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Space

Artemis to Include Two Lunar Gateway Instruments for Space Weather Forecasting

Two space weather instrument suites, NASA‘s HERMES and ASA’s ERSA, will be used by the astronauts in the Artemis Moon mission to forecast the weather. In this scenario, the weather is defined as energized, subatomic particles and electromagnetic fields moving through the solar system.

The dual instrument suites that are christened after two of Artemis half-siblings will be pre-loaded on the Gateway before the launch of the initial two modules: The Power and Propulsion Element and the Habitation and Logistics Outpost, and the two will be used to monitor the lunar radiation environment and send data back before the arrival of the crew.

Together with European Space Agency (ESA), NASA is constructing each instrument suites to monitor the weather conditions in outer space and send a report back to Earth. The two components are expected to share the work between them, with ERSA checking out the space radiation at advanced energies to protect the astronauts. At the same time, HERMES will be used to monitor lower energies necessary for scientific investigations.

When looking up the night sky, it may look obscure and void, but the Earth moves through an open sea of high energy particles consisting of electrical and magnetic fields. Electrons and ions pass by at high speed, reaching over a million miles per hour, and the random blasts from solar storms push them close to the speed of light. This stream of particles is what is referred to as solar wind. The Earth’s magnetic field, which is around 60,000 miles, is the one responsible for our protection, together with the astronauts nearer to home on the International Space Station.

Heliophysics Environmental and Radiation Measurement Experiment Suite (HERMES) will take a look at the activities at the magnetotail, which will give room for NASA to make a comparison between two of the five THEMIS spacecraft, a pair of ships orbiting the moon and have the same type of instruments as HERMES. The opportunity to collect data from these three instrument suites in different locations will give room for reconstructing the solar wind behavior in relation to change over time. HERMES will gauge lower energy radiation meant for astronauts’ safety, but its primary mission will be scientific.

European Radiation Sensors Array (ERSA) will be used to study the effects of the solar winds on astronauts and their equipment. Loaded with five pieces of equipment, ERSA will measure energetic particles emanating from the Sun, galactic cosmic rays, neutrons, ions, and magnetic fields around the Gateway. The measuring of these particles will explain radiation’s physics in the solar system and comprehend the risks they pose to the astronauts and their tools.

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Energy

The Looming problem of Electric Car’s Recycling

Tesla made an announcement to phase out the use of cobalt in its batteries in the bid to manufacture an electric car costing $25,000. The success of the project will be a significant game-changer in the sector and will help make the pricing of electric vehicles competitive. Though the announcement seems a good move towards affordable electric cars, the shift from cobalt will complicate EVs’ transition. This is because, without the use of cobalt, there will be less financial incentive to recycle the big batteries used to run the cars, which could turn out to be an environmental disaster.

The main reason for advocating for the use of EVs is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and curb the effects of climate change. The shift is also expected to lower the health risks associated with vehicle emissions significantly. With the new trend, every major car manufacturing company has already enrolled one electric car in its production, with even some of the companies hinting at eradicating gas and diesel engines’ production.

Though the change to electric vehicles’ use is seen as a safer and cleaner option, there are issues associated with the program. Each EV, especially the hybrid vehicles, uses huge Li-ion batteries that can weigh up to hundreds of pounds. For instance, the battery for Mercedes Benz EQC weighs around 1,400 pounds. The components used to make the battery include cobalt, nickel, and manganese, making the batteries expensive to manufacture and come with environmental baggage. Improper disposal of these batteries can lead to environmental pollution because of the nature of the components used to manufacture them.

In order to tap and have a share in the new market, motor vehicle manufactures are applying the same techniques which were adopted by the plastic industry. The manufactures, just like those in plastics, are claiming the recycling of used batteries of which none of the Li-ion batteries are recyclable, just like the way paper, glass, and lead car batteries are.

Though research is underway to develop effective recycling technology, a quick resolution to the problem may not be attainable. The battery manufacturers are yet to develop technology that can extract components economically to make new batteries. The thing usually done is the batteries’ processing to extract cobalt and other expensive components, with the remaining skeleton being released as air emissions or used as filler in construction. This explains the small figure in the batteries that are currently being recycled.

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All News

PepsiCo Will Use 100% Renewable Electricity by 2030 Year

PepsiCo Inc. on Monday announced a target to source 100 percent renewable electricity. The company’s sourced electricity will be utilized to run operations across all the company’s owned and run operations nationwide. This project is expected to be accomplished by 2030 and overall utilization in the company’s franchise and third party by 2040.  In making the decision, the company, this project will be able to decrease nearly 2.5 million metric tons of greenhouse gas (CHG) releases by 2040.

 This announcement comes when the company has been putting effort in the increment in its utilization of green energy sources and its changeover to green power in the United States, which is its leading market. According to Jim Andrew, who is the Chief Sustainability Officer at PepsiCo, there is a need for fast action to curb the devastating effects of climate change that are being experienced worldwide.

PepsiCo was able to sign the Business Ambition for 1.5 degrees Centigrade early this year, entering the ranks of other prominent establishments in committing to enroll science-based releases decrease target by limiting global warming by 1.5 degrees centigrade. This is projected to be undertaken together to develop a continuing policy for attaining net nil discharges by 2050. PepsiCo has been able to make substantial steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through its entire value chain. This has been achieved by the company teaming up with agronomists to device carbon proficient practices via its international Sustainable Farming Program to running one of the biggest electrical flotillas in North America.

At now, PepsiCo sources for green energy in 18 nations, and nine of these countries have by now met the 100% of their mandate in electricity from renewable sources. With the United States already shifting to renewable electricity this year, PepsiCo is at this time on the path to get 56 percent of its energy via renewable sources universally by late 2020.

With the declaration to switch to 100% renewable electricity, PepsiCo has joined RE100, which is an enterprise headed by the Climate Group in conjunction with CDP. The initiative aims to bring together the most influential companies in the world that are committed to using 100 percent renewable electricity. To attain 100 percent renewable electricity globally, PepsiCo will be needed to use an expanded portfolio of solutions that will include Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs). The PPAs will be able to offer support in the development of new renewable electricity generating projects.

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Space

The latest Sirius XM satellite, SXM-7, has crashed in orbit

In a report with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission, the corporation revealed that SiriusXM’s latest satellite, SXM-7, experienced undisclosed defects during in-orbit processing on January 27. “During the in-orbit evaluation of the SXM-7, incidents happened which have caused the problem of specific SXM-7 payload modules. An assessment of SXM-7 is ongoing. The seriousness of the situation to SXM-7 has not yet been known,” Sirius XM stated in the filing. It is unclear at this point whether it is possible to retrieve the satellite.

The satellite, designed by Maxar Technologies, was deployed on December 13 on the Falcon 9 rocket of SpaceX. The corporation said that the malfunction was unconnected to the launch vehicle and which a complete satellite assessment is ongoing. The satellite SXM-7 is centered on an SSL-1300 satellite bus from Maxar Technologies. Driven by 2-large solar arrays (as well as on-orbit storage batteries), it was planned to work between 2.32 GHz as well as 2.345 GHz in the S-band spectrum. The 15, 432-lb. satellite (7,000 kg) is a component of a pair designed by Maxar and launched by SpaceX for the Sirius XM. The other, SXM-8, is currently under development and is expected for deployment later this year.

Every satellite’s service life is 15 years, and it was planned to substitute two aging satellites already in space. The satellites are planned to support the optical radio operation of Sirius XM, offering coverage in the United States, Canada as well as the Caribbean. On January 4, which is a standard shakedown stage before a satellite joins operation, SXM-7 started its in-orbit testing process. Usually, the testing continues for several months. The organization is yet to decide what went so wrong but claims the satellite is under surveillance. “We do not anticipate our satellite radio system to be affected by these detrimental SXM-7 incidents,” Sirius XM stated in its filing.

“Our XM-3 as well as XM-4 satellites keep operating and are planned to sustain our satellite radio service for several years.” Although these two satellites have been the ones Sirius hoped to replace for many years to come, they are stable and are anticipated to remain to help the broadcasting operation. It also has an orbital replacement, SXM-5, which is waiting by, the firm also stated. Maxar Technologies passed all responsibility to Sirius XM after launch, which is a standard procedure in the launch market.

In a report of its own, nevertheless, Maxar reported that it is supporting the broadcaster in “debugging and identifying the scenario to determine the severity of the problem to the SXM-7 satellite.” As per Sirius XM, from deployment through this first year of service, it paid $225 million in net premiums for the mission protecting the spacecraft. “We have informed the underwriters of these regulations of a prospective applicant with regard to SXM-7,” Sirius XM stated in its report.

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Space

Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) satellites reveal China’s survey ship activities that could start diplomatic wars

According to reports from OSINT satellite images, China has deployed a survey ship in the Eastern Indian Ocean. As Xiang Yang Hong 03, this ship is collecting data on water and currents properties such as salinity. The ship is currently carrying out these activities on the Ocean region west of the Indonesian island Sumatra.

This ship is one of the many survey ships belonging to China, thought to be carrying out dubious activities by operating gliders beneath the ocean to map the ocean floor. “The suspicion is that as well as conducting civilian research, these ships may be gathering information for naval planners- currents, bathymetry, the salinity of the water- which are all relevant to submarine warfare,” explained H. I Sutton, OSINT’s defense analyst. “The eastern Indian Ocean is likely to be of particular interest to the Chinese Navy as they expand their submarine capabilities,” said Sutton. “The data from these surveys may help submarines navigate or improve their chances of remaining undetected.”

Sutton recently published an article on what could be cooking with China’s survey activities. According to the article, China’s activities have stirred controversy, where other countries are accusing the country of ‘running dark’ with no capability of broadcasting its location in foreign waters. Further reports claim this particular ship, the Xiang Yang Hong 03, has visited this area more than once. It is also not the only survey ship by the Chinese government. China’s activities are a plot to study America’s sensor networks that detect submarines on foreign waters. “These are designed to track Chinese submarines entering the Indian Ocean. Naturally, this cannot be confirmed,” said Sutton.

In November 2020, it was reported that Chinese Survey ships were deployed in Sri Lanka’s territorial waters. The Indian Navy noted these activities and released a note saying this would bring rivalry between the two nations. “Such unencumbered and suspicious activity within Sri Lanka’s waters will surely raise the hackles of other nations in the region and also has the potential to upset the delicate maritime balance in the IOR (Indian Ocean Rising),” the note stated.

Other Chinese survey ships carrying out similar activities are Xiang Yang Hong 06, 01, 03, and 19. They are controlled by China’s State of Oceanic Administration (SOA). They gather information about water currents and other water properties. This data is thought to be civilian-defense skeptical and may indicate preparations for future submarine warfare. The gliders deployed in Xiang Yang Hong 03 were the Sea Wing type, similar to those in Indonesian waters. “This raises the possibility that as well as the Xiang Yong Hong 06, other Chinese ships may be deploying the gliders. It is difficult to determine the launch point for the gliders. But it is not a great leap to suggest that China has deployed more in the Eastern Indian Ocean,” Sutton said.

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Energy

Orkney developers intend on generating green ammonia

Scotland’s Eneus Energy has procured approval for the development of a green ammonia plant in Orkney, making the region to house the first plant with such technology in the United Kingdom. The Orkney Council Planning Committee authenticated this project’s establishment together with the wind turbine project expected to start construction at Hammars Hill. Eneus Energy reported that the plant utilizes the renewable energy developed by the wind turbines to extract the hydrogen in water, eventually reacting with nitrogen extracted from the separation of air to form ammonia. The wind farm plant will install two 150-meter wind turbines generating 8.4MW of wind energy to meet the ammonia plant’s demands and other consumers requiring wind energy.

Green Cat Renewables brought together Eneus Energy and Hammars Hill Energy by stipulating how these two can partner in the development of this project. Additionally, the company offered expert opinion and project management services to the two partners to ensure that the project that they come up with meets the regulations stipulated by the approving committee. The CEO of Eneus Energy, Chris Bronsdon, explained that this project’s approval initiates the mass development of the green ammonia project in the Orkney Islands that is dependent on green energy. He emphasized that green hydrogen utilization produces ammonia that is manageable from the storage and transportation viewpoint. Furthermore, the project does not create emissions like the other production companies dealing in similar products do.

On the other hand, the director of Hammars Hill Energy, Alistair Gray, stated that they anticipate the cooperation of their partners in this project in the Orkney Islands and demonstrate that commercial production using renewable energy is plausible the nature of the products. The executive expressed his excitement concerning the development of wind turbines by Hammars Hill Energy and joyed over their climaxing of this deal and its approval by the Orkney Council Planning Committee to initiate green ammonia production.

The pandemic might have slowed the achievement of the net-zero carbon emission targets, but the executive is hopeful that they can come back better and stronger in this decade. Orkney is UK’s best option for developing renewable energy. However, the project might take time since the national grid will have to extend to this region. The infrastructure is still developing, and the leadership of this area is unbothered by the existing challenges. Nevertheless, Green Cat’s director Gavin Catto stated that they had made significant progress after overcoming the bureaucratic problem of approval. They look forward to the operationalization of the project by the two parties in the formal agreement.

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Space

SatADSL is creating a partnership between the Brazilian satellite connectivity market and Telespazio Brazil

The agreement between SatADSL and Telespazio will facilitate the accessibility of the connectivity market established to serve satellite operators by availing the services that they offer. Telespazio Brazil will be using the Cloud-service Delivery Platform (C-SDP) developed by SatADSL and the Yahsat3 satellite to provide connectivity services. ST Engineering technology will create 26 spot beams that smoothen the provision of connectivity for consumers.

This technology will enable SatADSL to meet a wide range of services for its customers across the network and open the Latin American market for service provision through Telespazio Brazil. The senior vice president of Business Development at SatADSL, Guillermo Bosch, expressed his joy over this deal’s approval. He added that the collaboration with Brazil would unveil a market of new customers who have not experienced the company’s services.

Since reliable network connectivity is the trending aspect that most consumers in the communication industry seek, SatADSL will enable consumers in the Latin American nations to link with service providers through this portfolio. The Cloud-service Delivery Platform (C-SDP) offers customer connectivity to a reliable network without incurring the hefty costs they incurred utilizing the satellite facilities. The contract between Telespazio Brazil and SatADSL will ensure that customers have broad access to the ever-changing and hypersonic IP.

This technology will keep those businesses relying on high-performance connectivity at their best service delivery, especially in this pandemic season when the movement has become hazardous. The developers used the pandemic period to learn how they can create this platform and ensure the employees working from home are not affected or lose their jobs because of connectivity problems.

The chief executive of Telespazio Brazil, Marzio Laurenti, stated that SatADSL had proved its efficiency and reliability as a portfolio offering satellite solution services in South America without overcharging the customers or themselves losing their profits. He added that this collaboration would ensure that SatADSL achieves its vision of offering global connectivity services through the Cloud-service Delivery Platform (C-SDP).

The company has made breakthroughs that the other satellite companies would surcharge their customers keeping in mind the operational costs they incurred in delivering connectivity. The customers will no longer worry about communicating with satellite operators to stay connected. The platform offers room for the customer to feedback the company in case of the services’ breakdown. Finally, Latin America will be saved the trouble of developing their technology to provide satellite connectivity by allowing these firms to sort the problem.

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Energy

Tesla’s investors should be worried about it losing ground in the Europe

According to recent statistics, Tesla’s Model 3 has been ceding ground in the Europe region. Today, the European market is the largest EV market worldwide following rapid growth in 2020, accompanied by the decrease in China. New electric car registration in Europe is two times that of China as well as five times in the USA. On Wednesday, Peter Garnry, Saxo Bank Head of Equity Strategy said that Tesla’s outpacing by Hyundai, Volkswagen, and Renault in the recent few months should have alerted shareholders. Garnry said that in the near future, Tesla is going to the largest and successful carmaker across the world, though the competition is becoming stiffer.

In the first 2021’s two weeks, Tesla’s stock has increased by over 21%, while in 2020; it soared by over 700%. Garnry said that in November, the European vehicle registration statistics showed that plug-ins, which combines both hybrid vehicles and pure electric, increased by 198% yearly. In the entire continent, the total car registrations fall by 14%. Today in Europe, plug-in vehicles take 10 percent of total market share, while pure Electric Vehicles accounting for about 5.4%. Garnry said that customers had agreed that Tesla’s sales had increased in the last month of the quarter and added that the sales dropped  in the months of October as well as November.

In the recent EV ranking, the Renault Zoe was leading, and VW ID.3 was the second, while Hyundai’s Kona was third, followed by Tesla’s Model 3. This is according to a report released by sales figures from the EV industry database for plug-in vehicles volumes. Garnry said that this report should scare Tesla’s shareholders bearing in mind Model S and X did not appear in the top 20 rankings despite models like the Audi e-Tron being listed. When CNBC contacted Tesla to comment on this issue, Tesla did not give an immediate response.

Luca de Meo, the new CEO of Renault, said on Thursday that the company is moving to a more electric line-up and creating a battery plant with one of the suppliers in France. On Thursday, Wedbush Securities, the US investment firm, increased its price target from $715 to $950 per share with an optimistic plan of $1250. Wedbush said there was a rise in demand for Electric Vehicles and Model 3. They predicted that over 40% of total sales of Tesla would come from China by 2022, while Democrats would control all the three US government branches are expected to offer a greater strength for Electric Vehicles, considering the climate policy of President-elect Joe Biden.

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Space

GPS policy directive released by the Trump administration in the closing days

On January 15, the Trump administration released a policy memo reflecting on the dependency of the United States on the Global Positioning System as well as the need to brace for a day when GPS could not be accessible. A constellation of 31 United States Space Force powered GPS satellites use radio navigation to supply military and civilian users around the world with positioning, navigation as well as timing information. For navigation, space situational awareness, attitude control and emerging research applications, like radio occultation, satellites in the space depend on GPS.

Space Policy Directive-7 stresses the ever-increasing reliance of the United States on space-based navigation, positioning and timing. As GPS transmissions are likely to be interrupted, it indicates that government and commercial organizations should connect to back-up the PNT technologies. In an executive order which was issued in February 2020, SPD-7 echoes several of the points and proposals made by Trump. According to SPD-7, the growing dependency on GPS for military, civil as well as commercial applications renders the device fragile.

“GPS users need to plan for possible signal loss as well as take appropriate measures to confirm or authenticate the validity of GPS data and range signal received, particularly in applications where life losses can result from even small degradations.” SPD-7 notes that the United States is ‘encouraging the production of complementary strategies to PNT services and security, which can integrate emerging technology and services as they are being developed, like relative navigation, quantum sensing and alternative PNT services which are private or even publicly owned and run.’

The policy states that the United States encourages the use of PNT systems dependent on international satellites to complement GPS. Accuracy, affordability and resilience can be enhanced with the incorporation of new services, states SPD-7. However, the U.S. government “does not guarantee the accuracy or validity of foreign PNT providers,” the policy states. “In the face of increasing cyber threats, receiver manufacturers must continue to enhance security, integrity as well as resilience.” SPD-7 was released a few hours after a study outlining the Council’s effect on civil as well as national security space operations was released by Vice President of U.S., Mike Pence, who also served at the National Space Council as the chairman for the duration of the Trump Presidency.

SPD-7 states that GPS applications were no longer limited to Earth, but range from the volume of Terrestrial Service (3,000 kilometers of Earth’s surface) to the volume of the Space Service (3,000 kilometers of the geosynchronous orbit (GSO) at about 35,800 kilometers) to the volume of the Cislunar Service (from the GSO to and including the orbit of the Moon). Space Service Volume and Cislunar Service Volume satellites both do or may depend on the GPS. The latest Directive was published shortly after a definitive report on Space Council’s actions over the last four years was published by the White House.

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Energy

Energy Consumption from Renewables could soon beat that of Coal in the United States

According to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), the transition to green energy is headed in the right direction in the U.S. In 2020, there are high chances that energy consumption from renewables was higher than that from Coal. That doesn’t come as a surprise since the decrease in coal carloads was also massive. As a matter of fact, it registered a drop of almost 25%.

Renewables, including biomass, wind, solar, geothermal, and hydroelectric power, has contributed significantly to the national power grid in 2020. For instance, in the first nine months, its contribution was 8.73 quadrillion Btu. The contribution of Coal at that particular period was 6.85 quadrillion Btu hence lower than that of the renewables.

That marks the second consecutive year that the energy consumption from renewables has outpaced that from Coal. However, the gap in 2019 was almost negligible, unlike in the case of 2020, when the margin was quite significant. In 2020, renewables and coal contributions were 11.332 quadrillions Btu and 11.326 quadrillions Btu, respectively. However, despite the margin being small, it was a milestone in the U.S. clean energy transition. After all, it is something that hadn’t happened since 1885. In addition to that, it was a significant improvement from 2018 when Coal contributed 15%, and renewables only offered 1%.

The change is a result of policies supporting renewables and others against Coal. Consequently, power generation from renewable sources has improved, whereas that of Coal has declined. Coal carloads keep decreasing each passing year. In 2020, the number stood at 3.07 million, which was a drop of 24.6%, according to AAR. Some particular carloads increased, whereas others dropped. Gainers were iron & sheet scrap, chemical, and grain, rising by 12.9%, 3.7%, and 27.9%, respectively. The numbers for the U.S. carloads and grain carloads were 11.48 million and 1.19 million.

The U.S. intermodal traffic has also been decreasing over time. The highest loss was in the second quarter as a result of the coronavirus global pandemic. Nevertheless, the involved parties may have recovered the loss through gains during the third and fourth quarters. The number of trailers and containers was almost 13.68 million, which was a decrease of 1.8%. The combination of the intermodal units and carloads was a decrease of 7.2% from the previous year. Its actual number was 26.16 million.

By the end of last year, the total increase of U.S. carload and intermodal volume from the same time in 2019 was 4.4%. The total number of intermodal units and carloads was 2.44 million. In December, coal carloads registered a drop of 14.5%. Petroleum and its products decreased by 15.8%, and that of gravel, sand, and crushed stone was 14.8%.