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Space

Ethiopia is scheduled to set off its subsequent satellite into space, again with the help of China. 

Ethiopia is completing plans to initiate its subsequent satellite into the orbit in the coming month, following eight months after its ETRSS-1 launch in the last December. The nation’s space ambitions, supported by China’s grants and its satellite send-off sites, have seen Ethiopia’s engineers devise the satellites in a proposal co-funded by the two countries. The Earth surveillance nanosatellite, ET-SMART-RSS, is anticipated to launch from the Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site, located in Wenchang Hainan province.

Ethiopia’s Space Science and Technology Institute (ESSTI), Dr. Yeshurun Alemayu, stated through the institution’s website that they would gain from the satellite’s data gathering capacities for a whole year. ETRSS-1 satellite of Ethiopia, operated by a group of engineers at the Entoto Observatory and Research Center located at Addis Ababa outskirts, examines weather patterns to extort data and improve the nation’s vigilance in case of famine. The nation’s partnership on space missions with China was contracted in 2016 by former Ethiopia’s minister, who was in charge of Science and Technology, Abiy Ahmed, who is currently the country’s prime minister. 

Because of the profound capital venture needed, space agendas were initially considered past the majority of developing nations’ reach. However, China, Russia, and Japan’s willingness to partner with blossoming space agendas and minute and less costly satellite emergence have many African countries contemplating launching satellites. The launch of Ethiopia’s ETRSS-1 satellite sent the 41st satellite of the continent into the orbit. Some months before, Sudan’s successful debut launch made the headlines, just like Rwanda in February 2019. Egypt leads the continent with 9 successful satellite launches since the year 1998, with four satellites launching in the last year. 

In the year 2017, the African Union initiated an African Space Policy that calls for expansion of a continental space program and the acceptance of the framework to be able to use the satellite communication for financial growth. Even as the skepticism abounds over the irregular resources used in the face of more immediate current concerns regarding poverty, education, and health, satellite capability is needed. They need it to double in the forthcoming 5 years in the sub-Saharan Africa as worries of climate change cultivate, and governments try getting to the test’s front. Dr. Solomon Belay, the ESSTI director-general, confirmed in the last week during an interview that Ethiopia is targeting to arrive at launches of satellites in ten years.

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Space

Impact of huge satellite constellation on Earth’s telescopic observations

Satellites’ massive constellations rapidly launched into Earth’s orbit are gradually becoming data contamination to astronomers’ observations. Reflected Sun radiations make satellites appear as very bright streaks that interject astronomical observations, significantly affecting the study of principles of Physics, cosmology, other planets in the galaxy, and asteroids threatening Earth.
A report by the American Astronomical Society and NOIRLab indicated that severe interruptions affect most phenomena. Astronomers continue to draft measures that help cushion the effect, such as by conducting observations at times when satellites are not quickly passing by and urging satellite manufacturers and operators to produce less-reflective satellites. However, the report identified high-flying satellites as particularly problematic because they absorb much of the Sun’s radiation.

 Eminent damage to Earth’s telescopic observation as companies and agencies within the space industry launch thousands of broadband satellites to boost the planet’s high-speed internet access. Elon Musk’s SpaceX launched approximately 650 of the scheduled 12,000 satellites for the company’s Starlink project. OneWeb, a London-based satellite operator, inaugurated 74 of its gigantic satellite constellation of 48,000. Recently, Amazon received US-government endorsement for the company’s Kuiper project scheduled to install 3,236 satellites. 

Astronomer, satellite manufacturers, and operators continue to hold discussions to roll out mitigation plans for the satellites’ brightness problem. Scientists identified the issue back in June after the launch of SpaceX’s first bunch of Starlink satellites. Astronomers continue to assess the extent of the problem and how they plan to mitigate the issues. Astronomers, dark-sky enthusiasts, and satellite operators convened a workshop to examine the situation’s severity further.

Connie Walker, NOIRLab’s astronomer, reported that terminating satellite launch programs is the ultimate solution to preventing interruption of observations made by ground-based visible-light or infrared telescopes. However, most satellite projects received approval, and others continue to launch several satellites into Earth’s orbit, making Walker’s suggestion impossible to execute.

Research shows that bright streaks pose a significant interference to wide-field sky explorations, notably those Vera C. Rubin Observatory anticipates performing using its 8.4-meter telescope set up by NSF on mount Chilean. Upon commissioning in early 2022, the facility plans to capture wide-field images covering the whole visible sky for at least a decade to demonstrate the universe’s changes over time.

The research findings stated that bright streaks significantly worsen ground-based observations during sunset and sunrise, as the satellites capture the Sun’s gleam before reaching the Earth’s shadow. These interferences affect the research done during these hours, such as findings of near-Earth asteroids. In summary, as space companies and agencies schedule more satellite launches, building upon the mega satellite constellation, the effect on astronomical observations is already being felt.

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Energy

A Bill Gates-backed electric vehicle battery developer is the latest firm to publicize its acquisition

An electric vehicle battery developer financed by Bill Gates and Volkswagen is the latest firm to reveal its intention of undergoing amalgamation through an explicit peculiar acquisition process. QuantumScape, which manufactures vehicle batteries, explained to the public that it would be joining hands with Kensington Capital Acquisition Corp. To become a company in which the public can subscribe to its shares. This move by QuantumScape precedes a similar dive by Nikola’s IPO, which is also an electric vehicle firm.

The shares of Kensington were operating at a high of $15. The acquisition of QuantumScape, which will be operating with the acronym QS on the stock market, will start its bid at $3.3 billion. QuantumScape is anticipating more support fro. Volkswagen and Qatar’s wealth fund as agreed in the acquisition deal.

Initially, QuantumScape was partnering with Volkswagen to produce substantial solid-state batteries for this automotive company. Speculations have it that this battery will be a revolutionary factor in advancing the electric vehicles industry. The battery’s advantage is that it charges in a short period, and its considerable density allows the car to cover a longer mileage than that covered by Li-ion batteries.

Nevertheless, the disadvantage is that the batteries require a coat of manufacturing. The chief executive of QuantumScape, Jagdeep Singh, was optimistic that the batteries could charge quickly, and their mileage range is twice that of the conventional batteries with the same size.

Jagdeep stated that this is the right moment to unveil the battery to the world. He added that the current funding expectations would push the firm through to the manufacturing and establishing a factory. The chief head of Kensington, Justin Mirro, reiterates that the firm’s peculiar battery technology and its progressive efforts catalyzed their move to acquire the company.

Mirro says that they have been researching the technology that will increase their firm’s profitability, and when QuantumScape came out, they grabbed it in time. He adds that QuantumScape is the best performing firm in his team’s analysis that they gladly chose to acquire.

Mirro is an experienced automotive engineer who worked with Toyota Motors and General Motors before resorting to being a banker and forming Kensington Capital Partners. His firm has been in the car banking industry for over three decades. To sum up, Jagdeep Singh stated that Kensington’s familiarity with the automotive industry dynamics catalyzed its agreement to this deal. Nevertheless, he said that QuantumScape would continue to contract with its other partners to continue expanding.

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Space

Lockheed Martin plans to partner with Tyvak and Telesat to deliver on the SDA agreement 

Lockheed Martin reported its intention of utilizing payloads from Tyvak Nano-Satellite Systems to develop satellites and deliver them as per the Space Development Agency (SDA) deal. The firm chose Telesat from Canada to offer technical assurance in their delivery of these satellites. 

The SDA chose Lockheed Martin and York Space Systems to each come up with 10 satellites that will form the Transport Layer Tranche 0 constellation. This constellation will be maneuvering through the low-Earth orbit. The chief of military space strategies at Lockheed, Eric Brown, uttered that the satellites will operate under the Tyvak Mavericks framework and would weigh less than 210 kilograms. 

Brown states that they are ready to work under the framework of Tyvak since it is within their limit. He added that the success of this mission will prove to SDA that Lockheed Martin can deliver the satellites that are feasible for Pentagon operations. With the tutelage of Telesat, the firm hopes that it can commercialize its interconnection technology and attract more future projects within this constellation. 

Initially, Lockheed Martin delivered a quality space connection system to Tyvak called Pony Express. Brown admitted that this success put the firm in a better position to attract the SDA contract. The Transport Layer constellation will be providing linkage from ground facilities to the satellites in the low-Earth orbit and back to the location given by the military. This cycle will go on until the military customer attains the satisfaction that they have paid to enjoy in this communication network. 

The SDA contract articulates that seven satellites will connect in four pathways to the spacecraft in an intertwined linkage. The remaining three will have minor linkages for a spacecraft with Brown adding that there is a capable firm working on the linkage patterns. 

Bron reiterates that the satellite will link with the military routers and the broadcast station. He further announced that satellites will make a connection to the Lockheed Martin spacecraft to obtain the encrypted military intelligence and analyze it before sending the proper data through the same secure channel. 

To sum up, the senior executive of SDA, Derek Tournear, stated that their choice of Lockheed Martin was because it is costly given that they have investigated in advanced technology. He further muttered that this company is the one reliable firm when it comes to understanding space missions and delivering quality payloads. With such trends in space missions, the space industry must be ready for competition from private companies, private commercials, and integrated agencies. 

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Space

Falcon 9 deploys another 60 Starlink satellites amid constellation test operations. 

SpaceX topped up another 60 Starlink satellites to bring the constellation total to 713. This additional launch comes amid the ongoing constellation operation tests. The Falcon 9 rocket has been instrumental in ensuring that the constellation satellites’ launch even with the coronavirus pandemic. 

The Falcon 9 rocket launched for the low-Earth orbit deployment mission from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Base. The reusable booster came back docking safely in the drone ship at the Indian Ocean. SpaceX intends to unveil a customer service internet connection for its Starlink satellites. The tests are currently ongoing for the internet accessibility by the firm’s employees, according to a report by Kate Tice, an engineer at SpaceX. 

Kate reiterates that the internet speed for these connections escalates to over 100 Mbps, although she was adamant about outlining the internet’s latency. Kate gave a generalized idea concerning the latency, saying that their operations control team is working. 

Kate Tice stated that the exact quantity of the satellites that they will have launched this year would rise with time until they achieve the targeted 42000 satellite constellation. She added that more adjustments would follow wherever it deems fit in this constellation to realize the constellation’s full potential. One of the new modifications in the latest satellites is an interlinking device which minimizes the time for connecting the satellites to the existing constellation. 

Tice admitted that two satellites had been equipped with linking lasers to increase the data transfer quantity between them and the neighboring satellites. A full switch and update of the lasers will increase the speed of data transfer globally for devices connected to this internet. 

If the interlinking mechanism proves to be efficient, then the US Federal Communications Commission will invest in this technology and reduce the Americans’ price. However, SpaceX warned the FCC of a possible milliseconds buffering of the signal. 

Currently, SpaceX is deorbiting the worn-out old satellites and clearing the subsequent debris to update their orbits with high quality and modified satellites to facilitate the transition to the 5G network. Another addition to this advancement is the TinTin prototypes from Analytical Graphics to minimize the buffering. 

To sum up, T.S. Kelso of the AGI advised SpaceX to deorbit four of its satellites, which have worn out after playing their role in the low-Earth orbit for long. The astrodynamicist identified the weaknesses in these four satellites after closely observing the performance of the four satellites. 

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Energy

The recent partnership between ReNew Power and UNEP to provide access to clean and resourceful energy.  

ReNew Power (India’s renowned renewable energy firm) and the UN Environmental Program (UNEP) signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) deal that will help promote access to renewable energy and efficient energy supply. The well-built affiliation between the two organizations will enhance access to renewable energy and improve the provision of efficient fuel as one of India’s development strategies. Such strategies were adopted to become conscious of the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) as part of the Paris Agreement. 

The ReNew Power will link with the UNEP’s District Energy in Cities Initiative to implement energy installations in India. The reason behind the execution is to shift the heat regulation department to a more energy-efficient one. Also, the implementation will tackle solar off-grid projects, education, and assessment sectors. Yearly occasions will help promote those joint efforts where contributions will be showcased to India’s strategies. 

Renewable sources entail 23.6% of the sum installed volume in India. India had planned to attain a target of 175GW of renewable energy by 2022. During the UN Climate Action Summit last year, India’s Prime Minister stated that the country would achieve a target of 450GW by 2022.

Vaishali Nigam Sinha, Chief Sustainability Officer of ReNew Power, states that the company has always got that potential to surpass its venture and make partnerships with various shareholders in several Indian communities. He added that the period ReNew Power has associated with UNEP, the company plans to handle some issues that will enhance the socio-economic sector’s progress.  

ReNew Power is a renowned leader in the renewable energy market, and it has showcased clean energy in enhancing ample ventures. The head of UNEP, Atul Bagai, showed his gratitude to ReNew Power after working together to implement some agendas on the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.  

About the UN Environmental Program

UNEP acts as an international environmental voice. Its leaders support affiliations that will enable taking care of our environment through education, inspiration, and improving life to a quality one for the future generation. UNEP partners with authorities, non-governmental sectors, and other UN firms worldwide to enhance environmental protection. 

About ReNew

The primary functions performed by the ReNew Company are developing, possessing, and operating utility-scale wind together with solar energy schemes. It has a remarkable record of progress noted in organic and inorganic sectors where its operational capacity doubled from FY 2015 to 2018. 

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Energy

The possibility of the three European oil companies turning into renewable energy businesses 

With the transition to clean energy on the rise, the effort that the oil and gas companies are putting in in the smooth switch to renewables is worth noting. Three giant oil firms realign themselves to remain relevant in the energy industry by venturing into the renewable energy programs.

The quantity of renewable energy generated has been growing extensively, with now a capacity exceeding 1500 GW. The International Energy Agency (IEA) anticipates the addition of about 1200 GW of renewable energy worldwide by the end of 2024. This anticipation is in line with the expanding offshore wind energy projects and other solar power programs.

In this transition to renewables, the strategic propeller is the development of objectives and goals by companies that champion for long-term energy systems that are renewable. European countries are fighting hard to adjust their energy sector to transit to renewables. These countries’ effort is visible in the growing focus by their three energy giants to change operations from oil to renewables. These three giants are BP, Shell, and Equinor.

Shell is altering its operations by entering agreements with companies that generate electricity from renewable energy and the energy’s subsequent storage. Shell revealed that it is implementing the net-zero emission regulation by pushing its branches to produce goods and offer services that rely more on renewable energy than oil. In the meantime, the company has a total energy potential of 6.83 GW in renewables, which it will supply to its customers.

Elsewhere, BP is downsizing its oil energy projects as it embarks on expanding the renewable energy portfolio. The company is hopeful that it can dominate the renewable energy industry once it attains maximum potential in this venture. The company estimates to produce about 50 GW of renewable energy from its solar, wind, hydrogen, and biomolecular facilities by 2030. The firm has 12 GW potential of energy from its Lightsource BP project. Additionally, the firm is preparing to downsize its dependence on oil-oriented projects for profits by half. The firm intends to achieve net-zero carbon emissions in the coming three decades aggressively.

Norway’s leading energy supplier, Equinor ASA, is also in the race to shift focus from oil and gas and adopt the eco-friendly renewables. This country obtains close to 100% of its renewable electricity from hydropower. For this reason, Equinor and other energy providers are restraining from the country’s oil and gas reserves by pursuing hydropower, wind, and solar energy. Equinor boasts about 0.5 GW in renewable potential but stated that this quantity would grow to 16 GW in the next fifteen years.

All these three energy pioneers face the same challenge of low-profit margins in this coronavirus pandemic season. This challenge comes along with this year’s declaration of transforming to clean energy companies. To sum up, Shell is still expressing neutrality in its pursuit of other energy alternatives. BP and Equinor are likely to transition completely into renewable energy firms looking at their vast investment in renewable energy projects. Although all three companies are experiencing low gas and oil prices, they must realign themselves to tap into the growing clean energy initiatives to recuperate and regain profits. 

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Energy

The insufficiency of charging infrastructure could pose a threat to the EV firms in Europe with Tesla’s exemption.

Insufficient car charging infrastructure could impede the uptake of electric vehicles in Europe and the mileage range anxieties. Europe has witnessed the development of a mix of different charging stations, making it difficult for the variety of EV designs to enjoy these facilities unless they are Tesla cars. Tesla is an exemption because it has its systems based on various strategic points.

The cheap electric cars are affordable because their prices range at $40000 and not because of easy access to charging facilities. Additionally, these vehicles are suitable for urban roads and not the degenerate rural roads. The plausible way to ascend these uneven roads is reducing the speed, and at the same time, people are anxious about the mileage range when they must maintain the 70mph speed on highways. It is easy to approximate the refill point for an ICE car, but for EVs, you are uncertain of the recharging station since most of these facilities are not widespread.

The other upcoming challenge is the expectation that you subscribe to the firm’s services offering the charging facility before you can use it. Contrary to diesel engine cars, the EVs come with this undoing for its customers, rendering them unreliable. An EV owner who is yet to subscribe to the firm offering charging facilities will have to go through a long procedural service before enjoying the recharging service. The EV developers and the stakeholders in this sector must develop a mechanism that will negate this quagmire.

Many EV owners are complaining that despite subscribing to the service on mobile phones, they had to wait for authentication by the charging facility if it has these customers’ details before recharging his or her car. Therefore, most EV fanatics opt for Tesla, whose network of recharging facilities is widespread to meet their customers’ needs. Buying an electric vehicle from the other EV producers is a huge gamble that customers all over Europe are afraid to take.

Edmund King, the leader of AA, states that charging stations must think of a way to simplify the accessibility of their services, especially now that there is a growing demand for electric vehicles. King added that the British federal government is mounting pressure on charging companies to develop an all-round solution to this EV charging authentication problem. Finally, the chief of operations of the Center of Automotive Management (CAM), a German firm, Prof. Stefan Bratzel, reiterates that this challenge runs through Europe. Bratzel added that the European customers are complaining of unfavorable prices.

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Space

NOAA explores the market for the commercial weather data sources 

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) intend to dispense a plea for data around September to gain knowledge on the kind of information the agency intends to gather through satellite. Vanessa Griffin from the NOAA stated during a webinar in SpaceNews that they were heading back to the industry to probe about their business intentions, gather and obtain dissimilar kinds of environmental information.

As per the reactions, NOAA shall determine whether to do a fresh Commercial Weather Data Pilot program such as the one employed to assess commercial radio occultation information. NOAA initiated a slate in 2016 to assessed radio occultation information given by non-governmental agencies. This Commercial Weather Data Pilot ended around June alongside a report finalizing, “the business sector is competent in offering the quality of information necessitated to back up NOAA’s operational weather projecting necessities.

At the onset of this month, the NOAA dispensed a plea on regards to occultation information proposals. Griffin remarked that they anticipated bestowing deals, those were indeterminate-delivery, and indeterminate-quantity deals, around the middle of November alongside information delivery to commence on the festive month.

Originally the firm was expected to buy a small quantity of radio occultation information to guarantee that it bore the correct devices in place to take that information into their working models and their working processing streams, the entire system that needed to speak to one another and shift the information around. Griffin stated. Later, the organization intends to put up bigger orders, she added. While still at that, NOAA are investigating the market for fresh commercial information sources.

The firm’s NOAA Satellite Observing System Architecture research, finished in 2018, reckoned that the firm should depend in the future on a hybrid architecture that comprises of both government satellites and commercial information whereby it was present. They displayed their capabilities to certify the NOAA necessities and operation desires, Griffin stated.

At this moment, the NOAA wishes to be acquainted with what is present. Griffin once more remarked that the method employed for offering data was wide open. Hence, they were expounding at all the dissimilar themes that they were presently backing with their satellite information as well as being capable of offering satellite information in reaction to those thematic regions.