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Christmas time is usually slow in the tech industry, but space technology is different, and there have been plenty of activities over the past week, including one of the year’s top rocket launches.
Just about every major company got new space in on the action in the past seven days, either with the actual spacecraft launching, or with big announcements. And everything that went up to 2020 sentences will be even crazier.
getting an ordeal started in Boeing – NASA manages for its commercial crew program Efforts to get US astronauts off the US ground start again. Boeing launched its "Orbital Flight Test" or OFT on Friday, and the actual rocket launch part of the flight went exactly as intended.
Unfortunately, what came next did not result in what should happen: The Starliner spaceship is making a mistake with its onboard mission watch (which actually shouldn't be worn by anyone for this test), which resulted in more fuel being used faster than it should have been and not enough fuel to make the planned rendezvous with the ISS.
The Starliner capsule was not docked to the space station, but did accomplish a number of important objectives, including demonstrating that the docking arm was properly extended. Perhaps most importantly, according to the revised mission plan that Boeing and NASA had drawn up, it landed on time and on target when they found they couldn't reach the station as planned. In space as in start-ups, failures are also successes of a kind.
SpaceX's latest launch was on Monday, and it was a success in almost every way – except for one of its secondary missions, which was an attempt to catch the two fairing halves that together carry the payload as the missile rises to cover space. SpaceX has attempted to catch them with ships with large nets at sea and has previously caught one. It will keep trying, just like rocket booster landings, and could save up to $ 6 million per launch once the process goes right.
The European Space Agency has also launched a rocket this week – a Soyuz with a new satellite that will observe orbits exoplanets (planets outside our solar system). It will be able to assess their density from this point of view, giving us valuable new information about the potential habitability of distant celestial bodies.
Apple Apparently, a dedicated team worked internally on satellite communication technologies. The iPhone maker may not be involved in developing their own spacecraft, but the overarching goal seems to be to develop their own direct wireless communication network for working with iPhones and other Apple hardware.
Amazon is now The own satellite business is a well-known size called "Project Kuiper". The company will double its investment next year and set up a new dedicated space for Kuiper's R&D and prototype manufacturing. Ultimately, Kuiper will be a constellation of satellites that are in orbit and provide broadband to underserved and underserved areas of the world.
Rocket Lab will open a third launch pad, the company announced after announcing its second in Virginia this month. The third starting place will be the first one in the same place – on the Mahia Peninsula in the north of New Zealand.