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Space

The Air Force would assist with the establishment of a space corporation around the world

The Pentagon’s renewed emphasis on space as well as the creation of the United States Space Force is driving up demand for commercially produced technology. AFWERX, an Air Force technology accelerator, is reacting by opening new doors for the space entrepreneurs. “We consider space as a quickly developing sector,” stated Jason Rathje, CEO of AFWERX’s AFVentures investment arm.

AFWERX will build a subsidiary named SpaceWERX in the following months. It expects to start a new platform called Space Prime to promote promising innovations’ commercial viability further. AFWERX has several projects aimed at attracting more space startups as well as commercial companies, including Space Prime. It’s focused on Agility Prime, which is a project AFWERX funded in 2020 to accelerate the demand for vertically taking off and landing electric-powered drones. AFWERX awarded about $40 million to six firms by Agility Prime to produce prototypes.

The government will have both financial and technological assistance for developments that are deemed strategically relevant through Space Prime. The aim is to locate inventions that are on the verge of being economically feasible that could benefit from any government assistance. For example, selected businesses may gain access to testing facilities and be mentored on regulatory and contracting procedures.

Officials said up to $100 million could be spent in Space Prime during the next year during a recent AFWERX webinar. “Smart spacecraft” is one of the groups being examined for Space Prime support. Autonomy, low-power data transmission onboard spacecraft, sophisticated propulsion, and trusted cybersecurity are all indicators of those capabilities.

AFWERX is in a role to help address chicken-and-egg issues with initiatives like Space Prime. According to Megan Crawford, investors would be reluctant to finance such developments before the government is interested, who works as the managing partner of venture capital company SpaceFund, who spoke at the AFWERX webinar. She listed the disposal of space debris as an example. That is an illustration of a skill that the private sector might fund if the government offered rewards.

General John Raymond, the director of the United States Space Command, has called for government-commercial alliances as a means to tap into private industry funding to get nascent technology related to national security to the market. Raymond shared his passion for commercial space developments by saying, “I’m pumped for it.” He said the space sector is investing in technology that it will use to its benefit.

According to a new survey by the investment capital firm Space Capital, institutional investors pumped $5.7 billion into 80 space firms in the fourth quarter of the year 2020, taking the overall amount invested in the year to $25.6 billion. According to Space Capital, since the year 2010, $177.7 billion has been invested in 1,348 space firms.

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Energy

Indiana vehicle makers suspicious of future as the number of electric vehicles surge

Kokomo, Ind. (AP)-It is evident that the vehicle manufacturing industry is in a hurry to manufacture more electric vehicles and hybrid cars. However, how will the drastic evolution of electric cars affect other 900,000 workers in the manufacturing industry?

That is a question disturbing local workers who work at the Stellantis factories in Kokomo and Tipton. The question has been imminent for a long time. It took a sharp focus at the start of this year when General Motors confidently announced its manufacturing strategy on battery-powered batters by 2035. Ford was the next to promote its whole passenger cars lineup to electric vehicles before the decade. ‘

Matt Jarvis, the leader of United Auto Workers Local 685, a representative of Kokomo and Tipton factories, stated that the factories have around 7100 local employees, the implication of the abrupt evolution to EVs. Matt Jarvis said that the workers are worried about the speed at which General Motors and Ford are transitioning to electric vehicles. Their main worry is what would happen to the employees after the evolution.

One thing that worries these workers is that more environmentally focused factories require fewer employees because electric vehicles have 30 to 40percent minor moving parts than gas-powered cars. Additionally, many jobs might shift to fewer wages because vehicle manufacturers purchase EV parts from other supply firms or even from a different business company.

About 100,000 US-based employees are among the most vulnerable people as they work at factories that manufacture transmissions and engines for traditional vehicles. No one has a clear view of the local workers’ future after the emergence of the electric vehicle revolution. Large numbers of firms have strategies in place to manufacture EVs future fully.

Firms like General Motors and Ford are already manufacturing electric vehicles. However, other companies like Stellantis are still at the crossways. It is still figuring out the strategies to push it forward in the electric vehicle world. Jarvis said that no one is certain how the transition will affect local employees since no announcements are released concerning the shift to EVs. The situation appears to be a ‘wait-and-see for us right now.’

As the vehicle manufacturers are still making guesses about the shift to selling EVs in the coming years, researchers state that they do not anticipate internal combustion engines escaping the coming future. Many still believe 90 percent of cars would still be fitted with an internal combustion engine by the coming decade. Many hybrids still require those engines and transmissions similar to those manufactured in Kokomo.

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Space

Bill Nelson has been nominated by President Biden to head NASA

According to the announcement released by the White House, President Joe Biden’s nominee for the NASA administrator is Senator Bill Nelson, the former Florida senator. His career revolved around representing the space coast in the Federal Government. However, he also played space fame even before he was a senator. At one point, he ended up interrupting his career as an elected official to serve as a payload specialist on six days of the space shuttle Columbia, 1986.

According to what Joe Biden wrote in a statement, the Senate knew him as the Nation’s Space Program’s go-to person. Almost every piece of space and science has its imprint. The Democratic leaders in the US House of today’s inspiration focused on science were optimistic with this announcement, and they considered it good news. The committee’s chairperson said that he is pleased that president Joe Biden has chosen Senator Nelson to lead NASA. This agency is one of the Crown Jewels of the country’s science and technology and is also a source of inspiration worldwide and required someone with expertise and knowledge like him.

The Senate will consider Nelson’s nomination, and if they approve it, he will replace the acting administrator Steve Jurczyk. He only took NASA’s lead in January when Jim Bridenstine, the former administrator, had stepped down by the end of former President Donald Trump’s first term. In the confirmation of Jim Bridenstine in 2018, Nelson had concerns about his appointment. That’s because of his personal history as a politician. The NASA administrator is supposed to be a consummate professional, as said by Nelson. This senator words, someone who is a space professional and not just a politician to be NASA’s head.

According to a statement that he wrote, Jim Bridenstine has already endorsed Nelson and said that he is an excellent choice for the NASA administrator position, noting Nelson’s diplomatic skills and political clout. Bill Nelson will influence NASA’s substantial budgets and even enlist help from friends, if possible, President Joe Biden. The Senate should confirm him without delay. Even the acting administrator Jurczyk has welcomed this decision.

The men and women at NASA are very incredible national assets to the United States, and they will continue to take the most pressing issues facing the country. They will continue to accept and find solutions to problems that were once thought to be unsolvable; then, they will educate and inspire the Next Generation of American workers, scientists, and Engineers. It is important to note that Nelson lost his senatorial seat to Rick Scott, who was once a Florida governor in 2018. Ever since then, he has been working at the NASA Advisory Council.

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Energy

The 1300 cities that have renewable energy transition targets is a habitat of one billion people

In 2020, the number of cities aiming to eliminate fossil fuels and instead use renewable energy had increased. After all, the number of cities with targets or policies promoting renewable energy had increased. The figure stood at over 1300 by the end of last year. The people living in those areas are not less than one billion, accounting for a quarter of the population living in urban areas globally. Forty-three cities took extreme stands of banning fossil fuels such as gas and diesel partially and in other cases entirely. The number was a fivefold increase from the one recorded in the previous year.

According to the REN21 report, cities’ contribution to the global population is up to 55%. Interestingly, despite being slightly higher than the rest of the people, the energy it uses is up to 75% of the power consumed. Consequently, it is also responsible for the same amount of carbon dioxide emissions. It is also important to note that national governments are preparing to attend the COP26 U.N. climate conference to be held in Glasgow come November. As they prepare, the call of cutting emissions drastically as increasing aiming to meet global climate targets. Not even the municipal authorities have been left behind in achieving these goals. Rana Adib, executive director of REN21, said that the huge responsibility of dealing with this energy transition lies in the cities.

She added that the coronavirus global pandemic led to the health of residents becoming a public debate. As a result of that, the pressure to shift to clean energy in the cities increased. After all, it exposed the dire need for reducing pollution in the cities. Fortunately, the cities are taking various actions to deal with the issue. One of them is setting targets concerning the deadline of raising the power grid’s share of renewable energy. Options include wind and solar power. Other actions include incentives and regulations promoting renewables usage in cooling, heating, transport, and power.

As far as the report is concerned, Europe and North America are leading in many cities. Eight hundred thirty cities and 72 countries have set renewable energy targets, even if it is only in a single sector. However, national policy is restricting many cities to a greater extent. An excellent example is a scenario where federal and state governments are offering subsidies to fossil fuel customers. Due to their supremacy, the cities can’t do anything about it. Some of the things encouraging cities are examples from cities that have made it and competition amongst them.

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Energy Entertainment

FERC has permitted OSU to develop the Wave Energy Testing Facility

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has approved the development of a wave energy testing facility by Oregon State University through a license that it issued. This move has ended a bureaucratic challenge that the institute has been battling for close to a decade now.

PacWave South is the first large-scale site linked to the grid in the United States that has acquired a FERC license for such a project. Additionally, the program will be the first marine renewable energy research facility in state waters off the Pacific Coast. The facility, which is approximately seven miles from the southwest of Newport, Oregon, will be an opportunity for wave energy engineers to test a variety of technologies to generate electricity from energy waves and to transfer it to the local electrical grid.

The head of OSU, President F. King Alexander stated that this is a milestone for Oregon state that will allow it to present wave energy development to the country and put Oregon State University on the clean energy map. He added that they are happy to dive into the PacWave South project.

The license has activated the dormant minds and garnered local, state, federal and community support for the project since it would be benefiting all these stakeholders in the quest to discard convoluted electricity generation technology for affordable clean energy systems. FERC has demanded the involved entities submit the project’s environmental and technical plans before they can authorize the construction activities. The documents are in their final procession, with the OSU project engineers anticipating obtaining approval later on this year. Schedules indicate that construction might start later this year before the facility is declared operational in the next two years.

The chief scientist for the PacWave project, Burke Hales, stated that they understand there is more to be done to actualize the project. He explained that the completion of the project would reveal another dimension of the renewable energy industry that people have always neglected. The license becomes the first of a kind that the United States has prepared. Experts confirmed that wave energy could generate clean and affordable energy to resolve the growing energy demand. Statistics indicate that the marine energy market will clock $700 billion in the next three decades, with a tenth of the energy demands being met by ocean energy.

Oregon State started exploring this technology to ensure that they can offer an alternative energy source if the industry decided to go the clean energy pathway. This state has been expecting the approval of the project with environmental reviews to accelerate the exploit. The project manager, Justin Klure, explained that the project’s success would open the state for future partnerships seeking to develop similar facilities in other regions.

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Space

NASA Sets Course to the Trojan Asteroids with the Lucy Mission

Humans’ inquisitive behavior caused the need to learn more about their celestial friend; hence, hundreds of ventures on Mars started around 1960. The ventures aimed at obtaining information on space probes in short bursts as part of the competition. Many astronauts have been exploring the planet’s atmosphere for many years. Since the first successful flyby of Mars in 1965, four space organizations have joined the city: the ex-Soviet space program, NASA, the Indian Space Research Organization, and the European Space Agency.

The earliest attempts to reach Mars emerged at the dawn of space exploration. It is noteworthy that three years after the original satellite, Sputnik, was launched in 1957, the Soviet Union’s space agency sought to extend its activities to Mars. Throughout the 1960s, the Soviet Union, formally known as the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, made numerous attempts to explore Mars. NASA was followed in the coming years by the Mariner 3 spaceship.

Nevertheless, NASA has experienced diverse innovation, and the collapse of the Soviet Union necessitated NASA’s growth. Recently, NASA launched the Lucy mission as part of the organization’s desire for deeper space exploration. The Lucy project is a NASA rover that will deploy in October 2021 to uncover the Trojans, an asteroid group close to Jupiter. 

These ancient meteorites provide vital information about the formation of the solar system and, perhaps, the source of human existence. Together with the Psyche flight, Lucy was authorized in January 2017 as a component of NASA’s Exploration program, which funds centered and comparatively affordable planetary projects with construction costs estimated at $450 million.

The program was formally assigned a timeline and a series of eight asteroid objectives a year after it was approved. Lucy is given the name after a famous female Australopithecus afarensis fossil discovered in Ethiopia, who, as an ancestor of primates, helped shed light on the genus’ evolution. It is anticipated that the spaceship Lucy will shed light on the origins of the universe. The Trojan meteorites are the rover’s primary research targets.

Such artifacts are believed to be fragments of the primordial layer that created the sun and planetary systems, trapped by Jupiter’s gravity at a certain point towards creating the universe. Lucy will be the initial expedition to visit the Trojans named after prominent characters during Greek mythology’s Trojan Battle. By 2025, upon being deployed from Earth, the spaceship will make a quick rocket launch of the main belt comet. 52246 Donaldjohanson is the tiny celestial body’s title following the paleontologist who found the fossil, Lucy. The flyby, which will occur between Mars and Jupiter, will mainly act as a measure for the satellite’s equipment, as per the reports issued by the Southwest Research Institute.

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Space

SpaceX launches 60 more Starlink satellites to orbit, expands international coverage

SpaceX launched sixty more Starlink satellites aboard the Falcon 9 launch vehicle on March 11. The launch increased the company’s constellation to one thousand and two hundred satellites, meant to expand its internet coverage across the US, Canada, parts of the UK, Germany, and New Zealand.

The Falcon 9, the two-stage orbital launch vehicle developed by SpaceX in the United States, took off at around 3:13 EAT from the firm’s Space Launch Complex 40 in Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida, carrying the Starlink satellites. The upper stage launched the sixty satellites to orbit approximately sixty-five minutes after leaving the takeoff.

After deploying the satellites, the rocket’s reusable upper stage descended towards the earth’s surface, landing on the company’s drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean, about six hundred kilometers downrange. The landing happened eight and a half minutes after liftoff, making this Falcon 9’s sixth flight.

Falcon 9 has deployed payloads to space on several missions, including the Demo-2 commercial crew test flight in May 2020 and the Transporter-1 rideshare mission, launched at the beginning of 2021. In 2021, SpaceX has planned a series of Starlink launches, all of which will be carried by the Falcon 9.

The space company, founded by billionaire Elon Musk, has also launched two more missions besides the Starlink project this year. The Transporter 1 mission, which carries small satellites from different companies through the SmallSat Rideshare Program, was launched aboard Falcon 9.

Besides, the Falcon 9lalso lifted the Turksat 5A geostationary communications satellite to orbit. The communications mission operated by Turkish satellite company, Turksat, took off from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on January 7, this year. The satellites will cover Turkey, Middle East, Europe, and Africa.

SpaceX is expanding Starlink’s coverage, and its beta test for broadband internet service provided by the satellites in progress. The beta test was initially restricted to the northern region of the United States. The company has since expanded the test to southern Canada and select areas in the United Kingdom.

The additional Starlink satellites will enable SpaceX to provide a satellite internet connection to the UK, including Scotland, Wales, and England. The western parts of Germany will also enjoy the services and the South Island area of New Zealand. SpaceX revealed that the services should be up in the next few weeks.

The beta tests have indicated that the internet speeds range between 50 and 150 megabits per second, sometimes going above 300 megabits per second. The only downside is the occasional downtime. SpaceX says despite the occasional outages, the service is ‘better than nothing.’

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Energy

Xpeng, a Chinese electric vehicle producer, expects ‘significant momentum’ in March

Xpeng (XPEV), a China-based EV-maker, sees little in its market to guarantee the stock’s current 35% sales. Brian Gu, who serves as the Xpeng President and Vice Chairman, told Yahoo Finance that they see great traction in March, adding in deliveries continues the momentum. They also added to say that the momentum continues in deliveries Xpeng said on Monday that revenue increased by 345.5 percent year-over-year to RMB 2,851.4 million.

The total number of deliveries rose by 302.9 percent to 12,964 units. As vehicle margins increased, Xpeng posted an RMB 787.4 million loss, down from RMB 1,097.1 million the previous year. In pre-market trading, shares dropped 3%. Xpeng is one of several companies in China’s burgeoning EV sector to have its stock price fall this year amid a wider sell-off in tech stocks. Nio, as well as Li Auto, has lost 21% and 22% of their value this year, respectively. Tesla’s stock has dropped by 16%.

When asked if sell-offs shocked him, Gu stated, “Well, I think it’s very important.” “I believe it’s related to the overall market, which is impacting high-growth as well as high-value stocks across the board.”

According to the company’s prediction, the market will remain high in the near future. Xpeng expects 12,500 vehicles to be shipped in the first quarter, up 450 percent year over year. Revenues are forecast to grow 533 percent from the previous year. The company didn’t offer earnings figures for the year, but it’s expected to lose money again as it ramps up production, invests in R&D, and prepares to open a new production facility in 2022.

The EV manufacturer, which according to JPMorgan analysts, could capture 8% of China’s electric vehicle market by 2025, has two versions in the Chinese market. They’ve made a name for themselves in an increasingly competitive market thanks to their cutting-edge infotainment systems and self-driving technology.

Xpeng’s third iteration, aimed at smaller sedans like the Toyota Camry, is set to debut in the second quarter. Hands-free lane switching as well as navigated speed control is among the features of Xpeng’s XPilot 3.0 autonomous driving technology, which was recently announced. Xpeng or Xiaopeng Motors, often known as XMotors.ai in China, is a maker of electric vehicles. The business is based in Guangzhou, China, and has offices in Mountain View, California, in the United States. It is listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

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Space

China and Russia have signed an agreement on the international lunar research station

On Tuesday, the heads of China’s and Russia’s space agencies penned a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on the creation of a joint international lunar research station. Via a conference call on March 9, Zhang Kejian, who serves as the head in charge of the China National Space Administration (CNSA), as well as Dmitry Rogozin, who is the General Director of Roscosmos, ratified the agreement.

The International Lunar Research Station (ILRS) is an interdisciplinary as well as multi-objective scientific exploratory base established on the lunar surface or even in the lunar orbit which can engage in activities such as discovery and exploration, lunar-centered observation, fundamental scientific experiment, and technological verification, as well as a long-term autonomous activity.

The project will be “available to all eligible countries and foreign partners,” according to CNSA and Roscosmos’ statements. Though not mentioned specifically, it is assumed that the ILRS will be built at lunar south pole. Both parties will use their combined expertise in space science, research as well as development, and the usage of the space equipment and technology to create a clear roadmap for the creation of the international lunar scientific research station, according to the press releases.

Following the robotic process of the mission, Roscosmos sees the possibility of human habitation on the moon. As SpaceNews announced in February, the signing of the agreement was scheduled. “This Memorandum of Understanding suits the broader pattern of Russia edging closer to China,” Bleddyn Bowen, an international affairs lecturer at the University of Leicester situated in the United Kingdom, informed SpaceNews in February.

Russia and China previously agreed to collaborate on the Chang’e-7 as well as Luna 27 missions, as well as establish a joint data facility for lunar as well as deep space investigation.  The European Space Agency is also active in negotiations, having recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the NASA agency on the Gateway.

“At ESA, we are closely watching the Chinese lunar exploration ambitions to see where our separate programmatic interests could intersect, mainly the CE-6, -7, as well as -8 missions, but also for the ILRS initiative,” Karl Bergquist, who is the ESA’s international relations administrator, informed SpaceNews last year.

Following the acceptance of the first series of missions in the 2000s, the ILRS idea evolved into an extended phase of Chinese lunar exploration. China has deployed two lunar orbiters, two landers as well as rover missions, and a Chang’e-5 lunar sample return flight in late 2020.

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Energy

To encourage electric vehicles, the United States requires ‘make-ready’ infrastructure

At the globe’s largest energy event on Thursday, the company, as well as government officials, encouraged utilities to invest in the so-called “make-ready” infrastructure to encourage electric vehicle usage, which involves wiring parking spaces to allow vehicle charging. They stated at the IHS Markit’s CERAWeek online conference that the availability of electric vehicles would be critical in the transformation away from fossil-fuel usage in transportation. Even though electricity is the quickest-growing energy source in the transport industry, subject to US government projections, it will only power a small portion of the sector by 2050.

According to Pasquale Romano, CEO of ChargePoint, which is an electric vehicle infrastructure firm, if the industry develops properly, it will increase power grid efficiency, which will attract more customers. “A few of the drivers of increasing consumer adoption of the electric vehicles is likely to be that all of these distributed resources will actually add value back to the grid – be able to harness it and deliver it back to the consumer in a significant way,” said Badar Khan, who serves as the president of utilities firm National Grid US.

According to Gil Quiniones, Chief executive officer of the New York Power Authority, “speeding up for the industry would also rely on the sustainability of electric vehicles themselves,” as well as “work is needed to be done there.” “As the price points drop and the charging infrastructure improves, the whole system improves, and usage increases across the board,” he added.

The global auto sector is fast transitioning away from internal combustion engines (ICEs) and toward battery electric vehicles (EVs). This transition is critical for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and avoiding the worst effects of climate change, and it provides a significant opportunity for the car manufacturing industry in the United States.

However, public as well as private market investment in electric vehicles in the United States continues to lag behind that of other nations, especially China, endangering both the country’s ability to meet climate goals and the domestic auto industry’s long-term competitiveness, which has long been a center of excellent quality, unionized jobs that sustain a strong middle class.

To help good domestic employment and reduce pollution in the long run, federal lawmakers must invest in Electric cars as well as charging infrastructure now. Federal policies will help solve the climate crisis, benefit the American workers, and maintain national prosperity in key areas like economic development, decarbonization, as well as technological advancement if done correctly.