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Falcon Heavy Success Paves the Way for Open Access to Space Beyond Earth

Falcon Heavy Success Paves the Way for Open Access to Space Beyond Earth

How is SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy, the most powerful rocket in the world, and why is launching from Cape Canaveral so important? 

It took off from the same platform in Florida that took the men to the Moon. And it marked a new chapter on the road to a manned mission to Mars.

 

The gigantic rocket Falcon Heavy, of the private company SpaceX, left this Tuesday at 20:45 GMT from NASA’s John F. Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral.  And he did it by taking a Tesla car, the first car to be launched into space.  The Falcon Heavy took off from the LC-39A platform of the Kennedy Center, the same one from which the Apollo missions departed.

The launch of the rocket is one of the most anticipated events since the missions that brought man to the Moon.  A crowd flocked to Cape Canaveral to witness the takeoff.  Both SpaceX and Tesla are led by technology billionaire and entrepreneur Elon Musk, who hopes to use rockets like Falcon Heavy in future missions to Mars.

This spacecraft was built mainly from three Falcon 9 rockets, also from Space X, to power the capsule in which the Tesla was installed.  As with its launches, SpaceX hoped to recover the three accelerating rockets.  Less than three minutes after takeoff, two of these returned to the Florida coast, just south of the Kennedy Space Center. Their landing legs made contact with the ground at almost the same time.

The third accelerator was to return to an unmanned ship in the Atlantic Ocean, several hundred miles from Florida.  But it did not have enough fuel to decelerate during the descent and was destroyed when it hit the water at about 500 kilometers per hour.

Musk believes that the recovery and reuse of the rockets are what will change the game rules of the space industry.

“The game will be over for all the other heavy-load rockets,” he told reporters.  “It will be like trying to sell an airplane in a market in which one airline has a reusable airplane and all the others have single-use planes, which once they reach their destination, randomly crash somewhere”, he pointed.

Auto in orbit 

After the return of the accelerating rockets, the upper capsule of the Falcon Heavy, with the Tesla, began its trajectory towards the orbit of Mars.  For it to be routed to its destination, the engine of the upper stage had to ignite three times.

This is the ship with which Space X wants us to travel to Mars to establish a human colony. Musk warned before the flight that this was one of the phases that worried him most, because of the possibility that it did not work correctly.

The upper stage of the Falcon had to traverse a concentrated region of radiation on Earth, known as “Van Allen belts,” and this could interfere with electronic systems.  The rocket, 70 meters high, you can place in orbit a load of up to 64 tons, the equivalent of putting in space five double-decker buses. Its capacity is only surpassed by the Saturn V aircraft, which operated in the Apollo missions in the decade of the 60s and 70s.

The Falcon Heavy rocket has twice the capacity of the rest of those used today.  But the triple structure required modifications in the design and a strengthening of the main propeller.

The 27 Merlin engines at the base of the rocket can generate a power of 23,000 kilo-newtons, more than double the most powerful currently in use, the Delta IV Heavy, operated by the United Launch Alliance, one of the main competitors of SpaceX.

Musk said the challenges of developing the rocket made the chances of the launch successful only 50-50.  “I had the image of a giant explosion on the platform, a wheel bouncing on the road, but fortunately, it did not happen,” the Space X CEO told reporters after the event.  With an undoubted advertising calculation, the Falcon Heavy took as test load a red Tesla car in which a dummy with a space suit was placed at the wheel.

The Tesla radio played a David Bowie Space Oddity song as the vehicle left Earth.  If everything goes according to plan, the Tesla will be dispatched in an elliptical orbit around the Sun that will serve to reach Mars.

“The car will reach an orbit that is 400 million km from Earth and will travel to its destination at a speed of 11 km per second,” Musk told reporters.  “And we estimate that the Tesla will continue in that orbit for hundreds of millions of years.”

 Satellites and telescopes

It is unlikely that the Falcon Heavy arrives to transport its maximum load, due to the large amounts of fuel that would be necessary.

THE FALCON HEAVY    

  • Could place in orbit much larger satellites for military or intelligence use
  • Could launch a large number of smaller satellites simultaneously, such as the “constellation of thousands of satellites” proposed by Elon Musk to provide broadband to the entire planet
  • It will allow sending large robots to the surface of Mars, or visiting distant planets of the Solar System such as Jupiter and Saturn and their moons
  • It will also be able to place large telescopes in orbit as Hubble’s successor, the James Webb telescope, which due to current restrictions will be folded like an origami sheet for its launch in 2019
  • The new Falcon Heavy rocket has already been hired to launch large geostationary satellites.

The main clients of Falcon Heavy “will possibly be the government and the Department of Defense of the United States, SpaceX is already a recognized supplier of the Department of Defense for classified and unclassified missions,” Rachel Villain, of the space consultancy Euroconsult, told.

The Falcon Heavy presents a challenge to the US government. NASA is developing its own super-rocket called Space Launch System or SLS. It is estimated that each flight of the SLS will cost about US $ 1,000 million.  According to Musk, the cost of each Falcon Heavy  flight is about US $ 90 million and some critics are already questioning how Congress can justify SLS spending when there is a much cheaper alternative.

Musk is not the only entrepreneur who wants to compete with NASA.  Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, is developing a rocket called New Glenn that will be able to place in orbit loads of up to 45 tons. And he said he plans an even more powerful version called New Armstrong.  For SpaceX the launch of Falcon Heavy is part of a much more extensive program to send a crew to Mars in the future.  Musk is already developing a future rocket called BFR, which will have no less than 31 engines.

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SoftwareUncategorized

Microsoft to Add New Windows 10 Home Edition to Its Line-Up

Microsoft to Add New Windows 10 Home Edition to Its Line-Up

 Microsoft is set to bolster the Windows 10 Home  Edition

With the commencement of New Year Microsoft is planning to come up with more new Windows 10 Home edition to expand it OS line-up. Since the launch of the Windows 10 there hasn’t much happened which is worth talking rather than incremental updates offered to the core OS to boost its functionality and usability.  Microsoft is looking forward to shake up the shake up the OS market by offering more variants of its ever popular Windows 10 Home edition.

It is being expected that Microsoft will be launching three different variants named Windows 10 Home, Windows 10 Home Advanced and Windows 10 Home in S Mode.  All of the new Windows 10 Home edition will launch simultaneously on the April 1 as per the information retrieved from the internal Microsoft documents.

Different timelines for rollout

New Windows 10 Home edition will come with separate rollout dates but no further details has been offered by the Microsoft. Windows 10 Home Advanced will be rolling out in the month of May. There is no information whether this variant will be new OS version or simply an upgrade over the existing Windows 10 Home running on the high end PCs. It is still to be seen whether the Advanced comes with some new and nifty features which aren’t a part of the lower Windows 10 Home variants.

Microsoft tryst with Windows 10 S

The other new Windows 10 Home Edition namely Windows 10 Home in S Mode has already a brief appearance on February 2. It is worth pointing out that Microsoft has made no official update about the release of the upcoming new Windows 10 Home Edition variants. Secondly the Windows 10 in S Mode isn’t happen to be a completely new OS rather it has been present simply as a mode in the high end Windows 10 Pro variant for quite some time. Microsoft has aimed towards establishing the Windows 10 S as a proper standalone operating system but it has been unsuccessful so far in its approach.

Just a year ago Microsoft had unveiled its Windows 10 Enterprise happens to be the S mode variant. With running the Windows 10in S Mode the upcoming devices will remain limited to simply running the Universal Windows Platform apps. Apart from this Microsoft is also eagerly working with partner OEMs to come up a plan of allowing customer to unlock the devices as per their need. Currently customers can unlock their devices but it comes with a price and a certain number of limitations.

Why Microsoft is focusing on more variants?

When Microsoft decided to come up with a single Windows OS for the entire platform just a few years it has left everyone stunned. Now it is aggressively looking forward to add more tiers to its ever popular Windows 10 Home Edition has left everyone puzzled. Microsoft major business comes from selling its OS on the PCs and in order to boost its sales Microsoft is leveraging towards offering such OS which offers features and functionalities than ever before. Thr4efore having massive tier of Windows OS will help in justifying the high price quoted by the pricier new Windows 10 Home Edition.

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Chinese Government Makes Apple Remove VPN Apps from Its Store

Chinese Government Makes Apple Remove VPN Apps from Its Store

Apple has admitted to removing hundreds of apps this year from its Chinese download store, at the behest of the Chinese government. Apple issued a statement this week after it turned out that the Skype phone application had disappeared from several app stores in China. Beijing appears to be in the middle of yet another internet crackdown.

 

This time the battle is being fought over VPNs – virtual private networks, presented as apps. These offer users a way of getting around the Chinese state’s “Great Firewall” which limits internet access, preventing users from seeing Facebook, Google and Youtube for example. The fact that Skype has suddenly vanished in a puff of smoke is a sign that the government is also waging war on foreign internet-based telephone services.

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Both Apple and Android app stores haven’t been able to stock Skype and although the service is still available to existing Skype users on the mainland, no one knows how long that will last. Microsoft, which owns Skype, says it’s working to get Skype restored and that the app has only been temporarily removed. Apple stated that China’s Ministry of Public Security had ruled that a number of VOIP (voice over internet protocol) apps were non-compliant with local laws. Apple said this was why the apps had been removed from their App Store in China, but were still available in other locations.

Chinese state says VPN apps “illegal”

Apple apparently questioned the legality of the request but was told that the VPN apps were illegal under cyber security law in China. It appears that most VOIP telephony apps need real identity verification and a full telecoms licence if they are to operate there.

It seems that the Chinese government has successfully requested that Apple remove 674 VPN apps so far this year – twice as many as were removed last year.

Chinese app developers are not taking this lying down. Two groups of developers have started legal cases against Apple, citing discrimination. Apple is clearly attempting to comply with Chinese security rules while trying to improve its internet services for Chinese customers. As part of this drive, the company has said it will open an iCloud data centre in China.

The company has been pressed by two US senators to push back against “Chinese suppression of free expression.” Cynthia Hogan, Apple’s vice-president for public policy, wrote back to the senators, asserting that Apple’s App Store was a powerful platform for expression and empowerment. She assured them that Apple had informed the Chinese government of its views on the controversial VPN apps. She maintained that Apple believes that simply by being in China it is contributing to greater openness in Chinese society, even if it disagrees with the law.

 

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There are still 1.8m apps in the App Store in China. However the VPN apps are different. Because they allow ordinary Chinese citizens to access the internet without the censorship imposed by the Government’s Firewall, they’re an important enabling technology.

VPN apps matter

They’re so important in fact, that Chinese citizens are prepared to go abroad, buy them, download them, than risk bringing them back into China on various devices. Chinese social media is full of people trading information on which VPN service is still managing to evade the government’s controls.

Chinese internet users are also extremely determined and willing to apply their renowned intelligence. So for example, they will register an Apple identity in the US, even though they live in China. Once they have a made-up American address, and a Gmail account, they can disguise the fact that they live in China. Although they wouldn’t be able to use this identity to buy things from Apple’s Chinese app store, there are enough free VPN apps for them to get on to the full internet again.

 

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China is a critical market for iPhone sales, although these have slowed a little due to competition from home grown smartphone companies. However, with the launch of the iPhone X, Apple has to tread a difficult path between placating the Chinese government and satisfying US Senators that it is doing enough to uphold freedom and openness.

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