World’s Largest Plane Takes Flight, Can Air-Launch Rockets Into Space

World's Largest Plane Takes Flight, Can Air-Launch Rockets Into Space

Stratolaunch lifted off from the Mojave Air and Space Port in the California desert (AFP)

Stratolaunch, the massive aircraft dreamed up by the late Paul Allen, flew for the first time Saturday, becoming the largest plane by wingspan ever to take to the skies.

Larger than Howard Hughes’s Spruce Goose – which flew only once, in 1947 – Stratolaunch lifted off from the Mojave Air and Space Port in the California desert and stayed aloft for a couple of hours, according to photos and videos posted on social media.

The plane is a behemoth, with a twin fuselage, 28 wheels, six 747 jet engines and a wingspan longer than a football field, end zones included.

But Allen, the billionaire co-founder of Microsoft, died in October, leaving the future of the plane and the company behind it in doubt. From the beginning, Allen’s dream was to use the plane to help make getting items, and possibly people, into space more affordable and accessible.

Embedded video

Built by Scaled Composites, a subsidiary of Northrop Grumman, Stratolaunch was designed to carry as many as three rockets tethered to its belly into the skies; the rockets would then drop, ignite and shoot off into space with their payloads.

Allen was fascinated with the capabilities of small satellites, how they could help keep tabs on Earth’s environment, and thought “air-launching” rockets, as the process is called, could help usher in a new era of space flight.

vu8t2a6c

Stratolaunch is a behemoth, with a twin fuselage, 28 wheels, six 747 jet engines and a wingspan longer than a football field, end zones included (AFP)

“The capabilities of these small satellites is something that’s really interesting and fascinating,” he said. “Both for communications, where a lot of people are putting up constellations of satellites, and for monitoring the challenged health of the planet.”

The Pentagon, which is looking to become more responsive in space, had also taken an interest in Stratlolaunch. Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson visited the plane, as did Vice President Mike Pence, the head of the National Space Council.

e6b44tk4

Stratolaunch was financed by Paul Allen, a co-founder of Microsoft as a way to get into the market for launching small satellites

The company was even thinking about human spaceflight, and had preliminary plans to develop a mini space shuttle, called “Black Ice.”

But for now all those plans appear to be on hold.

gokkjoe

Stratolaunch was designed to carry as many as three rockets tethered to its belly into the skies; the rockets would then drop, ignite and shoot off into space with their payloads (AFP)

Allen, a space enthusiast for much of his life, funded the development of the spaceplane that won the $10 million Ansari X Prize in 2004 by becoming the first nongovernmental vehicle to pass the threshold in space.

At the time, however, the risks of human spaceflight worried him, and he decided to get out of the business. In 2011, though, he was back, announcing his plans to build the world’s largest airplane.

8nh834cc

Stratolaunch: The Pentagon, which is looking to become more responsive in space, had also taken an interest in Stratlolaunch

“You have a certain number of dreams in your life you want to fulfill,” he said at the time. “And this is a dream I’m very excited about.”

[“source=ndtv”]

Samsung expected to launch Galaxy A80, A70, A40 today

Samsung is all set to launch a bunch of smartphones today under a freshly updated A series lineup. The company is expected to launch three new smartphones namely A80, A70, and A40 during the ‘A Galaxy Event’ in Bangkok, Milan, and Sao Paulo. The company is hosting a live-stream of the event on its official website which starts at 5.30 pm IST.

Out of the three smartphones, Samsung recently had a quiet launch of the Galaxy A70 on its website. However, the company did not reveal the price and availability of the smartphone. The Galaxy A40 was also released in some regions last month, and it is expected that the company would make the smartphone globally available starting today.

Galaxy A80/A90

The most anticipated smartphone, however, is the Galaxy A80. The smartphone was speculated to be launched as the A90, but recent rumours suggest that Samsung would launch the A80 with similar specifications as the A90. The A80/A90 is expected to feature a 6.7-inch Full HD+ AMOLED screen with a resolution of 1080*2400. The smartphone would not have a notch and instead would go all-screen with a truly Infinity display.
The new design makes way for a pop-up rotary camera in the A80/A90. A render video explains that the device would have a slider design with a dual-facing camera. The camera is capable of turning and becoming the front camera as well. The primary sensor would house a 48MP f/2.0 lens coupled with an 8MP f/2.4 ultra-wide sensor and a Time of Flight sensor.

For a powerful performance, the Snapdragon 7150 is slated to debut with the device paired with 6GB or 8GB RAM and 128GB internal storage. The Snapdragon 7150 is said to be a successor of Qualcomm’s current mid-range chipset Snapdragon 710. The high-end device is rumoured to house a smaller battery of 3,700 mAh compared to the already-launched Galaxy A10, A30, A50 and Galaxy A20 with slightly bigger capacity batteries. The A80/A90 will have fast charging support of 25W and run on Android 9.0 based One UI.

Galaxy A70

The Galaxy A70 sports a massive 6.7-inch Full HD+ Infinity-U display with a resolution of 1080*2400 pixels and a tall aspect ratio of 20:9. It also has an ‘On-screen fingerprint’ scanner which is assumed to be an optical scanner. At the heart of the smartphone is an Octa-core processor (Dual 2.0GHz + Hexa 1.7GHz). Samsung has not mentioned the chipset used, but it is assumed to be a high-end Exynos processor.

The SoC would be paired with 6GB and 8GB RAM options and have 128GB internal storage, expandable up to 512GB via microSD. Three cameras handle the camera department at the back and a single 32MP f/2.0 front sensor at the front for selfies. The triple camera setup includes a primary 32MP f1.7 lens along with a 123-degree ultra wide 8MP f/2.2 secondary sensor. The third sensor is a 5MP f/2.2 depth sensor.

The phone packs a massive 4,500 mAh battery and supports 25W fast-charging. The phone runs on One UI and has been launched in four colour options: Black, Blue, Coral, White. It is expected that Samsung would unveil the pricing and availability details of the Galaxy A70 today at the event.

Galaxy A40

The Galaxy A40 features a smaller 5.9-inch Full HD+ Infinity-U display with a resolution of 1080*2280 pixels. Under the hood, the device is powered by an octa-core Samsung Exynos 7885 SoC which is paired with 4GB RAM and 64GB internal storage, further expandable up to 512GB via microSD. For optics, it gets a dual-camera setup with a 16MP F/2.0 primary sensor and a secondary 5MP ultra-wide sensor with an aperture of f/2.2. The notch on the display houses a 25MP camera for selfies. It has a 3,100 mAh battery and runs on Samsung’s One UI based on Android 9.0 Pie. The phone has been priced at EUR 249 (roughly Rs 19,500) and launched in four colours – Black, Blue, Coral, and White.

[“source=moneycontrol”]

Xiaomi Redmi 7, Redmi 7A and Redmi Y3 tipped to launch in India soon; here’re the details

Xiaomi Redmi 7, Redmi 7A and Redmi Y3 tipped to launch in India soon; here're the details

Xiaomi launched three Redmi phones recently in India — Redmi Note 7, Redmi Note 7 Pro and the Redmi Go. However, the launches aren’t over yet and if leaks are to be believed, Xiaomi may launch three more phones this year in India. As per the tipster Ishan Agarwal, Xiaomi is planning to launch Redmi 7, Redmi 7A and the Redmi Y3 in India soon. According to Ishan, Xiaomi will first launch the Redmi 7 and then Redmi Y3. Not much is known about the launch of Redmi 7A. To recollect, Redmi 7 has already been launched in China.

Talking about the impending launch of Redmi 7A, Redmi 7 and Redmi Y3, Ishan Agarwal tweeted, “As you all would expect, Xiaomi is soon launching the Redmi 7 in India. It will also be launching the Redmi Y3 after that, probably next month or so. And that’s not all, I believe they are preparing another budget smartphone with model code C3F which is probably Redmi 7A.”

Redmi 7 comes with an octa-core Snapdragon 632 SoC paired with up to 4GB of RAM, 4,000mAh battery that cn be charged using a 10W charger. The phone has a 6.26-inch LCD HD+ display with screen resolution of 1520×720 pixels and an aspect ratio of 19:9.

The camera module on the Redmi 7 includes a dual camera setup on the back with a 12-MP sensor and an 8-MP sensor. For selfies, the device has a 8-MP camera and a lot of AI features. The Redmi 7 comes with a gradient finish and waterdrop notch on the front that includes the selfie camera. The bezels on the sides are also slimmer compared to the Redmi 6.

As far as pricing is concerned, Redmi 7 was launched in China for a starting price of 699 yuan which roughly translates to around Rs 7,000.

Meanwhile, the Redmi 7A was spotted on 3C certification site in China in December. Similarly, Redmi Y3 hasn’t launched yet, but was spotted on Wi-Fi Alliance running on Android Pie.

[“source=businesstoday”]

Concerns Over Debris Left By ASAT Missile Before ISRO’s April 1 Launch

Concerns Over Debris Left By ASAT Missile Before ISRO's April 1 LaunchISRO will launch the PSLV on April 1 carrying multiple payloads.NEW DELHI: 

Will India’s recent test of the anti-satellite (ASAT) missile endanger the launch of the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle tomorrow? The anti-satellite weapon launched as part of Mission Shakti created a new debris pile some 300 kilometres above the Earth.

When the PSLV is launched from Sriharikota, it will have to traverse through that debris belt where there would be a risk of collision.

Using a new rocket part of the ballistic missile defence system on March 27, India shot down the over-700 kilogram MicroSAT-R satellite at an altitude of 300 kilometres, creating a debris pile of some 300 pieces.

The whole operation was completed in three minutes after the killer missile was launched from Dr Abdul Kalam Island off the coast of Odisha by scientists of the Defence Research and Development Organisation or DRDO.

06gjg46o

The ASAT missile can bring an enemy nation to a halt by disrupting communication systems.

The big question that needs some introspection as the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) gets ready for the PSLV launch is – what are the risks from this new debris that India itself has created? And does ISRO have a plan to mitigate this new threat?

Experts say that at 300 kilometres, the very high speed collision of two man-made objects would generate a lot of space debris and they would certainly come in the way of future launches at least for the next several weeks.

India is launching a satellite tomorrow, six days after the orbital collision. This too is another satellite belonging to the DRDO. Thus, there are concerns of whether the DRDO, by carrying out Mission Shakti, has endangered its own satellite called EMISAT.

“Yes, theoretically, that is right. But you should understand that today in space, millions of debris are floating around. Every satellite launch leaves anything between 100-150 fragments, they could be small bolts, they could be heat shields, they could be anything,” VK Saraswat, former DRDO head and member of the government think tank NITI Aayog told NDTV.

“These fragments keep floating around because as soon as you get out of atmosphere, nothing comes back; it always remains there and keeps on revolving because it is at the same speed of the satellite. So when they keep revolving they have a tendency to come in the way of other objects that are going to be propelled. That is why internationally there is a programme today to remove debris as much as possible and India is a signatory to that,” he said.

“Launching an anti-satellite missile does not create even 50 per cent of what we are doing while launching a large satellite, so it is not that we are going to increase by… suppose we have created 10 or 50 or 60 debris elements, one lakh or one million have become that much extra,” Mr Saraswat said.

On its part, before any launch, the ISRO does look out for space debris and on this occasion it would be more vigilant. “Collision avoidance is a standard procedure and on this launch at Sriharikota we will be extra cautious,” said Vivek Singh, ISRO assistant scientific secretary.

On several occasions when ISRO’s collision avoidance team has detected a threat of debris coming in the path of the rocket as it lifts off from Sriharikota, the launch has been postponed by a few minutes to ensure that the vehicle gets a clear path.

To track space debris, recently ISRO put in place a special multi-object tracking radar at Sriharikota. In addition, Indian space scientists depend on public domain information on space debris and situational awareness made available by the American armed forces.

Under normal circumstances, using these sophisticated radars the ISRO monitors space debris over the space port and on this occasion, sources say they are going to take abundant precautions.

[“source=ndtv”]