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SpaceX Set to Orbit 70 Satellites in Historic ‘Ride-Sharing’ Mission

SpaceX’s dream of making it into the history books with the launch of 70 satellites at one go is waiting for a new countdown.

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Arthur J. Villasanta – Fourth Estate Contributor

Hawthorne, CA, United States (4E) – SpaceX’s dream of making it into the history books with the launch of 70 satellites at one go is waiting for a new countdown.

SpaceX has delayed the launch of the historic mission called “SSO-A” originally set for early Tuesday to conduct additional pre-flight inspections. If the mission had blasted-off as scheduled, it would have meant that 70 small satellites from 16 countries would now be in Low Earth Orbit (LEO).

SSO-A is the largest “ride-sharing” mission ever carried out by SpaceX. It will be the first time SpaceX will have taken such a large number of satellites into LEO. This mission will also see the most number of satellites launched into space by any U.S. entity, public or private.

SSO-A will be launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The launch vehicle will be a Falcon 9 with a reusable first stage booster.

These small satellites or smallsats are either cube satellites (CubeSats) or microsatellites (microsats). There are 56 CubeSats and 15 microsats on the SSO-A manifest. These 70 spacecraft were developed by 50 different organizations.

The satellites come from the United States, Australia, India, Italy, The Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Germany, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Thailand, Poland, Canada, Finland, South Korea, Brazil and South Africa.

A CubeSat has dimensions of 10 cm x 10 cm x 10 cm. On the other hand, a microsat is a satellite with a wet mass between 10 kg and 100 kg.

CubeSats are a class of research spacecraft called nanosatellites, according to NASA. They’re built to standard dimensions (Units or “U”) of 10 cm x 10 cm x 10 cm. They can be 1U, 2U, 3U, or 6U in size. They typically weigh less than 1.33 kg (3 lbs) per U.

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Nike Unveils ‘Nike Adapt BB’ Self-Lacing Shoe

Nike has unveiled its second-generation “self-lacing shoe” that adapt to a wearer’s foot at the touch of a button or an app.

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Arthur J. Villasanta – Fourth Estate Contributor

Washington County, OR, United States (4E) – Nike has unveiled its second-generation “self-lacing shoe” that adapt to a wearer’s foot at the touch of a button or an app.

“Nike Adapt BB” pairs a smartphone with the self-lacing shoe to adapt to a wearer’s foot at the touch of a button. BB stands for basketball and it identifies who this shoe was developed for.

Nike will begin offering the Adapt BB in February for $350, or less than half the Hyperadapt’s original price of $720.

“Say goodbye to the shoelace,” said Michael Donaghu, Nike’s director of global footwear innovation.

Donaghu said the new shoe is all about fit and is targeted directly at basketball players.

Nike explains Adapt BB has a near-symbiotic relationship with its digital app thanks to opt-in firmware updates. It explained that when a player steps into the Nike Adapt BB, a custom motor and gear train senses the tension needed by the foot and adjusts accordingly to keep the foot snug.

The tensile strength of the underfoot lacing can generate 32 pounds of force to secure a foot throughout a range of movement. FitAdapt tech, the shoe’s “brain” then kicks-in. A user can input different fit settings depending on different moments of a game by manual touch or by using the Nike Adapt app on a smartphone.

For example, a player can loosen the shoe before tightening it up as he re-enters the game after a time-out. Nike said varying the fit is necessary because a foot can expand almost a half-size during play over the course of a basketball game. A level of fit that’s comfortable at one point might feel constrictive 20 or so minutes later.

Adapt BB enables these minute changes in tightness using the companion app, leading to 40% more “lockdown” for feet.

The app also lets users change the color of the glowing twin dots on the midsole of the shoe to 14 different colors. Adapt BB comes with a wireless charging mat that can charge the shoes in three hours for two weeks of wear time. The new shoe is also connected.

It can send data about usage and analytics back to Nike, should users allow that. The data might also eventually be used to track athletes’ movement and performance, which Nike says can help it offer new products or services to customers.

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New GPS Block IIIA Satellites Provide 3X Better Location Accuracy

The first GPS Block IIIA satellite operated by the U.S. Air Force will provide much better accuracy and will be compatible with global positioning systems used by other countries.

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Arthur J. Villasanta – Fourth Estate Contributor

Washington, DC, United States (4E) – The first GPS Block IIIA satellite operated by the U.S. Air Force will provide much better accuracy and will be compatible with global positioning systems used by other countries.

Costing some $577 million, this satellite was launched two weeks ago. The 10 new Block IIIA satellites will provide three times better accuracy compared to current GPS satellites, said Lockheed Martin, the satellite’s developer.

The tenth and final GPS Block IIIA satellite launch is scheduled for the second quarter of 2023, if all goes well

“Launch is always a monumental event, and especially so since this is the first GPS satellite of its generation launched on SpaceX’s first national security space mission,” said Lt. Gen. John F. Thompson, commander of the Space and Missile Systems Center and Air Force program executive officer for space.

He said that as more GPS III satellites join the constellation, it will bring better service at a lower cost to a technology now fully woven into the fabric of any modern civilization.

Gen. Thompson said GPS Block IIIA satellites keep GPS the gold standard for positioning, navigation and timing information. He said the launch of the first GPS Block IIIA satellite was a capstone, but it doesn’t mean the Air Force is done. He said the Air Force is going to run a series of procedures for checkout and test “to ensure everything on Vespucci functions as it was designed.”

GPS III’s L1C civil signal will make it the first GPS satellite broadcasting a signal compatible with other international global navigation satellite systems such as Europe’s Galileo, thereby improving connectivity for civilian users.

For the U.S. military, the new birds have up to eight times better anti-jamming capabilities, making them more resistant to electronic warfare (EW) attacks by either the Russians or Chinese.

The anti-jamming capabilities of the GPS IIIA satellites spring from its use of the new “M-code” (or Military code) first used on the operational Block IIF series launched from 2012 to 2016. The new M-Code signal is also designed for more secure access to military GPS signals. M-code is transmitted on the L1 and L2 frequencies already used by the previous military code, which is the P(Y) code.

GPS satellites use the NAVSTAR radionavigation system owned by the U.S. government and operated by the Air Force.

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Time Existed Before the Big Bang, says New Study

A new study has again resurrected the theory that time did indeed exist before the Universe itself but in another Universe that gave birth to our own.

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Arthur J. Villasanta – Fourth Estate Contributor

London, United Kingdom (4E) – A new study has again resurrected the theory that time did indeed exist before the Universe itself but in another Universe that gave birth to our own.

The study by University of Oxford physicists David Sloan, Tim A. Koslowski and Flavio Mercati suggests a completely new model of the Universe. Their published study re-interprets how time might have existed before the Big Bang itself by circumventing the limits imposed by the existence of the “Initial Singularity,” or that infinitesimally small blip that exploded to give birth to the Universe.

The model proposed by the three scientists starts with a new interpretation of the Initial Singularity.

The conventional wisdom is that physics as we know broke down inside the initial singularity. This breakdown arose from a contradiction in properties at a particular point in time as defined by the Theory of General Relativity.

Sloan, Koslowski and Mercati disagree with the assumption of an inevitable break down in physical laws inside the singularity. Instead, they adhere to the assumption that physics at the Big Bang remained intact but the stage it acted upon “reorientated.”

And instead of a singularity, the team said there is this thing called a “Janus Point.” In this Janus Point, the relative positions and scales of the stuff that comprise the Universe flatten into a two-dimensional (2D) pancake as we rewind time.

Passing through the Janus Point, that pancake turned 3D again, only back-to-front, so that time now moved forward. Sloan, Koslowski and Mercati believe their Janus Point could have profound implications on symmetry in particle physics, and might even produce a Universe based primarily on antimatter.

While the idea of a flipped Universe is nothing new, the model proposed by Sloan, Koslowski and Mercati of working around the singularity problem is novel.

“All the terms that are problematic turn out to be irrelevant when working out the behavior of quantities that determine how the Universe appears from the inside,” said Sloan.

“We introduce no new principles, and make no modifications to Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity — only of the interpretation that is put upon objects.”

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