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SpaceX surpasses 1,000-satellite mark in latest Starlink launch

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WASHINGTON — SpaceX launched its latest set of Starlink satellites Jan. 20, bringing the total number of spacecraft launched so far for that broadband constellation to more than 1,000.

The Falcon 9 lifted off at 8:02 a.m. Eastern from Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center. The rocket’s upper stage deployed the payload of 60 Starlink satellites 65 minutes after liftoff.

The rocket’s first stage, making its eighth flight, landed on a droneship in the Atlantic Ocean. SpaceX cautioned during the webcast of the launch that the potential for high ground-level winds made the landing an “envelope expansion” attempt. However, the stage landed without incident in the center of the droneship.

The launch was the first time SpaceX flew a booster eight times. The booster, first used to launch the Demo-1 commercial crew test flight in March 2019, was most recently flown on the SXM-7 launch Dec. 13. The 38-day turnaround time between launches is also a record for the shortest time between flights of the same booster.

With this launch, SpaceX has now delivered 1,015 Starlink satellites into orbit, dating back to the two “Tintin” prototypes launched in February 2018. Of those 1,015, 951 are still in orbit, according to statistics maintained by spaceflight observer Jonathan McDowell.

SpaceX ramped up deployment of Starlink last year, with 14 launches. The rapid growth of the constellation has alarmed astronomers, who are concerned that Starlink and other megaconstellations could disrupt their observations.

Speaking during a session of the 237th Meeting of the American Astronomical Society Jan. 14, Patricia Cooper, vice president of satellite government affairs at SpaceX, argued that the company has taken major steps to reduce the impact of Starlink satellites on astronomy over the last year.

“We at SpaceX have certainly enjoyed what I would call a thoughtful and creative technical collaboration with an ever-widening group of astronomers,” she said, resulting in a “deeper and fuller technical understanding of the intersection of the satellite constellation sector and specific projects affect ground-based astronomy.”

That has resulted in the development of a version of the Starlink satellites called VisorSat, which is equipped with visors to prevent sunlight from reflecting off antennas and other surfaces on the satellites, reducing their brightness. Every Starlink satellite launched after August 2020 is equipped with visors, accounting for more than 400 satellites, she said.

The goal of the VisorSats is to reduce the brightness of the Starlink satellites to magnitude 7 or fainter. Observations of those satellites that have reached their final orbit, though, indicate they have an average magnitude of 6.5, said Pat Seitzer of the University of Michigan during the conference session.

Cooper said SpaceX is committed to continue to work with astronomers to mitigate the effect of Starlink, but also emphasized the benefits of the system. “It’s important to keep the purpose of this disruption to astronomy, from your perspective, in context of the goal of the constellation we’re deploying, which is broadband connectivity,” she said.

“This collaboration needs to continue,” she added, because those discussions are “what’s getting us to a much better, more successful way of coexisting.”

Source: https://spacenews.com/spacex-surpasses-1000-satellite-mark-in-latest-starlink-launch/

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Aeroforma expands sheetmetal aerospace parts production

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The addition of a new hydroform deep draw press from Quintus Technologies brings increased capacity, flexibility, and production efficiencies to aerospace parts manufacturer Aeroforma Technologies.

Installed in the Aeroforma Technologies facility in Cheltenham, the Quintus model QFM 1.1-800 Deep Draw Press uses hydraulic pressure up to 11,600 psi to form parts in a variety of shapes, thicknesses, and tough materials, achieving tight tolerances with minimal thinning.

Proprietary flexible forming technology enables the press to perform four forming operations in a single machine. In addition to block tool forming, cavity tool forming, and expansion forming, the very versatile Quintus press is also equipped with a movable punch forming system for deep drawing of intricate shapes.

The press is a good fit for Aeroforma Technologies, which over several decades has earned an enviable reputation as a supplier of high-quality fabricated metal components to the aerospace industry. Installation of the QFM 1.1-800 represents Aeroforma Technologies’ commitment to benefit its customers by bringing core processes under one roof to reduce lead times, streamline logistics, and increase competitiveness.

“Our strategy of providing a vertically integrated sourcing solution—from raw material procurement through to forming, welding, surface treating, and assembly—is one which our customer base is finding increasingly attractive,” said Antoni Kwiatkowski, group managing director, Aeroforma Technologies. “Key to that strategy is ensuring state-of-the-art machinery along with extensive industry knowledge and experience. With its class-leading hydroform envelope and depth of draw, the Quintus press helps ensure that we remain ahead of the pack.”

The Quintus Flexform process utilises a combination of a single rigid tool half, operating in conjunction with a flexible rubber diaphragm subjected to high hydraulic pressure, to form sheetmetal parts with great accuracy and repeatability. This process produces high-quality parts, in complex shapes and tough alloys, and at tight tolerances. It also generates significant tool and process cost savings, especially of great value where intricately shaped components are required in low to moderate volumes.

The QFM 1.1-800 is equipped with two forming stations, one of which is the deep draw, offering a maximum blank diameter of 43.1 inches (1095 mm) and maximum draw depth of 10 inches (254 mm). The second forming station is tailor made to accommodate block tool, cavity tool, and expansion tool forming.

“Our Flexform technology is ideal for aerospace engine components, including deep drawn parts, in high-strength, heat-resistant materials,” said Jan Söderström, CEO of Quintus Technologies.

www.quintustechnologies.com

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Source: https://www.aero-mag.com/aeroforma-expands-sheetmetal-aerospace-parts-production/

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Meggitt signs another 737 MAX contract

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Meggitt has signed a long-term, £multi-million agreement with Boeing for the supply of cockpit indicators on the 737 MAX. The contract covers a suite of cockpit indicators across all versions of the aircraft.

This contract expands Meggitt content on the 737 MAX programme, which already includes the engine and APU fire detection & suppression systems, electrical power conversion equipment, and elastomeric seals. Deliveries are scheduled to commence in Q2 2022.

Meggitt chief executive, Tony Wood, said: “We are delighted to be expanding our relationship with Boeing at this important time as the 737 MAX returns to service and the wider aviation industry starts to look through the challenges of the last year towards a recovering outlook for air traffic globally.”

www.meggitt.com

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thyssenkrupp Aerospace seals RUAG materials order

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thyssenkrupp Aerospace has announced it will supply the technology group RUAG International with material for projects involving OEMs such as Airbus, Boeing and SAAB starting in 2021.

The agreement covers the procurement and delivery of aluminium, titanium, plastics and steel, just-in-time. The first orders have already been placed with thyssenkrupp Aerospace.

For some of their current projects, RUAG Aerostructures was looking for a partner who could plan material requirements with pinpoint accuracy, while also handling increased material requirements at short notice. These special requirements cover projects, such as the payload mounts for additional fuel tanks for the SAAB JAS 39 Gripen and ailerons for Boeing.

“We look forward to supporting RUAG Aerostructures,” said Ludwig Greiner, key account manager at thyssenkrupp Aerospace Germany. “With our materials expertise and supply chain competence, we can plan for the long term but also respond to rush orders. We deliver the material at the right time, ensuring that our customers can focus on their core business.”

Marco Geering, general manager at RUAG Aerostructures, added: “In our business, reliability and flexibility are particularly important. With thyssenkrupp Aerospace we have a competent partner at our side.”

www.thyssenkrupp-aerospace.com

 

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We Need to Build a Cloud for the Next Decade: Satya Nadella

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As the world enters the second wave of digital transformation, we need to foundationally transform how the cloud can drive the next level of economic growth, Microsoft Corp. Chief Executive Satya Nadella said.

Nadella was speaking at the Microsoft Ignite 2021, the annual flagship event virtually attended by more than 100,000 global participants, including IT decision-makers, developers, data professionals, security professionals and other technology enthusiasts.

“The true test of technology has always been whether organizations can improve their time to value, increase agility, and reduce costs…but as the world recovers, it will require much more from technology and the cloud, in particular, to help address our most pressing challenges,” Nadella said.

Five key attributes will drive the next-generation of innovation in the cloud, Nadella said. “These are ubiquitous and decentralized computing, sovereign data and ambient intelligence, empowered creators and communities, expanded economic opportunity for the global workforce, and trust by design,” he said.

As businesses have accelerated their digital journeys over the past year, the demand for technology has significantly picked up to enable various use-cases like telehealth, remote manufacturing, and new ways of working from home. Microsoft believes the cloud has been the foundation to enable all of these.

Microsoft announced ‘Microsoft Mesh’, a new mixed reality platform built on, which enables geographically distributed teams to interact holographically with each other.

“With mixed reality technology, the digital and physical worlds have come together,” Nadella said.

“This has been the dream for mixed reality, the idea from the very beginning,” said Microsoft Technical Fellow Alex Kipman. “You can actually feel like you are in the same place with someone sharing content or you can teleport from different mixed reality devices and be present with people even when you’re not physically together.”

Microsoft also announced a new semantic search capability in Azure Cognitive Search, an Artificial Intelligence (AI)-powered cloud search service for mobile and web app development. This capability enables developers to deliver results based on user intent as opposed to a keyword-based search, which is the industry norm. Semantic search leverages some of the most advanced natural language models to improve the relevance and ranking of search results.

The post We Need to Build a Cloud for the Next Decade: Satya Nadella appeared first on ELE Times.

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