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Canadian satellites to help combat threat of collisions in Earth orbit – Yahoo News Canada

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Humans produce a lot of garbage here on Earth. It turns out we produce a lot of it in space, too.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="An estimated 20,000-plus satellites and pieces of debris are orbiting Earth.&nbsp;These satellites can be operational or defunct, and the debris is left over from the thousands of spent rocket stages&nbsp;or the result of collisions that have produced smaller pieces.” data-reactid=”13″>An estimated 20,000-plus satellites and pieces of debris are orbiting Earth. These satellites can be operational or defunct, and the debris is left over from the thousands of spent rocket stages or the result of collisions that have produced smaller pieces.

It’s these collisions that are of particular concern, especially with more and more private companies and countries launching satellites into space.

While this may not sound like something that poses a threat to our daily life, the fact is that it could disrupt it in many ways, with the two main threats being to the lives of astronauts in space, as well as the threat to the satellites we depend on each day.

One Canadian company wants to decrease the chance of these collisions.

On Tuesday, Montreal-based NorthStar Earth & Space announced that in 2022 it plans to launch the first commercial constellation — a collection of satellites — to reduce the threat of the collision of objects in space. Thales Alenia Space will build the first three satellites in the Skylark constellation with Seattle’s LeoStella, overseeing the final assembly.

NorthStar Earth & Space
NorthStar Earth & Space

“People tend to forget that today, we actually depend on spaceflight. When you look at your smartphone, 40 per cent of the apps they have, they rely to some degree on data from space — let it be the weather forecast, let it be the navigation app that relies on GPS satellites, TV broadcasting and sometimes the phone connection itself” said Holger Krag, head of the European Space Agency’s Space Debris Office in Darmstadt, Germany. 

“They all go via satellite. So if we don’t have satellites, we will quickly realize what is missing.”

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="According to the European Space Agency (ESA), over the past 20 years, there have been roughly 12 accidental breakups annually&nbsp;in low-Earth orbit.&nbsp;” data-reactid=”31″>According to the European Space Agency (ESA), over the past 20 years, there have been roughly 12 accidental breakups annually in low-Earth orbit

While current technology relies mostly on ground-based telescopes to track potentially dangerous space debris and satellites, NorthStar will have satellites equipped with telescopes in orbit around Earth, bringing the accuracy of tracking within metres. 

“We’ve got the International Space Station up there. We’ve got astronauts going back and forth. We’ve got stuff flying around from a bunch of satellites and constellations,” said Stewart Bain, NorthStar’s CEO. “You want to make sure you know where things are with metre precision, not kilometre precision.”

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Close calls” data-reactid=”34″>Close calls

On Oct. 16, a dead Russian satellite and a spent Chinese rocket stage missed each other by a mere 11 metres, extremely close in Earth-orbit terms. 

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="In January,&nbsp;there was a similar incident.” data-reactid=”36″>In January, there was a similar incident.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="And in September, the International Space Station was forced to conduct an "avoidance manoeuvre" in order to avert a collision with an unknown piece of space debris.” data-reactid=”37″>And in September, the International Space Station was forced to conduct an “avoidance manoeuvre” in order to avert a collision with an unknown piece of space debris.

They are all examples of just how frequent these potential collisions are.

Though satellites are tracked by countries, such as the U.S. Air Force’s Combined Space Operations Center, there are private companies, such as LeoLabs in Menlo Park, Calif., that also monitor the busy space around Earth. However, most rely on telescopes here on Earth.

The problem with that is, ground-based telescopes aren’t as accurate and can be taken out of service due to inclement weather. 

That’s the benefit of having satellites in space directly monitoring objects, Bain said.

ESA’s Krag said that NorthStar’s plan is a good step in getting more accurate information as to how close satellites might be to one another.

“As soon as the data comes in, it’s accurate. It’s more accurate in particular than anything else we have,” he said. “In space, you can observe all the time when you have an optical sensor because you’re not dependent on weather conditions. You can basically position yourself in a way that you always have the objects in sunlight.… I think that’s a very promising solution.”

However, he said that there are also challenges, such as how fast the object will pass in the tracking satellite’s line of sight, so the sensor will need to be very fast. 

Krag also noted while there’s a worrying trend that there is more debris being created by collisions or other means, the good news is that more rockets are being better disposed of and more satellites are being put into orbits where they can re-enter Earth’s atmosphere and break up as they descend. 

Still, with a new space economy, Bain said that it’s becoming increasingly important to ensure that our satellites are protected, even if it’s not something most people think about on a daily basis. 

“We rely on space to monitor our crops, to monitor food production, to monitor the quality of water, to monitor the weather, telecoms, everything,” Bain said. “We rely on space, but we take it for granted.”

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Apple Black Friday 2020: Best Apple Watch Deals Including Series 3 From $119 – MacRumors

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Black Friday sales have begun on a variety of products, including the Apple Watch. There are quite a few deals across the Apple Watch lineup this year, including one of the lowest price we’ve ever seen the Apple Watch Series 3.

Apple Watc black friday 20 sale featureNote: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site running.

Amazon and Walmart are offering the 38mm GPS Apple Watch Series 3 for just $119.00, down from $179.00. You can also get the 42mm GPS model from Amazon and Walmart for $149.00, down from $209.00. Both of these sales represent the lowest prices we’ve ever seen for the Apple Watch Series 3, and the 2017 model of the Apple Watch makes a solid holiday gift for someone looking to get into Apple’s wearable family.

As a note, stock is very limited for these models and retailers appear to be running out fast. Make your purchases soon if you’re interested.

Apple Watch SE

For a step up, Apple also offers the Apple Watch SE, which offers many of the latest features but at a value price. Sport band GPS models are discounted by $20 at Amazon, priced at $259.00 for 40mm and $289.00 for 44mm.

Cellular models of the Apple Watch SE are also on sale, with most models similarly discounted by $20 to $309.00 for 40mm and $339.00 for 44mm. There is, however, one 44mm model in silver with a Deep Navy Sport Loop available for $309.99, a $49 savings.

Apple Watch Series 6

If you’re looking for the most advanced Apple Watch, Amazon also has a few notable deals on those. The 40mm GPS Apple Watch Series 6 (PRODUCT)RED is $329.98 this week, a $69 discount from the regular price $399.00. Other 40mm models are priced at $379.

For the 44mm GPS models, Amazon is currently showing all of them at $379.99 after a coupon is automatically applied at checkout, down from $429.00. Across the board, these are the best prices available online so far this week.

You can save even more (up to $120) if you’re interested in a cellular model, with 40mm stainless steel Milanese Loop models priced at $699.00, stainless steel sport band models priced at $579.00, and a (PRODUCT)RED aluminum model discounted by $109 to $389.98. Discounts and availability on 44mm cellular models are more limited, with with a few models available for $479.99 after a $29.01 checkout discount.

Most of these sales are the best deals we’ve tracked to date on the Apple Watch Series 6, which sports ways to measure your heart rhythm and blood oxygen levels. In terms of deep discounts, the Apple Watch Series 6 and Series 3 are the only notable models getting marked down at the major retailers this Black Friday.

Be sure to visit our full Black Friday Roundup to shop for even more Apple-related products and accessories on sale this week.

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Black Friday tablet deals: iPad Pro, Galaxy Tab S7, and more – ZDNet

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Black Friday 2020 is here, and with it, you can expect a range of tablet deals to appear. 

From Samsung Galaxy tablets to Apple iPads, over the course of the shopping event — no longer just a one-day shopping spree, and now closer to a week-long promotion — US retailers will be competing for business by offering decent discounts on these mobile devices. 

Tablets can be suitable for a variety of purposes; from checking your email on the road to saving and sharing presentations, reading, accessing mobile apps, streaming content, and more. Whether or not you want a tablet as a gift, for entertainment, work, or as a slimline device for accessing the Internet, it is worth keeping an eye on tablet sales over Black Friday this year. 

Below, ZDNet has compiled a list of the best tablet deals on offer. As some deals finish and other, time-sensitive deals expire, we will continue to update — so make sure to come back and check.


$100 off

Over at Best Buy, you can pick up an 11-inch Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 tablet with a $100 discount. This tablet comes with 126GB storage, 6GB RAM, an 8MP front-facing camera, a 13MP rear camera, and an accompanying S-Pen stylus.


$549 at Best Buy


$200 off

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Microsoft is also involved in this year’s shopping season, and an offering of note is the Microsoft Surface Pro 7 and Pro Type cover bundle. The company is offering $200 off basic bundles including a Surface Pro 7 tablet ( Intel Core i3 processor, 4GB RAM, 128GB storage), as well as discounts off premium models.


$599 at Microsoft


$100 off

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If you’re looking for a reasonably-priced Samsung tablet in the Black Friday sales, Best Buy is offering a Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite with a $100 discount. This Android tablet comes with a 10.4-inch display, 64GB storage, 4GB RAM, and both a 5MP front and 8MP rear camera.


$249 at Best Buy


$230 off

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On eBay’s marketplace, you can pick up an Apple iPad Pro for a substantial discount. While this deal may not be around long, for now, these 2018 devices are on offer with 11-inch screens, 256GB storage, and 4GB RAM.


$749 at eBay

More Black Friday 2020 deals

Here are some other noteworthy deals worth checking out:

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Work smarter, not harder, with Logitech Slim Folio Pro for 11-inch iPad Pro, on sale now – iMore

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Have an 11-inch iPad Pro (2018) and looking for a fantastic keyboard case to go with it? You know, because it’s actually possible to work smarter, not harder, from your iPad Pro, which many people would consider a somewhat viable laptop replacement. Right now, you can grab the Logitech Slim Folio Pro for 11-inch iPad Pro for just $75.98 right now on Amazon for Black Friday. Our own Lory Gil gave the Logitech Slim Folio Pro 5-stars in her review last year, so you know it’s good.

While a lot of us use our iPads as consumption devices, there are quite a few who enjoy using the 11-inch iPad Pro as a work machine. When you add in a keyboard case, I mean, it’s pretty much a laptop replacement, for the most part. And speaking from experience, one of the best options out there for iPad keyboard cases is Logitech, hands-down — I absolutely love my Logitech Folio Touch for 11-inch iPad Pro (2020) even more so than my Apple Magic Keyboard for iPad! But if you don’t need the trackpad, then the Slim Folio Pro is also a great (and cheaper) alternative.

Save big on these VPN services ahead of Black Friday

With the Slim Folio Pro, you are getting a durable and protective shell for your iPad. The rubberized bumpers that wrap around your iPad will keep it safe and secure, and protect it from everyday bumps and scratches. Overall, the case is nice and soft thanks to the silicone material, and it’s very lightweight, so it doesn’t add much bulk.

The keyboard itself has chiclet keys that feel similar to what you get on MacBooks, and the keys are backlit so you can type away, day or night. Logitech even includes a function key row so you have quick access to common actions, like Home, volume control and playback, adjust brightness, and more. The folio-style back lets you put your iPad Pro into one of three different viewing angles, so you can make it work for whatever situation you’re in.

If you’re using an Apple Pencil, attach it to your iPad with the open space at the top. There is a magnetic latch to keep the case closed and your Apple Pencil safe.

The biggest difference between the Slim Folio Pro and the Folio Touch is the trackpad. But if you don’t need that, then the Slim Folio Pro is a great choice to pick up, especially at this low price.

For more savings, don’t miss the other Black Friday deals we’ve rounded up, especially Black Friday Apple deals on iPads and Apple Pencils!

More Black Friday deals:

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