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Space

The United States Congress is impatient with the delayed Space Force’s plans

The United States Space Force is in charge of Space and the Missile Systems Center (SMC) that conducts space activities within the U. S. Although the Space Force continues to roll-out spacecraft development and launch programs, the plans for the state agency remains unclear. Space and the Missile Systems Center continue to strive to be able to attain 100% success in space mission that it conducts. The United States Congress allowed enough time for the Space Force to draft a plan for its upcoming space activity, but it failed to present the document to Congress. The program will outline the various strategies that the Space Force aims to undertake as a newly formed military branch.

General John Hyten, the deputy director of Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that the personnel from Space Force are hesitant to present a concrete plan. Hyten emphasized that incase the Space Force fails to deliver the program; Congress seeks to step-up to draft the plans for them. Some of the decisions delayed by Space Force include speculations that the agency plans to utilize ultra-heavy reusable launch vehicles that does include Blue Origin’s New Glenn or the SpaceX’s Starship for the future satellite inaugurations. With a reputable career in space mission operations, Hyten continues to spearhead the establishment of Space Force as an independent military service. 

Hyten said there is excitement in the commercial space industry because of the wakeup call to both the United States Command and the Space Force. He made the remarks on September 21 during an online forum that was conducted by the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU). The Space Force and the Air Force address specific concerns such as organizing the new services. The agency’s strategies to purchase equipment and integrate all members from other branches. The longer the Space Force delays its decision for the agency’s plan for the future, the more likely it loses Congress’s direction. 

Recently, Space Force representatives experienced Congress’s stepping regarding the officer’s concerns and the agency’s troop ranks. An amendment bill in the House draft of its National Defense Authorization Act of 2021 demands that Space Force to utilize the ranking structure used by the Nav. Space Force representatives continue to hold internal discussions on the new troop ranking structure to enable the military branch to operate separately from the Air Force. 

The proposed language within the NDAA commands the military branch to reserve components. The Congress still plans to endorse the transfer of units from the U. S. Navy and the U. S. Army to the Space Force. 

In conclusion, the future of space industry is very promising for any launch provider. However, it seems uncertain because the Space Force still plans to announce its plans for the agency’s upcoming missions and space activity. 

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Energy

The electric vehicle industry appears to be unshakeable even with the sluggish need for electric cars

Last year it appeared that electric vehicles were on the brink of breaking forth and securing its market share. Over one million electric cars have entered the market, with figures rising even amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Studies show that the EV market in China and Europe will experience a positive surge in the coming years more than in the United States. The market share for these cars will also grow in China and Europe. 

The coronavirus pandemic has proved to be a global challenge in the EV industry, with sales expected to escalate through this year. In the United States, a drop in the prices of oil makes the ICE cars and electric vehicles to balance at the same price. Thus, people would prefer to retain the ICE cars in the US than incur new costs of transitioning to electric vehicles. On the other hand, a drop in oil prices would not make the fuel cheap because these countries have high tax rates on fossil fuels.

The pandemic has prompted local and national leadership to resort to incentivization of Evs to recuperate the economy. The subsidies on electric vehicles make them affordable, encouraging high up ake among the citizens in European countries and China.

Governments are cashing into the technology and infrastructure of electric vehicles to accelerate their uptake. The governments are at the forefront of developing charging stations in streets and town corridors to help people purchase these cars without fear of getting stuck when the battery dies out.

Electric vehicles have the chance to expand now that international agencies like the European Union are championing for emission reduction. Some of the efforts of these agencies include advocation for programs that reduce carbon emissions through incentives and subsidies promoting electric vehicle industry.

The demand for electric vehicles is still high in various countries, even amid the coronavirus pandemic. The market share of electric cars continues to escalate in China and Europe. Companies that produce electric vehicles and market them online have witnessed high demand from consumers who have focused their efforts on the things available online. For example, Tesla’s move to transition to online services only has resulted in enormous profits for the company since the pandemic started.

Finally, the transition to electric vehicles is inevitable. At some point, America will have to throw in the towel if it hopes to keep its lead in the energy industry remains a relevant leader. The regulations inscribed in the Paris agreement on climate change and global warming will force the country to abandon its traditional energy sources.

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Energy

Yukon is giving out cash discounts for the purchase of electric vehicles to activate the green energy framework

The Yukon government has revealed a strategy whose implementation will inform the visible emission reduction and deal with climate change. The Yukon government has outlined its electric vehicle uptake plan, which involves giving cash discounts for the cash purchases of both electric vehicles and other automotive. This strategy is a plan by the Yukon government to resolve climate problems and facilitate green energy uptake. 

The Yukon government’s plan explains its strategy to minimize emissions by a third at the end of this decade, which improves the previous decade’s performance. Premier Sandy Silver reported that Yukon would witness a paradigm shift once the transition to clean energy takes full charge.

Sandy Silver explained that this state would restructure half of its energy resources to become dependent on renewable energy, including homes and factories. People prefer to use public means of transport whose alignment favors renewable energy. The government added that it would raise the discounts and subsidies on electric equipment and advocate for the local manufacturing companies to create a market and the desire to use renewables.

Yukon government’s target is to achieve a 97% transition to clean, renewable energy at the end of this decade. The plan stipulates that the green energy projects will require a high appropriation in the Yukon government’s upcoming budgetary allocation to achieve this transition.

However, the plan has not articulated any objectives that the mining industry must achieve to reach the regulations that will offset the high carbon emissions. Yukon’s minister for energy, Ranj Pillai, elaborated on the importance of the mining industry. He added that realigning this industry to adapt to renewable energy will take time to achieve since it heavily depends on fossil-fuel power for productivity.

75% of the emissions arise from driving and industries, where heating is a significant production process. For this reason, the emission strategies for these sectors will require a calculated transition plan, possibly including the combination of both sources of energy while eventually shifting to the renewables. The project reported that close to 60 percent of the emission in this region is a product of the transportation industry.

Pillai explained that electric vehicles would play a versatile role in minimizing emissions. He added that he is looking forward to a quick and massive uptake of the electric cars in this decade to accelerate a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from the current ICE cars.

Pillai contrasted this new clean energy plan to that instance when Yukon first received an airplane. He explained that this moment would be another advanced step for the territory, allowing it to expand its transportation connection. The incoming challenge will be for Yukon to install as many charging stations as possible to accelerate these cars’ uptake. Additionally, this move will resolve their vehicles’ fear of getting stuck in places where there are no charging stations.

To sum up, Pillai explained that the government in command would be reporting its achievement in fulfilling the strategies in this plan.

Categories
Space

The Performance of Satellite Internet amidst the Global Pandemic

Late last year, a rare and contagious disease breakout caught the world by surprise, spreading from country to country in a matter of weeks. By March 2020, many state governments all over the globe grounded their international flights while other even decreed curfews and stringent measures for movement and travel. The COVID-19 global pandemic caused several drivers of nations’ economies to collapse, including transportation, oil and gas, and many others. However, humankind continues to portray his mark of resilience by finding solutions and innovative technologies to overcome the challenges. 

An example is the space industry that advances through innovative technologies with big company names behind the tremendous growth in market demand during the COVID-19 global epidemic. Many broadband satellite internet providers say that it is unusual for anyone to state that web access never satisfies customers’ speed and reliability needs. More than 2 million customers in the United States purchase satellite internet, and giant companies such as Amazon and SpaceX continue to invest billions in owning part of the ever-growing market.

Steve Hill, the director of Satellite Broadcast and Communications Association, said that at the outbreak of the pandemic, many space corporations and state agencies realized the growing market for satellite internet. Several businesses established their network of operations that requires ultra-high-speed internet access. 

For about two decades, commercial satellite web access providers continue to develop technologies that offer the world fast and reliable internet access. However, these companies faced challenges that hindered their progress before the dawn of technological advancements. During that time, most companies offered web access with low speeds and data restrictions. The introduction of broadband satellite internet access offered better connectivity that allowed penetration of rural markets, initially inaccessible because of poor connectivity. 

In 2017, HughesNet and Viasat were the two big-named satellite web access providers that launched new constellations of satellites to improve the capabilities and performance of high-speed internet drastically. Currently, HughesNet and Viasat offer internet speeds that satisfy the Federal Communications Commission’s definition of broadband web access speed of 25Mbps of 3Mbps. Sometimes Viasat’s service network achieves download speeds of up to 100 Mbps. Satellite technology enables quick installations that facilitate the rapid development and popularity of satellite internet access. 

Steve Hill said that the reason for the rapid growth in the satellite industry is because it takes three to five days to establish most satellite connections. However, it takes longer to set links for rural customers with wired internet solutions.

In conclusion, the space industry’s prowess and technological developments are a clear sign of how humanity strives to survive and advance even when faced by a pandemic. Evolution is a necessity for humanity’s stay on the planet. 

Categories
Space

Tory Bruno whistle blows espionage activity by a Chinese firm on ULA’s supply line

ULA’s chief executive, Tory Bruno, publicly announced espionage activity at the Air Force Association’s Air Space Cyber Conference by a Chinese firm to supply software programs to ULA’s rocket manufacturing facility. Bruno revealed this activity in a recorded video to Gen. David Thompson, vice commander of the U.S. Space Force.

Thompson reported that China is known for infiltrating the U.S. systems and stealing their intellectual property to remain relevant in advancing technology. Thompson questioned Bruno to explain what they are working on at ULA to prevent the infiltration of their systems by China.

Bruno stated that the Chinese company in question was a ULA supplier for equipment needed in developing the Vulcan Centaur rocket. He added that they were lucky enough to identify the Chinese company’s data extradition and put barricades on the systems in question.

The Chinese company dealt with KUKA Robotics, which was partnering with ULA, although the project had not interacted with ULA’s valuable assets. ULA explained that they would be severing ties with KUKA products to avoid infestation with Chinese spy programs. Bruno submitted that they are engineering their systems and those they designed for their customers to prevent unauthorized access.

The U.S. is keen to enforce cybersecurity measures on the projects and contracts they enter with China to prevent intellectual property theft. Bruno stated that China has decided to go old school and not only infiltrate the U.S.’s intellectual brilliance but also its supply lines. Bruno admitted that they are shifting gears to become independent developers of rockets and use their tools and software.

Bruno revealed that the Chinese firms trying to infiltrate the U.S. intellectual property are affiliates in the software development contracts. He added that they had shared their details with the investigative agencies for further apprehension.

ULA has tightened cybersecurity measures by asking all its dealers to do background research on the companies they contract with to prevent espionage activities. He added that if any supplier is not ready to upgrade and follow these regulations, they would have to substitute them and cut off their ties to their valuable data and assets.

Finally, Chinese companies’ continued treatment as espionage companies will sever trade ties with the U.S. China must maintain its ground on playing their technological role in the contracts they enter with developed countries to avoid problems.

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Space

Juno spacecraft of NASA is requesting extended operation at Jupiter

NASA’s Juno operation orbiting Jupiter is looking for a long-term extension that would permit the space shuttle to conduct a new assessment of the planet as well as a couple of its enormous moons.

Juno, a fragment of New Frontiers class of the medium-sized planetary science spacecraft, is finishing an application for a prolonged operation that would keep the space shuttle functioning across September 2025, stated Scott Bolton, chief investigator for Juno, during a 2nd September meeting of Outer Planets Assessment Group virtually.

Juno has been in orbit nearby Jupiter from 2016 in July on a major operation of 34 orbits presently slated to conclude in 2021 around July. That operation is dedicated to researching the massive planet’s gravity as well as magnetic fields to comprehend its inner side

An extended operation shall be more understandable. Researchers intend to make use of the opportunity where the space shuttle is slowly moving orbit around Jupiter. Juno is in the orbit with a period of 53-days whose nearest perijove or point to Jupiter was initially around the planet’s equator. The nearest point has been progressively moving north. That relocation shall persist through the prolonged operation, getting to 63 degrees north.

Scott remarked that that gave them close imminence to the northern areas of Jupiter that were a fresh frontier. That comprises of researches of aurora seen in polar areas. He further added that they observed a great deal of activity there; hence they would have been able to study it very close while in the main operation were regulated to the lower latitudes.

Juno’s relocating orbit shall as well sweep across the orbits of 3 of Jupiter’s biggest moons; Europa, Ganymede and Io. Scott stated that the satellites got into view for them and permitted near flybys. Those flybys in present proposal comprises of a pass 1,000 kilometres from the Ganymede in the mid-2021 as well as another 320 kilometres from the Europa around the conclusion of 2022.

The space shuttle shall utilize its gadgets to research the moons. Europa is of specific fascination since the icy moon likely does have a subsurface ocean of the liquid water and might be liveable. Scott stated that Juno’s flybys could aid estimation of the thickness of Europa’s external ice layer and also look for trails of icy material released from the surface.

That would permit Juno to counterpart future operations to Jupiter, particularly NASA’s Europa Clipper as well as Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer of European Space Agency. Surveillance of Io, the volcanic greater internal moon of Jupiter, would be advantageous to the suggested Io Volcano Observer Operation, one among the four contenders in the recent, continuing round of the Discovery itinerate of inexpensive terrestrial science operations.

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Space

The launches to the polar orbit will remain at Vandenberg

Even though there have been successful deployments to the polar orbit from Cape Canaveral, the US Space Force intends to maintain the Vandenberg Air Force Base as the facility for these missions. The US Space Force’s Maj. Gen. DeAnna Burt applauded SpaceX for its first deployment to the polar orbit from Cape Canaveral at the meeting held on Monday by the Federal Aviation Administration’s Commercial Space Transportation Advisory Committee (COMSTAC). 

SpaceX deployed SAOCOM 1B, an Earth observation satellite, via the Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station to the polar orbit. DeAnna explained that this mission demonstrates SpaceX’s integrated efforts, the US Space Force, the FAA, and other space industry stakeholders. She was incredibly happy that this mission was successful without altering safety regulations.

However, this mission stirred up rumors that this space station would be taking over the polar orbit launches from the Vandenberg Air Force Base facility. The stories indicated that Vandenberg, a pioneer in such missions, would be substituted with Cape Canaveral in polar orbit deployments.

Burt publicly denounced these rumors saying that the Space Force has no intention of changing launch operations and launch resources investment to Cape Canaveral. Burt added that although SpaceX has proved the capacity of Cape Canaveral to deploy such missions, Vandenberg’s reliability and efficiency in such tasks remain top-notch.

Vandenberg is amassing more and more contracts from the commercial launch developers who want to deploy small spacecraft to the polar orbits. To mention but a few, Firefly Aerospace is expanding its Delta 2 launch ground to become a launchpad that will be deploying its space vehicles that are under development. On the other hand, Relativity Space publicized its contract with Air Force, which authorizes it to design and develop its deployment grounds at Vandenberg.

Additionally, SpaceX is not sidelining Vandenberg amid its mission from Cape Canaveral, implicating it. SpaceX came to the limelight, explaining that it also has another Falcon 9 mission to deploy the Sentinel-6 payload in a joint venture between NASA and ESA. The firm also added that it has other tasks intended to take place from the Vandenberg station. SpaceX explained that it also has employment opportunities for engineers and technicians at its facility in Vandenberg.

Nevertheless, Burt admitted that the ongoing operations from both Cape Canaveral and Vandenberg Base are Space Force’s plan to expand its deployment programs. These stations’ functions are preparations they are laying to clear the old systems that are no longer secure. To sum up, Burt explained that the two stations’ tests to conduct different operations are to evaluate their capacity to launch missions without affecting each other simultaneously.

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Energy

Installation of 22 charge stations to serve Electric Vehicle (EV) drivers in Minnesota

History in the making as a private corporation commences installing an intensive network of fast-charging stations along Minnesota’s major highways. The private company’s plan is part of the Volkswagen’s cheated-emission compensation to install a fast-charging station outside Minnesota’s metropolitan area. It only takes about 30 to 40 minutes to completely charge an EV using the fast-chargers, comparative to the existing Level 2 chargers that take much longer. ZEF Energy is the corporation awarded the state’s contract to install fast-charging stations outside the Twin Cities metropolitan region with an existing robust network. 

Minnesota Pollution Control Agency made a budgetary allocation of approximately $1.7 million from Volkswagen’s compensation money for the mega installation of the fast-charging stations. The plan is to complete the network of initial fast-charging port-stations by October. In late August, the agency announced another initiative to use $2.6 million from Volkswagen’s spending to finance a new network of 38 additional fast-charging stations within the greater Minnesota. The agency is yet to announce the partner selected for this second installation phase.

ZEF Energy controls approximately 80% of the current network of fast-chargers in the Upper Midwest and uses regional suppliers to build its Level 2 chargers. Currently, the company operates in 15 states, and its newly completed contract is the charging project at Indianapolis International Airport. However, the state’s share of grant money does not finance the entire costs incurred in building the network of fast-chargers prompting Blackler to seek partnership with business sponsors. Moreover, local utilities and civil servants assisted in locating sites for the construction and accessibility of the stations acceptable to the communities living in the areas of St. Cloud, Bemidji, Detroit Lakes, Grand Rapids, Rochester, Albert Lea, Mankato, and Marshall. Blackler labeled the process of finding suitable sites as very time-consuming.

ZEF Energy plans to construct fast-charging stations in parking lots close to retails areas, allowing visitors to enjoy refreshments or take walks as their vehicles recharge. Most private car parks turned down the offer, saying it minimizes space, so Blackler opted for government-owned parking lots close to retail establishments. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency anticipates that the fast-charging network’s establishment facilitates the transition to zero-emission transportation. 

Statistics indicate that fossil-fuel-powered vehicles contribute to 70% of the emission from the state’s transport sector. Rebecca Place, the EV coordinator at Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, said that the state plans to attain 20% electricity-powered light-duty vehicles by 2030, a crucial initiative towards achieving an 80% reduction in greenhouse gases by 2050. In summary, Minnesota’s strategy to fund the installation of fast-chargers fosters transition to cleaner energy-powered transportation. 

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Energy

BP is cashing into an offshore wind project in the United States

BP is the latest oil company to invest in renewables with the company opting for an offshore wind project, which was part of Norway’s Equinor. BP stated that it is investing in half of the Empire Wind project’s shares and another half in the Beacon Wind development project. Nevertheless, Equionr will retain the other halves and continue running the projects until the agreement states otherwise. 

BP’s chief executive Bernard Looney stated that they would be milking the oil and gas energy projects to feed the renewable energy investments until they finally witness a full transition of the economy to renewables. Currently, BP has a potential of 2.4 GW in renewable energy investments, a value that the firm anticipates to increase 50 GW before the decade ends.

Looney stated that they could not afford to miss this rare opportunity of investing with an offshore wind developer whose success is visible in its growing global market share. Equinor’s chief executive Eldar Saetre admitted his vitality to work with BP, who also has an ambitious and calculated view of a future that depends on renewables. He added that their partnership would help actualize the success of offshore wind projects in the United States.  

Equinor stated that they must invest at least $3 billion in the Empire Wind project to complete its construction and begin harnessing renewable energy. On the other hand, the Beacon Wind program will generate over 2 GW of power once it becomes operational.  

Equinor explained its move of selling half of its shares to BP as a strategy to gain support and access to economies of scale, finalize the incomplete projects, and to garner high capital through ownership agreements. BP and Equinor publicly announced their intention of developing other energy projects to realize a renewable energy potential exceeding 600 GW.  

ESG’s veteran analyst, John Miller, explained many hindrances for companies to venture offshore wind projects, and only partnerships between giant energy companies can achieve the shift to these projects. This move is plausible because giant energy companies have economies of scale. These companies have a vast knowledge of overcoming economic barriers and maneuver through tough economic times efficiently.  

Finally, energy experts argue that the fastest way for oil and gas companies to enter the renewable energy systems is through acquisition. This move can help these firms to invest their resources wisely in the projects. Experts explained that huge companies enjoy economies of scale and can predict the renewable energy industry; hence amalgamation with other renewable energy companies suits them efficiently.

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Energy

The path to a future of electric vehicles is still wavy

Nnedi Okorafor of Flossmoor is the latest resident to witness low-level animosity after requesting the real estate firm offering her their house for renting to establish a charging point within the block where she resides. She intended to recharge her Tesla Model 3. Although she was ready to pay for the service’s installation, the agency denied her request saying that they don’t intend to transition their apartments from the old setting.

Okorafor is a renowned writer who has won both the Hugo Award and the Nebula Award. She is one of the electric vehicle owners struggling with the EV technology and the insufficiency of charging facilities in the country.

Additionally, EV owners and potential customers are fearful of these vehicles with their fear arising from the idea that they might run out of power while on the roads and the insufficiency of charging stations along the streets that they will be traveling through to new destinations. Research by the American Automobile Association firm enumerates the above issues as the cause of the vehicles’ sluggish uptake.

An optimistic inference from the study is that once the customers had tested these vehicles, their range anxiety came down by 70 percent. Another group of customers who were not fearful lowered their range problem once they installed their homes’ charging systems. The state of Illinois is preparing to pass a bill that allows the new residential and nonresidential projects to construct a charging network within the buildings to activate the state’s transition to clean electric cars.

The Electric Vehicle Charging Act demands that a third of the parking lots contain EV charging features. The same move comes with Chicago’s legislation that construction projects with a certain level of propensity to have a foundation for the charging systems.

Meanwhile, Okorafor is now under the obligation to depend on public charging facilities. Nevertheless, Okorafor is enjoying her car’s charging services from the closest charging points in Cook County and Country Club Hills with her latest charge point at Flossmoor. Although her vehicle takes 30 minutes to charge fully, she sometimes has to wait in a queue to charge her car.

Despite all the challenges facing this industry, the electric car manufacturers still press on and are developing more EVs and the hybrid models and replacements for their ICE cars. Electric vehicles have numerous advantages, including minimizing carbon emissions, noise, and saving on fuel and maintenance costs that the ICE owners incur. In conclusion, Okorafor is one of the happy clients of the EV industry who is satisfied with the reduction in emission that her car is offering, the quietness of the model, and its simplicity.