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Space

Soyuz rocket heading for space with 22 satellites 

The Soyuz rocket left for the low-Earth orbit with 22 satellites for commercial satellite operators in the US, Russia, Canada, UAE, and Europe. The rocket departed the Plesetsk Cosmodrome at 7:20 a.m Russian time as per the Russian Defense Ministry’s knowledge. The Soyuz rocket ascended using kerosene as the propellant. 

A sixth of an hour into the mission, the Soyuz rocket detached the Fregat stage to activate a sequence of orbital repositioning till the craft reached its destination. The rocket started deploying the satellites into their orbits.

The Russian satellites deployed in this mission are purposefully to communicate with the earthbound stations and the operators. The advantage of these satellites is they maintain the security of the data preventing unwarranted access by other devices. The data under transmission passes through the satellite towards the recipient with the ground station watching the transfer to ensure it is secure.

The payloads are part of the Roscosmos joint venture with the Russian space agency and the Russian space sector.  The Gonet satellites will be monitoring cargo and vehicles, industrial operations, facilitate communication in marginalized areas, detailing regions where emergency aids are essential, and government data transfer connections.

The rocket launched 19 satellites into the low-Earth orbit after it changed the inclination angle to prevent the Earth’s gravitational pull from dragging the payloads down to Earth. Glavkosmos stated that the orbital target concentration has no specifics in the global launch operations. Glavkosmos is part of the Roscosmos, whose purpose is to advertise the Soyuz rocket’s rideshare capacities to international commercial companies. Exolaunch became the rideshare opportunities broker selling the spaces to global commercial companies.

The other rideshare participant is Kepler Communications, which intends to deploy about 140 payloads for data transmission and device connections to the satellites and control centers. Kepler had developed two GEN1 satellites to offer Earth-imaging and monitor the activities happening on Earth.

Mina Mitry, the chief executive of Kepler, stated that this is their first production independent from other companies. Mitry explained that they chose to detach from the habit of purchasing satellites from different manufacturers to cut down costs, improve their research and satellite development technology, and offer rideshare opportunities for more income.

SALSAT also deployed its satellites through this Soyuz rideshare mission, whose purpose is to identify the multiple frequencies and find these frequencies’ location in relation to the spectrum. Jens Grosshans of SALSAT explained that they would be exploring the possibility of thinning out interferent waves and disruptions in the bands.

In conclusion, Jeanne Medvedeva of Exolaunch stated this mission is one of those that brings together various countries by facilitating their payload transfer to space. Jeanne hopes for more missions so that other countries can observe their level of proximity to competitive countries. 

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Energy

Some Interesting Facts about Electric Vehicles

The Governor of California, Gavin Newsom, has an extraordinary proposition of phasing out gas-powered vehicles by 2035. That would only mean the total embrace of electric cars. As much as that is an excellent move of protecting the environment, whether that is achievable remains a mystery.

One hindrance to the transformation is the source of power. When homes and businesses can’t have lights all the time, one might wonder when the state is ready for electric vehicles. Where will the residents find the power to charge their cars? The Governor has a lot to say about that, though.

However, the focus of this piece is to shed light on electric vehicles. One of the frequently asked questions revolves around its acceleration. According to a renowned car race driver Brad Niemcek, you will love the acceleration. As much as most people think that EVs lack pick-up, it is far from the truth. After all, from the word go, the electric motor always has the full torque. So, don’t hesitate to buy an electric vehicle simply because you are worried about the acceleration.

Another unfounded worry is that of range anxiety and a scenario of drivers being stranded. Again, that is far from the truth since EVs can go up to 80 miles after a full charge. The plug-in hybrid ones which combine gasoline and electricity, can go up to 300 miles. Therefore, given the U.S. Department of Transportation data suggests that most drivers cover an average of 40 miles in a day, the possibility of the anticipated scenario to occur is relatively low. The advancement of Tesla’s models S and X will also see the cover shoot to 370 miles and 325 miles, respectively. So, that concern is also uncalled for, no doubt.

A place to charge your EV should also not bother you. That’s because you don’t need a unique electrical outlet to charge the car while at home. You get to charge it the same way you charge other household appliances. Nowadays, you will also come across many public charging stations. Every shopping center, interstate rest stop, and auto serving station have a charging station. There is also a possibility of many more public charging stations coming up within no time.

It is okay to use either a 120-volt electrical outlet or a 240-volt AC outlet.  The former will take 30 hours to fully charge the car, whereas the latter will do that with only five and a half hours.  According to ChargePoint, a company that installs a lot of charging stations around the United States streets, 80% of the users charge their EVs from home.

With a million EVs sold in the United States by 2018, it is clear that the point raised by the Wall Street Journal stating that EVs are still a novelty no longer holds water. The transition seems unstoppable despite various issues that had been raised in the past. So, even though the executive order of Governor Newsome will see the light of the day, all will be well.

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Energy

The roll-out for Indonesia’s strategic plan for green energy 

Countries worldwide developed strategies to go green when different initiatives spearheaded plans to achieve a zero-emission economy. The works started by identifying the major industries that emit high carbon levels, then finding alternative renewable energy sources to substitute fossil fuels. Nations such as Indonesia, drafted master plans for shifting their industries from non-renewables to renewables. 

The Indonesian government officials stated the green energy goals that it aims to achieve for the nation. For quite some time, the initiatives stagnated at the planning stage, with most of the goals remaining as long-term promises. Recent reports indicate that the government, major stakeholders in the energy industry, and environmental experts are currently working together to achieve Indonesia’s emission-free economy. 

If the task force continues with the progress, then the renewable energy source will account for 15 percent of the country’s energy blend by 2025. However, the Indonesian government aimed to attain 23 percent of renewables’ contribution to its energy mix. The Institute for Essential Services Reform reported that the original strategy planned to attain the 23 percent by 2025. 

A recent research study by the IESR predicted that in the country’s business-as-usual situation, renewable energy would contribute to at least 23% of Indonesia’s energy utilization by 2050. The roadmap developed by National General Energy Planning stipulates that renewable energy will account for 31 percent of the country’s energy mix by the same year. The IESR advised the government to review RUEN’s proposal, indicating the plan for the disproportional energy targets. Agus Tampubolon, a researcher at IESR, said that the RUEN based its strategic plan for green energy on inaccurate economic assumptions. 

The IESR study appends to an increasing pile of evidence supporting the reports that indicated that Indonesia’s sluggish transition to green energy. The reports state that without significant policy reforms, the nation will never achieve its long-term renewable energy commitments. The regulations stipulated Indonesia’s anticipation of attaining 17.5 percent green energy consumption by 2019. 

However, the country managed to achieve 12.36 percent for its renewable energy usage in 2019. The forecasts outlined Indonesia’s reliance on fossil fuels because of its numerous government policies and regulations, such as setting prices for fossil fuel and coal plant purchase guarantees. The National Energy Board, the oversight for RUEN, estimated that Indonesia attained 9.15 percent in the renewable energy mix in 2019. The levels recorded that year were an improvement from the country’s 4.4 percent attained in 2015, when its task force unstated the energy transition roadmap. 

In conclusion, the Indonesian government continues to endorse policies that emphasize Bio-Energy utilization, especially biodiesel mixed with palm oil. The enactment aims to draw the country closer to achieving the RUEN targets. The national government enforced a compulsory biodiesel mix from 20% to 30%.

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Energy

Microsoft unveils a new solar power technology for Ireland’s rooftops 

Humanity faces one of the most devastating threats; global climatic change. Raising temperatures leading to prolonged droughts and occasional heatwaves that claim human lives. Experts and environmentalists say that the significant leading factor is carbon emissions that gradually weaken the ozone layer, Earth’s force field against destructive radiations from the Sun. 

However, many initiatives continue to gear up towards cushioning the human race against total annihilation from advance climatic variations. On top of the list is the technologies developed to enhance the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy. The energy industry’s developmental projects aim to gradually replace fossil fuels with renewables such as wind power, solar energy, wave and tidal energy, etc. 

Recently, Microsoft began the installation of solar panels on rooftops of schools in Dublin, Ireland. The company’s sustainability lead and chief software engineer said that the rooftop solar project is a novel step towards combating the effects due to climatic variations. SSE Airtricity, the largest green energy producer in Ireland, partnered with Microsoft to develop, install, and operate the new solar panels integrated with internet connection capabilities. SSE Airtricity provides 100% clean energy as a member of FTSE. 

The network operates and connects the Azure IoT to a cloud-based computing platform, the Microsoft Azure. The software programs aggregate, collects and analyzes data gathered in real-time from the panels’ energy generated and registered. The technology demonstrates a technique for Microsoft, other tech companies, and energy corporations to attain sustainability goals by reducing the carbon footprint from electricity production. Fossil-fuel-powered electricity production facilities are slowly becoming obsolete, even for large firms that channel electricity to the power grid. 

Initially, only small-scale electrical power generation companies implement small off-grid solar, but the recent technological advancements drew big-name companies’ attention in the energy industry. There is a growing popularity of the idea of using rooftops to install solar panels, especially for areas with limited land to establish massive solar farms such as in metropolitan cities and rapidly developing regions. The initiative leverages the numerous buildings constructed in the areas of limited space. 

Conor Kelly, the lead software engineer for Microsoft Azure IoT, said that there is a need to reduce the carbon levels in economies worldwide to prevent the catastrophic impact of climate change. The solution includes the focus on different energy sources for electricity production. The $1.1 million contributed by Microsoft helps build its reputation in funding projects to develop technologies that enhance renewable energy resources. Some of the energy industry milestones include the innovation of energy storage systems for renewable power. In summary, Microsoft invests in the projects that seek to minimize the carbon emission in its operations within the company’s data centers. 

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Space

SpaceX to conduct launches for NASA Space Science Mission

NASA and SpaceX have come into a contract where the latter has been offered the contract to carry out launches on an interstellar science operation and other secondary payloads. An announcement by NASA on September 28, SpaceX was given the agreement to launch NASA’s Interstellar Mapping and Acceleration Probe (IMAP) spacecraft to be carried out in 2024. The contract is estimated at $109.4 million, of which it covers the launch and arising expenditure from the operation.

IMAP, which is part of NASA’s Solar Terrestrial Probes program, was initiated for expansion in 2018 and will function at the L-1 Lagrange point, which is in the sun’s direction and 1.5 million KM from Earth. The mission will be to study the sun’s heliosphere boundary with interstellar space and quantity cosmic rays’ generation.

Given that there will be excess capacity on the science mission, NASA will utilize it by including several other secondary payloads on the launch. The loads will consist of NASA’s Lunar Trailblazer smallsat meant to circle the moon looking for aquatic ice and NOAA’s Space Weather Follow-On L-1 mission, which is a space weather monitoring mission. Just like the IMAP, it will be responsible for the operation at the L-1 point. There will be an inclusion of two supplementary NASA heliophysics though they are yet to be chosen. 

SpaceX has been making fruitful efforts to be awarded contracts to liftoff NASA science satellites, and this new cooperation between the two marks yet another victory for the contactor. In April 2019, SpaceX won the contract to establish a launch for NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test task worth $69 million and launched in 2021. The company also secured a deal to launch Imaging X-Ray Polarimetry Explorer smallsat at $50.3 million. This year, the company won and got awarded the contract worth $80.4 million to launch the Plankton, Aerosol, Cloud, and Ocean Ecosystem spacecraft. 

Like the IMAP assignment, SpaceX will be using the Falcon 9 rockets in the three launches. However, the IMAP task is expected to be costlier than the others because its task is more complicated as it involves numerous ancillary shipments targeting the L-1 point as well as the moon. The IMAP contract is a bit less than the contractor’s initial Falcon Heavy contract with the space explorers, meant for the Psyche asteroid mission granted in February and valued at $117 million.

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Space

An analysis of Kujira Tropical Storm by NASA using Infrared Light

To determine just how strong the Kujira Tropical Storm is, NASA decided to analyze the cloud top temperatures. It chose to use infrared light in this case. According to the imagery, there were two strong spots. They are the storm’s center and a thunderstorms’ band on the west side of the Kujira Tropical storm.

In the beginning, the storm was just but a low-pressure area. However, by 5 p.m. EDT of September 26, an increase in consolidation and strength saw it change into a tropical depression. Then, the depression has strengthened into a tropical storm by 11 a.m. EDT of September 27. That’s also when the tropical storm got the name Kujira.

NASA chose the infrared light to identify the temperature of the storm. Using the infrared data, it was able to relay the cloud top temperatures. They are a significant determinant of the strength of any particular storm. The colder the cloud top temperatures, the stronger the storm. Equally important, strong storms tend to extend into the troposphere more than their weak counterparts.

Thanks to the data, NASA identified the strength of the storm and the strongest points. Its Aqua satellite used the MODIS (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) equipment. The temperatures recorded for the strong spots were between -80 and -70 degrees Fahrenheit, equivalent to -62.22 degrees Celsius to -56.6 degrees Celsius. According to the experts, the low temperatures indicated not only intense storms but also a possibility of heavy rain.

As of 11 a.m. EDT of September 28, the Tropical Storm Kujira’s center was at a latitude and longitude of 29.7 degrees N and 153.3 degrees E, respectively. Therefore, the distance between the storm and Minami Tori Shima is approximately 286 nautical miles. The isolated Japanese coral atoll is around 1148 miles equivalent to 1848 kilometers from the southeastern side of Tokyo, Japan.

The storms’ winds are at a speed of 45 knots, which is 52 m per hour or 83 km per hour. High gusts also characterize this Kujira storm. It is moving toward the north, and its course is the open waters of the Pacific Ocean, precisely the north-western side.

According to the forecast, the intensity will increase because it will interact with the elongated area of high pressure known as the subtropical ridge. The power will also increase further upon coming into contact with the mid-latitude westerlies’ winds. That could see it commence its extratropical transition. On the other hand, its encounter with the increased vertical wind may make the tropical storm weaken and tear apart.