SpaceX GPS3 and Starlink Satellite Launchings

               Elon Musk and his SpaceX Corporation have once again continued to make great strides in their own personal efforts to advance technology and space travel. Just recently, on November 5, SpaceX successfully launched a highly advanced global positioning satellite system for the US military’s Space Force. Codenamed the GPS 3 SV04, it was initially expected to launch on November 3 but was delayed due to technical difficulties with ground equipment two times. The previous two attempts were in August 2019 and June 2020. This mission would mark almost 100 launches for the Falcon 9 rocket. The GPS 3 was designed in partnership with Lockheed Martin. It was designed to give the US military better jamming technology to stop interference from many different sources such as radio frequencies and improve navigational capabilities.

               The US military could not be more thrilled by this prospect of such technological advancements in the fight to keep America and the world safe. In October of this year, the Pentagon granted Elon Musk a staggering $149 million contract to make four missile-tracking satellites for the Department of Defense. SpaceX will build four satellites under the deal with the Space Development Agency. Each of the four satellites will be equipped with advanced infrared technology for tracking missiles, specifically intercontinental ballistic missiles or ICBMs. If successful, the project is expected to launch sometime in 2022. This will be the second Pentagon contract that SpaceX has won.

               As mentioned previously, the Starlink program aims to give people affordable Internet who may not have access to the Internet or inexpensive Internet available to them. In the past few weeks, they have just been granted approval to use their satellite Internet in Canada, and the final steps are now being ironed out. Speed tests are being done in beta currently. People who wish to sign up for the SpaceX Starlink Internet can check availability on their website. Monthly pricing is said to be $100 per month, and the expected speeds can be anywhere from 50 to 150 MB per second with higher rates planned if this venture proves successful.

                Technologies continue to reach new heights, and SpaceX is tangible proof of that. If you would like to read more about the launchings, you can read more about the GPS launchings here and the launching of the Starlink satellites here.

James Webb Telescope Testing Update

Imagine being able to see deep inside the makeup of the galaxy, or better yet, deeper inside of a star than ever before. That is where the James Webb telescope comes in with its next groundbreaking mission planned for October 31, 2021. Some of James Webb’s past tests included the March 2016 durability experiments on the football field size solar mirrors that will be used to reflect light from galaxies and stars back to NASA for readings. The secondary mirrors for the telescope were also installed that year, along with the optics subsystems and completing the cryogenic testing on the mirrors. The telescope itself completed construction in November 2016. Initial launches for planned in 2017 and 2018 respectively, but later postponed to the date currently set. In early October of this year, the project passed yet another milestone bringing it one step closer to its goal.

The passing of environmental tests on the mirrors and the telescope in general. Everything from temperature to durability, to maintaining stability during the elements of ever-changing galaxies and planets. Acoustic and vibration tests were also done at Northrop Grumman’s lab in California. Northrop Grumman are the minds responsible for building the telescope for NASA. When Webb is finally ready it will be folded and packed up before beginning the journey to French Guiana for launch. These tests were also to ensure that the telescope could even survive its rocket journey to space, which scientists are now confident that it will. Webb will orbit approximately one million miles from Earth. The initial rocket launch is expected to be the most perilous part of the entire mission for the telescope.

Northrop Grumman, along with the European space agency and the Canadian space agency have all partnered in collaboration with NASA to create James Webb and see its massively ambitious vision come to fruition. After the launch, the operation of the telescope will be handled by the Space Telescope Science Institute. Lenox Laser continues to give our best wishes to all involved. For further information please visit NASA’s website.

NASA Planning a Possible Venus Mission

The attempt to explore the vast mystery that is space has quite the storied history. In years past, exploring space has been with humans traveling to these new locations — such as Apollo 11 — and flyovers with semi-autonomous spacecraft. One of the first flyovers of a planet was done by Mariner 1 over Venus. Mariner 1 was the first scheduled to do its mission in July of 1962, but it failed to navigate correctly. In August of 1962, however, Mariner 2 launched and was able to do a successful flyover of Venus — marking the first surveillance pass of Venus done by the United States. Since then, there have been 42 missions to Venus.  

Courtesy of NASA

While flyovers of Venus have continued to this day — such as the BepiColumbo spacecraft, NASA plans to send a rover to the fiery planet. NASA, in the past, has used the Mars rover to explore Mars, for example. With so much success with rovers in aiding the exploration of Mars, NASA is looking to use this same concept to search the surface of Venus, proving to be a challenge. With a tentative launch time set in 2026, scientists and researchers hope to understand Venus’s environment better. 

The environment of Venus has earned quite a reputation. The surface of Venus has been nicknamed Hell because of its temperatures. Scientists have even said it is where they send landers to die because the environment’s heat destroys them. They will need a new rover that will withstand the planet’s massive temperatures of close to 1000°F and last for more than two hours before being destroyed. Only three Russian landers have lasted longer than an hour on the surface. Scientists have concluded that building a rover that will rely on electronics is not necessarily the correct choice. Instead, they wish to use mechanics that can withstand thermal expansion. Engineers may use stainless steel and titanium alloys to build the rovers. There are three missions planned to explore the planet. Da Vinci+ would explore the planet’s noble gases and structures; Veritas determined to study the planet’s geological history; and Llisse to monitor the planet’s meteorology. These missions would be a combined effort by America, India, Europe, and Russia. Scientists want to use the day-night cycle of Venus, which entails 117 days per one cycle, to study such things as the surface temperature and pressure. If successful, this may mean that humans can remotely further explore the hellish planet. 

Lenox Laser has our fingers crossed for all involved in this endeavor and wish them all the best of luck. If history has taught humankind anything, it is that imagination can never be held back. If you would like to read more, click here

New Type of Superconductor Discovered

               Scientists believe that other types of superconductors have yet to be discovered. Superconductors are solid substances that allow for the near 100 percent transfer of electricity through them. Researchers at Cornell University believe that they have found a new superconductor. Still, they stress that it’s only a hypothesis at this point.

Currently, there are two known superconductivity types – s-wave and d-wave. However, through resonant ultrasound spectroscopy, researchers have found the metal strontium ruthenate contains a g-wave pattern. A g-wave superconductor, in effect, has distinct types of angular momentum than current known waves. This new superconductor could be used in more modern TVs to improve efficiency in energy and lifecycles. However, it is still quite some time away from being used in commercial products. It is hoped that this new energy wave can go through things like hardened crystal and harder metals than ever before without canceling each other out and possibly providing new energy sources and the ability to work at higher temperatures without faults.

               Once this new superconductor’s true potential is harnessed, the possibilities of the future could be huge. Circuit boards that last longer and power grids can be maintained without fluctuation and higher heats. This is indeed a unique endeavor with hugely promising potential. If you would like to read more, click here.

Phase-III Trial of Oxford COVID-19 Vaccine

As we move closer to a publicly available vaccine, it is essential to focus on the remarkable strides that have occurred and the teams behind those efforts.  Currently, 40 vaccines are in the works against Covid-19, with nine of them in phase 3 clinical trials. Oxford University’s vaccine partnering with drug maker AstraZeneca continues to show increasing promise in this ongoing battle.

The Oxford vaccine has recently shown very positive immune responses with minimal side effects in a study done by the University of 1077 adults between the ages of 18 and 55, with about 70% developing the side effects of a low-grade headache or fever. AstraZeneca’s CEO is currently predicting the vaccine will be ready by the end of 2020 or early 2021 despite a setback that involved a person in the UK contracting an unknown illness on September 11 from the vaccine. The company was given permission to resume testing on September 15. The patient is now on the mend and doing well. Another faith retest of the vaccine is set to begin the week of September 28 in Pune, India, where around 150 to 200 volunteers will be given the test vaccine at the Sassoon General Hospital.

As for a vaccine timeline, it started for Oxford earlier this summer and has continued to gain momentum ever since. Many companies in phase 3 trials are confident that they would have a vaccine no later than 2021. We at Lenox Laser wish the candidates all the very best and give our sincere thanks to all doctors and medical professionals during this pandemic. If you wish to read more, you can click here.

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