles such as Blue Origin’s New Glenn or SpaceX’s Starship for future satellite inaugurations. While responding to a question on whether the military plans to employ super heavy-lift launch vehicles for its space missions, Cothern said that their providers satisfy both the current and later goals of the agency.

Space and Missile Systems Center strive to attain 100% success in every space mission it conducts. SMC anticipates partnering with ULA and SpaceX in the National Security Space Launch Phase 2 program. Currently, the most crucial concern is the requirements for the next generation of lift-off vehicles for upcoming military space missions. Cothern said that the type and design of the launch vehicles depend on the kind of threats involved during the mission. The development process consists of acknowledging the risks and determining the applicable requirements and architectures that neutralize the hazards.

The RAND forum involved a panel discussion focused on the market research study for the cooperation’s space launch missions. The recommendations from the research prompted an endless debate on the responsibility of the United States military in fostering strategies for the future of the launch industry.

Bonnie Triezenberg, a senior engineer at RAND and the lead author of the market study, insisted that the Air Force took a decisive step to select two space companies for the National Security Space Launch Phase 2 program procurement. However, the Air Force considers a move to support more space corporations to boost development within the United States commercial base.

Cothern said the Space Force is yet to consider plans to financially support space launch companies aside from the two contract awardee of Phase 2. Launch providers such as Northrop Grumman and Blue Origin are to incur the costs for conducting all the National Security Launch certification procedures on their new launch vehicles. Cothern said that the Space Force looks forward to working with any other launch provider not selected for Phase 2 launch, but at their own expense. To conclude, the future of the space industry is promising for any launch provider considering working with the Space Force. 

Categories
Space

A continuing resolution (CR) is an enigma for Space Force – Raymond

Congress will be authenticating a continuing resolution to finance the US government when the new financial year starts this October. If Congress decides to lengthen the CR to the next financial year, then the US Space Force will be under financial strain since its funds embedded in the Air Force budget will delay. All monies in the Air Force budget are only apportionable when the budget is within one financial year. This explanation implies that Space Force will have to halt some of its projects which need money.

Gen. John “Jay” Raymond of the US Space Force explained that an extended CR would barricade some of their essential projects on Tuesday. He stated this in a virtual Air Force Cyber Conference.

Raymond revealed that billions of cash that would have moved from the Air Force’s budget to Space Force would hold until the extended CR comes to its end. He argues that this would decapitate their operations and programs. The funds in question are vital in operations and programs like maintenance, research and development, test flights, acquisition of payloads, and emergency war spendings.

The US president and his Congress legislators discuss terms of the CR to prevent governmental paralysis of various operations. The CR in question would be partially effective in 2020 and wait until Congress apportions the fiscal budget that terminates it next year.

Raymond explained that their biggest problem is the vast funds planned for their operations, which the CR impedes their descending to Space Force. The White House tabled a report which contains ambiguities in the CR to Congres for it to resolve them quickly and amicably. One of the titles is the challenge of the Space Force accessing crucial funds through the CR.

Raymond explained the essence of Congress resolving these ambiguities as quickly as possible. He added that the legislators must amend some terms and clauses in the CR to prevent financial tussles and tugs. Space Force will encounter changing accounts when Congress passes a new appropriation bill.

The CR bars agencies like Space Force from initiating new programs that can be essential for their projects’ performance. Some of the projects that would be affected by the CR include the acquisition of new GPS satellites and the upscaling of the National Space Defense Center at its Colorado Springs facility.

In conclusion, Raymond expressed his fear that these important projects would be back-pedaled by the CR extension. Additionally, he worries that there will be arguments with the National Reconnaissance Office over terrestrial space if the facility in Colorado Springs does not expand to completion and in time.

Categories
Energy

Technological advancements in Solar Power provide affordable electricity

For the past ten years, the electricity sector has received very little funding to develop renewable energy sources and the relevant infrastructure. During the last industrial revolution, many state governments directed huge investments into the manufacturing and processing industries. Most of the countries never acknowledged the effects on the country’s electricity demand. Statistics showed that most manufacturers operated fossil-fuel-powered facilities, contributing to the emission of greenhouse gases. Different zero-emission initiatives implemented in the last decade aimed to address the advanced effects of global warming. 


In 2009, the Israeli government decided to incorporate a green electricity initiative that failed terribly. Israel aimed to utilize wind and solar to produce at least 5% of its electricity by 2014 and predicted growth to at least 10% of electricity generation from renewables by 2020. The country never attained most of its targets, and currently, only 8% of the country’s electricity production comes from green energies. Despite the failures in achieving a higher contribution of renewables, many companies announced tremendous breakthroughs as the industry shifts to the prevailing trends.

Ayalon Vaniche, CEO of EDF Renewables Israel, said that the government continues to develop different regulatory policies, after learning from other countries’ mistakes. In an interview with Lior Gutman, Ayalon stated that the current world is competitive, and there are no more subsidies for companies developing renewable energy technologies. The interview happened during Calcalist and ESIL Technologies’ Sustainability and Innovation Week. Venice stated that renewable energies are affordable in Israel, and technologies continue to create opportunities for the country.


 According to Ayalon’s statement, renewable energy sources generate very cheap electricity such that other sources no longer compete. In the last few government contracts awarded to energy corporations, solar bids amounted to only 33% of the natural gas tenders. The statement cited a tender whereby the price for solar offers at less than 3 cents per kWh compared to 7.5 cents per kWh for natural gas. 


Ayalon proposed a significant industrial development is to use energy storage in solar-powered electricity generation facilities to enable the firm’s operations when the Sun is not out. Incorporating energy storage technologies increased the solar bid price to 6 cents per kWh, projecting that lithium-ion batteries aim to substitute conventional power facilities. The electric vehicle (EV) industry and energy storage facilities are the primary demand for batteries.
The Israeli government faces a significant challenge of scarce land to support large-scale solar power production. Even though power production efficiencies continue to improve, limited land inhibits the country’s full potential. But a proposed dual land-use program plans to solve the issue. In summary, developing infrastructure to support renewable energy is a crucial strategy to achieve an emission-free economy.

Categories
Energy

IEA gives a directive explaining the need to accelerate the clean energy technology transition

The International Energy Agency calls for a quick transition to clean energy technology globally for the world to achieve the set climatic change goals and energy objectives. The IEA explained that even though there is awareness about climate changes and global warming, there are still high rates of greenhouse gas emissions, which, if not curtailed, will spur to unmanageable levels. Nonetheless, the coronavirus pandemic measures have brought some hope into realizing the climate and energy goals. Emissions have temporarily witnessed a drop since most human activities that catalyze the increase in emissions into the atmosphere have reduced.

The Energy Technology Perspectives report of this year articulates that transitioning only the energy industry to green energy must not be the only solution to achieve an emission-free ecosystem. Various stakeholders must be involved in this move, starting with the transportation industry, manufacturing industries, and legislators. The appropriate technology is also vital in the switch to clean energy since it will resolve people’s desire to return to the pollutive power by releasing state-of-the-art resources and electric cars.

The IEA proposed an additional venture into hydrogen energy technology to supplement the other renewables. The agency explained that hydrogen energy would be the best substitute for nonfunctional renewables and stop the people from resorting to the old pollutive energy sources. For instance, industries like the steel industry, which require the indirect form of electricity, would benefit highly from this technology.

The IEA observed how renewable energy projects have been affected in some countries and championed the introduction of solar photovoltaics to revitalize the renewables’ performance in the affected countries. Additionally, the coronavirus pandemic resulted in a decrease in the erection of renewable energy resources like solar panels and wind turbines. The IEA found out that these challenges are the products of the coronavirus pandemic measures 2hich must strictly adhere to save lives.

In conclusion, the IEA discovered variances in the rate or household installation of renewable energy infrastructure. The team identified that states with stern adherence to the pandemic shelter-in-place measures recorded the highest drop due to fear from the people of contracting the noble coronavirus. However, the IEA is encouraging countries with low cases of the spread of the coronavirus to work out a strategy that will help them transition to clean energy since they have the workforce to commit to these programs.

Categories
Space

NASA’s fresh call for Moon Lander payload from the agency’s commercial partners

NASA published new calls for the agency’s partners in the private space industry to manufacture more lunar landers. According to NASA’s request for more scientific and trial Moon lander payloads, the agency anticipates to receive them later on in 2022. The agency plans on using the payloads to help make the path for NASA’s Artemis program that seeks to take humankind back to the Moon in 2024. After the successful Apollo Moon landing mission, NASA continues to roll out plans to return humankind to the Moon. The agency’s Artemis Project is one such program that continues to develop lunar lander equipment and spacecraft. 

Recently, NASA’s Search and Rescue office partnered with Australia’s SmartSat Cooperative Research Center to develop beacon technologies for astronauts on the Moon. The network is expected to facilitate the transmission of distress-related signals from the astronauts, whether on the Moon or in case something goes wrong during deployment of a rocket’s lunar payload. 

NASA announced a call for innovation to help the agency deal with dust particles’ messy problems on the Moon’s surface. The agency conducts a yearly idea competition to attract students from college and universities to ideate, prototype, test, and demonstrate resilient dust mitigation projects. 

Initially, NASA established its own Commercial Lunar Payload Service (CLPS) project to ensure a stable number of approved special services suppliers. The types of services include producing lunar landers capable of withstanding last-mile deployment of special lunar payloads. NASA’s CLPS comprises 14 corporations listed as vendors, to name some such as SpaceX, Blue Origin, Lockheed Martin, Firefly, and Astrobotic make up space companies that are eligible for bidding on contracts NASA creates to deliver specific payloads to the surface of the Moon.

NASA awarded contracts for two groups of payloads from the CLPS project, part of four scheduled launches under contract. Firstly, the planned launches are June 2021 Astrobotic’s Peregrine Mission One launch; secondly, October 2021 Intuitive Machines IM-1 inauguration; thirdly, December 2022 Mansten’s Mission One launch; lastly, Astrobotic’s VIPER mission set for 2023.

An in-depth look at the new payloads indicates that the list consists of different scientific instruments such as the lunar regolith, adhesion testing apparatus, X-ray imaging devices, a dust-resistant shield. 

NASA’s private lunar lander partners under the CLPS program are eligible to submit contract bids to conduct the new list of 10 trials and demonstrations; the plan is to deliver the stated instrument by 2022. The agency anticipates selecting a bid winner for the new contract award by late this year. 

To conclude, NASA’s effort to improve the life of humankind through space exploration is truly remarkable. NASA continues to plan more projects, programs, and idea competitions to improve their existing space technologies and expertise; with new challenges come fresh opportunities to develop a thing or two.