Way to go!
The more the merrier
EDIT: even though the merger makes, technically, less, I was referring to competition in space launch capability
Small-satellite flinger Rocket Lab today confirmed a merger with Vector Acquisition Corporation, as well as plans for a considerably heftier launcher. The merger, which the New Zealand rocket maker said gives the combined entity a "implied pro forma enterprise value of $4.1 billion", will have woken up the bean counters. …
Rocket Lab already has an impressive record but the valuation seems trivial compared with more PR-savvy companies with US govt contracts in their pockets. It's a pity because it makes them easier targets – Elon probably only needs to flutter his eyelashes if he wants to do a buyout – but it probably also means they can just get on with their job.
"...will have woken up the bean counters..."
Really ⁈ REALLY ‽ What the bloody hell is going on here...
One would think that even the most basic education in the proper use of English grammar would dictate that this be phrased as
"...will have awakened the bean counters...", or
"...will have wakened the bean counters...".
Editorial oversight? What's that?
... because, quite apart from the effect on astronomy and, eventually, on other launches, they are incredibly wasteful of resources.
Think about it: an LEO satellite has a lifetime of around a year, after which it burns up in the atmosphere and must be replaced. The materials used to make the satellite and its electronics, some of which are quite rare while even the copper and gold used for PCBs and contacts are not exactly common, are completely lost since, on re-entry, the entire thing is reduced to tiny, unrecoverable pieces in the upper atmosphere.
By comparison, the unthinking fat cat who, 'because he can', buys a new iPhone every year and landfills the old one is a paragon of materials thrift. Why? Because the location of landfill sites are known. They can, and will be, mined for their more valuable content. This will be recovered and reused: a landfill could easily have a higher concentration of the many of the commercially useful rare elements than the mines they are currently extracted from.
This rant was inspired by today's 'Life Scientific' on Radio 4 - an interview with Sarah Bridle, a data scientist who has found the skills she developed searching for dark matter and dark energy are equally useful for dealing with the effect of food production on global warming. Its available from BBC Sounds and is worthwhile listening to.
South Korea's Aerospace Research Institute (KARI) yesterday succeeded in its endeavor to send the home-grown Nuri launcher into space, then place a working satellite in orbit.
The launch was scheduled for earlier in June but was delayed by weather and then again by an anomaly in a first-stage oxidizer tank. Its October 2021 launch failed to deploy a dummy satellite, thanks to similar oxidizer tank problems that caused internal damage.
South Korea was late to enter the space race due to a Cold War-era agreement with the US, which prohibited it developing a space program. That agreement was set aside and yesterday's launch is the culmination of more than a decade of development. The flight puts South Korea in a select group of nations that have demonstrated the capability to build and launch domestically designed and built orbital-class rockets.
NASA is finally ready to launch its unmanned Orion spacecraft and put it in the orbit of the Moon. Lift-off from Earth is now expected in late August using a Space Launch System (SLS) rocket.
This launch, a mission dubbed Artemis I, will be a vital stage in the Artemis series, which has the long-term goal of ferrying humans to the lunar surface using Orion capsules and SLS technology.
Earlier this week NASA held a wet dress rehearsal (WDR) for the SLS vehicle – fueling it and getting within 10 seconds of launch. The test uncovered 13 problems, including a hydrogen fuel leak in the main booster, though NASA has declared that everything's fine for a launch next month.
Amazon Web Services has proudly revealed that the first completely private expedition to the International Space Station carried one of its Snowcone storage appliances, and that the device worked as advertised.
The Snowcone is a rugged shoebox-sized unit packed full of disk drives – specifically 14 terabytes of solid-state disk – a pair of VCPUs and 4GB of RAM. The latter two components mean the Snowcone can run either EC2 instances or apps written with AWS’s Greengrass IoT product. In either case, the idea is that you take a Snowcone into out-of-the-way places where connectivity is limited, collect data in situ and do some pre-processing on location. Once you return to a location where bandwidth is plentiful, it's assumed you'll upload the contents of a Snowcone into AWS and do real work on it there.
NASA engineers had to work fast to avoid another leak affecting the latest Artemis dry run, just hours after an attempt to reboost the International Space Station (ISS) via the Cygnus freighter was aborted following a few short seconds.
The US space agency on Monday rolled the huge Artemis I stack back to its Florida launchpad having worked through the leaks and problems that had beset its previous attempt at fueling the beast in April for an earlier dress rehearsal of the final countdown.
As propellant was loaded into the rocket, controllers noted a hydrogen leak in the quick-disconnect that attaches an umbilical from the tail service mast on the mobile launcher to the core stage of the rocket.
The SOFIA aircraft has returned to New Zealand for a final time ahead of the mission's conclusion later this year.
The Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) is a modified Boeing 747SP aircraft, designed to carry a 2.7-meter reflecting telescope into the stratosphere, above much of Earth's infrared-blocking atmosphere.
A collaboration between NASA and the German Aerospace Center (DLR), development began on the project in 1996. SOFIA saw first light in 2010 and achieved full operational capability in 2014. Its prime mission was completed in 2019 and earlier this year, it was decided that SOFIA would be grounded for budgetary reasons. Operations end "no later than" September 30, 2022, followed by an "orderly shutdown."
Sadly for NASA's mission to take samples from the asteroid Psyche, software problems mean the spacecraft is going to miss its 2022 launch window.
The US space agency made the announcement on Friday: "Due to the late delivery of the spacecraft's flight software and testing equipment, NASA does not have sufficient time to complete the testing needed ahead of its remaining launch period this year, which ends on October 11."
While it appears the software and testbeds are now working, there just isn't enough time to get everything done before a SpaceX Falcon Heavy sends the spacecraft to study a metallic-rich asteroid of the same name.
South Korea's ambition to launch a space industry on the back of a locally developed rocket have stalled, after a glitch saw the countdown halted for its latest attempt to place its Nuri vehicle into orbit.
The launch was planned for Wednesday, but postponed by a day due to unfavourable weather.
The Korea Aerospace and Research Institute tried again but, as the countdown progressed, an anomaly appeared in a first stage oxidizer tank. That issue was considered so serious that Nuri was returned to its assembly facility.
Scientists around the world are gearing up to study the first images taken by the James Webb Space Telescope, which are to be released on July 12.
Some astronomers will be running machine-learning algorithms on the data to detect and classify galaxies in deep space at a level of detail never seen before. Brant Robertson, an astrophysics professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz, in the US believes the telescope's snaps will lead to breakthroughs that will help us better understand how the universe formed some 13.7 billion years ago.
"The JWST data is exciting because it gives us an unprecedented window on the infrared universe, with a resolution that we've only dreamed about until now," he told The Register. Robertson helped develop Morpheus, a machine-learning model trained to pore over pixels and pick out blurry blob-shaped objects from the deep abyss of space and determine whether these structures are galaxies or not, and if so, of what type.
The James Webb Space Telescope has barely had a chance to get to work, and it's already taken a micrometeoroid to its sensitive primary mirror.
The NASA-built space observatory reached its final destination, the L2 orbit, a million miles away from Earth, at the end of January.
In a statement, NASA said the impact happened some time at the end of May. Despite the impact being larger than any that NASA modeled and "beyond what the team could have tested on the ground," the space agency said the telescope continues to perform at higher-than-expected levels. The telescope has been hit on four previous occasions since launch.
Sony on Friday launched a subsidiary dedicated to optical communications – in space.
The new company, Sony Space Communications Corporation (SSCC) plans to develop small optical communication devices that connect satellites in low Earth orbit using a laser beam, and provide the resulting connection as a service.
These small devices can provide high speed communication more effectively than radio, because they do not need a large antenna, high power output or complicated licenses, said Sony in a canned statement.
Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022