Recently Browsing 0 members
No registered users viewing this page.
UK set to help build space debris removal satellite
by Paul Hill
The UK government has announced a firm based in the UK will help build the Clearspace-1 satellite which aims to clear space debris. The satellite is jokingly called ‘The Claw’ and will begin its mission in 2025.
Once in space, The Claw will use a pincer motion to collect debris and then control it to re-enter Earth’s atmosphere where it will burn up. The debris that is sent into the atmosphere will be too small to make it through the atmosphere and pose a risk to life but if any does eke its way through there’s a very high likelihood it’ll end up in the sea.
According to the government, Elecnor Deimos in the UK will design Clearspace-1’s Attitude and Orbit Control System (AOCS), a vital part of the entity which helps to orientate and position the satellite to help grab space debris using power generators, thrusters, and antennas.
Commenting on the news, Science Minister Amanda Solloway said:
The AOCS developed by Elecnor Deimos UK will be integrated into the satellite’s autopilot. Elecnor Deimos in Portugal and Germany are also developing parts of the satellite ready for the mission in 2025. As more and more satellites go into space, missions like Clearspace-1 become more and more necessary to avoid collisions.
The UK begins research into space-based solar power
by Paul Hill
The UK government has announced that it’s commissioning new research into space-based solar power (SBSP) systems that collect solar energy in space and beam it back to receivers on earth using high-frequency radio waves. The ground-based stations then feed the energy into the electrical power grid.
According to the government, the idea was first floated by the SciFi author, Isaac Asimov, in 1941. The UK’s research will seek to find whether the engineering hurdles and economic hurdles can be overcome. It believes that launching systems into space will be cost-effective with commercial space launch systems but it remains to be seen whether these massive satellites could be assembled in orbit.
Commenting on the news, Dr Graham Turnock, Chief Executive of the UK Space Agency, said:
The government has asked Frazer-Nash Consultancy to research space-based solar power. While the government expects this plan to be feasible with affordable launch systems other problems could still arise. If the research says the idea is sound, then it could drastically shift the UK’s energy mix away from carbon-emitting sources.
Virgin Media launches a new TV platform called Virgin TV 360
by Paul Hill
Virgin Media has announced the launch of its new TV platform, Virgin TV 360. With the new TV platform, customers will get a new Mini box, a new TV remote with voice control and smart new features that offer a personalised experience.
Other features on Virgin TV 360 include Profiles and Startover. Profiles allow family members to receive personal recommendations for shows, select their favourite channels, and more. Startover allows customers to skip back to the start of a programme being broadcast live even if it has already begun.
Commenting on the launch, David Bouchier, Chief TV & Entertainment Officer at Virgin Media, said:
The new Mini box comes with the ability to record a programme once and then it can be shared across multiple set top boxes. This will be helpful for those who have TVs in multiple rooms and want to watch their shows throughout the home. With the newly updated Virgin TV Go app, customers can even pause a programme on their set top box and carry on watching it on their tablet or mobile phone in another room or on the move.
Virgin Media said that any new customers taking one of its TV and broadband bundles will get Virgin TV 360 as standard. Existing customers with the Ultimate Oomph bundle or those who upgrade to Ultimate Oomph will also be able to get Virgin TV 360 later in the year at no extra cost.
The Ultimate Oomph bundle comes with Virgin Media’s premium TV package that includes 250 channels such as Sky Cinema, Sky Sports and BT Sport channels. It includes two TV set top boxes, ultrafast M500 Fibre broadband, a landline and an unlimited mobile SIM. The firm plans to boost broadband speeds to 600Mbps for existing customers. The Ultimate Oomph bundle currently sets you back £79.99 per month.
UK, Jersey, and Gibraltar contact tracing apps now speak to each other
by Paul Hill
The UK’s Department of Health and Social Care has announced that coronavirus contact tracing apps across the UK, Jersey, and Gibraltar are now interoperable. The Scottish, Northern Irish and Jersey apps have all been speaking to each other since the end of October but an update to the NHS COVID-19 app and the Beat COVID Gibraltar app means all the apps in the territories can speak to each other.
With England going back into lockdown from today, travel to different areas of the UK will be greatly reduced but for those who have no choice but to travel, their contact tracing app will be a lot more useful.
To prevent another round of fear, uncertainty and doubt about the app, the Department of Health and Social Care said that the interoperability will not compromise the app’s commitment to privacy. It said:
The government also took the opportunity to mention that the NHS COVID-19 app was now being used by more than 19 million adults across England and Wales. With the app notifying people to stay at home if it thinks they could have coronavirus, it allows for a break in the chain of infection which inhibits the virus.
UK charity sees surge in child abuse image reports
by Paul Hill
The UK’s Internet Watch Foundation, a charity which focuses on fighting child sexual abuse content online, has announced that it saw a record number of reports of suspected child sexual abuse material reported to its hotline. The increase in reports has partly been attributed to the coronavirus lockdown which meant more people were home and were able to report content they came across.
According to the IWF, September saw the highest number of reports it has ever seen. It processed 15,258 reports from the public in September 2020 compared to 10,514 in September 2019. While it's likely there's more illegal content online, the IWF also cautioned that it had received more false reports than it was used to receiving.
Commenting on the upswing in reports, Hotline Director Chris Hughes said:
The charity said that public reporting accuracy had fallen from 35% in January to 26% in September which ultimately means that it was dealing with thousands of reports which were not within IWF’s remit. Hughes also commented on the false reports, saying:
The IWF allows people to report ‘child sexual abuse content’ and ‘non-photographic child sexual abuse images’ according to its home page. Given the increase in false reports, the IWF requests that people ensure the content they’re reporting is something the charity can help with otherwise it will be wasting analysts' time.