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Archive for the ‘disruptive technology’ category

Oct 12, 2020

The Coming Internet: Secure, Decentralized and Immersive

Posted by in categories: computing, disruptive technology, electronics, information science, internet, open access, supercomputing

The blockchain revolution, online gaming and virtual reality are powerful new technologies that promise to change our online experience. After summarizing advances in these hot technologies, we use the collective intelligence of our TechCast Experts to forecast the coming Internet that is likely to emerge from their application.

Here’s what learned:

Security May Arrive About 2027 We found a sharp division of opinion, with roughly half of our experts thinking there is little or no chance that the Internet would become secure — and the other half thinks there is about a 60% probability that blockchain and quantum cryptography will solve the problem at about 2027. After noting the success of Gilder’s previous forecasts, we tend to accept those who agree with Gilder.

Decentralization Likely About 2028–2030 We find some consensus around a 60% Probability and Most Likely Year About 2028–2030. The critical technologies are thought to focus on blockchain, but quantum, AI, biometrics and the Internet of things (IoT) also thought to offer localizing capabilities.

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Jun 2, 2020

Elon Musk’s Starlink growing bigger and bigger

Posted by in categories: disruptive technology, Elon Musk, space

SpaceX launching again this week, if all goes as planned.

Starlink deployment in orbit.

SpaceX is at it again. Love it or hate it, Starlink is growing again. The company is getting ready to launch the next batch of 60 satellites into orbit in just a few days. The original launch was postponed until after the successful launch of the crew dragon Demo-2 mission for NASA.

Now that the astronauts successfully docked with the International Space Station, SpaceX turns its focus back on Starlink. This launch, originally planned to launch before the Crew Dragon Demo-2 mission, now looks promising for a launch this week.


The constellation consists of thousands of mass-produced small satellites in low Earth orbit adds up quickly. Each Falcon 9 launch gets packed full of sixty Starlink satellites. 60 satellites neatly fit in both size and mass limitations of the Falcon 9’s reusable configuration. Elon’s company delivered more than 420 satellites into orbit to date.
SpaceX now plans to loft the next batch into space Wednesday around 9:25 p.m. EDT. Visitors at the Cape Canaveral’s Complex 40 launch pad should be able to witness the launch so long as the weather holds out… and the weather is looking promising.


A one-hour launch window for the Starlink mission opening at 8:55 p.m. EDT (0055 GMT). If the launch gets scrubbed, SpaceX will cycle again for another attempt. The prior attempt at launch got scrubbed because of Tropical Storm Arthur and the associated high winds. As an additional complication for SpaceX launches, the rough seas in the recovery area where SpaceX’s drone ship waits made a landing of the Falcon 9 risky.

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May 16, 2020

Is Elon Musk going to Move Tesla and SpaceX to Texas?

Posted by in categories: disruptive technology, Elon Musk, space
Tesla sporting NASA Worm Logo and Meatball in advance of human rocket launch.

According to a report from a CBS affiliate in Wichita Falls, Tex., Texas Governor Greg Abbott told a local television reporter he had the opportunity to talk to Elon Musk and he’s genuinely interested in Texas and genuinely frustrated with California.

Tesla stopped making cars at its Fremont plant on March 23. Elon Musk shared frequently his views that the state and local restrictions aimed at mitigating the spread of the coronavirus were actually not in the best interest of California, the people of California, and not Tesla either.

Why is Tesla Fremont important?


Looking back in history, the GM automotive assembly plant in South Fremont used to be the town’s largest employer. In the 1980s, the plant became a joint venture automotive assembly plant of Toyota and GM, and renamed NUMMI becoming one of the most effective small car factories for GM. In early 2010, NUMMI came to an end and closed. Enter TESLA to rescue Fremont. Tesla acquired part of the plant and in June 2010 by Elon Musk earmarked it as Tesla’s primary production plant. By 2017, Tesla was the largest employer in Fremont with roughly 10,000 employees.

Ten years after Tesla swooped in and brought 10,000 jobs to Fremont, Elon Musk is not so happy.

May 7, 2020

New game-changing Inflatable Space Tech NASA to test in 2022… China just tested it.

Posted by in categories: disruptive technology, engineering, space, space travel, transportation
inflatable heat shield
China inflatable heat shield: Credit CCTV

New spacecraft experience setbacks all the time. SpaceX Starship prototype violently disassembled several times. Boeing launched the CST-100 but ended up in the wrong orbit. China isn’t a stranger to setbacks either.

China tested a prototype spacecraft on May 5th, 2020 in efforts to prove the technology was ready. It’s good it was a test and not an actual mission since the spacecraft did not perform as expected. The news agency Xinhua reported the spacecraft launched from Hainan China, operated abnormally during its return.

Heat Shields Need to work or expect a terrible day.

Spacecraft experience tremendous heat during the last minutes of their mission. The heat shield protects the spacecraft from that heat. NASA looked at lots of materials and tested many before using for heat shields.

NASA’s Space Shuttle used a thermal soak heat shield approach. The Shuttle tiles act as an insulating material. The design absorbs and radiates the heat away from the spacecraft structure. A second common approach is an ablative heat shield like those used for Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, and Orion spacecraft. These ablative heat shields commonly have a layer of plastic resin which experiences intense heating while entering the atmosphere. The heat shield wears away, carrying the heat away through convection.

Continue reading “New game-changing Inflatable Space Tech NASA to test in 2022... China just tested it.” »

May 1, 2020

NASA picks who will land people on the Moon… sort of…

Posted by in categories: disruptive technology, Elon Musk, space, space travel
Dynetics Human Lander system

One of the three companies NASA announced today will land the next NASA astronauts on the Moon. NASA awarded three firm-fixed-price, milestone-based contracts for the human landing system awards under the Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships (NextSTEP-2. The total combined value for all awarded contracts is $967 million for the 10-month base period.

NASA downselected from the five companies in the running to only three.

The contenders for the Moon mission contract.

NASA released the Human Landing System (HLS) solicitation on October 25, 2019. Five companies submitted proposals by the required due date of November 5, 2019. Listed below in alphabetical order:

  • Blue Origin Federation, LLC (Blue Origin)
  • The Boeing Corporation (Boeing)
  • Dynetics, Inc. (Dynetics)
  • Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX)
  • Vivace Corp. (Vivace)

Some more details about the offers.

You likely recognize the more high profile companies like Boeing, SpaceX, and Blue Origin. Vivace and Dynetics profile in the general media tends to be less pronounced.

Vivace, founded in 2006, provides engineering services, ground support equipment, engineering development hardware, and flight har…

Apr 29, 2020

Elon Musk setting new records with Starlink.

Posted by in categories: astronomy, big data, disruptive technology, Elon Musk, space

Love it or hate it, Starlink might be the biggest space undertaking ever once completed. The combined mass of the Starlink satellite constellation exceeds any prior space endeavor. The SpaceX network provides global satellite Internet access will weigh in more than any other prior space program. The constellation consisting of thousands of mass-produced small satellites in low Earth orbit adds up quickly. Each Falcon 9 launch gets packed full of sixty Starlink satellites. The satellites neatly fit in both size and mass limitations of the Falcon 9.

November 11 at 9:56 a.m. EST, 14:56 UTC, SpaceX launched 60 Starlink satellites from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. Credit SpaceX

In 2018, The Federal Communications Commission granted SpaceX approval to launch up to 4,425 low-Earth-orbit satellites at several different altitudes between 1,110km to 1,325km. The following year, the FCC approved a license modification to cut the orbital altitude in half for 1,584 of those satellites. The lower altitude for the Starlink satellites reduces the latency of the Starlink. Yeah initial Starlink will be nearly the mass of the ISS.

NameKgQtyTotal Kg
Starlink2601 260
Starlink launch26060 15,600
Initial Starlink2601,584 411,840
ISS419,7251 419,725
Partial Starlink2601,614 419,725
Starlink full thrust2604,425 1,150,500
Big freak’n Starlink26012,000 3,120,000
Some Back of the napkin calculations about Starlink… give or take a little.

Apr 22, 2020

Dengue case predictor mapping system wins the 2019 NASA global hackathon

Posted by in categories: astronomy, big data, computing, disruptive technology, environmental, events, hacking, information science, innovation, machine learning, mapping, open source, satellites, science, software, space
Upper row Associate American Corner librarian Donna Lyn G. Labangon, Space Apps global leader Dr. Paula S. Bontempi, former DICT Usec. Monchito B. Ibrahim, Animo Labs executive director Mr. Federico C. Gonzalez, DOST-PCIEERD deputy executive director Engr. Raul C. Sabularse, PLDT Enterprise Core Business Solutions vice president and head Joseph Ian G. Gendrano, lead organizer Michael Lance M. Domagas, and Animo Labs program manager Junnell E. Guia. Lower row Dominic Vincent D. Ligot, Frances Claire Tayco, Mark Toledo, and Jansen Dumaliang Lopez of Aedes project.

MANILA, Philippines — A dengue case forecasting system using space data made by Philippine developers won the 2019 National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s International Space Apps Challenge. Over 29,000 participating globally in 71 countries, this solution made it as one of the six winners in the best use of data, the solution that best makes space data accessible, or leverages it to a unique application.

Dengue fever is a viral, infectious tropical disease spread primarily by Aedes aegypti female mosquitoes. With 271,480 cases resulting in 1,107 deaths reported from January 1 to August 31, 2019 by the World Health Organization, Dominic Vincent D. Ligot, Mark Toledo, Frances Claire Tayco, and Jansen Dumaliang Lopez from CirroLytix developed a forecasting model of dengue cases using climate and digital data, and pinpointing possible hotspots from satellite data.

Sentinel-2 Copernicus and Landsat 8 satellite data used to reveal potential dengue hotspots.

Correlating information from Sentinel-2 Copernicus and Landsat 8 satellites, climate data from the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-PAGASA) and trends from Google search engines, potential dengue hotspots will be shown in a web interface.

Using satellite spectral bands like green, red, and near-infrared (NIR), indices like Fraction of Absorbed Photosynthetically Active Radiation (FAPAR) and Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) are calculated in identifying areas with green vegetation while Normalized Difference Water Index (NDWI) identifies areas with water. Combining these indices reveal potential areas of stagnant water capable of being breeding grounds for mosquitoes, extracted as coordinates through a free and open-source cross-platform desktop geographic information system QGIS.

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Apr 16, 2020

The Electron goes reusable.

Posted by in categories: disruptive technology, innovation, space
Electron test article during a March 2020 parachute test. Credit Rocket Lab

No, it’s not a high budget Mission Impossible action movie, but it could have been. Tom Cruise wasn’t piloting a helicopter that grabbed a rocket falling back to the Earth. Instead, a crew wearing black Rocket Lab t-shirts with the words “recovery team” written on the back took the skies in helicopters to grab a falling rocket. Since it wasn’t Tom Cruise, the video of the team grabbing a rocket midflight ranked higher on the awesome scale.

Daring capture of Booster

A few weeks ago, Rocket Lab took a major step forward to recover boosters. In a recent release to media, Rocket Lab shared videos successfully grabbing a parachute & test booster out of the sky using a helicopter. On the first try, the helicopter grabbed the first stage test article with a grappling hook.

There are intrinsic risks with helicopters. Recently SpaceX lost a test article when it became necessary to prematurely drop a Crew Dragon test article. However, Rocket Lab did better in the Electron parachute tests. The success marks another step closer for the company in recovering the boosters it uses to launch small payloads into low earth orbit.

Apr 12, 2020

Roscosmos Miffed, Elon Musk Calls Them Out

Posted by in categories: disruptive technology, Elon Musk, space, space travel

Russia seems to see the writing on the wall. No longer can disposable rockets win business for the Russian Space Industry. NASA put an end to the ongoing launches of astronauts into space with the development of domestic. The Russian space industry plans on maintaining or growing market share.

“In 2020, 33 launches are planned, of which 12 launches of satellites under the Federal Space Program, nine launches of commercial vehicles, three from the Guiana Space Center,”

Dmitry Rogozin the head of Roscosmos.

According to https://tass.ru/, Russia is planning on completing 30 commercial launches in 2020. To compete in the international market, Roscosmos announced the cost of launch services will be reduced by more than 30%. The allegation is that American companies are price dumping. With the emergence of SpaceX into the launch sector and other new space companies, the launch vehicle options increased greatly. SpaceX specifically has captured a lot of commercial launch contracts with the partially reusable Falcon 9 rocket. SpaceX has proven the booster reuse capability up to five times and disclosed that the reusability is much greater.

Dmitry Rogozin’s claim of American companies engaging in price dumping may not be a valid comparison. American companies diversified the supply. New innovative rockets have been designed, built and launched by American companies like SpaceX and Rocket Lab.

Apr 5, 2020

Attacking Global Warming With Satellites

Posted by in categories: climatology, disruptive technology, energy, environmental, space
Artist impression of a Methane hunting satellite by Bluefield

Global warming is a complex problem that is not easy to solve. While world leaders seem to be dragging their feet over the issue, Yotam Ariel, founder of Bluefield, believes he might have at least one piece of the puzzle sorted. Methane monitoring from space. By leveraging a network of microsatellites with a proprietary sensor, Bluefield plans to deliver alerts and analytics to oil and gas clients to help combat the inadvertent release of methane gas

Methane, a greenhouse gas, is leaking into the atmosphere. One might ask, “Why bother with methane, isn’t carbon dioxide the problem?” Well, according to the IPCC (https://www.ipcc.ch/), methane is 84 times more potent than carbon dioxide, which is clearly a bad thing for global warming. Methane is believed to be responsible for 25% of global warming and knowing who is emitting, when, and how much, would be a massive step towards reversing climate change. Since between 50 and 65% of total global methane emissions come from human activities, being able to identify and stop leaks is crucial to lowering greenhouse gases in our atmosphere.

Bluefield plans to specialize in methane gas detection and not try and solve all problems all at once and thereby reducing complexity. Further reduction in complexity is achieved by leveraging outside suppliers where applicable that complement the Bluefield plans. By reducing the complexity, Bluefield can focus on its core mission and specialty. Areas outside of detection such as the satellite parts, ground stations, the launch, and other services will be outsourced. This will allow Bluefield to quickly move through its development stages. Whereas it might take up to 10 years for a space agency like NASA, JAXA or ESA, to fund, design, test and launch a custom satellite, Bluefield aims to accomplish this as early as next year.

In fact, the prototype for the first microsatellite design has already been completed. Bluefield shortlisted several suppliers and the final selection will be made soon. The company is well on its way to testing its technology in orbit after completing both field tests and high-altitude balloon tests this year. By mounting its newly developed sensor on several backpack-sized microsatellites, Bluefield will be able to collect enough raw data to provide methane emission monitoring at a previously unthinkable level in terms of global coverage, high resolution and at a price point well below what is currently available.

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