Deep Space Network of NASA introduces the family to a New Dish

A superior antenna has joined Navigation’s Deep Space Network (DSN) and NASA Space Communications. The new dish helps NASA to link to the space robots, allowing solar system exploration. The antenna is called DSS-56 or Deep Space Station. It is now in operation, ready to convey information with various missions, such as Perseverance rover of NASA as soon as it reaches down on Red Planet next month.

The new antenna is 112-foot-wide, and its construction started in 2017 at Madrid Deep Space Communication Complex in Spain. The current dishes have minimal frequency bands, which they can send and receive. This limits them to communicate with only particular spacecraft. The DSS-56 is the first antenna to utilize the entire range of Deep Space Network’s communication frequencies immediately after moving online. This indicates that the DSS-56 is an all-around dish capable of communicating with all missions supported by the DSN. It can also be used as reinforcement for all Madrid complex’s other dishes.

Badri Younes, who works at the Space Communications and Navigation of NASA as a deputy associate administrator as well as program manager, said that the new dish provides the Deep Space Network with extra real-time dependability and flexibility. He added that the DSS-56 would offer all necessary support for over 30 deep space missions that depend on their successful services. This means that the DSS-56, together with the 34-meter dishes, will play a vital role in providing navigation and communication support for future Mars and Moon missions and also to the crewed Artemis missions.

Thomas Zurbuchen, Science Mission Directorate’s associate administrator at NASA’s centre in Washington, said that the Deep Space Network is essential in what they do in the solar system and connects the Earth with distant robotic explorers. He added that they are trying to improve the network to help expand their capabilities for future human missions to the Moon and Mars. Thomas said that the DSS-56 was developed through international partnership; hence it is expected to benefit all humanity worldwide in exploring deep space.

The DSS-56 was launched on Friday, January 22, in a virtual ribbon-cutting event attended by all international partners who took part in its construction. The event was delayed because of the historic snowfall experienced in Spain. Bradford Arnold, who works at Jet Propulsion Laboratory situated in Southern California as a DSN project manager said that after a long commissioning process, the DSN’s 34-meter antenna is now communicating with their spacecraft. He added that Madrid’s team persisted despite the Covid-19 pandemic restrictions coupled with Spain’s harsh weather conditions. Arnold proudly welcomed the DSS-56 to the global DSN family.

News Space

Five things predicted by Elon Musk we can expect to see in this year (2021)

Elon Musk has proven to the world multiple times that he is more than ready to actualize his dreams into realities. He is the man that gave us SpaceX, an aerospace company, and Tesla, the leading electric car company in the world. He frequently fascinates the public through his outspoken predictions, which attract different opinions from supporters and critics. From building self-driving cars to treating diseases using a microchip embedded in the brain, Musk is convinced that he will accomplish these goals. His predictions have not always been accurate. Some have backfired, but this does not deter the tech billionaire from making new and more ambitious goals. Here are 5 of the most awaited projects by Musk we can all look forward to in 2021:

  1. Self-driving electric cars

Elon Musk’s Tesla has launched a string of electric car models latest being the Model Y compact, an all-electric compact SUV. Tesla’s electric cars have autopilot features but still require a driver’s input. According to Musk, the company is very close to making a car that requires no driver’s input.

“I remain confident that we will have the basic functionality for level five autonomy complete this year,” he said. Despite the challenges that came with the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, this ambition could be brought to life before 2021 ends.

  1. Universal Satellite Internet

In 2015, SpaceX unveiled an internet plan meant to launch thousands of small satellites into the low earth orbit. The project is known as Starlink. The Starlink constellation is made up of big solar panels that power the small satellites which connect to receivers on the ground to offer internet services. By 2020, Starlink had launched over 1000 satellites into the Low Earth Orbit.

Going by Musk’s predictions, we will soon have reliable satellite internet accessed from anywhere in the world.

  1. Brain-machine interfaces (BMIs) to cure neurological conditions

Musk founded a neurotechnology company in 2016 to develop a BMI that could be implanted on a patient’s brain to cure neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s and spinal cord injuries.

Despite loads of criticism from neuroscientists, Musk is determined to actualize this technology, with tests already carried out on pig’s brains.

The first human trial will be conducted in 2021.

  1. Lunar missions-landing men on the moon’s surface and testing cars on the moon’s surface

Musk’s predictions have sparked a lot of controversies. This has not discouraged him from stating his lunar plans before 2025. He plans to conduct a car rally on the moon’s surface before October 2021, a SpaceX rocket will transport vehicles to the moon. The company will then carry out a car rally, controlled from the earth.

Additionally, Musk revealed in 2019 that they were working on a Lunar return mission in 2022. “Certainly, with an unscrewed vehicle, I believe we could land on the moon in two years. So then maybe within a year or two of that, we could be sending a crew. I would say four years at the outside,” said Musk.

  1. Lowest cost of solar panels

Musk is passionate about renewable energy. In 2016, Tesla acquired SolarCity, a solar panel manufacturer, and seller. Currently, SolarCity sells the cheapest solar panels and solar roof tiles in the US. It is also developing a storage battery, the Powerwall. Powerwall will allow consumers to store solar energy for future use when there are no sun rays, for example, at night. Powerball technology will be made available to the public in 2021.


Main associates of Hyundai to join the electric market as long-term providers turn to outsiders 


SEOUL (Reuters): As Tesla Inc. hurries to shift to electric vehicles, Hyundai loyal providers have decided to turn to outsiders to provide motor parts. However, Mobis, an automaker and a supplying entity based in South Korea, has decided to muscle into the game. 

That type of decision is a direct answer to Volkswagen and Tesla’s entities as they fight for providers that Hyundai has worked for many past years. Ahn Byung-ki, an assistant leader of the electric power train venture at Hyundai Mobis, stated that the entity is not able to provide for other entities since it is monitoring Hyundai’s progress. Byung-ki added that the overall price would reduce if the firm continues to sell to other outside entities.  As a result, global firms, Hyundai being one of them, will be significantly affected. 

Chung Mong-Koo, the chairman of Hyundai Motor Group, is the main stakeholder of Hyundai Mobis, enabling it to receive over 90% of its revenue from the mothership. Ahn Byung-ki stated that reducing electric vehicles’ cost is crucial to compete with cheaper gasoline without financial support since Chinese competitors have left Hyundai and Tesla out of the list. 

Mobis hopes to win the tender from two of global carmakers before this year ends. If it wins the deal, the firm will have the opportunity to supply electric power trains. However, the entity has been a provider of other electric cars to Fiat – Chrysler, among other companies. Hyundai providers can decide to exploit the longtime experience of Hyundai to make eco-friendly vehicles. As a result, Hyundai providers will be the leaders, followed by European entities that have places they focus majorly on diesel. 

According to researcher LMC Automotive, Hyundai Motors and Kia Motors appear as the third position on international electric battery sales in 2019. Tesla and Renault-Nissan were the leaders in electric battery sales. Euisen Chung, the heir of Hyundai Motor Group and de facto chairman, confirmed Hyundai’s goal, where it aims to have over 10% electric vehicles on the global market in the next five years. 

Hyundai Glovis Co Ltd, an affiliate of Logistics, counts Euisun Chung as its main stakeholder. It has also enlarged the territory to fish more customers from Hyundai to Tesla and Volkswagen to convey transport cars across the globe. 


Astronomers outline the tricks to minimize the obstruction caused by the satellite constellations

The American Astronomical Society and the National Science Foundation’s NOIRLab expressed their concern that satellites’ mega-constellations within the low-Earth orbit will obstruct the visibility of the cosmos system. The two came up with a research report articulating how to minimize the interference from these satellites. One of the plausible strategies is minimizing the number of satellites going into the LEO, which completely clears the problem but is an impossibility for the satellite operators.  

The recommendations came up in the workshop that brought together astronomers, scientists, and satellite operators. The senior executive of the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Phil Puxley, explained that the satellite effect of reflecting sunlight on Earth impedes the astronomical discoveries’ visibility and can be easily confused with shining stars.

Since SpaceX’s deployment of its bright 60 satellites, the issue of satellite reflection became more visible. The satellite operator’s intention to deploy over 20000 satellites for its Starlink constellation envisioned an upcoming challenge for the astronomical view causing an uproar from this sector.

Some of the challenges that the astronomers have identified to be lethal for their astronomical observations include the light trail left by the constellation of satellites, which could confuse them as being transient events from the solar system in space.

The workshop discussed at large the possible impacts of the satellites as impediments to the astronomical studies that will be conducted at the Vera C. Rubin Observatory, which is under development. The senior scientist in this observatory, Tony Tyson, stated that this machine is too good to encounter such problems when it should be making critical additions to science.

The other recommendation that the workshop outlined to resolve this satellite problem is to allow the constellation operators to launch their satellites below 600 kilometers from Earth to minimize their visibility as stars in space. This move will make the satellites appear as shadows, especially at night. The challenge now is that some satellite operators intended to deploy their constellations above this altitude like OneWeb’s constellation.

Another strategy that can salvage astronomy’s satellite problem is darkening the satellites that make them invisible to the naked eyes. This strategy can work well when the satellite is tilted to avoid the sun’s rays and a subsequent reflection of this light. SpaceX has tried to test its darkening mechanism by launching a satellite covered with visors and minimize the reflection effect.

Although these mechanisms may work effectively, some light trails may be left behind by the satellites and hence the need to cover them up with software or remove them from astronomical images. Finally, the workshop concluded that the system must integrate into simulations to determine how to resolve other issues that arise in the astronomical observations. Astronomers also expect the constellation operators to account for their satellites’ position to avoid confusing them with the solar system objects.


Sources reveal that China deployed a reusable spacecraft in secret

After conducting numerous undisclosed tests of the craft at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, China deployed its first reusable spacecraft. Details from a Chinese source reveal that the L9ng March 2F space vehicle deployed this spacecraft into space at an unidentified time. 

The Chinese media only announced that this mission was a success immediately on receiving details of the spacecraft reaching its orbit. As we speak, the spacecraft is in its orbit conducting the research it had intended to carry out. The spacecraft will conduct various tests before returning to the outlined landing facility in China. Xinhua media of China says that this reusable spacecraft’s performance will inform the future adjustment and modification on the Chinese spacecraft before a declaration that it can conduct more missions. 

The Chinese government was watchful to ensure that this mission remains as secretive as possible by availing the security detail to scare away any paparazzi that might take photos and videos of this launch mission. However, Airspace gave out statements announcing the details of a country that has launched a spacecraft into space. China explained three years ago that it would launch a reusable spacecraft into space in 2020 to test its reuse capability in subsequent missions. 

The possibility that China might have launched a spacecraft is high given that the country was adjusting the details of the Long March 2F space vehicle in the past few months. This operation triggered the rumor that China might be conducting launch preparations for its spacecraft since this space vehicle is large enough to host a spacecraft. 

The China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC) explained in 2017 that it was organizing space navigation exploit to inform the development of a spaceplane. This strategy also composed spacecraft reusability for a nuclear-powered launch mission for the country’s shuttle in 2045. The tests for the spacecraft’s reusability have started with this launch, making sure of this idea. 

Chen Hongbo of CASC admitted that the reusable spacecraft could host both the payloads and crew. He added that the remodeling of the space vehicle would enable it to host a spacecraft. The CASC has lived up to its name with several flights taking place this year and the subsequent reuse of the spacecraft whose purpose is to minimize space navigation costs. 

Elsewhere, the China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation (CASIC) is developing the Tengyun spaceplane capable of deploying a spacecraft to its orbital path in space by taking off like an aeroplane. This technology will inform an evaluation of the space industry missions and create cheap avenues for smallsat startups to enjoy rideshare services. 

Finally, this mission becomes the 15th for the Long March 2F rocket, having deployed both crewed and uncrewed spacecraft to their orbits. The Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center is specially located for the return docking missions making the missions a success. 


Hydrogen-powered by solar energy to be sold below $2/kg by the year 2030

Scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have unveiled regions that can generate hydrogen via the photovoltaic electrolysis process in the U.S. By the end of the decade, and it will have costs varying from $1.90 per kilogram to $4.20 per kilogram.

In some regions of the United States, Green Hydrogen production might become cost-competitive as opposed to blue hydrogen at the end of the decade. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers assert that electrolysis powered by solar for hydrogen generation could cost about $2.50 per kilogram or even less by the end of the decade. 

The scientists provided a prototype of an isolated PV-H2 structure with no link with the power grid, and it will sell extra energy or purchase electricity during the rainy season. Any existing system may be linked to or not; however, the analysis provides a limited case. Off-grid Photovoltaic powered electrolysis is a good option since it will be exposed to intra-day and intra-year energy cost volatility.  

The proposed prototype 

In the projected prototype, scientists optimized photovoltaic, electrolysis, energy storage, and other components responsible for stability to facilitate total hydrogen production. Simultaneously, deviation in time during photovoltaic output throughout the year will differ among the considerations on board. 

The only way to accomplish the model is by resolving an incorporated blueprint and operations optimization model in the entire year. The outline will evaluate the trade-offs between energy storage or hydrogen and the emerging impact on stable prices. The researchers carried out a spatial examination of stable solar-powered hydrogen production costs in the United States as it considered the price each part will cost, parameters, and other factors of the structure.  

The scenario reflects a decrease in electrolysis price from the current $800/kW to $500/kW by 2030. The picture entails a surge in electrolysis efficiency that anticipates progress from 58% to 70%, basing on a lower heating value (LHV).  Also, there is a reduction in capital expenses for the pressure structure of storing hydrogen compared to this year’s costs. 

The scientists stated that the availability of affordable geological storage makes it competent to use photovoltaic electricity at any time it is required. As a result, a structure with environmental hydrogen leads to a substantial relative electrolyzer in size.  The electrolyzer will have a lower photovoltaic installed capacity with massive hydrogen storage instead of other models with a costly hydrogen pressure structure.  


A Blue Origin subgroup hands over the lunar lander model to NASA

NASA’s Artemis program hand-picked three groups to work on the program’s Moon lander concepts. Blue Origin leads one of the teams that handed over a full-sized model of the lander to NASA for examination by the agency’s engineers and astronauts. During Blue Origin’s statement on August 20, the team confirmed installing an engineering structure of the lander at the Space Vehicle Mockup Facility at Johnson Space Center. The low-precision full-sized model is approximately 12 meters in height and integrates both the components built by Blue Origin and that developed by Lockheed Martin. 

The corporations built the model to enable NASA’s astronauts and engineers to review the vehicle’s design, particularly the locations of different components, and acquire feedback during the early phase of development of the lunar lander. During an interview, Brent Sherwood gave details of the assessment aspects, first being the cabin design, which involves the controls and displays within the spacecraft. Secondly, the angles of the view-point outside the cabin. The assessment will include taking cosmonauts into and out of the lander as well as its access apparatus. The test-runs will provide early feedback regarding the design, thus allowing for easy implementation of changes. 

Even with technological advancements such as virtual reality, the organizations insist on using a pilot model to test the lander’s design. Kirk Shireman, the previous director of NASA’s International Space Station program, pointed out the inadequacy of virtual reality to give a clear picture hence the need for a physical vehicle. The new modifications include fixing windows and other compartments that influence the lander’s general structure. The tests seek to point out details left out by the designers. 

Among the Blue Origin subgroup teams are two corporations Northrop Grumman and Draper, whose purpose is to oversee the operations facilitating this mission’s achievement. For example, Northrop Grumman will build the transfer element used in gliding the lander in the Moon orbit. Meanwhile, Draper will be outlining the navigation and orbital path. Sherwood’s revealed Blue Origin’s plans to conduct operations tests on its BE-7 engine which is a thruster for this moon lander, at the Marshall Space Flight Center. Further improvements are to be made on the propulsion and storage technologies for the engine. 

NASA deployed the Human Landing System (HLS) contracts to three firms four months ago. The Blue Origin team received a $579 million contract for this project. On the other hand, the Dynetics group procured the second HLS contract whose tune runs to $253 million, with the last team from SpaceX acquiring a similar agreement valued at $135 million. The team from Blue Origin anticipates being sanctioned to initiate operations in the upcoming weeks.

NASA intends to reschedule the call for submissions for the next stage of the project before September. The development of the model is a massive stride towards the success of the program. In conclusion, there is an anticipation of significant progress after the lead firm receiving the results and feedback from the evaluation of the full-sized moon lander module.


Morpheus Space receives a financial boost after attracting stable capital financiers

Morpheus Space has come into contact with a high-quality team of financiers in its first capital collection. The German company is getting financial backup from In-Q-Tel, Airbus Ventures, Vsquared Ventures, Techstars Ventures, Pallas Ventures, and Lavrock Ventures of MacLean.

Morpheus Space is adamant about divulging the amount of capital it receives and choosing instead to list the companies backing it financially. The chief executive and co-founder of the Morpheus Space, Daniel Bock, emailed his enthusiasm after receiving enough starting capital to run through these trying times. He added that this move by the high-profile financiers to support them is one of the space industry’s propellers to achieve expansion.

Morpheus revealed on August 26 that Richard Spencer, currently the Pallas Ventures managing director, is entering the firm to be part of the managerial team. Spencer articulated that Morpheus has an incredible capacity to meet both the private and public industry customers’ needs.

Morpheus Space develops crucial spacecraft devices that enable it to run at a supersonic speed. One of the devices includes Nano Field-Effect Electric Propulsion rocket engines. These engines are known for thrusting a German CubeSat, Experimental-4, to the low-Earth orbit in the past two months. Daniel Bock is among the developers who ensured that the technology leading to these devices’ development is secured by federal means.

The Rocket Lab space system director Richard French stated that the space exploration while remaining in orbit suits the small spacecraft. He adds that these systems require hypersonic and efficient thrusters to ensure the spacecraft remains in orbit. Morpheus’s devices are an exciting part of the supply chain for space systems, even as the space industry prepares to venture deep space with these spacecrafts.

Morpheus competed with other firms in the technological display held by Techstars Starburst Space Accelerator last year. Matt Kozlov, the lead director of Techstars Starburst Space Accelerator, stated that Morpheus is one of the efficient performers in the industry after they financed their projects.

The Vsquared Ventures co-founder Herbert Mangesius stated that Morpheus’s thrusters are a technological development that will propel the space industry to greater achievements. He added that these technical aspects of technology would facilitate deep space exploration by the small spacecraft.

Elsewhere, Lavrock Ventures’ major partner Steve Smoot stated that Morpheus Space is a reliable firm for engine designing. He added that they support Morpheus Space because it can counteract various space problems like deorbiting and satellite constellation aggressiveness.

To sum up, Airbus Ventures chief finance officer Claas Carsten Kohl explained the firm’s excitement to support Morpheus Space in developing space propulsion technology to enhance the space exploration by small satellites. He articulated that this firm will help startups rise and venture space and other planets with their sophisticated technology.


Dominion Energy obtains 62.5-MW Cypress Creek Renewables solar scheme

Dominion Energy has obtained the 62.5 MW Madison Solar producing facility from Cypress Creek Renewables in Orange County, Virginia. The project that is set to be managed by Dominion Energy’s contracted assets arm and collected all appropriate state and local licenses is anticipated to be operational sometime in the year 2022.

Northrop Grumman, based in Falls Church, is an aerospace and defense technology firm that will receive the power generated at Madison Solar and the credits of renewable energy for a long-period contract. Northrop Grumman expects that the facility will offer sufficient renewable energy to the grid that will match 100 percent electricity use of Virginia manufacturing and office operations.  

Sandra Evers-Manly, who is the Vice President of Global corporate responsibility, Northrop Grumman, confirmed that Northrop Grumman has a long-term dedication to environmental sustainability and the reductions of greenhouse gas emissions. She added that the project would play a vital role in the forthcoming generation for their climate-related inscriptions as they look past their 2020 goals.

As a segment of the Virginia Clean Economic Acts obligation for 100 percent carbon-free electricity by 2045, in the next 15 years, Dominion Energy intends to add close to 16,000MW of solar-generated capability via company-owned power and projects purchase contracts signed with Virginia’s third-party developers. Robert Blue, the executive VP, and co-chief operating officer at Dominion, stated that they could add more renewables and produce cleaner electricity if they could help their consumers, both big and small. He said that with that said and done, it is automatically a win for their customers and the whole Commonwealth of Virginia.

It has also achieved its set 2018 aim of online delivery, commencing development on, or signing deals for 3,000 MW of wind and solar-generated capacity in Virginia before 2022. S&P Global Market Intelligence rated the company’s solar portfolio 3rd amongst utility holding firms in the United States of America.

Cassidy DeLine, the VP of project finance at Cypress Creek Renewables, stated that their mission of energizing a sustainable future a project at a time leads them to create valuable projects and partnerships. He added that their collaboration with Northrop Grumman and Dominion on the Madison project strengthens their dedication to developing solar in the country’s biggest comprehensive market. Around 660 land acres along State Route 20 in Locust Grove are bought to situate the development of power.


Land transport operators points at the increasing interest in EVs

Jakarta: Mainland transport operators of Indonesia have shown their interest in energy-saving electric motors; however, the government might need to address the issues of staggering costs in the market. That was the crucial key from a previous extract that pertained to Blue Bird, a renowned taxi firm in the country, Damri, the oldest public bus operator and TransJakarta, the city bus operator run by the municipal council as well as Bakrie Autoparts, electric bus distributor. 

In a statement made by Prayoga Wiradisuria, the chief leader of electric vehicles at Blue Bird, the number of electric cars will increase at large since the majority of customers use them for transportation purposes. 

Blue Bird is the first bus operator in Indonesia to get electric vehicles, and currently, it operates 29 electric vehicles of Chinese BYD and American Tesla brands. 

Blue Bird took its time before opting to purchase electric vehicles and commencing its operations last year. The commercial applications of electric vehicles such as Taxi are dynamic, and it will extend further, making other entities follow suit. 

However, for the growth of electric vehicles, a prominent government must give its support, regulations regarding electricity tariffs, availability of charging points, and import duties. 

Currently, Damri has no electric vehicles in its groups. However, Setia Milatia Moemin, Chief Director of Damri, confirmed the availability of electric cars soon.  

Covid-19 has been a great block to the business’s success and growth; however, Damri has stated its plans for purchasing electric vehicles. 

Setia asserted that the plans would remain unchanged, except that of changing their policies on their timetable. Damri’s main ambition is to operate electric vehicles soon. 

The entity recruited a consultant company to plan for a business examination on the use of electric buses since they agreed that it would be excellent by benefit. 

The actual truth is that electric vehicles cost more; however, they bear a good portion of the profit for a more extended period. All the company wants is to get support from the government to make the whole process successful. 

In 2019, President Joko Widodo declared a significant surge in the number of electric vehicles used in public transport. 

Another entity that obtained electric vehicles is TransJakarta. Currently, it is on its exercise of three months. During the training, the BYD conveyed customers between City Hall and Blok M commercial center- the busiest roads of TransJakarta. 

The buses have been legalized and are eligible to operate on any routes of the streets. 

The participation of the entity in an electric vehicle business will aid in fighting problems related to pollution.