Tag Archives: launch

China launches its first aircraft carrier

But it’s used and has no planes. China bought the vessel in 1998 from Ukraine and had it refurbished – few details of its capabilities are known. But, from Reuters, “defense experts say it lacks the strike aircraft, weapons, electronics, training and logistical support it needs to become a fighting warship.” And so it will stay in the training fleet until they figure out how to land a plane on it.

The response has largely been mocking, from the Brisbane Times, ”if it is used against America, it has no survivability. If it is used against China’s neighbours, it’s a sign of bullying.” And those neighbors are the ones in the crossfire. Japan has disputed territory with China in the East China Sea and the Philippines are arguing over a shoal in the South China Sea.

Still, it is a sign of the rising military power of the Chinese – after all, only 9 countries have an aircraft carrier. Seven of them only have one, Italy has two, and the United Kingdom only uses theirs for helicopters. So the launch could be a symbol of pride, that the Chinese are equal to the other powers. But they have a long journey ahead to challenge the United States and our 11 aircraft carriers.

 

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MySpace releases video showing off the new design…to break-up music

I think it’s funny and the perfect way to bring back MySpace. The whining tones of missing your girl and wanting to get back together, they help you get over the moment of – I’m so over MySpace. And then you can see the new design for what it is – focused on music and fans, pictures and sharing links.

 

 

But can MySpace – with all the brand recognition – get something going?

The market is full of similar social networks with the same features. The only advantage is to serve a niche – like resumes with Linkedin or photos with Pinterest – and music is MySpace’s niche. If they can maintain focus on that, build some momentum, and bring some respect back to the name, then I think they have a chance.

I’m interested.

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Don’t forget to sign-up for an invite to the New MySpace.

Crowdsource the launch of a nano-satellite into space – Kickstarter

We are developing a nano-satellite, and mobile apps to go with it, as the focus for a global education and public outreach campaign. The satellite, called SkyCube, is a 10x10x10 cm “1U” CubeSat intended for launch as a secondary payload on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket in 2013. Orbiting more than 300 miles up, on a path highly inclined to the Earth’s equator, SkyCube will pass over most of the world’s inhabited regions.

SkyCube will take low-resolution pictures of the Earth and broadcast simple messages uploaded by sponsors. After 90 days, it will use an 8-gram CO2 cartridge to inflate a 10-foot (3-meter) diameter balloon coated with highly reflective titanium dioxide powder. SkyCube’s balloon will make the satellite as bright as the Hubble Space Telescope or a first-magnitude star. You’ll be able to see it with your own eyes, sailing across the sky. But SkyCube’s balloon isn’t just for visibility. It will – within 3 weeks – bring SkyCube down from orbit due to atmospheric drag, ending the mission cleanly in a fiery “grand finale” that avoids any buildup of space debris.

 

PLEDGES

$1 - Sponsors 10 seconds of the mission. You can broadcast one (1) 120-character message from the satellite.

$6 - Sponsors 1 minute of the mission. You can broadcast six (6) 120-character messages from space, and request one (1) image from the satellite.

$100 - Sponsors 15 minutes of the mission. An ideal family pack – we’ll send you two (2) SkyCube mission T-shirts! And you can broadcast one hundred (100) 120-character messages from the satellite, and request twenty (20) images from the satellite at any time during the mission.

$1,000 – Sponsors 2 hours of the mission – a great high school or university classroom sponsorship package. We’ll send you a radio receiver which you can use to detect transmissions from SkyCube and other satellites already in orbit! You’ll also get a flying SpaceX Falcon 9 model rocket, and twenty (20) SkyCube mission T-shirts. You can broadcast one thousand (1000) 120-character messages from space, and request up to two hundred (200) images from the satellite.

 

Learn more, join the project - SkyCube: The First Satellite Launched by You!

 

 

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Reading Rainbow turns into a startup, releases an iPad app

Back in 2009, NPR ran a story titled “‘Reading Rainbow’ Reaches Its Final Chapter.” At the time, that probably seemed like a reasonable headline — after all, after 26 years, the beloved TV show was going off the air, the victim of changing government funding priorities. But it looks like there’s actually a lot more to the Reading Rainbow story, and its next chapter is starting in earnest today, with the launch of a new iPad app.

The app was created by RRKidz, a startup co-founded by Reading Rainbow host LeVar Burton and producer Mark Wolfe, which licensed the Reading Rainbow name and content from public TV station WNED. (It also acquired the Reading Rainbow Twitter account earlier this year.)

“Television was an ’80s medium,” Burton said. So after the TV show ended, he and Wolfe asked themselves, “What would today’s technology be?” The obvious answer: The iPad.

 

More on the startupReading Rainbow returns as a startup and an iPad app

 

Reading Rainbow iPad app

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China launches it’s first female ‘taikonaut’ into space

Saturday’s launch of a piloted space capsule known as Shenzhou-9 marks China’s breakthrough into the exclusive club once made up only of the United States and Russia.

One of the three astronauts in the capsule is a woman, 33-year-old Liu Yang, the first Chinese woman in space.

Shenzhou-9 was launched at 6:37 p.m (local time) against a vivid blue sky from the Jiuquan space station at the edge of the Gobi Desert. Televised nationally, the launch prompted a round of applause in the command center as the capsule separated from its carrier rocket and entered orbit.

The trickiest part of the mission will come when the capsule docks with the Tiangong 1 space module, a prototype of a space station about the size of a school bus, which is orbiting about 213 miles above Earth.

Learn more, including how the U.S. Congress has banned China from the International Space Station…so they’re building their own:

L.A. Times: China launches rocket carrying its first female astronaut

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Switzerland – Silicon Alps – joins the start-up ecosystem

Ah, Switzerland. The land of chocolate, cow-bells, skiing and prices that make you want to cry. A place that has built a global brand on providing a safe, risk-free haven for other people’s money and not being disruptive or belligerent. Clean, orderly and wonderfully peaceful — yes, the clichés are true.

Not then, you might think, a country especially suited to launching a startup — but you’d be wrong. Long a hub for high-tech and medical sciences, Switzerland now boasts an ecosystem of Internet entrepreneurs that’s blossoming as fast as the proverbial Edelweiss in spring.

“I don’t know any other country on Earth that is so good at seed funding,” enthuses Johannes Reck, co-founder and CEO of GetYourGuide. His story is illuminating — after founding GetYourGuide in 2008, his team was approached by a local bank with a seed funding offer, an out of the blue reversal of roles that typifies what’s happening here.

“In literally every other country in the world I’ve been to, entrepreneurs struggle so hard to get their first seed funding,” he says. “In Switzerland you have a lot of institutions who provide money, literally for free, very early on.”

 

via TNW Europe

 

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Read about start-ups scenes in L.A. and Berlin:

 

And, some beautiful photos of Switzerland:

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In 2011, China sent more rockets into space than the U.S. – first-time ever

For the first time ever, China has launched more rockets into orbit in a year than the U.S. In 2011, the Chinese sent 19 rockets into space. The U.S. sent just 18. Russia, the Walmart of space launches, fired off no fewer than 31 rockets.

…Beijing is not about to catch up to Washington in space. For starters, the U.S. government spends more money than any other country on space launches and spacecraft: nearly $50 billion, compared to just $25 billion or so for all other governments combined…Washington is projected to possess the biggest space arsenal for decades to come.

American launch organizations, which include NASA, the military and several private companies, had a perfect success rate last year. China lost one experimental satellite when a Long March rocket veered off course in August. Russia had the worst record, with four failed launches.

U.S. rockets on average carried more satellites per launch than their Chinese counterparts. Last year, the 18 U.S.-launched rockets placed 28 satellites into orbit. Nineteen Chinese launches placed just 21 sats. Russia’s 31 launches delivered 53 spacecraft.

via Wired

Not to mention that all the American satellites last longer, but that isn’t the most interesting part for me. What is fascinating is the total amount of spacecraft up there. The report says that during the Cold War the U.S. had 400 satellites in orbit.

It’s not crazy to think that number has doubled or tripled since then. Plus, all the other countries (Japan, European Union) launching things these days. I bet the number is somewhere in the 1,000-2,000 range!

 

// Thx to Dave Schroeder, Photo via Jurvetson

SpaceX test fires the new SuperDraco propulsion engine

SpaceX successfully test fires SuperDraco, a powerful new engine that will play a critical role in efforts to change the future of human spaceflight.

These engines will power a revolutionary launch escape system that will make Dragon the safest spacecraft in history and enable it to land propulsively on Earth or another planet with pinpoint accuracy.

In a series of tests conducted at SpaceX’s Rocket Development Facility in McGregor, Texas, the SuperDraco sustained full duration, full thrust firing as well as a series of deep throttling demonstrations.

 

Learn more about SpaceX:

iPad vs Kindle Fire – how many apps for each after one-year?

After one year, Amazon’s Kindle Fire has 31,000 apps:

March 15, 2012 – Amazon Appstore for Android, which helped lay the foundation for a big Kindle Fire launch, is celebrating its one-year anniversary and has now eclipsed 31,000 apps, up from 4,000 at launch. That’s a strong first year for an app store that began as an alternative to the Android Market and then became the primary channel for Kindle Fire users to get their apps.

via Giga Om

 

And, after one year, Apple’s iPad had 75,000 apps:

April 3, 2011 – One year exactly after its 2010 release, the iPad app store held 75,000 apps. Three months later, another 25,000 have been added for a total surpassing 100,000, according to MacStories. Can that pace continue? It’s hard to believe that it will, but the number of apps added to the App Store for the iPhone hasn’t slowed at all, recently surpassing the 500,000 mark.

via Information Week

SpaceX manifesto: transparency, low prices, and worldwide dominance for the future of space travel

I recognize that our prices shatter the historical cost models of government-led developments, but these prices are not arbitrary, premised on capturing a dominant share of the market, or “teaser” rates meant to lure in an eager market only to be increased later. These prices are based on known costs and a demonstrated track record, and they exemplify the potential of America’s commercial space industry.

- Elon Musk, The facts about SpaceX costs

SpaceX, the private space transport company founded by Elon Musk, is riding high from their latest slate of successful launches and taking it to the rest of the industry. This includes the traditional American space companies and the entire international system.

Mr. Musk is even boasting that the Chinese cannot compete with SpaceX, or as he puts it, “this is a clear case of American innovation trumping lower overseas labor rates.”

In case you didn’t know, Elon Musk does this all the time. As the power player behind Tesla and Solar City, the country’s largest solar company, he has an impressive resume. Add to that his famous Iron Man chops, where Robert Downey Jr. has based his super hero character on him.

By itself, SpaceX is pretty impressive. The launch manifest shows 36 flights with twelve from NASA, eight from Iridium (private company, satellite phones), three from Europe, and more from five other countries. Not to mention an undisclosed contract with the U.S. Air Force.

The company has been profitable since 2007 and has grown from 160 employees in 2005 to 1,500 in 2011.

The next step is a manned space flight and all signs are a go. The demand to get astronauts into space, and just about everything else in space travel, is so strong that they are winning contracts before they launch vehicles and sometimes before the designs have been drawn up.

Keep an eye on this company because it may just be the next big thing.

Oh, and they are hiring, over 100 positions..