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Scotland spaceport gets full approval, will be able to host up to 12 launches per year – TechCrunch

Scotland spaceport gets full approval, will be able to host up to 12 launches per year – TechCrunch

Scotland’s first proposed spaceport has been fully approved to proceed with construction and operation (via ). The facility, which will be built in northern Sutherland on a peninsula that extends into the North Atlantic. This will be the future launch site for Orbex, a startup looking to develop the UK’s first re-usable orbital launch vehicle.This approval follows submission of all the necessary documents, including a full environmental assessment, to local regulators and the Scottish government. Full approval means that construction can proceed, paving the way for launches to begin taking...

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Aug 19
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Watch SpaceX attempt a Falcon 9 rocket re-use record with today’s Starlink launch – TechCrunch

Watch SpaceX attempt a Falcon 9 rocket re-use record with today’s Starlink launch – TechCrunch

is set to launch is latest batch of Starlink satellites on Tuesday at 10:31 AM EDT (7:31 AM PDT). This is the eleventh SpaceX Starlink mission so far, and will include 58 of the company’s broadband internet satellites, as well as three of customer Planet’s SkySats spacecraft.This mission is important as SpaceX continues to work toward launching its Starlink service, which will offer low-latency, high-speed internet connections to customers in areas that have traditionally had little or poor service. But it’s also significant because it involves SpaceX’s most advanced realization of its...

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Aug 18
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SpaceX reveals plans for a Texas spaceport resort in new job ad – TechCrunch

SpaceX reveals plans for a Texas spaceport resort in new job ad – TechCrunch

has big plans for its Boca Chica, Texas site – where it’s currently building and testing Starship, the company’s next-generation passenger and cargo spacecraft. A spotted by seeks a “Resort Development Manager” to be based out of Brownsville, the nearest neighboring town to the small Boca Chica area where SpaceX has built out its existing test and development site.The job posting seeks a manger to “oversee the development of first resort from inception to completion,” with the ultimate aim of turning Boca Chica into a “21st century Spaceport.” That would include overseeing the entire design...

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Aug 10
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Virgin Galactic debuts design of future Mach 3 high-speed aircraft, signs deal with Rolls-Royce – TechCrunch

Virgin Galactic debuts design of future Mach 3 high-speed aircraft, signs deal with Rolls-Royce – TechCrunch

is making strides toward its goal of creating high-speed commercial aircraft that operates a little closer to Earth than its existing passenger spacecraft. The company revealed the it’s creating that’s designed to fly at speeds in excess of Mach 3 — faster than the average cruising speed of around Mach 2 that the original Concorde achieved.This concept design comes alongside a new partnership for Virgin Galactic, by way of a memorandum of understanding that the company signed with Rolls-Royce, one of the world’s leading aircraft engine makers. Rolls-Royce is also responsible for the engine...

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Aug 3
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SpaceX and NASA successfully return Crew Dragon spacecraft to Earth with astronauts on board – TechCrunch

SpaceX and NASA successfully return Crew Dragon spacecraft to Earth with astronauts on board – TechCrunch

and NASA have made history once again, successfully completing the crucial final phase of their Demo-2 mission for the Crew Dragon spacecraft, SpaceX’s first spacecraft made for human flight. This marks the end of this last demonstration mission, which flew NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to the International Space Station on May 30, where they remained for two months prior to making the return trip on Sunday.Crew Dragon appears to have performed exactly as intended throughout the mission, handling the launch, ISS docking, undocking, de-orbit and splashdown in a fully automated...

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Aug 2
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Ford to use Boston Dynamics’ dog-like robots to map their manufacturing facilities – TechCrunch

Ford to use Boston Dynamics’ dog-like robots to map their manufacturing facilities – TechCrunch

Ford is going to employ two of “Spot” robots, which are four-legged, dog-like walking robots that weigh roughly 70 lbs each, to help them update the original engineering plans for one of the transmission manufacturing plants. The plants, Ford explains, have undergone any number of changes since their original construction, and it’s difficult to know if the plans they have match up with the reality of the plants as they exist today. The Spot robots, with their laser scanning and imaging capabilities, will be able to produce highly detailed and accurate maps that Ford engineers can then use...

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Jul 27
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Dawn Aerospace unveils the Mk II Aurora suborbital space plane, capable of multiple same-day flights – TechCrunch

Dawn Aerospace unveils the Mk II Aurora suborbital space plane, capable of multiple same-day flights – TechCrunch

Just like we enjoy a range of different possible modes of transportation on Earth, the potential of the space economy allows for many different types of of vehicles and launch systems. took the wrapper off one today, a suborbital spaceplane called the Dawn Mk-II Aurora that’s smaller than a compact car and that will be capable of making multiple return trips to suborbital space per day.The Mk-II is, as its name suggests, a second iteration of the concept created by Dawn. The Mk-I was actually built and flew in May 2018, demonstrating its ability to fire up its rockets during flight after...

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Jul 28
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NASA to fly a football stadium-sized high-altitude balloon to study light from newborn stars – TechCrunch

NASA to fly a football stadium-sized high-altitude balloon to study light from newborn stars – TechCrunch

NASA’s latest mission won’t actually reach space – but it will come very close, with a massive observation craft made up of a football stadium-sized high-altitude balloon, along with a special stratospheric telescope instrument that can observe wavelengths of light blocked by Earth’s atmosphere, cast from newly-formed stars.The mission is called the ‘Astrophysics Stratospheric Telescope for High Spectral Resolution Observations at Submillimeter-wavelengths,’ but shortened to ASTHROS since that’s a mouthful. It is currently set to take off from Antartica in December 2023, and the main...

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Jul 24
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SpaceX successfully catches both fairing halves for the first time on its latest launch – TechCrunch

SpaceX successfully catches both fairing halves for the first time on its latest launch – TechCrunch

has managed a first – catching both halves of the fairing used on one of its Falcon 9 rocket launches, k. The fairing is a two-piece protective cover that surrounds the cargo on the launch vehicle as it ascends through Earth’s atmosphere on its way to space. SpaceX has been attempting to recover the fairing using two ships equipped with special nets designed to catch them as they fall, but this is the first time that the company has managed to actually catch both, rather than just one.attempts to reduce the cost of its launches by building In as much reusability as it can, which is why it...

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Jul 20
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SpaceX’s Starlink asks potential service testers for addresses, says private beta starts this summer – TechCrunch

SpaceX’s Starlink asks potential service testers for addresses, says private beta starts this summer – TechCrunch

Starlink, the high-bandwidth, low-latency broadband internet service that is in the process of deploying, has sent out an email to those who’ve registered their interest in becoming beta testers. The email asks for a specific address, to replace the previously requested zip codes (or area codes in Canada) for potential testers to help them be more specific about network availability.The email asserts that SpaceX’s Starlink private beta will kick off this summer, with a “public beta to follow.” Those who’ve registered their interest and signed up to receive updates about the service will be...

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Jul 14
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NASA signs agreement with Japan to cooperate across Space Station, Artemis and Lunar Gateway projects – TechCrunch

NASA signs agreement with Japan to cooperate across Space Station, Artemis and Lunar Gateway projects – TechCrunch

has signed a with Japan that lays out plans for the two nations to cooperate on the International Space Station (continuing existing partnership between the countries there) as well as on NASA’s Artemis program, which includes missions in lunar space and to the lunar surface.NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine signed the agreement with Government of Japan Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Koichi Hagiuda on July 10. It’s a Joint Exploration Decoration of Intent (JEDI), which essentially commits the two countries to laying the groundwork for more concrete plans...

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Jul 10
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Kernel raises $53 million for its non-invasive ‘Neuroscience as a Service’ technology – TechCrunch

Kernel raises $53 million for its non-invasive ‘Neuroscience as a Service’ technology – TechCrunch

LA-based bio science startup has raised $53 million from investors, including General Catalyst, Khosla Ventures, Eldridge, Manta Ray Ventures, Tiny Blue Dot and more. The funding is the first outside money that has taken in, though it’s a Series C round because founder and CEO Bryan Johnson has provided $54 million in investment for Kernel to date. Johnson also participated in this latest round alongside external investors.The funding will go toward further scaling “on-demand” access to its non-invasive technology for recording brain activity, which consists of two main approaches. Kernel...

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Jul 9
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Google acquires smart glasses company North, whose Focals 2.0 won’t ship – TechCrunch

Google acquires smart glasses company North, whose Focals 2.0 won’t ship – TechCrunch

confirmed today via that it has acquired Canadian smart glasses company North, which began life as human interface hardware startup Thalmic Labs in 2012. The company didn’t reveal any details about the acquisition, which was first reported to be happening by , last week. The blog post is authored by Google’s SVP of Devices & Services Rick Osterloh, which cites North’s “strong technology foundation” as a key driver behind the deal.Osterloh also emphasizes Google’s existing work in building “ambient computing,” which is to say computing that fades into the background of a user’s life, as the...

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Jun 30
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Rocket Lab successfully launches its 12th Electron, carrying NASA and NRO payloads – TechCrunch

Rocket Lab successfully launches its 12th Electron, carrying NASA and NRO payloads – TechCrunch

has returned to active launch status from its first launchpad in New Zealand, after the global COVID-19 pandemic temporarily paused its work there. Early this morning, it flew its 12th Electron launch vehicle from its launch site on NZ’s Mahia Peninsula, carrying payloads on behalf of the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), NASA and the University of New South Wales Canberra.The launch occurred at 1:13 AM EDT (5:13 PM local time) and went off without a hitch. later confirmed that payload deployment also went exactly to plan once the reached its target orbit.Rocket Lab has been...

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Jun 13
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SpaceX to build floating spaceports for rockets bound for the moon and Mars, and for hypersonic Earth travel – TechCrunch

SpaceX to build floating spaceports for rockets bound for the moon and Mars, and for hypersonic Earth travel – TechCrunch

is hiring experts in Offshore Operations in Brownsville, job ads revealed on Tuesday — and the purpose is to help the company develop and build floating spaceports that will provide launch sites for the company’s Super Heavy-class launch vehicles. SpaceX will use these larger rockets to get its forthcoming large payload rockets to the moon, to Mars — and also for point-to-point travel right here on Earth, according to SpaceX CEO Elon Musk.SpaceX is building floating, superheavy-class spaceports for Mars, moon & hypersonic travel around Earth— (@elonmusk)Musk said on Twitter that this was...

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Jun 16
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First commercial Earth-to-moon communication relay satellite planned for 2023 – TechCrunch

First commercial Earth-to-moon communication relay satellite planned for 2023 – TechCrunch

Communications between Earth and the moon actually requires a huge amount of equipment under current circumstances. The transmission distance for any data sent from our large natural satellite and us here on Earth is 225,000 miles — which means a transmission signal requires significant power, and that translates to heavy, bulky transmission equipment to get the job done. In space, weight and bulk immediately translates to costs that ramp up fast.A new private venture by a new private space company called CommStar Space Communications could help defray that cost by installing a data relay...

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Jun 16
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Fitbit gains FDA authorization for its low-cost emergency ventilator – TechCrunch

Fitbit gains FDA authorization for its low-cost emergency ventilator – TechCrunch

has an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its Fitbit Flow emergency ventilator. The ventilator hardware is low-cost, and doesn’t require very much training or expertise to use, making it a good solution for deployment in scenarios where healthcare systems are overwhelmed by resource strain stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic.The Fitbit ventilator is based on the , as well as specs provided by the U.K. government for ventilators to be used by hospitals in that country during the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. It’s an automated...

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Jun 4
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SpaceX will have to demonstrate Starlink internet’s low latency within the next month to qualify for up to $16B in federal funding – TechCrunch

SpaceX will have to demonstrate Starlink internet’s low latency within the next month to qualify for up to $16B in federal funding – TechCrunch

is in the process of building out its Starlink network of low-Earth orbit small satellites that will provide the backbone of a global, high-bandwidth, low-latency internet service — but there’s a clock running out in terms of at least one potential source of funding for it to recoup revenue from those efforts. The FCC requires that anyone participating in its $16 billion federal funding auction for rural broadband access demonstrate latency under 100 milliseconds, but anyone who hopes to qualify must meet that threshold within the next month.The FCC has issued a report (via) on the Phase 1...

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Jun 15
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Interstellar Technologies’ privately-developed MOMO-5 rocket falls short of reaching space – TechCrunch

Interstellar Technologies’ privately-developed MOMO-5 rocket falls short of reaching space – TechCrunch

Private launch companies seeking to lower the coast of reaching space continue to develop new vehicles, and the latest to attempt a trip to space is Interstellar Technologies (IST), a Japanese private launch company founded in 2003. The company first launched a vehicle in 2017, but the launch didn’t go exactly as planned and failed to reach space – in 2019, its MOMO-3 sounding rocket did break the Karman line, though just barely, and unfortunately its MOMO-5 sounding rocket launched today did not make space as planned, instead apparently suffering some kind of malfunction and loss of...

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Jun 13
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MIT’s tiny artificial brain chip could bring supercomputer smarts to mobile devices – TechCrunch

MIT’s tiny artificial brain chip could bring supercomputer smarts to mobile devices – TechCrunch

Researchers at that describes a new type of artificial brain synapse that offers performance improvements versus other existing versions, and which can be combined in volumes of tens of thousands on a chip that’s smaller physically than a single piece of confetti. The results could help create devices that can handle complex AI computing locally, while remaining small and power-efficient, and without having to connect to a data center.The research team created what are known as “memristors” — essentially simulated brain synapses created using silicon, but also using alloys of silver and...

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Jun 8
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NASA astronauts successfully pilot SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft manually for the first time – TechCrunch

NASA astronauts successfully pilot SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft manually for the first time – TechCrunch

NASA astronauts Doug Hurley took over manual control of the Crew Dragon spacecraft on Saturday, shortly after the vehicle’s historic first launch from Cape Canaveral in Florida. Crew Dragon is designed to fly entirely autonomous throughout the full duration of its missions, including automated docking, de-orbit and landing procedures, but it has manual control systems in case anything should go wrong and the astronauts have to take over. This test is the first time the manual controls have been used in space, and is a key part of certifying Crew Dragon for regularly operational human...

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May 30
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SpaceX makes history with successful first human space launch – TechCrunch

SpaceX makes history with successful first human space launch – TechCrunch

SpaceX made history today, flying NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken to space aboard its Crew Dragon spacecraft using a Falcon 9 rocket. The launch, titled ‘Demo-2’, is for the final demonstration mission in the human rating process of Crew Dragon and Falcon 9, meaning that once this mission is complete, the launch vehicle will finally be certified for operational use for regular transportation of people to space. This was the second attempt, after an initial launch try last Wednesday was scrubbed due to weather conditions.This is the first time ever that humans have been aboard a...

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May 30
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SpaceX signs testing agreement with US Army for use of Starlink network – TechCrunch

SpaceX signs testing agreement with US Army for use of Starlink network – TechCrunch

has signed a new agreement with the U.S. Army that will see that defense service test SpaceX’s forthcoming Starlink satellite-based broadband network over the course of three years to evaluate its usefulness in serving their needs. The R&D agreement, as first reported by , is a fairly standard agreement ahead of any actual commercial procurement deal for the U.S. military.SpaceX’s Starlink network, which is still in development and which is set to go live for select customers in the U.S. and Canada later this year, according to the company, aims to provide low-latency, high-speed internet...

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May 26
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NASA and SpaceX confirm SpaceX’s first ever astronaut launch is a ‘go’ – TechCrunch

NASA and SpaceX confirm SpaceX’s first ever astronaut launch is a ‘go’ – TechCrunch

and SpaceX are closer than ever to a moment both have been preparing for since the beginning of the Commercial Crew program in 2010. Falcon 9 and Crew Dragon spacecraft are now set to fly with NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken onboard, making a trip to the International Space Station, and both the agency and SpaceX announced today that they have officially passed the final flight readiness review, meaning everything is now a ‘go’ for launch.According to NASA Commercial Crew Program manager Kathy Leuders during a press conference on Monday, everything went well with all pre-launch...

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May 25
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COVID-19 exposure notification settings begin to go live for iOS users with new update – TechCrunch

COVID-19 exposure notification settings begin to go live for iOS users with new update – TechCrunch

has released iOS 13.5, which includes support for the that it co-created with Google to support public health authorities in their contact-tracing efforts to combat COVID-19. The API requires third-party apps developed by public health authorities for use, and none have yet been released, but iOS device users already have access to COVID-19 Exposure Logging global settings.As previewed in the beta release, you can access the Exposure Logging settings under the Settings app, then navigate to the Privacy subsection. From there, you can select the Health submenu and find the COVID-19 Exposure...

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May 20
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