WASHINGTON: With an eye to launching the first tourists to space by year’s end, Blue Origin, the rocket company owned by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, blasted off the 10th test flight of its New Shepard rocket on Wednesday.
The rocket, carrying no people on board but eight science experiments for NASA, soared skyward from a launchpad in west Texas at 1508 GMT against a clear blue sky. A few minutes into the flight, the capsule separated as planned from the booster and reached its peak height of 66 miles (106 kilometers).
“That is exactly what we were targeting,” said Ariane Cornell, an astronaut for Blue Origin and commentator on the company’s live webcast of the launch.
The frontier of space is internationally agreed to be 62 miles (100 kilometers) above Earth, known as the Karman Line. Eight minutes after blast-off, the rocket booster fired its engines and made a controlled, upright landing back on Earth, marking the fourth flight for this particular rocket, and the 10th flight test for New Shepard overall. “That, everybody, is a reusable rocket,” said Cornell.
Moments later, the capsule floated to Earth, aided by a trio of parachutes, and touched down in a cloud of dust. The entire mission lasted 10 minutes, 15 seconds. “Looks to have been a wholly successful flight today,” wrote Blue Origin on Twitter. More test flights lie ahead, but the first flights with passengers on board could start by late 2019. “We are aiming for the end of this year,” Cornell said.
“We are not in a rush. We want to take our time and do this right.” The passenger capsule is “roomy,” Cornell said, with six seats and six “big gorgeous windows.” The price per ticket has not yet been announced. The New Shepard rocket first reached space last year, achieving a height of 66 miles in April 2018. Virgin Galactic, headed by British billionaire Richard Branson, is also working on a vessel of its own to carry tourists to space.
On 13th December 2018, Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo, VSS Unity, flew higher than it ever had before, surpassing what the US Air Force considers the boundary of space (50 miles), and marking the first manned flight to space from US soil since 2011. The spaceship made it to a peak height of 51.4 miles (82.7 kilometers). The brief flight – with two pilots on board – was a key milestone for the Virgin Galactic, which is striving to send tourists to space at a cost of $250,000 per seat.
S. Korea to begin 5G service in March
SEOUL: South Korea’s finance minister said today that Seoul will become the first country in the world to start commercial operations of fifth-generation mobile network services next month.
Hong Nam-ki made the announcement at a meeting with senior officials on innovation-led growth in Seoul. KT Corp., South Korea’s leading wireless and fixed-line services provider, carried out a world first
trial service of its 5G system during the PyeongChang Winter Olympics last year. 5G data transmission speeds are 40-50 times faster than the existing 4G network or long-term evolution (LTE) and are expected to open a wide range of new business opportunities for the communication service sector.
The system, moreover, allows greater numbers of people to communicate with each other at the same time and promises to open vast markets for devices and services. The finance minister also said KT and two other local competitors – SK Telecom Co. and LG Uplus Inc. – will invest some 3 trillion won (US$2.6 billion) this year to set up seamless 5G connectivity in the country going forward.
Malaysia aims to become leading aerospace nation by 2030
MALAYSIA: Malaysia is aiming to become Southeast Asia’s leading aerospace nation by 2030, says International Trade and Industry Minister Darell Leiking.
He said by 2030, the industry was targeted to generate an annual revenue of RM55.2 billion and create more than 32,000 high-income jobs.
“Under the 11th Malaysia Plan, the government had identified the aerospace sector as one of the new growth industries for Malaysia,” he said when launching SAM Engineering and Equipment (M) Bhd’s new plant here Thursday.
Darell said the government aimed to shift Malaysia’s economy from labour intensive to high value-added, as well as knowledge and innovation-based economy, with a focus on the services and manufacturing sectors.
“In 2017, the Malaysian aerospace industry recorded a revenue of RM13.5 billion, with aerospace manufacturing contributing 48 per cent of the amount.
“The (aerospace) industry’s export value reached RM8.51 billion, comprising mainly of aerospace parts and components,” he said.
Citing a report, Darell said aircraft manufacturers Airbus and Boeing forecast that more than 40,000 new aircraft would be needed globally by 2037 and about 16,000 aircraft would be delivered to the Asia-Pacific region.
“Airbus valued the 35,000 of the planes to be delivered over the next 20 years at around US$5 trillion (US$1=RM4.07),” he said.
The minister said a strong ecosystem to support aerospace manufacturing, and maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) activities was needed in view of the expected increase in the number of aircraft globally and regionally.
“This positive development is spurring the government to view the aerospace industry as a critical sector offering abundant opportunities for the transfer of advanced technologies in engineering, electronics, composite materials, system integration, MRO, and industry-led research and technology,” he added.
Samsung launches flagship Galaxy S10 series smartphones in San Francisco
SAN FRANCISCO: South Korea’s top smartphone manufacturer Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. has officially launched its flagship Galaxy S lineup of smartphones at its Unpacked event in downtown San Francisco.
The newly unveiled products consist of three models — the cheaper S10e, the standard S10 and the S10 Plus, which Samsung claimed are next-generation mobile devices for needs of a future life.
Galaxy S10 Plus boasts a 6.4-inch screen featuring Samsung’s new “Dynamic AMOLED” display technology, and an Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor that is believed to be fast enough to become a strong contender of Apple’s iPhone XS Max.
The launch of the Galaxy S series smartphones coincided with the 10th anniversary of the Galaxy family since the first Galaxy S mobile phone made its debut a decade ago.
Samsung said the new lineup “delivers a next-generation experience in the categories consumers care about most: groundbreaking innovations in display, camera and performance.”
“Since its launch 10 years ago, the Galaxy S series has stood for premium innovation — offering consumers an incredible experience, and the ability to find the device that’s right for them,” said DJ Koh, president and CEO of IT and Mobile Communications Division at Samsung Electronics.
With these new products, Samsung is “leveraging a decade of industry leadership to usher in a new era of smartphone technology,” Koh added.
Samsung also announced its new lineup of Galaxy wearables — Galaxy Watch Active, Galaxy Fit and Galaxy wireless ear buds at Wednesday’s event.