Monday, February 5, 2024

Short Takes – 2-5-24

Pentagon Puts Out Call for Swarming Attack Drones That Could Blunt a Taiwan Invasion. article. Pull quote: ““Dozens of these unmanned surface vehicles, maybe a hundred of these unmanned surface vehicles, that’s a lot,” he said. “But it seems like that’s within the scope of what a commercial manufacturer could do within 18 months.””

SpaceX shows off Super Heavy boosters 'for the next 3' Starship flights. article. Pull quote: “Starship isn't up and running yet, however; it has launched just twice to date, on test flights in April and November of last year. Both ended in powerful explosions. But Starship made enough progress on the second liftoff — acing a full-duration Super Heavy burn and successfully separating its two stages, for example — that success seems like a real possibility on flight number three, which may be just around the corner.”

Could a Giant Parasol in Outer Space Help Solve the Climate Crisis? article. Pull quote: “But the falling costs of space launches and investments in a space industrial economy have widened possibilities, Mr. Goodwin said. The foundation suggests using raw materials from space and launching solar shade ships into L1 from the moon, which would cost far less than setting off from Earth.”

Bird flu viruses may pack tools that help them infect human cells. article. Explains mechanism by which bird-flu can infect humans. Pull quote: “It has been a mystery how avian influenza viruses, which have different ANP32 proteins than mammals do, could grab onto and use the ANP32 proteins in human and and other mammalian cells. Researchers thought that perhaps some flu viruses already had mutations that would allow viral polymerases to interact with mammalian ANP32 proteins.”

Hurricanes are getting so intense, scientists propose a Category 6. article. Pull quote: “Kossin and Wehner said their research doesn’t mean to suggest that Category 6 should be added to the Saffir-Simpson scale. That is a decision that would require social science research into how it might affect people’s risk perceptions and their actions to prepare for tropical cyclones, they said.”

Inland spaceports seek ways to host orbital launches. article. Pull quote: “One spaceport is trying to change that. Spaceport America in New Mexico, best known for hosting Virgin Galactic suborbital flights, has been working to win funding for an “Orbital Launch Challenge” prize. The competition would award $2 million to the first company to receive an FAA license for, and later attempt, an orbital launch from Spaceport America.”

Space Force to put firms under contract for commercial reserve by 2025. article. Pull quote: “Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall, who provides civilian oversight for the service, approved the Commercial Space Office’s plan for the construct, known as CASR, last fall. Since then, the office has worked on an implementation strategy, which includes writing contractual language for companies that will participate in the reserve.”

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