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SpaceX Releases a Recap Video of their SN8 Making its Hop Test! – Universe Today



To commemorate their greatest accomplishment to date with the Starship, SpaceX has released a recap video of the SN8 high-altitude flight. This was the 12.5 km hop test that took place on December 9th, 2020, which saw the SN8 prototype ascend to an altitude of 12.5 km (7.8 mi), conduct a “belly-flop” maneuver, and return to the launch pad. While it didn’t quite stick the landing, the test was a major milestone in the development of the Starship.

The flight test came after multiple static fire tests were conducted with previous prototypes (the SN1 through SN5), and a series of 150 meter (~500 ft) hop tests with the SN5 and SN6. On October 20th, 2020, another successful static fire test was conducted with the eighth prototype (SN8) using three Raptor engines. With the engines and design validated, the company prepared to conduct its first high-altitude test in December.

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The two minute-twenty second video captures the highlights of the test by merging footage from the many different cameras that were recording that day. This included a series of external cams (including a drone cam that follows the SN8 all the way up) cams inside the engine compartment, one on the landing pad, and fuselage-mounted cams.

It begins by showing the engine ignition and the ascent, with all three Ratpor engines producing a trail of orange-blue flames – which is the result of its liquid methane and liquid oxygen (LOX) fuel being burned. This is followed by the engine cutoff, where the three Raptor engines disengage (one at a time) as the SN8 nears its apogee of 12.5 km.

In slow motion, we then see the SN8 turn on its side and watch its fins adjusting for the “belly-flop” maneuver. This portion of the test was meant to validate the prototype’s aerodynamic surfaces, which the Starship will rely on to manuever and shed speed while making an atmospheric reentry. The descent is captured from multiple angles using the drone cam and the fuselage cam.

Then comes the “flip manuever,” where two of the Raptors reignite and gimbal in order to bring the tail around for landing. This is shown from both the side (drone cam) and the ground. The engines them flame up for the landing burn, but fail to slow the SN8 down enough for it to make a soft landing. The touch down and Rapid Unscheduled Disassembly (RUD) – aka. explosion – ensue.

The ascent of the SN8, showing the three Raptor engines firing. Credit: SpaceX

This was due to a fuel line pressure issue, which the ground crews quickly identified after the test was complete. Shortly thereafter, Musk took to Twitter to share what they had learned:

“Fuel header tank pressure was low during landing burn, causing touchdown velocity to be high & RUD, but we got all the data we needed! Congrats SpaceX team hell yeah!!”

Despite the fiery ending, all of the key systems and surfaces involved were validated. These included the ascent, the switchover from the tail to the header fuel tanks (once SN8 reached its apogee), and the precision flap manuever that allowed for a controlled descent. Meanwhile, the crews obtained all the data they needed about the issue that prevented a soft touchdown and will be using it to inform the next round of tests.

The video then ends with the caption that reiterates the successes of this first-ever high altitude flight test:



The SN8 commencing its “belly-flop” (flip) manuever. Credit: SpaceX

Speaking of which, all indications are that Musk plans to conduct a hop test with the SN9 and others in the coming weeks. These include Notices to Airmen (NOTAMs) issued by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for the airspace around Brownsville, Texas, and road closure notices issued for Cameron Country around the Boca Chica test sight.

These have since been extended, with new NOTAMs issued for next Wednesday and Thursday (Jan. 13th and 14th) from 08:00 AM to 06:00 PM local time (CST) – or 06:00 AM to 04:00 PM PST; 09:00 AM to 07:00 PM EDT. Similary, new road closures have been announced for State Highway 4 and Boca Chica Beech in Cameron Country for Monday to Wednesday (Jan. 11th to Jan. 13th).

The SN9 has since been rolled out onto the landing pad and conducted its first static fire test earlier this week (Wed. Jan. 6th). Unfortunately, the test was aborted after a very brief firing and another is likely to happen this coming week before any hop tests are attempted. Meanwhile, the SN10 has been stacked and integrated inside the High Bay and will be ready to roll out as soon as the SN9 has been put through its paces.

The SN11 and SN12 are also being assembled inside the facility’s Mid Bay, with the SN11 almost finished and just in need of its nosecone. Musk has also hinted that he and his crews at the Boca Chica facility will be testing the SN9 and SN10 (and subsequent prototypes) simultaneously. This was in response to a tweet by RGV Aerial Photography (@RGVaerialphotos), which conducts weekly flyovers to take pictures of the Boca Chica facility.

The image in the tweet shows the SN9 on the landing pad, with an earlier picture of the SN8 added (using Photoshop) on the adjacent pad. The image is captioned with a question for Musk: “With SN10 nearly complete and repairs being done at the landing pad, do you think this is something we will get to see in the next few weeks?” To this, Musk tweeted a reply of, “Yes.”

2021 is going to be an exciting time for SpaceX, commercial space, and space exploration in general! While the year has seen its share of bad news already, it looks like there are some serious bright lights on the horizon!

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Starlink brings the world to rural Highlanders – Haliburton County Echo



By Darren Lum

High speed internet is here for rural residents through Starlink, an effort being led by the private spaceflight company owned by Elon Musk, SpaceX.
SpaceX is constructing a satellite internet constellation to provide high-speed service access via a connection with ground receivers in low to medium population density communities around the world.

The product development for Starlink started in 2015 and launched its 60 first low-Earth orbit, or LEOs, part way through 2019. More and more satellites are being launched, as part of a plan to form a megaconstellation, comprising of thousands of mass-produced small satellites that will orbit 550 kilometres from earth.

Currently, Starlink is in its beta stage and is offering the public an opportunity to connect through invites after they have submitted an online application.

It’s unknown how many beta users are in the Highlands, but for the few who are involved it has been largely positive results after spending close to $800 for the hardware (receiver, router, cable and hardware for installation) with tax and shipping, and the $129 monthly connection fee.
Bill Donnery, a retired resident who lives on Ritchie Falls Road with his wife, has been using Starlink for the past three weeks.

“I was just fortunate enough to get in on it so I jumped at the chance. I’m very happy with it,” he said.

Donnery, who said his internet use is mostly for entertainment – made up mostly of streaming services such as Netflix, and video chatting with loved ones, mounted his Starlink dish on his roof in place of where his satellite dish for television was. He’s among the select few not just in Haliburton County, but the country selected as beta users, who will provide information for Starlink .

When he first received it after a four-day journey from California he put it out on his driveway to test it and had internet connection within 10 minutes.

“It’s pretty simple. You plug it in and it finds its own satellite itself and rotates and tilts and within five or ten minutes you’re online,” he said.
He adds his highest speed recorded through an app on his phone has been 175 mbps and the low has been 35 mbps, while the latency is between 20 and 40.

Donnery said he’s only experienced the internet connection being down for up to three minutes in a day.

“The biggest thing is no cap. You don’t have to worry about going over your limit. High speed unlimited internet,” he said.

Donnery’s been living there in the home he built since 1984 and his internet connection started with dial-up with Bell to Xplornet satellite in the early-2000s to now using a wireless network. The speed of his connectivity has ranged from two or three mbps with satellite to 20 to 25 mbps with wireless.

“This seems too good to be true,” he said, referring to seeing the 150 mbps speed.

Using cellular connection is expensive with five gigabytes costing $60 and could go up from there. Recently, a new a new rate during the pandemic was offered, which saw him pay $120 for 50 gigabytes. However, sometimes speed with Rogers was halved during the summer when there were more users.

He appreciates the dishes’ heating feature that melts the snow so he doesn’t have to go up to his roof to clear it after a snow event.

Across Haliburton County, Moore Falls resident Richard Bradley was amazed by the connection he had within a few minutes after he placed the Starlink dish, which is similar to a size of a pizza, on his picnic table.
He loves how much clearer everything is when he watches the Toronto Maple Leafs play after he received it close to a month ago now.

“To watch a Leaf game and not have to set my TV to 240p so everything looks like sort of an interesting colouration of check-boards … Now when I put it on auto when I connect to Sportsnet or TSN or whatever, for a hockey game … more often than not, it selects 720p high definition. Obviously it does a speed test to decide,” he said.

Bradley, with two other users in the house, said there has been some down times of connection during virtual meetings that need a live feed without buffering, but he’s “willing to look past” it. Part of this will be resolved with higher placement of the dish to avoid obstruction of sight to the sky by the trees in his yard, he adds. Bradley said he’ll wait for the spring to install the dish higher on his house. He wishes he could have had an option for a different length cable between the dish and the router and you didn’t need to dismantle the dish to remove the cable.

He said the monthly cost for Starlink is comparable to what he pays now.

“If I cancel my landline and I cancel my internet with Bell, it’s almost the same price. It’s within, I dunno, $10, a month,” he said. “It’s an upgrade. I guess the real thing about the internet is we’ve already decided it’s not a fad. It’s not going away. So all we want is better, faster and more, right?”

Starlink uses beta users to evaluate connections.

As far as any concerns about being monitored, Bradley said he’s not concerned.

“I don’t distrust them any more than I distrust Bell Canada. You know what? Whoever your service provider is … they can monitor whatever traffic [you have]. It’s all going through their system and they all have access,” he said.
Recently, Musk posted to social media that speeds will double later this year to 300 mbps and said latency – the amount of delay for a internet network, defining how much time it takes a signal to travel back and forth from a destination – will drop to 20ms later in the year. He’s also said Starlink will reach customers around most of the earth by the end of this year and have complete global coverage by next year.

Musk added “Important to note that cellular will always have the advantage in dense urban areas. Satellites are best for low to medium population density area.”

Amanda Conn, executive director with the Haliburton Highlands Chamber of Commerce, acknowledges Musk can come off as boastful, but doesn’t discount his abilities and track record success.

“Even when he makes these claims that sound a little like crazy and outlandish at the time, he has been able to make a lot of them come true to some extent,” she said.

Conn, who lives in a wood area west of Carnarvon, is expecting to have her hardware soon after placing an order on Tuesday, Feb. 23.

The issue for her isn’t access so much as gaining a stable a connection.

“When it comes to connectivity it’s not just getting access to that connectivity, but it’s also getting access to stable connectivity, which I don’t know if in the beta Starlink they will have,” she said.

Her challenge with her connectivity is having video conferences where she can see herself moving.

“Seeing other people isn’t the … problem, but it’s more so you’re always frozen,” she said.

She is currently connected using satellite and LTE through her phone, as her location precludes her using Bell or North Frontenac Telephone Company [NFTC].

There’s been great anticipation for Starlink.

“I’ve heard great things, which is why I’m so excited, but as more and more people join I think we need to see how it actually works. I’m afraid of putting all my eggs in one basket without actually seeing the evidence,” she said.

The past few years, her dependency on connectivity has increased and, although it’s effectiveness fluctuated, it has improved with what she currently relies on for internet.

“I’ve seen an increase in their service in the last couple of years so there has been increases there, but this seems to be a big jump forward. It make all those things that are really difficult right now a lot easier,” she said.

She adds while video conferencing for work all day included acceptable audio, it also included frozen video images of her.

Internet access at her house of five users goes beyond work applications she said.

“It’s not just for work right now. Everyone is so far away and unable to be with their family so I think that is a huge part of it too. That social connection, especially over the last year,” she said.

Despite all the benefits and positive aspects that come with Starlink, there is a caveat.

“As more and more people are accessing the network and how it’s scaled up to millions of users they ultimately want to have, I think that is going to be important to keep an eye on,” she said.

She adds at some point there will be a limit to how many satellites will be allowed to meet the demands.

There’s an obvious high cost for this service that not everyone in the county can afford, she adds. It would be ideal if a solution that was accessible to everyone was available.

Also, Conn wishes there could be a local option.

“While we would love it to be a Canadian company that is offering that technology, you know, anything that we can do to help connect more people up here the better,” she said. “That’s going to help the businesses.”

She hopes her experience will not just benefit her, but will provide a perspective she could share with chamber members.

“If I have a great experience, probably, other businesses are asking for suggestions and solutions I would be more than happy to share that information with them and share my own personal experience. I don’t think it’s something the chamber needs right now because we are located downtown Haliburton so we do have access to infrastructure,” she said.
She believes this connectivity isn’t just good for businesses when it can enable more opportunities to new and more business, but also benefit their employees.

“If we have a period of time where people need to work from home or want to work from home and have better connectivity to do so I think that helps a business as a whole be more productive,” she said.

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NASA to Provide Update on Perseverance 'Firsts' Since Mars Landing – Stockhouse



PR Newswire

WASHINGTON , March 3, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Since NASA’s Mars 2020 Perseverance rover touched down at Jezero Crater Feb. 18 , mission controllers have made substantial progress as they prepare the rover for the unpaved road ahead. Mission team members from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California will discuss mission “firsts” achieved so far and those to come in a media teleconference at 3:30 p.m. EST ( 12:30 p.m. PST ) Friday, March 5 .

The teleconference audio and accompanying visuals will stream live on the NASA JPL YouTube channel .

Discussing the rover’s progress will be:

  • Robert Hogg , Perseverance deputy mission manager, JPL
  • Anais Zarifian , Perseverance mobility test bed engineer, JPL
  • Katie Stack Morgan , Perseverance deputy project scientist, JPL

To participate in the teleconference, media must provide their name and affiliation to Rexana Vizza ( ) no later than 1:30 p.m. EST ( 10:30 a.m. PST ) Friday, March 5 . Members of the media and public also may ask questions on social media during the teleconference using #CountdownToMars.

Since landing, NASA’s largest, most sophisticated Mars rover yet has gone through checks on every system and subsystem and sent back thousands of images from Jezero Crater. These checks will continue in the coming days, and the rover will make its first drives. Each system checkout and milestone completed marks a significant step forward as the rover prepares for surface operations. The primary mission is slated for one Martian year, or 687 Earth days.

To learn more about Perseverance, visit:



Cision View original content to download multimedia:


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NASA: Hubble telescope discovers amazing "animals" in space … Video – The Press Stories



Arabic – Sputnik News, Comments and Radio

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Today, Wednesday, NASA released a video clip showing some strange discoveries made by the Hubble Space Telescope in deep space.

The agency matched each western pattern observed with the telescope with some of the animals of the earth and released a short video clip. By her side The official “Twitter” shows the matching process (identical).

The company wrote a brief comment In the videoIt says: “Earth is full of wonderful creatures, but Hubble also found some animal friends in the universe!”

The video shows several agency shapes (galaxies, stars, etc.) that the agency matched with some of the animals, such as the eagle, mouse, whale, and horse’s head.

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