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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. 

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Energy

The advantages and disadvantages of purchasing a battery electric vehicles (BEV)

Battery electric vehicles are the choice for anyone desiring to try the electric car models. Nonetheless, there are few things to understand while venturing into this field. There are three primary branches of electric vehicles, which are the hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs), battery electric vehicles (BEVs), and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs). The hybrids are a fantasy for those hoping to remain relevant in both the current pollutive sector while also experiencing what the future of EVs will turn out. On the other hand, BEVs are a demonstration of what the future will look like if the ICE cars were to stay clear from the roads forever.

Battery electric vehicles are cars that are purely powered by batteries that run on electric energy. One exciting feature of these cars is that they lack the internal combustion engine making them a beauty watch as they maneuver down the busy highways without emitting fumes. Although the hybrids are making a sneak preview of the future, they come with their advantages and disadvantages, which we will be detailing in this article.

Advantages

First, the BEVs showcase the future in which the transportation industry will be transitioning two in the new decade. Navigating around cities and towns in your battery electric vehicle marks your freedom from the guilt that your car is emitting greenhouse gases. 

Although battery electric vehicles’ prices are substantially high, they deliver quality for their customers that utilizes electric energy to operate. BEVs are durable for car owners who love to save their money on fuel for the ICE cars.

Battery electric vehicles are less noisy than their ICE substitutes, thereby minimizing air pollution. Some governments had to stipulate that they must install horns to honk the pedestrians out of the roads to reduce accidents.

Furthermore, BEVs are easier and affordable in maintenance than the ICEs, which are costly to repair and replace the movable parts. As for BEVs, they have fewer moving parts that demand replacement saving the owners even more cash.

Disadvantages 

It goes without argument that battery electric vehicles are expensive because the developers have invested technology and paid the price to produce the cars. This concept pushes car fanatics and low-income buyers away since they can’t afford them.

Next, electric vehicles run on electric energy from batteries. These batteries are what factor in the prices of the cars escalating their values. Additionally, replacing an electric vehicle battery would cost you much because it is its “fuel.”

Insuring these vehicles is extremely expensive, considering that their premiums evaluation depends on their value. The technology imparted in these vehicles makes them very expensive in all aspects.

In some countries, there might be insufficient garages for repairing the vehicles in case they encounter malfunctions. Additionally, some states may not have enough charging infrastructure nationwide, limiting the cars’ usage to places where there are charging stations. To conclude, the cheap electric vehicle models have a short mileage range, making the car buyers anxious and avoiding them as much as possible.

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Space

A report observes ways Artemis backs sustainable human Red planet (Mars) exploration

The Artemis program from NASA of the human lunate survey can aid make way for human Red Planet operations, as per a recent publication, even though some nips to those strategies might be necessitated. The publication, unveiled through the space survey support group Explore Mars at the time of the virtual Human to Mars Summit, is founded on a workspace conducted latter November that brought together officials of NASA, industry as well as academia to survey methodologies for an inexpensive human survey for the Red Planet.

The workspace recognized 85 activities or tasks related to the human Red Planet survey, stretching from human health to touchdown technologies and surface systems. A substantial figure of them can gain from the Artemis slate or current study on the International Space Station.

It would be increased by task on the Red Planet-specific technologies. Lisa May from Lockheed Martin remarked that they had to be focusing on removing dangers, showing technologies as well as staying and tasking on the moon in equivalence with advancing those particular, distinct technologies.

One site of research panellists observed that it is attaining experience in partial gravity like the one the moon’s surface or the Red Planet. The workspace stated that some modifications to the Artemis slate might be necessitated so that it can work well on the Red Planet survey. Lisa highlighted that getting people on the moon’s surface to conduct their tasks, perform their survey and science, and making a maintainable presence was not enough.

One instance of alteration has prolonged operations on the lunate Gateway that NASA currently suggests to utilize for comparatively short stopovers by spacemen. She added that they could imitate Mars operations, Mars transportation time by getting crews to stay for a longer period around the Gateway.

The other tasking group at the workspace concentrated on situ resource usage, specifically gaining access to water ice residues that probably exist on the red planet as well as the moon. That comprises of a sequence of predecessor operations on the two universes to establish how reachable the ice is.

An instance of such operation in NASA’s Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration that shall search for water ice around the south pole of the moon. Clive Neal, a university lecturer from the University of Notre Dame, concurred, stressing the significance of recognizing reserves of water ice on the moon and the Red Planet that could be utilized by crewed operations. He remarked that comprehending how much they would obtain and utilize was going to determine the structure of what they set together to travel to the moon and then the Red Planet.

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Space

Satellogic’s 11th satellite lift-off to Earth’s lower orbit

Great news as Satellogic confirms reports of another spacecraft launch from Guiana Space Center via a Spaceflight Inc. procured inauguration. The NewSat Mark IV satellite reached the Sun-synchronous low-Earth path aboard the Vega rocket launched from Arianespace.

The spacecraft received the name Hypatia, a well-renowned astronomer, ideologist, and mathematician in Alexandria. A little bit of history, she was famous for her life as a renowned teacher, wise advisor, and iconic women’s rights activist, the precursor to our modern-day feminist movement.

Satellogic remains the pioneer company to create a scalable platform for Earth Observation with the capability of remapping the world at both high frequency and resolution.
Hypatia incorporates a sub-meter multi-spectral camera and a 30-meter hyper-spectral camera after the successful launch of NewSat Mark IV into the orbital path. Satellogic integrated new systems into the NewSat Mark IV satellite to serve the needs of the company’s advancements in Earth Observation capacities. Once successfully commissioned, Satellogic plans to make available the new abilities to current clients.

The iconic inauguration of NewSat is a clear demonstration of Satellogic’s adaptability to different deployment systems and launch rockets. The space mission offers the company chance to experiment with the sub-meter mapping technology. Currently, Satellogic’s butch of satellites continues to remap the Earth with high resolution, in addition to the company’s low-cost offering, unlocking more potential applications for many industries. Upon fine-tuning sub-meter imaging, the company seeks to push down the cost incurred in performing high-frequency geospatial data analytics. 

Gerardo Richarte, Satellogic Founder and CTO, said that the company is fully responsible for every satellite’s design and manufacture; this offers a chance for the teams in Research and Development to validate upcoming technologies in each launch. The company incorporates new products into every generation of satellites, advancing the goal to achieve new space.

Satellogic and China Great Wall Industry Corporation worked together to launch two spacecraft back in January. Satellogic owns 11 satellites, drawing the company nearer to its vision of using a satellite constellation that seeks to provide weekly, high-quality planet remaps at a different standard for market accessibility and affordability. 


Stephane Israël, director of Arianespace, said that rapid and aggressive research and progressive efforts are vital to achieving the space industry’s advancement and general development of humanity. Satellogic’s satellite is anticipated to provide data to help attain increasing demand for the company’s data analytics services and other solutions to serve Dedicated Satellite Constellation clients in 2020. In conclusion, Satellogic’s demonstration of resilience, persistence, and adaptability is a remarkable drive to deliver high-frequency and high-resolution remap imagery.

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Space

The Pentagon studies reveal that China is developing anti-satellite weaponry

At the beginning of this month, Pentagon gave a press statement outlining how China is designing missiles and electronic arsenal that can blast satellites in low and high-Earth orbits into pieces. The Defense Department of the United States submitted a report detailing the capability of China to wage space war through its military weapons. The report states that China has a ground facility where it develops missiles that can pursue and knock out space apparatus like satellites no matter their position above the Earth’s globe. 

DoD had the task of filing this report as early as two decades ago but was adamant about doing so since it lacked adequate evidence to support these allegations. The Pentagon views the idea of China’s military troops utilizing their capabilities in space and the denial of the same privilege to their enemies as the new space war. The report details China’s incessant efforts to widen its military space prowess while sternly vouching against the militarization of space. 

Nevertheless, China is yet to make a public acknowledgment of the allegations leveled by the US concerning its space weaponization, saying that it is only responsible for pulling the trigger to scatter its weather satellite thirteen years ago. However, the DoD report exclaims at the steadily expanding militarization of China’s space facilities and programs. Some of the so-called threatening programs include space surveillance systems, navigator space robots, kinetic-retard missiles, and the Earthbound lasers.

Key electronic weapons that the DoD is talking about include focused energy weapons, cybersecurity systems, and satellite signal compacters. These weapons are what the Pentagon has received submissions about detailing that they are countermeasures in case China’s space resources come into conflict with those of another country. The report articulates that these Chinese resources would observe an approaching enemy satellite or spacecraft and send alert signals to its weaponry servers to send out a blinding and deafening reply before they strike their enemy.

The report adds that China’s growing space industry is the likely propeller of its advancing anti-satellite weapons technology. The report notes that the satellites, space vehicles, detectors, and moon systems that China is developing are a worry to the international community since they are preparing to be the leading nation or superpower in space activities.

Finally, the report seems to focus on China’s developing space capabilities. There is a likelihood that the other countries are feeling threatened by China’s prowess in advancing their space industry. For this reason, the developed nations are trying to chicken out China so that it can slow down on the expansion of its space resources. 

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Space

Air Force Research Laboratory intends to widen the scope of its scientific space experiments

The Air Force Research Laboratory plans on expanding its scientific knowledge base by conducting two more space experiments. One of the experiments will evaluate the performance of the equipment and instruments hosted by satellites within the low-Earth orbit. The other investigation is a technical upscale of the ongoing detection technology that oversees the orbital path aligning towards the moon. 

These experiments will be under the Space Vehicles Directorate’s supervision based at the New Mexico Air Force facility. The chief of Space Vehicles Directorate, Col. Eric Felt, admitted that over 20 teams applied to conduct these experiments with only two winnings since their proposals focus on vital space details concerning national security. 

The low-Earth orbit experiment will be within an altitude ranging between 85 and 600 kilometers above the Earth’s surface. The agency offering the contract for this experiment states that the investigation will investigate how this zone’s atmospheric conditions affect communication and exploration. The experiment intends to evaluate the ionosphere’s alterations due to the composite gases utilizing detector satellite instruments. 

Felt stated in a virtual meeting that they would be investigating the cause of the high repulsive force that presses the spacecraft, making it invoke a high propulsion power to maintain the motion. The other experiment crowned CHPS will be working on the operations beyond the low-Earth orbit towards the other planets. 

The CHPS experiment seeks to understand objects’ behavior in this realm and track their movement to other systems. The team going for this expedition will be collecting samples in space from the moon and analyze their details before further exploration. The program engineer for AFRL, Capt David Buehler, states the experiment will be evaluating the possibility of clearing the path for the upcoming US space flights heading for the moon. 

The CHPS expedition will evaluate a mechanism for tracking the suspended pieces in space and a plausible way to avoid knocking them if the debris is rigid. The principal facilitator of this mission, Jaime Stearns, stated that the task would help NASA experts to understand how to draw realistic trajectories for their spacecraft that head out into the deep space. 

To conclude, the project developers will be submitting their budgets to facilitate quick negotiations with the financiers on the way forward. Felt stated that this mission is a revolutionary move that the other stakeholders must implement to focus on new tasks. 

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Space

India’s space exploration firm Pixxel announces that it has raised $5 million for its space activities

An Indian space exploration startup Pixxel revealed that it has been able to raised funds that will help it deploy a group of satellites, which are crucial in its study of the Earth operations from space. Various Indian firms came in full force to support this firm and raise funds needed for it to start operations. Some of the firms that came to its aid include Inventus Capital, Lightspeed India Partners, growX Ventures, and Blume Ventures. Key notables whom their contribution is worth mentioning include Stanford Angels and Ryan Johnson, who played a role in the development and acquisition of Blackbridge by Planet. Pixxel revealed that Johnson would become one of its directors.

After garnering this stupendous funding, Pixxel will be widening its quantity of engineers and technicians in its facilities and also expand its operations to meet the deadline it set for the launch of its satellites. The chief executive of Pixxel, Awais Ahmed, explained to SpaceNews that they must widen their operations in their facilities in Los Angeles since moat of their customers who require earth-imaging services live in this region.

Ahmed stated the primary objective of Pixxel is to create the desire for various firms to consider monitoring their daily activities from space. Additionally, Pixxel is developing a mechanism which will enable its customers and potential consumers to understand the images that will be sent to them with just one click of the mouse. 

Pixxel has prepared its cubesat and will be ready for deployment via the famous Russian Soyuz rocket in the coming two months. The other satellite it will be deploying will be next year as a rideshare mission via SpaceX’s Falcon 9 spacecraft.

Pixxel is adamant about divulging any details concerning the quality of images it will be transferred to its customers after gathering them through its constellation of satellites. The founders will oversee the success of the firm since they have been working on this project for a long time. The two co-founders have vast knowledge concerning space exploration and operations, especially after their space science projects in the science fairs, they attended winning awards. To conclude, Pixxel is among the shortlisted firms which receive support from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Maxar Technologies, and Lockheed Martin, among other firms. The firm is happy to learn from these notables and use their experiences to make educated judgment calls.

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Energy

Three Oil Majors that put money on massive renewables

Frequently, Big Oil has been reprimanded for attempting to buff its renewable recommendation, and it has done slightly to influence us that it is progressing to the green world. Pledges that are made by Big Oil to pursue net-zero agendas will remain weakest at its best, despite the big urge of the huge renowned trend (about the global electrification) to shift to renewable energy. An examination done on near-term spending strategies by the biggest oil and gas entities shows that actual investments in renewable energy will continue to pale concerning capex strategies of making fossil fuel projects green. 

In the last two years, Big Oil used less than 1 percent of its total budget on green energy schemes. According to Rystad Energy, Big Oil will get $166B into new oil and gas endeavors by 2025. As a result, it shortens the presently specified expenditure of about $18B for solar and wind energy schemes. Much of Big Oil’s reductions in greenhouse (GHG) emissions fall on the ‘natural gas bridge.’ 

The good thing is that recently, the Italian multinational oil and gas giant Eni SpA (BIT: ENI) unleashed a pledge full of ambitions by an oil supermajor. Eni announced its strategies for reducing its greenhouse emissions by 80 percent by 2050. Eni’s natural gas production will entail 85 percent of its total production by the end of the estimated year. A significant Oil entity has the probability of earning its bands as real renewables energy outfit by 2030, and such bets can turn out to be fruitful. Remarkably, the U. S oil and gas supermajors became prominent after their names were absent.

The Equinor

Such alone oil entity has the most useful green plan compared to all the other entities. Out of the $18B that supermajors want to invest in clean energy by 2015, about a half and more will come from Norwegian state-possessed multinational energy firm, Equinor ASA’s (NYSE: EQNR) coffers. If you take out Equinor from the calculation, investments from the Equinor will reduce by 2023, having minded the deep capex reductions caused by Coronavirus outbreak. The Equinor stated that it wants to invest $10B into renewable energy in the next five years, basing mainly on its offshore wind portfolio. The firm’s primary goals are aiming at growing the capacity of renewable energy from 4GW to 6GW in the next six years.  

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Space

SATCON1 report enumerates space strategies to oversee a reduction in constellation interference with astronomy

New research reveals some strategies that the astronomers and satellite operators can implement to counteract the effect of impeded astronomy due to satellites’ growing constellations in the low-Earth orbit. However, the study recommends selecting a single strategy to fulfill a huge portion of this task, alarming that no integration of the strategies can completely eradicate the problem. 

The research by the American Astronomical Society and the National Optical-Infrared Astronomy Research Laboratory (NOIRLab), came out on August 25 after a two months study into the restructuring strategies in the SATCON1 conference. The conference lured in over 200 astronomers and satellite developers to deal with the challenge of the growing satellite constellations that impede astronomical research. 

Close to two years, astronomers have complained over interference of the shiny constellation of satellites hindering their astronomical observations. The satellites interfere with the astronomical view of space since some either reflect the sunrays to the telescope or cause oblique specks in the observations. 

Connie Walker of NOIRLab stated that the conference outlined various strategies to solve the uprising astronomical conflicts with satellite operators. She reiterated that no integrative measures could absolve this challenge advising the two stakeholders to select the most appropriate strategy and implement it. 

The analysis stipulates various recommendations to counteract the sun rays reflected by the satellites. One of the strategies is launching the satellites within the 600 kilometers mark, covering the satellites with opaque materials to reduce their brightness and maintaining the altitude. 

SpaceX and the astronomers were working on a conclusive mechanism to solve this challenge before the SATCON1 workshop taking over this mission. The firm’s Starlink constellation technicians implemented this mechanism by operating the satellites within 600 kilometers and covering them with dark visors to minimize the reflection of the sun rays. 

SpaceX deployed the first satellite with these features in June and at the beginning of August to evaluate the effectiveness of this strategy. The observers are still analyzing this mechanism’s effectiveness before trying other strategies or reinforcing this one fully. 

Although Starlink shows some dedication to resolve this problem, the other satellite constellation operators like OneWeb and Amazon seem to decapitate these efforts. For example, Amazon’s Kuiper project is filing for authorization to launch its constellation above 600 kilometers orbits. 

Vera Rubin Observatory’s lead scientist Tony Tyson says that SpaceX’s efforts to solve this problem are laudable, hoping that other constellation developers can follow this example. He adds that the SATCON1 report details other technological aspects that the technicians can employ in their operations to fulfill this mission. 

In conclusion, astronomers are keen to point out some of the legal policies that the federal government can stipulate to shield the astronomical field from unwarranted observation denial. The advantage of constellations is that there is no marginalization. 

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Energy

Big oil businesses of Europe are switching to electric

It might result to be the year that big oil companies, particularly ones in Europe, began looking just like electric companies. In the previous month, Royal Dutch Shell received a contract to construct a vast wind farm off the Netherlands coast. Earlier in the same year, the Total of France that runs a battery producer consented to make various significant investments in solar energy in Spain and a wind farm in Scotland. Total also purchased an electric and natural gas amenity in Spain and is linking with Shell and BP in widening its charging business of electric vehicle. 

Simultaneously, the companies are rejecting plans for additional borer wells as they cut back capital budgets. Shell lately confirmed that it would postpone new fields in the North Sea and the Gulf of Mexico, while BP has assured not to hunt for oil in any modern state. 

Prodded by investors and governments to address the change of climate concerns about their products, Europe’s oil companies are increasing their cleaner energy production. Regular electricity, and sometimes hydrogen and supporting natural gas, which they dispute, could be a cleaner changeover fuel from oil and coal to renewables. For several executives, the unexpected drop in oil demand caused by the Coronavirus pandemic is another caution that unless they adjust their companies’ composition, they jeopardize being extinct just like the dinosaurs. 

The evolving vision is more walloping since most long-term oil business veterans share it. Claudio Descalzi, who is the Chief Executive Officer of Eni and has been working with the Italian company for nearly four decades, stated that they had tremendous volatility in the commodities of oil throughout the six years. He added that he wanted to construct a company gradually more based on green power rather than fat. He said that they want to move away from the uncertainty and volatility. 

BP veteran Bernard Looney, who also became the CEO in February, later confirmed to journalists that what the world needs from energy is shifting. So, they should change, quite honestly, what they present the world.

The gamble is that electricity will be the principal means of offering cleaner power in the forthcoming days and, therefore, will rapidly breed across the nation. American big companies such as Chevron and Exxon Mobil have been slower than their European equivalents to entrust to climate-related targets that are far-reaching.