NASA still fighting with the impacts caused by Coronavirus pandemic

WASHINGTON: Following four months of closing working centers, NASA has managed to keep its primary operations on track as much as others postpone their planned launch missions. 

Mars 2020 operations are planned to occur on July 30 on Atlas 5 rocket, which will lift off from Cape Canaveral, Florida. At first, the launch operation was scheduled to take place on July 17, but as the launch vehicle developed some launch problems, it was delayed to August 15. 

In the middle of the pandemic, the liftoff plans seem to be still progressing well. 

Michael Watkins, who is the director of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, stated that over 1,000 people who have taken part in the operation, approximately 100 were from Cape Canaveral working on the final sendoff activities, and others were from the JPL. The exercise was excellent, despite the outbreak of Coronavirus. Practically, they seem to be prepared to carry out the launch. 

NASA made the Mars 2020 one of its topmost strategies even after the outbreak of Coronavirus pandemic had forced the organization to shut down all its centers and to some of its workforces, although those serving primary duties remained.

Another effective launch was that of SpaceX Demo-2 commercial crew test flight after lifting off March 30 and landed it with the International Space Station the following day. The operation is almost coming to an end. 

Speaking at a similar Webinar, Jim Bridenstine, NASA Administrator, asserted that the return of Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley would be one of the main focus since the last time they engaged in spacewalk activities was on July 21.

As much as both Demo-2 and Mars 2020 remain on the track, there are still launch problems facing NASA Organization. On July 16, NASA confirmed that James Space Webb Telescope’s launch had been delayed to seven months, meaning it will take place in October next year (2021). 

When the pandemic appeared to have cut past the anticipated figures, all operations, more so those of carrying out experiments on the main phase of Space Launch Systems, were canceled. The good thing is that those operations have resumed, and the static fire experiment planned to take place in October. However, Jim Bridenstine said that no one is certain if the pandemic will end, and that might still put the mission to delay until further notice. Further delays will affect all scheduled launches planned to be accomplished by companies. 

Those who will attend NASA’s Demo-3 launch occasion will be denied access to the launch site- Kennedy Space Center. 


The London Underground is preparing to transition all of its operations to renewable energy

London intends to run its London Underground on 100% renewable energy. This move is in line with the city’s popular rail system zero-emissions strategy by 2030, to catapult the whole town to be emission-free come 2050. London’s biggest power consumer is Transport for London (TfL), which averages about 1.6TWh of power annually. Of this quantity, the Tube, which hosts the buses, trams, and over ground trains, uses approximately 1.2TWh of electricity annually.

Research by British Business Energy projects that 200 wind turbines or an equivalent of 5.5 million solar panels would be required to operate the system on renewable energy annually fully. This quantity would fill up the space occupied by the London Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.

Currently, the Tube uses 16% of electricity generated from renewables to operate. London has thought through the wind turbines plan and decided that since it can’t afford to create such a considerable space for wind turbines or solar panels, it will procure the power from renewable energy distributors. This move will save the city a vast stretch on its resources to install the turbines.

The mayor for London, Sadiq Khan, stated that since TfL will be one of the prime consumers of energy in London, they must spearhead the transition to clean energy. He reiterates that this move will help catalyze the inevitable shift of this city to an emission-free zone by 2030.

The London lawmakers are ready to finalize the spread of renewable energy use from the City Hall to the whole city. This move would help to meet the energy demand for the TfL system for both the police and the fire services. The resolution by the London Mayor is advocated for by the environmental activists like Greenpeace and the Renewable Energy Association.

Khan says that the expansion of the renewable energy system will ensure that transportation via rail network is swift while remaining cost-efficient. He hopes that the spread can go all through to the Greater London Authority to hasten the achievement of the goals that London has concerning global warming and climate change. 

Many of the UK businesses are adopting the work from home formula after the institution of shelter-in-place measures implicated by the coronavirus pandemic. Commuter services are feeling the impact of the epidemic, with some of the positives being clean air for the citizens.

Finally, if the rate of commuting remains the same throughout the year, 460000 kWh of power will be saved or even used domestically in 46000 homes in a year. 


The subsidies and incentives on the Renault Zoe make it an almost free EV in the country’s auto market

European car customers can now access the newly engineered electric cars at a subsidized price. This move is possible because of the government subsidies and the EU incentives, which have made the vehicle appear superfluous and cost-effective.

Customers are joining the webinar showrooms all over France and Germany after their governments instituting incentives and subsidies for the EVs. These two countries are Europe’s biggest car markets. Seemingly, the transition to EVs is inevitable with these two pioneers championing for this move. 

BloombergNEF reports that these two nations have the most customer-friendly prices globally. 

The German government is ready to let Autohaus Koenig market Renault Zoe EV and the payment method for this car. Autohaus Koenig is a car marketer with over 50 branches in Germany. This distribution by the firm makes it the most suitable supply chain for these incentivized cars. Twenty days after marketing, the vehicles have witnessed over 2000 inquiries and approximately 200 signed deals.

The head of EV sales for Autohaus Koenig in Berlin, Wolfgang Huber, substantiates that more transactions would be recorded if only the staff exceeded the current number. He says that they did not anticipate such an efficacious sales period, especially after introducing incentives.

Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Emmanuel Macron evaluate how to recuperate the car industry from the unprecedented coronavirus impact. Europe’s sales are picking up at a sluggish rate in Europe than in North America, causing lawmakers to focus their attention on the primary sources of job opportunities.

Nonetheless, the Renault model sales in France are trailing on a couply increase, leading to the tailing of the ICE vehicles in terms of demand. In the Netherlands, the busy Amsterdam city is prohibiting the ICE cars beginning 2030, a move that has attracted an expenditure of US$11.4 million to finance the influx of EVs in less than a fortnight.

BloombergNEF’s analyst Aleksandra O’Donovan states that the increasing subsidies and incentives are escalating demand for electric cars. He adds that the EU is going ahead in an abrupt move to transition to clean transportation after cataclysmic support from the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Finally, Germany is witnessing a substantially high EV sales courtesy of the government incentives and subsidies on these cars. One of the country’s virtual car market website, Carfellows, is experiencing high sales volume due to the approximately 9000 euros’ incentives imposed on each EV. Carfellows spokesman Rainer Westdoerp submits that this is the whooping climax in sales since the launch of the startup. 


China Launches three satellites for remote sensing, commercial data acquisition and x-ray astronomy

China was able to launch three satellites on Long March 4B rocket with the intention to be able to achieve commercial data acquisition, novel lobster eye x-ray astronomy and, last but not least, remote sensing. The launch took place on Friday 11:13 p.m. Eastern Time from Taiyuan Satellite Launch Centre. Even before an hour ended following the launch, the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp. announced that the launch was a success.

One of the satellites was Ziyuan-3 03, which was the main payload. Its purpose was to handle the remote sensing. The developer was China Academy of Space Technology (CAST) under the CASC. In order to ensure that it performs monitoring, resource survey and the production of geographical products, the designers included three cameras with a resolution of approximately 2.5 meters. It joins its predecessors, Ziyuan-3 1 and 2. With the help of the Gaofen-7 satellites, the trio will be in a position to provide satellite data sources that are even more stable. If things go as planned, that will be enhanced even further by the launch of an additional satellite, which will be the last of the Ziyuan-3 series satellites before the end of the year.

The other one is a smallsat means to perform x-ray astronomy. Its developer was the Shanghai ASES Spaceflight Technology Co. Ltd. It’s a research institute under a major subsidiary of CASC called the Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology. It is the first of its kind in China and was experimenting in collaboration with Nanjing University and Hong Kong University. It is designed to capture the x-ray energy range and dark matter signals thanks to its ultra-large field of view.

Last but not least is the data acquisition one. The developer is the same, but it is to be used largely by the Beijing Guodian Gaoke Technology Co. Ltd. It will be testing the narrow-band Internet of Things constellation. 

At the beginning of the year, CASC has said that it would launch 40 satellites or rather rounds by the end of 2020. There would also be additional missions involving Kuaizhou and Expace among other service providers. So far, China is on the right track since this particular one marked the 21st one of this year. However, one must acknowledge that not all have been a success. For instance, the inaugural flight of the Long March 7A was a failure, and the same can be said about the Kuaizhou 11. There was also the Long March 3B launch that saw the loss of the Palapa-N1 communication satellite.

Nevertheless, the proportionality of the failure and the success shows great progress. As a matter of fact, China made a great milestone not long ago marked by its first independent interplanetary mission. That’s after the success of the launching of the Tianwen-1 to Mars. 


Africa is likely the dominant continent in the global renewable energy industry

Focus has shifted to Africa after various countries transitioning out of coal energy. The GWPF is eager to influence Africans to use fossil fuels. This agency released a report narrates how electricity is a security problem for Africa. This move by the agency is crumbling Africa’s switch to renewable energy. 

One of Kenya’s citizens notes that the coal-fueled climate is disastrous for the people in Northern Kenya. The counter-climate regulations for which GWPF is championing are the primary causes of storms, droughts, and global warming that are disastrous to the region’s inhabitants.

Coincidentally, GWPF is now faking to be the saviors of Africa, and yet they are targeting Africa as the new market for the coal industry. Another conspirator in this move is European petrol producers who discard their dirty products in the African markets.

The GWPF report is a creation of Geoff Hill, who has worked before as the Australian newspaper. Hill is spreading propaganda about climate change because he is uninformed on matters climatology and energy regulations. Three academicians are buying into this report, and here is why. The three, Dr. Jacob Masiala, Dr. Samson Bada, and Dr. Rosemary Falcon are all affiliates of the Clean Coal Technology Research group at the Witwatersrand University in Johannesburg.

Africa will never prosper if it falls into the trap of the traditional pollutive energy proponents. Africa must jump into the current trend of clean, renewable energy to thrive in this ever-changing world. Below is an outline of how to achieve this mission. Africa has adequate wind, sun, and geothermal energy facilities compared to other areas on Earth.

Wind and solar energy are the cheapest energy forms worldwide, efficient, and more reliable than fossil-fuels. Africa can start by developing mini-grids and wind turbines to meet citizens’ energy needs in remote areas. This move will ensure that Africans enjoy electricity before the installation of mega power grids and turbines. Africa must understand that coal energy will only worsen the existing climate crisis and do away with it.

African governments are slowly getting the gist after their leaders set aggressive goals in the Paris climate. This move made the more prosperous pollutive nations rethink their plans to avoid embarrassments. Nonetheless, Africa is proving its ingenuity after establishing the Noor solar power farm in Morocco. This farm is currently the largest worldwide. Africa can contribute 40 percent of solar power globally. Hopefully, the leaders should amass the right knowledge and implement it to ensure Africa dominates the global renewable energy industry.

Finally, Africa needs to shovel unreliable agencies like GWPF to cut out the negativity. African governments should educate and train their youth to work towards the achievement of clean, renewable energy economies.


Syncing ESA Radar, NASA Laser for refurbishing at Sea Ice

With a little push to satellites orbit, scientists will before long have simultaneous radar and laser ice measurements, giving new insights into the frozen regions of the planet. On 16 July, the European Space Agency (ESA) commenced a string of exact maneuvers that will drive the orbit of CryoSat-2 satellite for like half a mile high, positioning it in sync with laser-carrying ice of NASA, ICESat-2 and Cloud.

Following the completion of maneuvers this summer, both satellites will go by a swath of the Arctic in few hours. The synchronous extend, of not less than 2,000 miles (3,200 kilometers) each day will be necessary for researching sea ice that floats on the Arctic Ocean and is moved about with winds and currents. If the satellites get measurements at different times, both could be calculating dissimilar floes of drifting ice. Syncing the satellites offers scientists with two datasets for the unchanged ice. 

The CryoSat mission boss with ESA, Tommaso Parrinello confirmed that joining the two dimensions from space would result in a golden age. He added that it is a small cryostat-2 change; however, it will be a scientific revolution. 

Both ICESat-2 laser and c ryoSat-2 tools called a lidar, calculate the height by conveying signals and timing the time taken to reflect on the surface of Earth and go back to their particular satellites. However, the diverse signs indicate on some surfaces differently, comprising snow-covered ice. Radars such as Cryosat-2 will go through the snow cover. The dissimilarity between both will provide scientists with how deep the snow goes atop the ice. 

Rachel Tilling, who is a sea ice expert at Goddard Space Flight Center of NASA in Greenbelt confirmed that if you have both radar and laser, it offers you with this thrilling chance to calculate the snow depth, which they have never been in a position to do in the past from space. She added that with the bottom of snow, they could receive considerably more precise sea ice thickness measurements. 

Tilling confirmed that with enhanced snow depth and ice width measurements, scientists could achieve insights into the climate system of complicated Arctic. Sea ice could only be ten feet in thickness or more; however, it has a significant impact on the climate of Earth, creating a sort of protective layer on the Arctic Ocean.


China and Pakistan Road and Belt projects

China has won projects worth $11 billion in Pakistan. This is after an agreement that was signed in the past month to renovate the infrastructure. 

On June 26 and July 6, the two countries sealed the deal for the two projects, which are meant for hydropower production. The first project is in Kashmir, and it is worth $3.9 billion, while the other is the renovation of the colonial-era railways in South Asian, which will cost $7.2 billion. 

Asim Saleem Bajwa was appointed by Khan’s government to be in charge of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor Authority last year. The corridor supervises many projects from energy farms to highways, which are worth over $70 billion. 

Mr. Saleem is one of the previous and present army officials to serve in eminent government duties after he was added in the cabinet in April following the military expansion influence in the nation. 

The World Bank aid the construction of various projects such as railways, ports, power plants, roads, among others around the world. These projects are worth over $570 billion since 2013, when the president of China Xi Jinping started the initiative. However, the progress of these projects has decelerated following the allegations that China is enticing less-developed nations into debt tricks for its governmental benefit. 

There is more bother about the capability of the Islamabad in servicing its debts in the ongoing initiative. Pakistan is in the list of eight countries that are unable to sustain its debts due to that program. This is according to a report released last year by the IMF. The IMF said that it is a must for Pakistan to pay back China the amount which is twice in the three years to come. 

Regional conflict

Pakistan and India have engaged in the war three times. The two wars were over the hydro projects in Kashmir, and the other was over terrorist invasion in Kashmir and Jammu last year. 

The construction of the Kohala hydro project, which is worth $2.4 billion, is ongoing in Jhelum River, located in Muzaffarabad, about 62 miles from where the two armies fought. The other project, known as the Azad Pattan, is constructed in the same river, and its total cost is $1.5 billion. 

The Road and Belt programs have put many countries into trouble due to substantial debt loads, corruption, environmental destruction, padded agreement, and China importing laborers instead of hiring the locals. 

There was a renegotiation over the renovation of the British-era legacy railway by the Pakistan government. The country’s railways minister said that the project would cost $6.2 billion, a reduction from the initial cost of $8.2 billion.


Four NRO payloads successfully launch via the Minotaur rocket for space

Northrop Grumman’s Minotaur 4 rocket launched four spacecraft this Wednesday from its Virginia Eastern Shore. These spacecraft are intended to help the US spy satellite agency in its operations in space.

The 23.8 meters tall launcher ejected the rocket from pad 0B of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at 1346 GMT after a successful hazard clearance by the fishing boats near the facility. The Minotaur 4 propelled through the sunny sky at an exhilarating speed.

The rocket was powered by three sophisticated rocket motors collected from the old Peacekeeper nuclear missile program of the US Air Force. The other engine is the commercial Orion 38, whose purpose was to propel the four National Reconnaissance Office payloads to the low-Earth orbit.

The live broadcast of the launch provided by the Wallops Flight Facility of NASA was cut short by the NRO repository. The remaining journey was cut off the stream, but later on, the NRO revealed that the launch was successful.

NRO’s director Chris Scolese is exuberant that the first NRO dedicated launch from the Wallop Flight Facility is a success. He further taunts that this NROL-129 mission is a product of the NRO’s partnership and the industry stakeholders to develop a system of satellites that display extraordinary skills.

However, the NRO has kept the details of the four NROL-129 payloads a secret. This move is fathomable since the agency is the basis of the US government intelligence community. Scolese says that they are happy as an agency to work through the previous challenges and partner responsibly with the space industry partners. He is excited that develop complex intelligence systems to help in overseeing the security of the US. 

The Wednesday launch has been the 27th flight via the Minotaur rocket since the year began. It is also the first for a Minotaur satellite since 2017. Northrop Grumman’s director of launch vehicles Kurt Eberly verified that the company is marking its 20th anniversary in the line of Minotaur products. Eberly retorts that it is incredible for its customers to enjoy these valuable assets.

Northrop Grumman explains that they are ready to deploy the US military and NRO payloads into the orbit via the Minotaur rockets. 

Eberly says that they have been able to launch Vandenberg at Cape Canaveral, Kodiak, and now Wallops. Eberly reiterates that their ability to launch for various orbits from different ranges allows the to execute multiple missions for the NRO and other DoD customers.

The government awarded Northrop Grumman $38 million to facilitate the NROL-129 launch. This move was three years ago via the military’s Orbital/Suborbital Program-3 procurement vehicle.

Finally, the engineers at Wallops followed the crucial health measures to minimize the coronavirus’s risk. Additionally, without government approval, the Minotaur rockets can only deploy the military and intelligence-collecting satellites.


NASA upsurges investment in small-scale American businesses to raise Lunar competencies for Artemis

NASA has chosen four small-scale American businesses to raise a variety of techs for maintainable surveying of the moon under the Artemis system. Through the Artemis, the foremost female and next male will alight on the moo in twenty-twenty four. Later in the years, NASA and its collaborators will determine a maintainable existence in the moon.

Through granting the corporations with follow-on finance, an anticipated joint value of nearly seventeen million dollars. NASA’s minor business program would boost the advancement of lunar techs significant to Artemis. The corporation commenced maturing the techs, and displayed their competencies, under previous agreements from NASA’s SBIR system.

Jim Reuter cited that minor businesses are essential to the advancement of space technology. With this recent lunar consecutive financing chance, they would develop in-situ resource operation laser communications, and other great-impact techs for use on the moon. He further added that the businesses bore a track record of fruitfulness with NASA, and they believed that their techs would have a massive influence on the Artemis system.

The chosen corporations include;

  1. Qualtech Systems of Rocky Hill

They would upsurge autonomous system competent of unceasingly monitoring and giving hitches and health controlling for space shuttle-like Gateway.

  1. Fibertek of Herndon

They would develop an optical communications techs for tiny space shuttle near the moon and even beyond

  1. Protoinnovations of Pittsburgh

They would develop grip control and advance the driving capability of robotic and crewed meanderers in unfamiliar and greatly mutable land in the moon.

  1. Pioneer Astronautics of Lakewood

They would construct and display hardware to generate oxygen and steel from lunar soil. The tech would back up maintainable lunar missions like manufacturing using resources present on the moon like the in-situ.

The picking and upcoming awards are a portion of the NASA SBIR system. They are made to back minor businesses past the customary stage 1 and stage 2 financing and promoting transfiguration for both brews into NASA operations and commercialization inside the aerospace industry and far beyond. Singular awards are anticipated to be between two and a half million dollars to five million dollars.

NASA’s STTR system functioned meticulously with other NASA systems to realize main technical difficulties and dangers for near-term operations necessities, display probabilities, and infusion chances. In two thousand and nineteen, NASA unveiled a call for white papers to former STTR stage 2 awardees to certify these requirements. After going through the white papers, NASA welcomed the chosen corporations to tender their full proposals. Extra calls for white papers and consecutive awards to qualifying NASA’s necessities are likely.


The Northcare Renewable Energy is just a Ticking a Box, according to David Jenkins

The Northcare Renewable Energy has a proposal of changing the technology used in the Northcare facility. The shift is from gasification to conventional movement grate combustion. There is the permission that existing in the facility to move issued in the year 2019. However, the technological change proposed needs a new planning application for submission.  David Jenkins, the former Wiltshire councilor who resigned last year, said that the company is trying to tick a box as community involvement with the plans it has for virtual meeting this Tuesday.

The councilor said that he does not think the Westbury community and the surrounding environment realized the implication on the town if the application approval goes through. For the people who will live in the town will have it rough to accommodate the incinerator. The incinerator has some implications for human health and the surrounding environment. Some of the association includes smell, dust, air pollution, and flies.

Also, there will be more people moving in to add to the community that currently lives in Westbury; thus, the development of new houses leads to congestion in the town and the nearby community. Some homes will be very close to the incinerator that leading to health risks. The Northcare Renewable facility’s application has arranged to have a crucial meeting this Tuesday so that each partner of the public who is a registered member can see the presentation and the questions that affect them asked through email and any other social media. 

He added that in his opinion, it is a cop-out; the question asked in social media and email does not take public participation. Northcare Renewable Energy takes full advantage of the ongoing lockdown regulations that fit their ends. The question has a tick box on the form that plans application, which said they have an excellent application with the community. The meeting will be evidence that they have done. The community that lives within and around the Westbury area needs to have a public meeting or have permission to the application reach the town council department of planning agenda.  

The applicants need a chance to discuss the application in totality. I cannot stress to the community the importance of the incinerator. More than a hundred members are determined to take place in the survey that needs to speak face-to-face to the incinerator’s applicants in front of the camera.  When the lockdown ends, the meeting will take place with ease.