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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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”]

Here’s what millennials can do to make money from equity market

When the stock market was touching new highs in January 2018, Mumbai-based Vivek Mistry, 24, got tempted to invest in equities after completing his commerce graduation in 2017. He was keen to learn about investing in equities through experience.

But he didn’t have money to invest in equities. So, in March 2018 he borrowed Rs 1 lakh from his parents and invested in equity markets. That wasn’t his only mistake.

He decided to dabble in derivatives; he bought future contracts of some state-owned banks. But dismal state of state-owned banks (the news of the Punjab National Bank fraud perpetrated by now-fugitive diamantaire Nirav Modi had just been unearthed at the time) and the non-performing asset malaise in banks, in general, didn’t raise enough flags for Mistry who went ahead anyway.

Within two weeks of investing, Mistry lost Rs 50,000 as he decided to wind up his derivative positions. “I made a big blunder from my very first investments by trading in derivatives futures contract and not keeping a stop loss,” said Mistry.

When it comes to dipping fingers in equities, Mistry is not alone. For instance, smallcase.com, an online platform for equity investing, 40 percent of investors are under 27.

A smallcase is an investment instrument; each smallcase is a portfolio of stocks or exchange-traded funds that reflect an idea, theme or strategy. Smallcases platform can be found on brokerages like Zerodha, HDFC Securities, Kotak Securities, Axis Direct, Edelweiss and others.

Nearly 70 percent of stockbroking firm Zerodha’s customers are under 35.

Unfortunately, ease of technology doesn’t restrict youngsters from making crucial investing mistakes.

“Several millennial investors tend to follow the unprofessional approach like investing on random recommendations from friends / colleagues, following ace investors blindly, etc. while investing in equities and tend to register losses due to the short-term and mid-term volatility,” said Hitesh Chotalia, Head of Education at trading and investment institute, FinLearn Academy.

Stop listening to your friends; listen to professionals

One big mistake, experts say, that many commit while investing in equity markets is to listen to their friends, neighbours, uncles, aunts and everyone. Yet, we squirm when it comes to paying a fee for professional advice.

Pune-based Gaurav Kapoor, 25, followed a friend’s advice in October 2018 and invested his hard-earned money in penny stocks (those stocks whose share prices are less than Rs 10). He invested Rs 1.5 lakh after his friend had advised him to buy shares of small-sized companies on the back of expectations of rally in stock prices in this penny stocks.

But, in just two months, the value of Kapoor’s investment went down to Rs 25,000. He had learnt his lesson and later turned to a financial advisor who has now put him on a systematic investment plan of Rs 20,000 in a mid-cap mutual fund scheme.

Mrin Agarwal, financial educator and founder of Finsafe India said: “Most millennials don’t have the capabilities to analyse financials of the company, interpret the news. They often end up buying stocks on tips from friends / colleagues.”

Buy and hold is good, but learn to let go as well

An earlier Moneycontrol – CRISIL Research Ltd study published in January spoke of the merits of patiently staying invested through turbulent times.

The study pointed out that if investors who had invested in January 2007 in rising markets had panicked and redeemed in 2008 after the global market crash that happened on the back of credit crisis and had withdrawn at the end of 2008, investors would have lost 33 percent.

Those who had stayed invested till the end of the year of 2011, would have made a marginal gain of 4 percent. But if you had stayed on till the end of 2017, you would have made 16 percent. The study had considered the 20 largest equity funds at the start of 2007.

But that doesn’t mean you hold on to bad investments. Experts advise that when you buy equity shares directly, it’s better to have a stop-loss instruction in equities with a broker to sell a security after it reaches the price limit you had set.

Nithin Kamath, Founder & CEO of online stock broker, Zerodha said, “Having stop losses as a part of every trade will assist in being a disciplined trader without which some of the most common trading blunders will come to the fore. Stop losses need to be defined on a number of factors such as the maximum loss an investor is willing to take on a position, a risk to reward ratio, market volatility etc.”

Averaging stock price – not fruitful at all times

Often investors average the stock price by accumulating more quantity when the price of a particular stock from portfolio tumbles.

For instance, in 2017 Kinjal Shah, 25, residing in Mumbai decided to accumulate equity shares of Reliance Communications.

She invested on the back of reports that the firm was seeking a buyer for itself since it’s own debt levels were high. Her calculation was that if a suitable company acquires Rcom, the firm’s own share price would go up.

Happily, she started accumulating this stock at a price of Rs 32 per stock. The sale hasn’t yet happened, but in the meanwhile, Rcom’s share price has fallen to Rs 5.06 (as on closing price of 25th March, 2019). She kept on averaging the cost price by continuing with her investment in this stock.

She ended up investing Rs 50,000 and accumulated 1200 quantity of Rcom stocks. Shah says: “When I knew the company was not doing well. I should have not invested into it with certain assumptions or should have a stop loss while investing to reduce losses.”

CA Sameer Shah, CEO at Sameer Shah and Associates from Mumbai advised, “Millennial investor always needs to study the fundamentals of the company from annual reports, quarterly results and take a second opinion from research analysts who track the company before investing and accumulating the fresh quantity of the stocks.”

Mutual funds or direct equities; do SIP

If you don’t have the time or wherewithal to go through a company’s annual reports or cash flow statements, it’s best to stick to mutual funds. Numerous online platforms are available that help investors to invest in mutual funds.

Financial advisors and distributors also offer holistic financial planning to guide the millennials to invest across equities and debt.

Suresh Sadagopan, SEBI registered investment advisor and Founder of Ladder7 Financial Advisories said, “Millennials can commence investment if they are able to understand the schemes or else it’s recommended to take help of the financial advisor to identify goals and invest in a diversified portfolio analysing the risk appetite.”

Avoid the lure of direct plans in mutual fund schemes if you are just starting out. These are plans that facilitate investors to invest in mutual funds without any distributor in the middle.

Hence, direct plans come with a lower expense ratio as distributor fees are not embedded in them. Regular plans have distributor fees embedded in them as they are sold by distributors. But trying to save a bit of cost here and you risk of losing much more if you end up investing in the wrong mutual fund scheme by yourself.

But SEBI registered investment advisors can sell direct plans if you are opt for their fee-based financial plan; a much safer way to invest in equities.

Kamath said, “One of the easiest ways today to get started for millennials is SIP in mutual funds, more specifically index funds. It can be something as simple as a combination of Nifty 50 + Nifty Next 50 index funds.”

Financial experts say that as you gain some experiences and survive at least one market cycle, you can slowly consider part of your overall portfolio investing in direct equities after having exposure in index funds and mutual funds initially.

If I sell equity soon after I buy, I am gambling

A large section of investment population buys stocks in the morning and sells it in a day. This is called day trading and millennials should stay away from it.

Sadagopan said, “An investor in day trading might make money on one day and lose ten times the money on the next day. It’s not to be considered as an investment at all.”

Several millennials prefer taking a position in selected stocks for short term and plan to exit after achieving target price.

Amol Joshi, founder of financial advisory firm Plan Rupee Investment Services said, “It’s important to note that equity is affected by both micro and macro-economic factors. So, many things are not in control of investors while investing for a short period of time.”

[“source=moneycontrol”]

Now Paytm Money users can track all their mutual fund investments on its app; claims over 1 million customers

Mutual Fund, Mutual Fund Performance In 2018, Equity Mutual Fund, Large Cap, Mid Cap, Small Cap, ELSS, Top Gainers Fund, Top Losers Fund

Paytm Money claimed of registering over 1 million users within six months of launch.

Popular online payment platform Paytm has said that its users would now be able to track the performance of their mutual fund investments on its subsidiary portal Paytm Money for free.

Investors would have to upload their Consolidated Account Statement (CAS) generated via Karvy Fintech on Paytm Money to track their all investments in their portfolio on the Paytm Money app, the company said in a statement.

Paytm Money claimed of registering over 1 million users within six months of launch.

Mutual fund investors putting their money via multiple channels including asset management companies, banks, advisors and distributors don’t get to look at the performance of their investments cohesively under a single platform.

Investors who haven’t invested via Paytm Money app can also track their daily portfolio performance irrespective of their channel or the mode of investment.

“We received many requests & feedback from Paytm Money users to be able to import their external investments to our platform. This assists an investor in keeping track of all investments in one place, further helping in their investment decisions,” said Paytm Money whole-time director Pravin Jadhav.

Paytm Money claimed to have partnered with 34 asset management companies covering over 94% AUM of the mutual fund industry.

Paytm’s mutual fund arm operates from Bengaluru and has a team of over 250 members Paytm Money, which aims to become a full-stack investment and wealth management services company, offer users mutual fund investments starting with Rs 100 via systematic investment plan or lump sum mode.

Recently at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Paytm’s chief financial officer said that the company is looking at expanding to 1-2 more developed markets this year. He told Reuters that the company has already found its footing in Canada and Japan while many of its commerce and financial services businesses have started to generate revenue and profits.

The company is also reportedly planning to expand into lending and credit cards services.

[“source=financialexpress”]

Mint Money tells you when it makes sense to take an education loan, how it can benefit you and how much it can cost

Keeping your accumulated savings invested and taking an education loan instead can benefit you. Photo: Alamy

Keeping your accumulated savings invested and taking an education loan instead can benefit you. Photo: Alamy

Any big-ticket spending requires you to either have the required funds in place or a financing option. When dealing with long-term financial goals, such as higher education of children, you have the advantage of planning much in advance. Here’s how you can go about the planning.

Start early

A lot of parents have an inclination to send their children abroad for higher education, at least at the post-graduate level, said Suresh Sadagopan, a certified financial planner and founder of Ladder 7 Financial Advisories. “In that case, the planning needs to start really early. They would need a horizon of at least 10-15 years. When we talk of international education at post-graduate level today, most likely it is not going to happen below ₹40 lakh,” he said.

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How do you work towards saving that amount? Prakash Praharaj, founder, Max Secure Financial Planners, said that the future cost of a particular course needs to be calculated taking into account at least 10% annual inflation. “Then calculate the current assets and investments accumulated for these goals. Then the remaining gap for the aimed amount is to be filled through monthly SIPs over the years,” he said.

Starting an SIP of ₹5,000-7,000 in an equity fund for 15 years and increasing it by 10-20% each year could help. However, Sadagopan said, given the fact that there are so many ongoing expenses these days, including other loans, it becomes difficult for parents to put aside a huge amount for the child’s post-graduation alone.

Consider taking loan

Even if you have been working on creating a higher education corpus, you need to consider taking an education loan. At present, the total expenses for higher education abroad could be in the range of ₹1 crore per child, Sadagopan said.

“A realistic thing that parents need to realise is that the child’s higher education is not their only goal. Retirement is also an important goal and they need to be aware of the fact that you can get a loan for all other requirements but not for retirement,” he said.

Own funds versus loan

But if someone has already accumulated the required amount, why should another repayment burden be taken on? The answer lies in two things, Praharaj said. “A cost benefit analysis suggests that taking an education loan and keeping the accumulated amount invested works in your favour. Moreover, it also helps in developing a sense of responsibility in the student. The realisation that a repayment has to be done by them keeps them focussed,” he said.

The math of keeping your accumulated savings invested and taking an education loan instead suggests that taking a loan results in significant benefits. For instance, if ₹1 crore is kept invested and an education loan for the same amount is taken, at the end of nine years, including the repayment holiday on the education loan, the net benefit could be around ₹87 lakh (see graph).

This includes the tax saved on repayment of loan. Borrowers of education loans can claim deduction on the interest paid, though not on the principal amount. Also, unlike in home loans, there is no limit to the amount that can be claimed as deduction.

Sadagopan said it is better that the parents keep the money with themselves and let the child take the loan. “In future if the child is struggling to find a job and pay back, you can step in to help at that point,” he said.

[“Source-livemint”]