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By Abhishek Baxi
Microsoft is taking cloud computing to the next frontier - space
by Abhishek Baxi
Microsoft has announced Azure Space to evolve Azure for the mission needs of the space community as it grows in innovation with far lower barriers of access for public and private-sector organizations.
Microsoft aims to make space connectivity and compute increasingly attainable with Azure Space across industries including agriculture, energy, telecommunications, and government. The company has brought together a team of space industry veterans to work alongside their product engineers and scientists to build cloud capabilities that meet the unique needs of space, including simulating space missions, discovering insights from satellite data, and fueling innovation both on the ground and in orbit.
Microsoft also announced partnerships that will enable fast, secure satellite networking anywhere in the world as part of its Azure Space ecosystem. These partnerships will bring multi-orbit, multi-band, multi-vendor satellite capabilities alongside the recently announced Azure Orbital ground station service for comprehensive satellite connectivity solutions.
Microsoft is also working on developing repeatable digital technologies to help the space community launch faster with mission assurance, such as the Azure Orbital Emulator announced today. Azure Orbital Emulator is an emulation environment that conducts massive satellite constellation simulations to allow satellite developers to evaluate and train AI algorithms and satellite networking before launching. The company has shared that Azure Orbital Emulator is already being used by Azure Government customers.
With Azure Space, Microsoft is looking at supporting customers on their space missions off and on the planet, and to use the power of cloud and space technology to help business across industries.
By Usman Khan Lodhi
Nokia to build the first cellular network on the Moon
by Usman Khan Lodhi
When NASA makes a return to the Moon by 2024, it wants its astronauts to have an efficient and reliable way to communicate with one another. To make that happen, the space agency is turning to Nokia for help and providing the Finnish company a $14.1 million funding to roll out 4G on the Moon.
Nokia has today announced further details about the project, which will pave the way towards a sustainable human presence on the lunar surface. The firm noted that deploying the first LTE/4G communications system in space will be extremely vital for NASA's Artemis program, which seeks to establish a sustainable human presence on the moon by 2030. The announcement read:
Nokia said that its solution will be "ultra-compact, low-power, space-hardened, end-to-end LTE," and will be deployed on the Moon in late 2022. The firm plans to integrate its wireless communications system on the lunar surface in partnership with Intuitive Machines, a Texas-based private spacecraft design firm.
Once the delivery is made, the network will automatically configure itself and establish the first LTE communications system on the Moon, Nokia noted.
By Ather Fawaz
James Webb Telescope completes environmental testing ahead of 2021 launch
by Ather Fawaz
NASA's James Webb Space Telescope is the world’s largest, most powerful, and complex space science telescope ever and is slated for launch next year. In the march to launch of this $9.8 billion venture, the telescope is undergoing the final stages of testing after completing assembly back in August.
Yesterday, it successfully completed its environmental testing, indicating that that the telescope is ready to thrive in the harsh conditions that it will be subjected to once it's launched into space.
The environmental testing comprised of two stages in two separate facilities at the Northrop Grumman’s Space Park in Redondo Beach in California. In the first stage, the Webb was transported to the acoustic testing chamber where it was subjected to sound pressure levels above 140 decibels to mimic a rocket's ascent to space. Close to 600 individual channels of motion data were observed and recorded, and the test was marked as a success. In the second stage of the test, the telescope was transported to a separate facility to simulate low-frequency vibrations that occur during liftoff. This too was a success.
The James Webb Telescope. Image via NASA While the telescope has been meticulously tested throughout its assembly and developmental stages, last night's tests, were a milestone achievement. This is because they are the last tests of their kind before the telescope will be ferried to South America for launch. However, the complete verification of flight worthiness will occur after the telescope has successfully completed final deployment tests.
These should be around the corner as the completion of the environmental tests put Webb into the pipeline for a final systems evaluation before it receives a go for launch. Should the things go according to plan and weather permitting, the James Webb Telescope will take flight atop the Ariane V rocket from Europe's Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana on October 31, next year.
By Ather Fawaz
SpaceX reveals further details for its spaceport in Texas
by Ather Fawaz
Image via SpaceX(Twitter) Back in June, we received confirmation from SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk that the company is building a floating spaceport for space travel and hypersonic flights around the Earth. The floating spaceport would be built from refurbished oil platforms, will house a hyperloop for transportation to and from the land, and will be based in Boca Chica, Texas. Now, we have more details about the project.
As spotted by Michael Sheetz (@thesheetztweetz) from CNBC, a new job posting by SpaceX for a 'Resort Development Manager' at Brownsville, Texas, deems the future spaceport at the Boca Chica Village in Texas as a "21st-century Spaceport” and the company’s first resort. Before enlisting the key responsibilities expected of a resort development manager, the company states:
Judging from this and the fact that Starship is now the major focal point of SpaceX's efforts, development and construction for the spaceport have picked up the pace. Just recently, the SN5 prototype for Starship completed a liftoff and landing sequence as part of a test. Though Musk stated that it will be at least a further two to three years before any complete test flights commence.
UK Space Agency calls for 5G and space proposals
by Paul Hill
The UK Space Agency (UKSA), European Space Agency (ESA), and the Department for Digital, Culture Media & Sport (DCMS) have called for ideas from companies about how they can use 5G terrestrial and space technology to support the UK’s logistics businesses.
According to the bodies, the need for connected digital networks is increasingly replacing the old physical infrastructure. They said that with the rise of 5G, innovative systems such as the Internet of Things will become more pervasive. The request for ideas is seeking ways to use such technologies creatively in order to make the highly-connected world operate more efficiently.
Commenting on the call for ideas, Catherine Mealing-Jones, Director of Growth at UKSA, said:
While everyone could see that the world was becoming more digital, an acceleration of the shift occurred in the form of COVID-19. For those lucky enough to retain their jobs, thousands will begin to get used to working from home as the new norm, further highlighting the need for a strong digital infrastructure acting as a backbone of the economy.
Companies that think they can answer the call and could use ground and space 5G technology to support UK logistics should head over to the ESA website where they can find more details about the call for proposals.