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Vodafone targets 4G network on moon in 2019

BARCELONA (SPAIN): British telecom major Vodafone today said it plans to create the first 4G network on the moon to support a mission by PTScientists in 2019.

“The moon will get 4G coverage next year, 50 years after the first NASA astronauts walked on its surface. Vodafone plans to create the first 4G network on the moon to support a mission by PTScientists. We have target to land in 2019 on Moon,” a Vodafone representative said.

The company has appointed Nokia as its technology partner for the 4G network .

“This will be the first privately-funded moon landing mission. It will lay the future of space exploration. The cost less than what it cost for full mission lab. We will be below USD 50 million mark,” Robert Bohme, CEO and Founder of PTScientists said.

Berlin-based PTScientists is working with Vodafone Germany and Audi on the project.

Mission to the moon is due to launch in 2019 from Cape Canaveral on a SpaceX

Falcon

9 rocket, Bohme said.

Vodafone testing indicates that the base station should be able to broadcast 4G using the 1800 MHz frequency band and send back the first ever live HD video feed of the Moon’s surface, which will be broadcast to a global audience via a deep space link that interconnects with the PTScientists server in the Mission Control Centre in Berlin.

The project will last for about 11 days because of massive change in temperature on the moon, Bohme said.

A 4G network is highly energy efficient compared to analogue radio and that will be crucial to Mission to the Moon and is the first step to building communications infrastructure for future missions, Bohme said.

Vodafone’s network expertise will be used to set up the Moon’s first 4G network, connecting two Audi lunar quattro rovers to a base station in the Autonomous Landing and Navigation Module (ALINA), as per the details shared here .

Nokia, through Nokia Bell Labs, will create a space-grade Ultra Compact Network that will weigh less than one kilogram –the same as a bag of sugar.

The 4G network will enable the Audi lunar quattro rovers to communicate and transfer scientific data and HD video while they carefully approach and study NASA’s Apollo 17 lunar roving vehicle that was used by the last astronauts to walk on the Moon to explore the Taurus-Littrow valley in December 1972.

Old SpaceX capsule delivers new crew to space station

A recycled SpaceX capsule carrying four astronauts arrived at the International Space Station on Saturday, the third high-flying taxi ride in less than a year for Elon Musk‘s company.

The Dragon capsule docked autonomously with the orbiting outpost 260 miles (420 kilometers) above the Indian Ocean, a day after launching from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.

The new arrivals — representing the U.S., France and Japan — will spend six months at the space station. They’ll replace four astronauts who will return to Earth in their own Dragon capsule Wednesday.

It was the first time two SpaceX crew Dragons were parked there at the same time — practically side by side.

Although this was SpaceX’s third crew flight for NASA, it was the first to use a vehicle that’s flown before, an essential part of Musk’s push to the moon and Mars. The Dragon capsule was used for SpaceX’s first crew launch last May, while the

Falcon

rocket soaring Friday hoisted crew two in November.

NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur — the commander and pilot of the arriving Dragon — monitored their capsule’s flat screen computers as the space station loomed ever larger. They could have taken control if necessary, but the autonomous system did its job, much like a self-driving car.

Also checking into the space station: France’s Thomas Pesquet and Japan’s Akihiko Hoshide. Both have lived there before, as has Kimbrough. It was the first station visit for McArthur.

McArthur flew to the space station in the same seat and the same capsule — Endeavour — as her husband, Bob Behnken, did on SpaceX’s debut crew mission.

For the next four days, the space station will be home to 11 astronauts, just shy of the record of 13 set during NASA’s space shuttle era. The current population includes six Americans, two Russians, two Japanese and one French. It will shrink by four on Wednesday when three Americans and one Japanese depart for home and a splashdown in the Gulf of Mexico.

SpaceX to launch world’s first all-civilian astronaut mission to orbit in late 2021

Washington: SpaceX announced on Monday that it will launch four private inpiduals on a Crew Dragon capsule into

orbit

around the Earth, dubbed as “the world’s first all-civilian mission.” It is scheduled to launch in the fourth quarter of 2021.

The company’s spacecraft would be commanded by Jared Isaacman, the founder and CEO of Shift4 Payments, who is also a trained pilot. The mission, known as Inspiration4, seeks to raise support for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

“Jared Isaacman, founder and CEO of Shift4 Payments, is donating the three seats alongside him aboard Dragon to inpiduals from the general public who will be announced in the weeks ahead,” the statement read.

“The Inspiration4 crew will receive commercial astronaut training by SpaceX on the

Falcon

9 launch vehicle and Dragon spacecraft, orbital mechanics, operating in microgravity, zero gravity, and other forms of stress testing. They will go through emergency preparedness training, spacesuit and spacecraft ingress and egress exercises, as well as partial and full mission simulations,” it added.

This multi-day journey, orbiting Earth every 90 minutes along a customized flight path, will be carefully monitored at every step by the mission control.

Upon conclusion of the mission, Dragon, the spacecraft, will re-enter Earth’s atmosphere for a soft water landing off the coast of Florida.

Starlink project takes Musk’s SpaceX valuation to $100 billion

Driven by its ambitious Starlink project, Elon Musk-run SpaceX has received a &100 billion valuation by US-based investment bank Morgan Stanley — from $52 billion just three months ago.

The bank’s “bull case” which is the absolute best-case scenario — puts the rocket company at a value above $200 billion, report Forbes.

The bank has raised the estimated value of Starlink to $81 billion.

While SpaceX’s launch business is valued at $12 billion, its point-to-point space travel is valued at $9 billion, describing Musk’s space business as “mission control” for the “emerging space economy.”

A Morgan Stanley research note said that “the pieces are coming together for SpaceX to create an economic and technology flywheel”.

“Investors just valued SpaceX in August, when the company raised $1.9 billion in funding — at a valuation of $46 billion” then.

Last week, SpaceX launched 60 more Starlink satellites aboard Falcon 9 rocket to be deployed in low-Earth orbit, bringing the constellation to 788 as the company gears up for a public beta of the affordable satellite broadband service.

SpaceX recently presented the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Starlink internet performance tests, showing it was capable of download speeds of between 102Mbps to 103Mbps, upload speeds of 40.5Mbps to not quite 42Mbps, and a latency of 18 milliseconds to 19 milliseconds.

“Once these satellites reach their target position, we will be able to roll out a fairly wide public beta in the northern US and hopefully southern Canada,” SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said in a tweet earlier this month.

“Other countries to follow as soon as we receive regulatory approval,” he added.

It is expected that there will be gigabit speeds on offer, meaning up to 1Gbps Internet speeds, with a fairly low latency of up to 25ms.

Starlink plans to offer these Internet services for around $80 per month, which is priced at par if not lower than similar speed broadband plans in most countries, including India.