Work begins on Starlink-like constellation of small hypersonic missile-tracking satellites


The Pentagon’s grand space strategy envisions a shift from larger, expensive satellites to massive constellations of smaller, easier to replace ones.

 The U.S. military has hired L3Harris and SpaceX to build small satellites with powerful infrared sensors capable of spotting and tracking ballistic missiles and hypersonic weapons. These satellites could become part of a large and broader early warning constellation with hundreds of space-based sensors and communications nodes watching for incoming threats, monitoring their flight, and potentially providing targeting data to missile defense assets.

The Pentagon announced that the Space Development Agency (SDA) had awarded the contracts to L3Harris and SpaceX, worth around $193.5 million and just over $149 million, respectively, on Oct. 5, 2020. Each company will be responsible for building four satellites, each with a wide field of view (WFOV) overhead persistent infrared (OPIR) sensor, in support of work on what SDA calls Tranche 0 of the Tracking Layer of the planned overarching early warning constellation.

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Samsung hopes to provide affordable 5G Internet using low Earth orbit satellites


Thanks to a proposal by Samsung, the Internet might soon become a lot more accessible by lending the world an extra zetabyte of bandwidth every month. The proposal describes a system requiring the deployment of 4,600 Low Earth Orbit satellites, abbreviated LEO.

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The growing problem of space junk


Forty-five years ago, Ernst Stuhlinger, the associate director of science at Nasa’s Marshall Space Flight Center, an original member of Wernher von Braun’s Operation Paperclip team, was asked by Sister Mary Jucunda, a Zambia-based nun, how he could suggest spending billions of dollars on spaceflight when many children were starving on Earth.

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Gravity map exposes mysteries of the deep oceans

gravity model

The gravity model of the North Atlantic ocean basin reveals tectonic history in sharp detail.

It’s like someone pulled a plug in the oceans and drained them away as a sea-floor map has exposed thousands of never-before-seen underwater mountains and ridges. The map was generated by the highest-resolution gravity model ever made for the oceans and will guide deep-sea research for years to come. (Video)



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Google invests $1B on satellites to bring WiFi to the world


The project is scoped to provide internet to areas around the world without wired connections.

Google plans to spend over $1 billion on a fleet of satellites that will be used to provide internet to parts of the world that currently lack digital connections, according to a report from Wall Street Journal.

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The end of the paper map

The enchanted era of geographic gaffes is coming to an end.

Tens of millions of iPhone users last week found that they could suddenly leave their homes again without getting either lost or cross. Google was finally able to release an app containing its own mapping system. Google Maps had been sorely missed for several months, ever since Apple booted it in favor of the company’s own inadequate alternative—a cartographic dud blamed for everything from deleting Shakespeare’s birthplace to stranding Australian travelers in a desolate national park 43 miles away from their actual destination. As one Twitter wag declared: “I wouldn’t trade my Apple Maps for all the tea in Cuba.”



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Space junk at a ‘tipping point’: study

space junk

Space junk: a conceptual artwork representing defunct satellites, failed missions, and shrapnel orbiting Earth.

“A tipping point” for collisions has been reached with the amount of debris orbiting the Earth, which would in turn generate more of the debris that threatens astronauts and satellites, according to a U.S. study released on Thursday.


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