Satellite launch company FireFly aims to lighten costs

first_img NASA commercial crew partner Blue Origin test-fires new rocket engine ( —Satellite launch company FireFly Space Systems, with locations in Austin, Texas and Hawthorne, California, founded early this year, is on a mission: Cut the costs for lighter loads going to low Earth orbit. The company said in setting out to do business there was a governing goal, to “create the lowest cost vehicle with the highest performance possible.” What kinds of lighter loads are they talking about? New Scientist said, for example, the loads would be in the form of constellations of small satellites used for communications networks, or monitoring Earth. Once their mission is accomplished, a playing field, so to speak, may be evened out. New Scientist said that currently most probes like this piggyback into space on larger missions that can afford to fly on big rockets. The smaller-size operators have a limited choice of launch dates and orbits, said the report. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. © 2014 All rights reserved. Explore furthercenter_img More information: Citation: Satellite launch company FireFly aims to lighten costs (2014, July 9) retrieved 18 August 2019 from The young company is barreling ahead, and has revealed the design of the FireFly Alpha, a vehicle that aims to launch lightweight satellites at low cost. The team said the goal is “to lower the prohibitively high costs of small satellite launches to Low Earth and Sun Synchronous Orbits.” FireFly Alpha “is the first vehicle in a scalable family of launchers specifically designed to address the needs of the light satellite (< 1,000kg) community," according to the company, which said the vehicle is capable of carrying 400kg into low Earth orbit.So how is the vehicle structured? A key feature about their design is its aerospike. A wedge-shaped nozzle delivers thrust; the team is not using the traditional bell-shape nozzle. The company team pointed out on the site that the bell nozzle in conventional rockets represents lost weight from a payload standpoint. Also, "traditional bell nozzles are a compromise; while they are effective at optimizing thrust for a given external air pressure, they are less efficient at other points during the rocket's trajectory."Another notable feature is the use of methane. The company said that while it has never been used on an orbital launch vehicle, the attraction of methane was undeniable. "The fuel is readily available and clean burning when compared to a solid, kerosene or hybrid engine. It's also easy to store, transport, and is inexpensive." Engines require an inert pressurant, typically helium, to drive fuel and oxygen into the combustion chamber, but this adds weight and costs that FireFly seeks to avoid. FireFly's engines are self-pressurized. The fuel itself is used to provide the working pressure for the engine. This, said the team, simplifies design and saves weight.All in all, the FireFly Alpha represents lowered launch prices. Firefly CEO Thomas Markusic said, "We are offering small satellite customers the launch they need for a fraction of that, around $8 or 9 million – the lowest cost in the world. It's far cheaper than the alternatives, without the headaches of a multi manifest launch."The team at FireFly includes aerospace engineers from companies such as SpaceX, Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic.Back in January, co founder Michael Blum, in announcing the start of the company, said, "What we are setting out to do will be enormously challenging. It is difficult to make exact projections about schedule until we get further along in development, but the team has set itself a goal: To be in orbit in about three years."last_img read more

Chinese team performs gene editing on human embryo

first_img More information: CRISPR/Cas9-mediated gene editing in human tripronuclear zygotes, Protein & Cell, April 2015. DOI: 10.1007/s13238-015-0153-5 . editing tools such as the clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeat (CRISPR)-associated system (Cas) have been widely used to modify genes in model systems including animal zygotes and human cells, and hold tremendous promise for both basic research and clinical applications. To date, a serious knowledge gap remains in our understanding of DNA repair mechanisms in human early embryos, and in the efficiency and potential off-target effects of using technologies such as CRISPR/Cas9 in human pre-implantation embryos. In this report, we used tripronuclear (3PN) zygotes to further investigate CRISPR/Cas9-mediated gene editing in human cells. We found that CRISPR/Cas9 could effectively cleave the endogenous β-globin gene (HBB). However, the efficiency of homologous recombination directed repair (HDR) of HBB was low and the edited embryos were mosaic. Off-target cleavage was also apparent in these 3PN zygotes as revealed by the T7E1 assay and whole-exome sequencing. Furthermore, the endogenous delta-globin gene (HBD), which is homologous to HBB, competed with exogenous donor oligos to act as the repair template, leading to untoward mutations. Our data also indicated that repair of the HBB locus in these embryos occurred preferentially through the non-crossover HDR pathway. Taken together, our work highlights the pressing need to further improve the fidelity and specificity of the CRISPR/Cas9 platform, a prerequisite for any clinical applications of CRSIPR/Cas9-mediated editing.See also: The ISSCR has responded to the publication of gene editing research in human embryosvia Nature It has been only recently that scientists have had a tool that allows for directly editing a genome—called CRISPR, it allows for removing a single (defective) gene from a genome and replacing it with another one, to prevent genetic diseases. CRISPR has been used to edit animal embryos and adult stem cells, but up till now, no one has used the technique to edit the genome of human embryos due to ethical issues—or if they have, they have not acknowledged it publicly—this effort by the team in China has crossed that ethical line and because of that the announcement will likely incite condemnation by some and stir a new round of debate regarding the ethics of conducting such research.The researchers report that their desire was to see how well CRISPR would work on human embryos. To find out, they collected 86 doubly fertilized embryos from a fertilization clinic—such embryos have been fertilized by two sperm and cannot mature beyond just a tiny clump of cells, they die naturally before growing into anything. The team reports that 71 of the embryos survived to grow enough for use in the CRISPR experiment. Unfortunately, the researchers found that the technique worked properly on just a fraction of the total, and only small percentage of those managed to relay the new gene properly when they split. They also found that sometimes the procedure wound up splicing the wrong gene segment, which led to inserting new genes in the wrong places—which in normal embryos could lead to a new disease. Additionally, of those that did get spliced and put in the right place, many were mosaic, a term used to describe a mix of old and new genes, which in addition to also leading to a new disease, could lead doctors to misidentify gene splicing results in normal embryos.The researchers conclude by suggesting that the problems they encountered should be investigated further before any type of clinical application is begun. © 2015 CRISPR/Cas-derived technology offers the ability to dive into the genome and make a very precise change. Citation: Chinese team performs gene editing on human embryo (2015, April 23) retrieved 18 August 2019 from (—A team of researchers in China has announced that they have performed gene editing on human embryos. In their paper uploaded to the open access site Protein & Cell (after being rejected by Nature and Science) the researchers defended their research by pointing out that the embryos used in their research were non-viable. Journal information: Nature Explore further Precise gene editing in monkeys paves the way for valuable human disease models , Science This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more

Paper supercapacitor addresses powerenergy density tradeoff

first_img Citation: Paper supercapacitor addresses power/energy density tradeoff (2017, September 27) retrieved 18 August 2019 from The researchers, led by Seung Woo Lee at the Georgia Institute of Technology and Jinhan Cho at Korea University, have published a paper on the flexible paper supercapacitor electrodes in a recent issue of Nature Communications.As energy-storage devices, supercapacitors have several advantages over batteries, such as a higher power density, rapid charge/discharge rate, and longer lifetime, yet they lag behind batteries in energy density (the amount of energy that can be stored in a given amount of space). Although several methods have been attempted to improve the energy density of paper supercapacitors by coating them with various conductive materials, often these methods have the drawback of reducing the power density. As the researchers explain in their paper, the key to achieving good all-around performance using coating methods is to carefully control the loading amount of the conductive and active materials (such as metal nanoparticles) that are incorporated into the paper supercapacitor and which determine many of its electrochemical properties. To do this, the researchers used a layer-by-layer assembly process, in which single layers of gold nanoparticles are deposited onto the paper. By selectively alternating between pseudocapacitive layers and metal layers, the researchers could control the loading amount and achieve a high density of nanoparticles, which contributes to a high capacity and high energy density. Another advantage of this method is that the layer-by-layer deposition allows the paper to maintain its highly porous structure, which enhances its performance by providing a short transport route for charged particles.”The paper electrodes based on layer-by-layer-assembled metal nanoparticles exhibit metal-like electric conductivity, paper-like mechanical properties, and a large surface area without any thermal treatment and/or mechanical pressing,” coauthor Yongmin Ko at Korea University told “The periodic insertion of metal nanoparticles within high-energy nanoparticle-based paper electrodes could resolve the critical tradeoff in which an increase in the loading amount of materials to enhance the energy density of supercapacitors decreases the power density.”In experiments, the researchers demonstrated that this assembly method improves several key characteristics of the paper supercapacitor. Its areal performance—which is considered an important factor in evaluating flexible, wearable textile-based energy-storage electrodes—is significantly better than that of any previously reported flexible paper supercapacitor. The maximum areal power and energy densities of the new supercapacitor are 15.1 m/cm2 and 267.3 μWh/cm2, respectively. The researchers expect that these values can be further improved by increasing the number of layers.Tests also showed that the flexible paper supercapacitors had a maximum capacitance that is higher than any previously reported textile-based supercapacitor. In addition, the new devices exhibits an excellent capacity retention, demonstrated by a 90% capacity retention after 5,000 bending cycles. The researchers expect that the techniques used here can be applied to paper supercapacitors of various shapes, sizes, and surface areas, as well as supercapacitors based on biomass-derived carbon materials instead of paper, and other types of devices.”We have now extended our approach to batteries, triboelectric devices, electrochemical sensors, and various other flexible electrodes that require metal-like conductivity and high surface area,” Ko said. Journal information: Nature Communications Explore further Researchers develop simple way to fabricate micro-supercapacitors with high energy density More information: Yongmin Ko et al. “Flexible supercapacitor electrodes based on real metal-like cellulose papers.” Nature Communications. DOI: 10.1038/s41467-017-00550-3center_img Photographs of the original paper and the paper coated with gold nanoparticles, which can be used to light LEDs. Credit: Ko et al. Published in Nature Communications. © 2017 By coating ordinary paper with layers of gold nanoparticles and other materials, researchers have fabricated flexible paper supercapacitors that exhibit the best performance of any textile-type supercapacitor to date. In particular, the paper supercapacitors address one of the biggest challenges in this area, which is to achieve a high energy density in addition to an already high power density, since both properties are essential for realizing high-performance energy-storage devices. In the future, flexible paper supercapacitors could be used in wearable electronics for biomedical, consumer, and military applications. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more

Should You Always Strive to Work at the Most Prestigious Places Well

first_imgIf you want to build a successful career, you have a dilemma on where to start. Should you pick the most prestigious organization, where you’ll be a small fish in a big pond? Or should you take the most influential position, where you’ll be a big fish in a small pond? Although people are often drawn to the workplaces with the highest status, it’s not always best to be in the biggest pond. In a 2017 study of professional soccer teams, researchers examined what happened to players on teams that were just above and below the cutoff to get relegated to a lower division. Kat Cole has an answer, and it’s not what you’d expect. At just 32, Ms. Cole became the president of a billion-dollar brand: Cinnabon. Her meteoric rise didn’t begin from a blue-chip company or a high-impact role. Her pivotal decision was to start her career as a waitress … at Hooters.center_img Being dropped to a lower division sent teams down to a smaller pond with weaker competition. Yet over their careers, younger players whose teams were downgraded landed in stronger leagues and earned higher wages. Why? They got more playing time because the stakes were lower and they faced less competition for key positions — and they grew more as a result. Read the whole story: The New York Timeslast_img read more

Go Deutsche

If touring Germany has been on your mind for a while, the good news is that Delhi is hosting its own sneak peek into the country. Called the Indo-German Urban Mela, the nine-day fair presents a unique blend of technology, science, culture and entertainment. This touring event is part of the celebration titled ‘Germany and India 2011-2012: Infinite Opportunities’ that commemorates 60 years of Indo-German diplomatic ties. Following a grand success in Mumbai, Bangalore and Chennai earlier this year, the fair is on a roll inviting visitors from all over the capital and neighboring areas of the national capital region. ‘Our countries are strategic partners – and we are also neighbours. In today’s globalised world neighbourhood is not only about geographical closeness any more. It is about mental closeness, common values and a similar vision of the future. Germany and India are linked by all three,’ said Michael Steiner, ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to India. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’This  travelling, celebratory exhibition which is designed by renowned German artist and designer, Markus Heinsdorff boasts of a thematic focus on ‘StadtRäume – CitySpaces’. The highlight being 6 pavilions in differently shaped modules. They will be arranged and adapted to the local conditions to create a unique temporary festival venue. It is aimed at examining the impact of rapid urbanisation and challenges posed by the pace of change in Indian and German cities today. Issues like mobility, energy, sustainable urban development, architecture, cultural space, education and urban art are prominently featured through a prism of genres such as the performing and visual arts, science, education, technology and business. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with Netflix‘As part of the Indo-German Urban Mela, we want to showcase the state-of-art and innovative technology for sustainable cities from German industry, academia and research. We aim to attract interns and students to Germany through this partnership. We also hope that with all the avenues and opportunities in education and research presented at the Urban Mela, many larger mergers between the two countries,’ said Anandi Iyer, Special Advisor ‘Germany and India 2011-2012’, Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Visitors can also feast on traditional German and Indian delicacies at the Beergarden. The mela also includes a host of other art, music and cultural activities like concerts by renowned artists, creative writing, arts and crafts. Literary events such as a series of reading sessions by acclaimed authors plus theatre performances of German plays adapted into Indian setting are also on the cards.DETAILAt: Indraprastha Park On Till: 4th November Timings: 10 am – 10 pm Entry: Free read more

Great Brewtain Your average Brit spends £50000 on just alcohol

first_imgNew estimates by Macmillan Cancer Support show that an average Briton spends £49,581 on booze in his lifetime. Around 1.3m Britishers spend more than triple that, shelling out £167,000 on liquor during their lifetime. Spirits top the list as preferred tipple for 18 to 24-year-olds, while those aged over 45 prefer wine. The average Britisher spends £787 per year on alcohol.The research surveyed 2,000 people in the UK over the age of 18. Men splashed more cash on booze than women, spending an average of £934.44 per year compared to women who annually spend £678.60. Also Read – Pro-Govt supporters rally as Hong Kong’s divisions deepenThe study also looked at what type of alcoholic drink Britisher preferred. Around 1 in 3 (34%) of those surveyed said wine was their top tipple, followed in second and third place by beer and spirits.   Recently, as many as 34 leading companies which make up a formidable part of United Kingdom’s alcohol industry including Carlsberg, Diageo and Heineken decided to shed a billion units of alcohol by 2015, under an ambitious government plan to help customers drink within limits.last_img read more

Husband hurls acid on 30yearold wife in Nadia

first_imgKolkata: A 30-year-old woman was hurled acid on her face by her husband. The incident took place in Kalyani area of Nadia on Tuesday morning.The incident triggered tension among locals who rushed the victim to Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Hospital. The accused Kausar Sekih (30) has been absconding since the incident took place.Police said the victim got married to her husband around 5 years ago.The victim often used to engage in fights with her husband over family related issues. A few months ago, the victim woman went to her parental house. Also Read – Heavy rain hits traffic, flightsLater, the accused husband went to her parental house and brought her to his house.Police said the victim is originally a resident of Goyeshpur area.The family members of the victim alleged that she had been subjected to both mental and physical torture at her in-laws’ house but they could never expect that this type of incident can take place. After being informed, police started a probe. They are interrogating the neighbours of the accused in this connection.Raids are being conducted to nab the culprit. A detailed probe is going on in this regard.last_img read more

Construction material stolen from Metro Railway site in Rajarhat

first_imgKolkata: Construction material was stolen from an under-construction site of Metro Railways near Financial Hub in Rajarhat on Friday morning. Police suspect that a gang is operating in certain areas and committing such crimes. Preliminary investigation has revealed that members of the same gang had attempted theft in other places as well.There were two private security guards at the site where the incident took place in the wee hours of Friday. After speaking to the security personnel, police came to know that the members of the gang were carrying firearms and weapons.The security personnel claimed that they were overpowered by members of the gang. The security guards found themselves in a helpless situation and couldn’t stop them from carrying the construction material from the site in a mini-truck.The police would also verify the statement of the security guards after arresting members of the gang.A complaint in this connection was lodged with New Town police station by the concerned authorities. Investigation has also revealed that material worth Rs 5.39 lakh was stolen from the site by some unknown people. After preliminary investigation, police have come to know that the stolen material was taken to some places near Manikctala. They have conducted a raid and recovered some of the stolen material.The police detained one of the “receivers” of the stolen material from Manicktala. They are trying to find out the other “receivers” and the remaining amount of stolen material.The police haven’t ruled out the possibility of the involvement of some local people in the incident. A police officer said that they are targeting to arrest as many members of the gang as possible, to bring an end to such menace in the area.The police have intensified their vigil to check such incidents and patrolling in the area, mainly at night, will also be intensified.last_img read more

Universities taking steps against junk food in campuses

first_imgKolkata: Four days after the University Grants Commission (UGC) directed all higher educational institutions to ban sale of junk food on their campuses, officials of city varsities have said they are taking steps to that direction.The Vice chancellor of Calcutta University Sonali Chakravarti Banerjee told PTI “there is no sale of food items which can be categorised as junk food within the varsity campus. Still we are making everybody, including affiliated colleges, aware of the UGC directive.” Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeShe said, “we have also instructed the canteens of the university and affiliated colleges to maintain hygiene norms while cooking items.”When asked about report of sale of fried items and chips and other fast food packets from Jadavpur University canteens, its Registrar Chiranjib Bhattacharya said, “we’ll launch awareness campaign among students about the UGC restriction on junk food consumption.”Bhattacharya, however, said it was difficult to change an individual’s food preferences “or change his love for junk food,” but “we’ll try to curb the trend of consuming junk food within the campus.” Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killedPresidency University Vice Chancellor Anuradha Lohia said, “we’ll put up the notice by UGC on our display board,” in reply to a question on reports of sale of junk food items like noodles and burgers from some canteens of the College Street campus.Echoing Bhattacharya, Lohia said, “one’s food habit is entirely a matter of one’s personal choice, but the Presidency will go by the UGC directive.”On August 22, the UGC in a communication to universities said, “banning junk food in colleges will set new standard for healthy food, make the students live better, learn better and reduce obesity levels. This will prevent lifestyle diseases which have a direct link with excessive weight.”The circular was issued after a directive from the Ministry of Human Resource Development, asking the UGC to ban the sale of junk food on premises of higher education institutions.last_img read more

Gadkari announces Rs 41000 crore for Telangana

first_imgUnion Minister Nitin Gadkari on Monday announced road projects worth Rs 41,000 crore for Telangana, including two Express Highways from the state capital Hyderabad to Bengaluru in Karnataka and Vijayawada in Andhra Pradesh.”The total package for Telangana is Rs 41,000 crore.This is not the final figure. It is still open for discussion. And if any new National Highway is recommended from the leaders of Telangana or from the state government or from our (BJP) leaders, we will think positively and we will support Telangana as a new state,” Gadkari said. Also Read – Punjab on alert after release of excess water from Bhakra damThe Union Road Transport and Highways Minister today laid the foundation stone of 4-lane of Yadgir and Warangal section of NH-202 (new NH-163) of length 99 km costing Rs 1,424 crore. He said the government will soon prepare the Detailed Project Reports (DPR) for two Express Highways connecting Hyderabad with Bengaluru and Vijayawada.”The Telangana portion of cost of construction for the two Express Highways would be Rs 16,000 crore covering 190 km for Vijayawada and 210 km for Bengaluru Express Highways,” the minister said.According to him, making of inland waterways would be the NDA government’s top priority. He also assured that his ministry would take up works of making waterways in Telangana, once the related proposals are cleared by Parliament.last_img read more