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Space

SLS Core Stage Hot-fire Test scheduled for November

According to NASA, a hot-fire test of the Space Launch System’s core stage has been set for mid-November. If developments stay on course, NASA says, the agency will have its inaugural launch late next year. In a conference held on October 13th, NASA, Aerojet Rocketdyne, and Boeing revealed that they are making good progress on testing the core stage, currently being done at the Stennis Space Center in Mississippi. To complete the tests, there will be a full-during firing of the core’s four engines. 

John Shannon, SLS program manager, and Boeing vice president, said in the interview that they haven’t had any hitches so far and are ready to proceed to the next two steps. On October 5th, technicians had performed a practice countdown, the sixth out of eight scheduled tests. 

One of the remaining tests is a wet dress rehearsal, which involves filling liquid oxygen and hydrogen propellants to examine the fuel system and related systems. The other is the actual hot-fire test. According to Shannon, the wet dress rehearsal will be held on October 3rd, while the hot-fire test will be held on November 14th if no problems arise during the wet dress rehearsal.      

After this test is completed, technicians will renovate the central stage, remove it from the test stand, and deliver it to the Kennedy space center. The aim is to ship the core stage to the space center by January 14th, in time to commence preparations for the Artemis 1 launch planned for November 2021. The core stage is among the final components required to be ready on the Artemis mission, as the rest of the parts of the SLS, the Orion Spacecraft included, already at the KSC.  This is according to NASA SLS Program Manager John Honeycutt.  This implies that any hitches in completing the tests will impact the planned timeline of events of the Artemis 1 launch. 

Therefore, John says that it has been imperative for the team to keep within the schedule, adding a margin of 20-25 days for the shipping of the core stage from the proposed date, January 14th. So far, the two challenges that have threatened the schedule are the COVID-19 pandemic, which paused work for two months, and the active hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico. The hurricanes have stopped work five times before, and the current program assumes that another storm would not shut down work, Shannon said. 

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Space

Contact between OSIRIS-REx and asteroid Bennu happened as expected

On October 20, OSIRIS-REx touched down on Bennu. However, the project scientists will only know the sample amount that the spacecraft collected from the asteroid after several days. The mission went as planned in all ways. For instance, it touched down on the intended location, which is the Nightingale. The sampling arm also extended as expected and touched the asteroid’s crater. Equally important, OSIRIS-REx retracted a soon as the Touch-and-Go Sample Acquisition Mechanism (TAGSAM) contacted Bennu for several seconds. It was a touch-and-go (TAG) mission, no doubt. The exact time the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft touched down on the Bennu asteroid was 6:12 p.m. Eastern.

Dante Lauretta, who works at the University of Arizona as OSIRIS-REx’s principal investigator, confirmed the mission’s success. His words while speaking on NASA TV were that the operation was perfect and flawless.

The capacity of the TAGSAM is 2 kilograms. However, all the scientists wanted to collect was 60 grams. Nevertheless, whether they achieved that or not remains a mystery. After all, according to the mission, the spacecraft would return neither data nor images then. Not until there was a safe distance between it and the asteroid.

After the touch-down, TAGSAM, which resembled a car air filter hard to go unnoticed, fired a nitrogen gas’ burst. The impact kicked up small surface material. At the same time, the gadget trapped the materials.

Lauretta can’t wait to see the impact of the touch-down on the surface. He said that it would be possible to witness all that from a series of images. They will show how the spacecraft ascended towards the asteroid and experiences of both the contact and the nitrogen gas burst.

Speaking from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Mike Moreau, in charge of OSIRIS-REx as the deputy project manager, discussed some probabilities. He predicted a considerable sample collection if the TAG’s disturbance on the satellite’s surface was massive. That would also be if the surface were sandy since a nitrogen gas burst did the collection. It would disturb a sandy surface significantly.

By measuring the moment of inertia before and after sampling, the team will have a rough idea of the collected sample amount. The measurement will occur once experts have slowly span OSIRIS-REx. Fortunately, the spacecraft can carry out another sampling if the collection turns out to be unsuccessful, or the sample size isn’t at least 60 grams.

However, the mission didn’t lack surprises either. Earlier images showed that Bennu was sandy, but OSIRIS-REx found a relatively rocky surface. The spacecraft will leave Bennu environs in March 2021. However, the samples won’t reach Earth until September 2023, when a canister carrying the spaceship will land in the Utah desert. Then, scientists will study the samples.

 

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Energy

India is still bent on investing in coal amid its renewable energy plans

Lately, India has been focusing on reducing economic dependency and producing its valuables for consumption. Nevertheless, new policies and amendments have activated the country’s economic cycle, stirring increased energy use. India has recorded a high usage of fossil fuel energy to cater to electricity and power demands, especially in unpredictable weather patterns. However, New Delhi has maintained its stand on pushing for the uptake of renewable energy to facilitate the achievement of the Paris agreement on climate change. 

Statistics show that India’s energy consumption is ten times less than that of developed countries like the US. Nevertheless, the country’s high population proves to be the mapping agent for the government to be among the top carbon emitters. This sadistic statistic exists while the country is pushing for the uptake of renewables beyond the current 22 percent of the targeted 360 GW. India hopes that they can clock the 200 GW mark in renewable energy in the next two years. 

India’s desire to minimize carbon emissions is its primary target for adhering to the Paris Climate Agreement that sparks the venture of additional renewable energy sources. Nevertheless, the country is still utilizing pollutive fuels to cater to its growing economy. The country is buying itself out of the dependence on imported energy to meet its electricity demands to minimize its debt. 

One of the strategies to abscond imports is the full exploitation of coal energy. India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, revealed that the coal reservoirs would be reopening since the last five decades to solve the energy demands and improve the production scale. This strategy will accelerate electricity generation to 64 GW once the coal reservoirs achieve their maximum potential. 

These plans to rejuvenate the coal industry suppress the government’s efforts to substitute emissive coal with clean renewables. India’s energy secretary, R.K. Singh, stated that they would be phasing out the coal plants to create space for renewable energy production. 

The purpose of exploring renewables is to meet the environmental objectives the country has set and to serve the energy demands of the Indians living in marginalized areas. This move will facilitate technological growth through the utilization of solar energy in rural areas. 

Additionally, India will benefit greatly from exploring solar energy since it is the most affordable energy source that is environmentally friendly. Studies revealed that the cost of solar energy is 15 percent inexpensive than coal energy in India. 

Nevertheless, solar energy exuberance might sway once the other renewables get activated. India will face the challenge of operating a renewable energy mix, which is challenging considering the country’s economic state. Additionally, the country is still exploring the production of its solar components to halt the importation of these essentials from China. 

Finally, the Chinese solar components are cheaper, forcing the country to decide between imposing high tariffs to motivate the domestic industry or sustaining the importations to save on production costs. This dilemma makes the country stand at neutral grounds where it can utilize both renewables and coal.  

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Space

 SpaceX’s Global Positioning System (GPS) Agreement Altered to Permit Remodel of Falcon 9 Boosters

According to an announcement by the United States on the 25th of September declared that a SpaceX Falcon 9 spacecraft for the first time the following year will begin a military GPS space station with a formerly flown primary booster. Furthermore, SMC stated that the firm reached a covenant at the beginning of the month with space plus Missile System Centre; therefore, SpaceX can start dual Global Positioning System space station the following year utilizing past flown boosters. Additionally, SMC mentioned that this would secure the government with more than 52 million dollars’ worth launching.

Nevertheless, SpaceX consistently makes progress and reuses rocket devices during commercial launches. However, the United States of America army has currently begun to permit SpaceX to retrieve boosters in Global Positioning System assignments. On the 30th of June, the organization started the 3rd vehicle of the GPS3 collection with a new Falcon 9 booster and retrieved it. The quarter GPS3 vehicle set to begin on the 29th of September from Cape Canaveral Air Force Place in Florida will hover on a first-hand Falcon9 that SpaceX will try to retrieve. However, for the fifth and the sixth GPS vehicles the following year, SpaceX will utilize the past flown boosters.

Also, Lt. Gen. John Thompson, the senior officer of the Space and Missile Systems Centre, stated that he was excited to invite SpaceX’s creative reuse into the Country Security Space launch plan. Furthermore, on the 25th of September, the Division President of SMC Falcon Systems and Operations Sir Walt Lauderdale sated in a call that the agreement changes for the future GPS3 task will save the nation 52.7 million USD dollars. Conversely, the Co-founder and COO of SpaceX, Gwynne Shotwell, mentioned that they are thankful for the United States space force’s hard work towards evaluating. Also, he was happy that they had experienced the advantages of technology.

SpaceX’s present agreement to start GPS3 space stations is put to an end when vehicle 6. Lockheed Martin is manufacturing four different space stations; nonetheless, the launches are yet to be endowed. Ideally, Lauderdale stated that those assignments would receive an award during the second phase of the National Security Space Launch Program. Likewise, the United Launch Alliance plus SpaceX will contest each other for all the second phase assignments. Nevertheless, SMC has arranged to launch flying payloads on past flown Falcon 9s in the second phase but then decided to catch a timely start with the present GPS covenant.

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Energy

America plays a vital role in the global energy industry

The US is experiencing a tough season in its energy industry while bracing itself to transition to renewables. In the past, the US was a major in fossil fuel energy, with various companies rocking the energy market on its behalf. One of the companies that facilitated the US dominance in the energy industry is Exxon, which evolved from its previous name, Standard Oil. This company is currently slowly being overtaken by NextEra Energy (NEE), which has become the hub of green energy. This company recorded a rise in its sales, which surpassed the dropping demand for Exxon.

NEE has been growing its market share to surpass the 58% and 39% losses by the other major oil companies. NEE recorded a rise up to 23.5%, especially after the coronavirus pandemic setting into the equation. Exxon and Chevron have witnessed a drop in sales in the pandemic period because they offer products that increase carbon emissions in the energy sector. With the US increasingly adopting the Sustainable Development Goals, the drop in sales of the fossil fuels is explainable since companies are aligning themselves to support zero-emissions from the energy products they are using in their manufacturing processes. 

NEE was preparing itself to take over the energy market and seems to have succeeded. This company is currently the biggest supplier of wind and solar energy, producing up to 45900 megawatts. The company boasts of supplying electricity to over four million households in Florida and production factories in this region.

NEE intends to further venture other renewables like solar and hydrogen to maximize its profit and command the largest market share in America. At the moment, the company is offering installation services at affordable prices to its customers, especially for solar panels. Solar stocks have suddenly risen in the pandemic period because the Americans have realized the essence of clean energy and sustaining air quality.

The energy experts argue that a Democratic win in the upcoming presidential elections will catapult the quick transition to clean renewable energy. Biden, the Democratic presidential candidate, announced that $1.7 trillion must go into the renewable energy programs to facilitate the uptake and shift to clean energy. He added that the tax grants given to fossil fuel companies should have gone to the renewable energy companies if the Trump administration intended to realize the transition to renewables.

In conclusion, although the Trump administration seems to lean on fossil fuel production of electricity, NextEra Energy is still the largest producer of wind and solar energy in the country, making the US a pioneer in this sector. Exxon and Chevron have since been investing in renewables, although their attention lies more on fossil fuel energy.

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Energy

An Electric Vehicles’ powerful modular battery system by Cleantron

Owners of light electric vehicles, including minicars and scooters, have a reason to smile thanks to Cleantron. After all, the company has developed a powerful battery system for such electric vehicles. 

It achieves that using the HP MPC technology known in full as High Power Multi Pack Configuration.  It couples that with a built-in lithium-ion battery that is conveniently compact and portable. It also has a DC/DC-converter.

Using such a battery system means that you won’t have to invest much in charging infrastructure. In need arises, moving around with it will also be a breeze. Then, there is the fact that you won’t compromise the capacity of the battery. Therefore, you get to enjoy a relatively high capacity and the various benefits of compactness and portability.

Compared to other batteries, the modular one will be a great thing, no doubt. Unlike the conventional ones, the system is light and easy to handle and doesn’t limit its performance. It also has a capacity higher than the traditional batteries.

It is no secret that Cleantron has a track record when it comes to developing and producing 48 V portable lithium-ion batteries. Having mastered the art of making batteries, the brand chose a special team to come up with the HP MPC system. According to its design, it is an integration of lithium-ion batteries. One of them is usually a fixed high-power one. The other one, although sometimes they can be more than one, is lightweight as well as portable. The two are connected with a unique unidirectional DC/DC converter. Nothing is lost, including performance, capacity, and range.

The fixed battery generates maximum capacity, whereas the portable one produces maximum energy. Therefore, the battery system not only lasts for long but also ensures that the vehicle accelerates well. Equally important, it complies with electric vehicles’ safety requirements and rechargeable lithium batteries, which are ECE R100 and NEN-EN 50604-1, respectively.

The portable lithium-ion batteries are also safe to touch. So, anyone can change it without worrying about his or her safety.  Its weight is 10 kg only. The lightweight aspect is as a result of limiting the discharge power. That translates to the usage of small connectors and light wires.

When it comes to DC/DC converters, the user can choose a 48/48 V, 48/100 V or 48/400 V converter depending on the power train. Due to the existence of power trains, the company also has lithium-ion batteries of different voltages.

The versatility of the modular battery system is also incredible. You can use it in motor yachts, water taxis, dinghies, minibuses, and taxis. They are also ideal for las mile cargo delivery, minicars, scooters, and electric motorcycles, just but to mention a few.

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Energy

Trump is working against the importation of solar energy and resources 

Trump issued a statement supporting the increment in tariffs on solar imports. The statement agrees to increase tariffs on solar resources like panels, cells, and modules due to the bifacial panels infiltrating the market. Trump also commanded the assessment of duties in the US trade agreements to determine if they should continue to be in action or be dropped. Initially, the tariffs were to expire in two years.

The US has been dealing with imported solar resources and the challenges that come with it. Nevertheless, the tariffs have raised the prices of these resources impeding the transition to clean renewable energy. Manufacturers in the US are a happy lot since they enjoy tariff-free sales maximizing their profits.

It is evident that the US is discouraging importing solar products to encourage internal investments to grow and have a market niche. Although the US administration is pushing for the usage of internally developed solar panels, the bifacial solar panel developers are more reliable and are the required imports.

The US administration seems to support the country’s fossil-fuel resources, hoping that they can capitalize more on them before the transition to renewables. Key energy industry stakeholders like Invenergy and the Solar Energy Industries Association hope that the US can support the renewable sector with project contracts and financial aid.

Trump’s statement comes a few days to the presidential election, and it appears to carry more weight through even if Trump fails on his reelection mission. Joe Biden, the Democratic candidate, stated that the administration ought to reconsider its stand on renewables and support them if they hope to realize economic recuperation in this coronavirus pandemic. The US has a strategy that calls for the full shift to clean energy in the next 15 years. The realization of this plan will imply the deployment of massive solar structures.

Nevertheless, Joe Biden has strayed from making comments on the tariffs imposed on imported solar products. For the US to prosper, the democrats might support the tariffs to encourage internal development.

Economic experts argue that the increase in tariffs will impair the recovery of the economy from the pandemic since every country, including the exporters, suffered the same problem. Scaring away the importers also scares the investors from cashing into these projects in the US.

Analysts argue that the US administration should revise its plan to infuse solar energy into the energy mix to create more jobs and reveal their efforts in tackling climate change. To conclude, Trump explained that the tariffs would help the economy recover internally before resuming externally. He hopes that the revisitation of the energy Acts can help demonstrate the surest way to approach renewables.

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Space

Russia and NASA may not be paying Russia for a seat to ISS after the Soyuz Launch

On October 14, there was a launch of a Soyuz spacecraft from the International Space Station. As much as it may not be the last time NASA is flying its astronauts, there are high chances that it will not pay Russia to do that in the same.

The Soyuz-2.1a ricked lifted off the Soyuz MS-17 spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome. After its launch at 1:45 a.m. Eastern, the spacecraft was already into the orbit less than 10 minutes later. By 4:48 a.m. Eastern, it had already docked with the Rassvet module at the station. It achieved that by making a two-orbit approach, which was ultra-fast.

Its occupants included Kate Rubins, a NASA astronaut, and Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov, Roscosmos cosmonauts. They will stay for six months. The ISS crew now has six members since there were already three before the recent trio’s arrival. Previous occupants are Chris Cassidy from NASA and Roscosmos’ Ivan Vagner and Anatoly Ivanishin. They will be onboard on Soyuz MS-16 spacecraft when returning to Earth on October 21.

Rubins’ seat cost NASA $90.25 million and the agency at the same time announced that it was the last Soyuz seat that it was buying from Roscosmos. That entirely contradicts the NASA officials’ statement that they would be purchasing a seat and even an extra one for an upcoming launch next year around spring.

According to NASA, it will be the commercial crew’s responsibility to take astronauts to and from ISS. The first crewed mission, Space-X Crew-1 mission, is scheduled to take off in November either early or mid. Onboard will be an astronaut from the Japanese space agency JAXA and three from NASA. The other one, Crew-2 mission, will launch in 2021’s spring. Occupants will comprise astronauts from the European Space Agency, JAXA, and NASA.

Boeing has experienced delays in the developments of its CTS-100 Starliner. Therefore, come June, or after that, it will fly a crewed test flight. Three NASA astronauts will be onboard. There will be a second test in December 2021 or January 2022. After that, it will start its routine astronaut transport missions.

As much as NASA is not willing to pay for a seat, it doesn’t necessarily mark the end of its astronauts using Soyuz spacecraft in the future. Instead, it is advocating for mixed crews. Therefore, NASA is looking forward to a time when Russia cosmonauts would use commercial crew missions too. Russia is yet to agree, stating that it cannot commit to that before NASA registers a successful U.S. commercial crew flight. NASA is advocating for a mixed crew to help both America and Russia to have teams in the International Space Station at all times.

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Energy

Dealers from Cadillac may be inclined to invest $200,000 on every brand of Electric Vehicle’s future

All General Motors Company dealers shall be slapped with lots of costs if they push for an all-electric future. The price of dealers from Cadillac is projected to amount to $200,000 to change dealerships for expected electric cars staring with the Lyriq crossover. The brand’s foremost all-electric car is striking American dealership towards late 2022 after debuting foremost in China’s market. General Motors’ luxury brand said that it was over 880 dealerships. That is the necessitated investment on Wednesday.

Cadillac is General Motor’s topping electric brand rising to vend more electric cars than fuel-powered before the end of ten years. General Motors is staking $20 billion through 2025 towards electric and self-directed technologies and pushing to unveil 20 electric plates through numerous brands by 2023.

Rory Harvey [deputy chair] of Cadillac stated that there was an investment being made by General Motors of introducing those Electric Vehicles on the market; aside from that, there was an investment needed by their dealer’s network to certify that they could meet client’s anticipations as well as get the correct amenities and substructure in place.

Cadillac checked with the council of the brand’s dealer before introducing the necessities. Dealers shall have to commence readying for the electric future by the next quarter of the upcoming year. The expenses amount from the tooling and preparation needed to vend electric cars, constituting charging points.

David Butler [Chairperson of dealer council] stated that the stake might be too much for a small dealer who makes less sales in a year. Nonetheless, there are investments such as repeating showrooms that are considerably over $200,000.

He stated that he had no problem investing in the brand. Conversely, that is if they were going to introduce buy-in behind it, as normally $200,000 was not a figure that could shock many dealers. Nonetheless, in some instances, they would have to commence making financial choices concerning whether or not that extra investment could turn out to be worth it.

Whereas there are main elements needed to serve future Cadillac clients, the modification could differ by dealership. Harvey stated that noticing how a small dealer may solely require one charging point. Each dealer shall be communicated to through a field individual at General Motors concerning the shift.

Some people like Inder Dosanjah, who happens to be a Cadillac dealer and has four dealerships within Francisco Bay Area, is currently taking a step towards the necessary investment in vending electric Cadillac through setting up charging points around his dealership region of America that is behind the transition to electric than other parts of the nation.