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Space

Slovakia plans to send its second satellite to space

Slovakia made history a while back after launching its first satellite to space. A lot of people have been looking forward to their second mission to launch a satellite to space. This wait has come to an end recently after their latest announcement. The second satellite from Slovakia will start its orbiting journey in the Earth’s orbit this autumn.

It goes by the name of GRBAlpha and is an international project. The satellite’s shape is cubic and measures 10 by 10 by 10 cm. currently, this popular satellite is located in Moscow, where it is waiting for its grand launch. The satellite will go onboard on one of Russia’s space rockets, whose launching area is the Baikonur Cosmodrome. Its launching date month on the space calendar is between March and April.

The Project coordinator, Miroslav Smelko, in an interview explained the primary role of this satellite. He stated that its core task is to support amateur radio activities. Not the mention the promotion Of Slovakia abroad. This satellite comes after its predecessor, the skCUBE, which liftoff to the Earth’s orbit in 2017. The satellite made a name for Slovakia after deploying over a million data packets and also responding to 544 commands from the team on the ground. All these tasks took place 569 days after its launch when it was active on the Earth’s orbit. However, it went silent. Experts claim that the main cause for its interference was overheating by radiation.

For the Amateur radio experiment, the satellite will be carrying a transmitter with two frequency bands. The transmitter will be able to transmit a regular beacon with a call sign in Morse code and the basic telemetry in the digital mode. Also, this device should give a retranslation function. With these primary functions, the amateur radio stations can comfortably communicate with another which is not around the direct radio signal.

Part of the experiment gives credit to Norbert Werner, an astrophysicist. This scientist aims to verify some new possibilities of monitoring gravitational waves about the detection of gamma-ray bursts in orbit. Smelko went ahead to speak about plans for the experiment. If these experiments are functional, then they plan on moving to different nanosatellites to create detectors in various orbits.

This project is an international project whose main developers include Slovakia, Hungary, and Japan. It was backed up by different companies, organizations, and the Slovak University of Technology, Bratislava. In 2019, the project became the first runners up in the nanosatellite launch competition under the International Aeronautical Federation and Russian GK Launch Services. With that, the project received a 75% discount on space launch dealing. This project confirms the potential of Slovakia in regards to space matters.

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Energy

The European Investment Bank (EIB) is banking $46.5 million in the development of renewable energy in Burkina Faso

The European Investment Bank (EIB) will be pouring in $46.5 million to Burkina Faso to facilitate the development of clean energy projects and other projects that shape the country for the minimization of emissions into the atmosphere. This funding will accelerate the adoption of renewable energy sources into the country’s power grids, propelling it towards economic development. Moreover, these clean energy projects will preserve the country’s capital, Ouagadougou, from imminent flooding problems. This program will start the development of a solar power plant that will expand the power supply from 37MW to 50MW. The project will be operating under a public electricity firm called SONABEL.

With electricity demand growing by 10% per annum, Burkina Faso is experiencing a low electricity supply because the resources required to transfer imported power from Ivory Coast are few. This challenge forces the country to depend on the neighbor because its energy utilities are scarce and can’t meet their demand. The Minister of Economic, Finance, and Development in Burkina Faso, H.E. Lassané Kaboré, stated that new investment for upgrading the accessibility of energy and preserving the energy sources from generating environmental problems. Kaboré added that if these projects kick-off, they will align the country towards economic development. The EIB has been essential to Burkina Faso, especially in the financial help and providing international technical expertise for the expansion of projects in the country, for over five decades.

The European Investment Bank (EIB) started helping Burkina Faso in its projects in 1970 and has continued to help the country in achieving its projects and plans without ceasing. The vice president of EIB, Ambroise Fayolle, explained that their bank is ready to help SONABEL in developing the solar power plant to realign renewable energy production in Burkina Faso and preserve the lives of the people in Ouagadougou from flood problems.

Fayolle pointed that the partnership between Burkina Faso and entities like the AFD, the European Union, and the EIB is unraveling the country’s potential that investors can pursue. This pursuit will bring profits to the investors and inform the economic and social development of Africa to prepare it to overcome climate change problems. Moreover, these projects can spill over and take up the citizens’ employment opportunities to improve their lifestyle and open remote and rural areas for electricity and health care services. All these activities are possible if the people are ready for change.

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Energy

High-pressure heat exchanger from BENTELER expected to reduce the charging time for electric vehicle batteries

The mileage range of electric vehicles and the time taken to recharge their batteries are among the things that are annoying the electric vehicle drivers and possibly some of the reasons why some people don’t want to purchase them. The executive vice president of BENTELER Automotive, Dr. Rainer Lübbers, stated these are some of the complaints that the customers have raised which most of the industry players are forcing their way around it by, for instance, developing numerous electric vehicle charging stations and doing more research on the substitute elements for the electric vehicle batteries that they manufacture. Customers think that these factors hinder the flexibility and mobility of electric vehicles, making them restrain even from purchasing the cheap second-hand models.

Electric vehicle manufacturers ought to develop batteries or work around the technology that ensures the cars charge for a short time without increasing the costs that the drivers were hoping would end with ICE cars. Moreover, the idea of fast-charging units has been dejected because this concept not only heats the batteries but also reduces their durability. Nevertheless, BENTELER has emerged with a variant technology that ensures fast cooling of the batteries after they have gone through fast-charging. The technology is high-pressure heat exchangers. The exchangers are small, compact, and powerful to sustain the cooling process.

The BENTELER high-pressure heat exchanger is fitted into the air-conditioning circuit to combine the two concepts and increase the system’s cooling power as it undergoes fast-charging. The developer of this technology, Jens-Eike Jesau, stated that this ideology minimizes the charging time and maintains the integrity of the battery. The cooling medium in these BENTELER high-pressure heat exchangers is carbon dioxide. The coolant, which is labelled R744, is converted to a liquid to ensure it flows in the system as it enters the cooler. The heat generated by the battery in the charging procedure is absorbed by the liquefied carbon dioxide making it evaporated. Luckily, the sealed equipment contains this evaporate carbon dioxide from entering the environment.

Lübbers explained that the cooling capability of the coolant is high compared to the standard heat exchangers. He added that they are happy to provide this technology to the electric vehicle manufacturers for installation to encourage consumers’ uptake. The company’s systems experts have supported this technology, calling it a global breakthrough that will accelerate the minimization of carbon emissions once the electric vehicles enter the market.

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Space

Satellite deployment in Egypt at the end of 2021

The Egyptian Space Agency‘s Executive Director stated on Saturday that a set of Egyptian satellites called “Next” will be deployed beginning in December. Mohamed al-Qousy informed Middle East News Agency that, in collaboration with Germany, the very first satellite was going to weigh 65 kilograms for scientific research and remote sensing. In March 2022, a collection of nanosatellites will be deployed in parallel with the Next to track climate change, particularly atmospheric levels of the carbon dioxide as well as gases, Qousy stated.

EgyptSat 2, which weighs 330 kilograms, will be deployed in September 2022 for use in sensor applications with the photographic precision of two meters. In partnership with China, EgyptSat 2 has been planned under an arrangement that involves a grant valued at $45 million, he said. In September 2022, International Space City will officially launch a satellite assembly as well as a research center to be the first hub of its nature in the Arab world. Pure Egyptian satellites are also expected to be developed for construction purposes in Egypt as well as Africa and the scientific research.

Qousy also stated that Egypt would serve as the host nation of the African Space Agency after the ratification of the African Union. There is a proposal to deploy a joint satellite named the African Development Satellite in collaboration with Ghana, Kenya, Uganda, Sudan, and Nigeria. The African Space Agency’s offices are now being set up in the International Space City at a $10 million cost.

President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi extended the tenure of Mohammed Afifi El-Quosy, the Chief executive of Egyptian Space Agency, at the conclusion of his first tenure in office. Since the Egyptian Space Agency’s board was established in 2019, El-Quosy became the Chief executive. Via Decree Number. 411/2019, President El-Sisi released the order creating the council. The nomination of Mohamed Afifi El-Quosi as Chief executive was made by Decree No. 410/2019, and the extension of his term was completed by the President’s announcement of Decree No 457/2020. Until the year 2021, El-Quosy will remain to be the CEO of the Agency.

To date, El-Quosy has implemented a variety of cooperation arrangements between Egypt and several countries and organizations, as well as launching several initiatives and projects within the organization. A network of space technology centers across the nation will be built at universities by the Egyptian Space Agency (EgSA). This creation was reported via the Agency’s Facebook page by the Agency’s Chief executive, Dr. Mohammed Al-Quosy. The declaration also suggested that the Agency would fund Egyptian universities via the process of developing technology centres on their separate campuses.

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Energy

Electric Vehicle Company seeking financiers to raise its value to $2 billion

A Chinese electric vehicle company has announced its plan of accepting investment and funds to improve its market value past $2 billion. Aichi Automobile revealed this plan hoping that the local and foreign investors can cash into their programs to facilitate the company’s expansion. Reports indicate that China’s mega-company, Didi Chuxing, is among the investors who will be gracing the fundraiser. The company executives refused to reveal more details concerning the fundraising to maintain the investors’ confidentiality who cash into the project. The employees and common citizens think that Aichi, aka Airways, will utilize this capital to widen their operation scale and develop the electric vehicles with the technology they have been developing.

The company came into being four years ago courtesy of Samuel Fu and Gary Gu, who are local entrepreneurs. The company has a production center in Jiangxi province and a battery pack utility in Suzhou of Jiangsu. Another center offering services to the company is its European research, development, and sales center in Germany and finally a production center in Denmark.

Executives explained that they are monitoring the appropriate strategy that they would use to utilize the funds raised from the strategy to expand their utilities or processes. The representatives from both Airways and Didi Chuxing refused to make public comments concerning the purpose or project that the funds obtained would be doing for the electric vehicle company.

Didi managed to beat Uber Technologies in China and has been looking for partnerships with car manufacturers to develop electric vehicles in the ongoing transition to electric vehicles. The company intends to unveil electric vehicles manufactured by BYD Co and supported by Warren Buffett. The Chinese EV company procured help from Didi, opting to put its electric vehicle technology into action. China has become the largest market for electric vehicles, with leading electric vehicle manufacturers like Tesla camping in the country and battling it out with local manufacturers like Nio, Li Auto, and Xpeng.

Last year witnessed the country accepting over 200000 electric vehicles to grace their market. This year will be a record since more electric vehicle companies are launching their models in the country and in the globe. Chinese customers cannot accept to tread in the technology while the world proceeds into the new technology. The people will resort to importing these vehicles to satisfy their hunger for electric vehicles, which will be easy since the policies regulating the electric vehicle industry are lenient.

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Energy

Is the electric car’s time actually here?

Joe Biden’s dad sold used cars, plunging the president of the United States into the combustion engines’ world.  On weekends, the younger Biden washed tires, rented a Chrysler to drive to prom, and hit vehicle auctions to support stock the dealership for his family. To this day, President Biden possesses his dad’s green ’67 Corvette as a wedding gift that he informed Car and Driver magazine had a “rear-axle ratio which gets up and goes.” But if the White House’s resident motorhead has its way, and this remains a major “if,” we will one day reflect on his presidency as the start of the end in the United States for cars and trucks which are powered by gasoline.

To counter climate change, Biden is seeking sweeping changes to the country’s energy infrastructure. But they are targeted at greening the electricity grid or moving coal as well as natural gas away from the country. Over a fifth of the United States greenhouse gas emissions are accounted for by transport; it has been especially thorny to work out how to minimize that, considering the number of cars on the roads. So, Biden is proposing a host of ways for electric vehicles, or EVs, to guide the nation.

The success of EVs, as well as hybrid vehicles, is now surging by almost every metric. Yet, after an explosion of encouraging headlines, relative to the size of the crisis, the change away from the gas-fueled vehicles remains stubbornly negligible, even as global warming levels fuelled by the use of the fossil fuels are smashed year after year. Clean automobiles also contribute to just 2% of the vehicles sold in the United States, 5% in China, as well as 10% in Europe, and these are the largest economies in the world. “This transformation is by no way inevitable,” explains Nic Lutsey, of an independent consulting community collaborating with decision-makers around the world, the International Council on Clean Transportation.

Yet economists, activists, clean-tech experts, and researchers funded by the automobile industry all suggest the right balance of policy, market benefits, and research funding may just be sufficient to stimulate drastic acceleration. And so far, these analysts believe Biden is willing to pull the correct levers. “The dam is busting; the turning point is here,” said Sam Ricketts, a team member who, during his presidential bid, wrote the climate action plan of Washington Governor Jay Inslee.

Since then, many of Inslee’s designs have made their way into the Biden’s initiatives. “The issue is, how soon the automobile industry can go, as well as can it be rapid enough to address the climate problem.” That will rely in no minor portion on what occurs next in Washington, D.C.-and if the pieces will even be set in place by Biden as well as the Democrats, who control the White House and a majority in the Congress.

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Energy

Renewable Energy Endangering Wildlife Cause of Concern

Wind energy is fast becoming the daily norm. While its adoption is rapid, the integration of wind power energy throughout the world offers hope for a transition to sustainable development. However, reports show that this type of renewable energy production also poses a problem for high flying birds of prey like eagles.

To cater to this problem, scientists are working on a new generation of wind power generation tools that offer a win-win solution for both birds and renewable energy plants in general.  The tools work to enable developers to span out the best sites for autonomous wind turbines quickly. These include regions likely to minimize the risk of collisions between eagles and turbines. Scientists elate that the tool will significantly reduce bird deaths while reducing the need for constant repairs that cause massive disruptions in renewable energy production.

Conservationists state that the most affected bird in this occurrence is the much-loved Eagle of Evreux. The bird of prey is a charismatic bird found in the flatlands that are more prominent with wind turbines. The bird is the most threatened species because it is particularly susceptible to collisions. Researchers are not sure of the cause for this occurrence. Scientists do not know whether the reason is that the eagles cannot see the rotating turbines or do not know the moving blades are dangerous. However, scientists theorize that when the birds travel at speeds of up to 290kph, their vision is focused on finding food and not concentrating on escaping collisions from the turbine tips spinning at 290km/hr.

Further theories speculate that the turbines tend to rotate at frequencies far from the eagle’s frequency the bird’s eyes operate. However, designers are focused on typically reducing the future occurrence of these collisions. The most prominent solution is that engineers aim to redirect wind turbines’ construction clear from intensive usage regions of the eagles to avoid future occurrence of such collisions.

These birds’ preservation has forced all upcoming construction further some distance from the birds’ frequently accessed active nesting sites. This solution includes the provision of circular exclusion buffers in nesting areas. However, research into bird habits shows that Eagles are not limited to their geographical regions but span out looking for prey. These occurrences force planners and conservationists to rethink their approach towards saving the lives of these hunters. The state of conservation of the environment is dependent on the capability to preserve the lives of the birds.

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Space

Rocket Lab plans to launch the German company’s super-secret satellite

OHB Group, a German technology company, has partnered with Rocket Lab to launch a small communications satellite into low earth orbit on behalf of a customer. The payload is to be delivered by Rocket Lab’s Electron launch vehicle on Saturday 16th January 2021 from New Zealand. Officials from both Rocket Lab and OHB have not provided details about the payload, which remains a secret to the public.

The spacecraft, built by the OHB divisions in Sweden, Germany and the Czech Republic, will be launched during a seven-minute window opening at around 8 p.m New Zealand time. This will be Rocket Lab’s first mission in 2021 and its 18th flight on an Electron launcher. According to a statement given by Rocket Lab, “this is a single communication microsatellite that will enable specific frequencies to support future services from the orbit.”

Rocket lab’s founder and CEO, Peter Beck, noted that this launch is scheduled for six months after OHB signs the contract. “By flying a dedicated mission on Electron, OHB and their mission partners have control over launch timing, orbit, integration schedule, and other mission parameters,” added Beck. Dr. Lutz, OHB executive board member, said OHB had purchased the Electron Launcher for a customer. “We will also operate it until the end of the satellite’s operational life,” Bertling said. The identity of the customer remains unknown. However, satellite market specialists have been speculating on who it might be.

An image of Electron rocket’s payload shows a pair of mission logos. According to a tweet by Alexandre Najjar, the logos might reveal the identity of the covert customer. “I think I have ID-ed the mystery OHB payload,” tweeted Najjar, who works at the Euroconsult as a satellite market consultant. He added that the payload seems to serve as a prototype for the low earth orbit broadband network which is linked to GMS, Chinese Company that also goes by the name Shanghai Spacecom Satellite Technology. GMS collaborates with KLEO Connect, a company based in Germany, to develop small satellites. GMS funds the project, which is aimed at providing data relay services and industrial asset tracking. KLEO Connect launched successful technology demonstration satellites in 2019, using a Chinese rocket.

According to Najjar’s tweet, the secrecy of the relationship between OHB and GMS could be due to the Germany-China relations. Rocket Lab’s Electron is an 18- meter launch vehicle capable of carrying 200kilograms of payload to an altitude of 500km on the polar orbit. The company’s Electron flights are inexpensive, which gives small satellite operators a chance to get rides for their payloads. Rocket Lab sells the flights at approximately $7 million per ride.

The Electron rocket will launch from the Mahia Peninsula launch complex, heading south to deliver the secret payload to a polar orbit. The two-stage rocket uses a Rutherford engine, propelled by kerosene and liquid oxygen fuel. During this flight, the Electron’s first stage will burn the 9 engines for two and a half minutes. The second stage is going to inject the kick stage and microsatellite into an elliptical transfer orbit. The kick stage uses a Curie engine. It will “perform a series of burns to raise apogee and act as a space tug to deliver the satellite to its precise orbital destination,” said Rocket Lab. This mission has been nicknamed ‘Another One Leaves the Crust.’

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Energy

Electric vehicle industry operating at its topnotch level

2020 was a milestone that reshaped the automotive industry in such a short time than would have happened in a century. This year will also record numerous technological changes with capital markets and investors switching their investment in this side. Statistics from the Mobility Intelligence Center of Plante Moran anticipates the electric vehicles to form a quarter of the North American market in the next seven years, doubling the shares that this industry recorded last year. This trend will be facilitated by the plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and purely electric vehicles that will be unveiled over the coming years. Nevertheless, the internal combustion engine cars will still have a considerable portion of the market share, although it would be on a diminishing scale.

The plausible theory that the experts are projecting is that the uptake of conventional cars will be low while that of the electric vehicles will be escalating. This trend is because the electric vehicle charging utilities would have infiltrated the entire country. However, the US is shifting its focus and policies from electric vehicle products, and consumer needs to other matters. The country paid less attention to this sector, with President Trump imposing tariffs on the importation of these vehicles from the manufacturing countries. This trend will change this year after the new leaders and legislators assuming office. President-Elect Joe Biden promised through his agenda to promote the uptake of clean energy and its development to minimize pressure from the environmental activists.

Capital markets are also in the process of channeling their resources to support environmental sustainability programs. Some include JPMorgan Chase, which has withdrawn its support for coal mining, and BlackRock declared its desire to help meet sustainability shareholder objectives. These trends, among others, indicate that the financiers are sending their resources to eco-friendly projects. The approach taken by the automotive industry indicates that it is going to thrive in the business world for the next ten years until the entire transportation industry switches to electric vehicles. Projections by experts show that over 3 million electric vehicles will be on the roads in the next six years. Electrification of common car brands like Ford Mustang and F-150 has put them in high demand, stirring their car fanatics and consumers’ uptake.

Moreover, the measures streamlined towards greenhouse gas emission reduction have activated the development of clean energy sources to meet the demand for electric vehicles and other energy-consuming services. Another driving strategy in the high profitability witnessed in the electric vehicle industry is the high demand from mega distributors and companies like Federal Express, Amazon, and UPS. These utilities have also outlined objectives in line with the reduction of emissions.

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Space

What is the origin of the primordial black holes in the solar system?

The origin of giant primordial black holes has remained a mystery for quite a long time. Not even astronomers seem to understand anything about them. That’s understandable because black holes have existed for quite a long time as far as the cosmological record is concerned. Therefore, unless new physics is discovered, the existing one lacks information to explain how they came into appearance.

However, there is an exciting research proposal about their origin. It states that the stars are not the sources of the first black holes. On the contrary, they originate from clumps of gravitinos, particles that are super-hypothetical and super-exotic. These particles might have survived the Bing Bang, especially the first challenging years of the same.

For quite a long time, it was believed that black holes came about after the big stars’ death. Given the massive size, the black hole they leave behind is often more prominent than the sun. Assumptions have it that the extra big black holes result from merging two or more small black holes. Others are big because of solar masses resulting from consuming as much gas as possible. The theory has been justified for quite some time. After all, they often occur amidst every galaxy in the cosmos, including the Milky Way. That includes even the supermassive black holes (SMBHs).

Nevertheless, there is something weird about this particular assumption. According to astronomers, there were massive black holes at or before even the galaxies and stars existed. They existed even before the universe was a billion years old. Therefore, there are high chances that they don’t result from stars’ death since that takes a long time. Going by the typical stellar death route, stars could take even hundreds of millions of years to die. Yet again, the supermassive black holes were there even with the very first stars and galaxies. There are high chances there was no time for the star to die and form black holes in the early universe.

That pokes holes in the existing theory of how black holes came to be, especially the supermassive ones. Do we really know much about the astrophysics surrounding the growth of the big black holes? Probably not, but time will tell.

There is also the gravitinos theory that is too weird at the moment. After all, no known physics covers its scope. That’s where the rest of the work is put on the shoulders of theoretical physicists. Fortunately, they are already working day and night to go beyond the existing physics. With the help of things like supersymmetry, it might be possible. It has a way of explaining how the particle world works inside and tell if there are brand-new particles in them.