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​SpaceX approved to send over 7,000 satellites into orbit

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(Image: SpaceX)

The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has given SpaceX authorisation to construct, deploy, and operate in excess of 7,000 satellites into very-low-Earth orbit, expected to boost internet connectivity across the globe.

The FCC also granted SpaceX’s request to add the 37.5-42.0 GHz and 47.2-50.2 GHz frequency bands to its previously authorised non-geostationary satellite orbit (NGSO) constellation.

The authorisation allows SpaceX to expand its geographic coverage and gives the aerospace startup the green light to support broadband and communications services for residential, commercial, institutional, governmental, and professional users, globally.

Elon Musk’s company was given authorisation for NGSO satellite activities alongside Kepler Communications, Telesat Canada, and LeoSat.

The FCC granted Kepler conditional US market access, allowing the Toronto-based company to offer global connectivity for the Internet of Things. The ruling also gave the company approval to use its proposed constellation of 140 NGSO satellites in the 10.7-12.7 GHz and 14.0-14.5 GHz frequency bands.

Telesat was similarly granted conditional US market access in the 37.5-42.0 GHz and 47.2- 50.2 GHz frequency bands, with the FCC nod enabling the Ottawa headquartered company to offer high-speed, low-latency communication services across the US using its proposed constellation of 117 NGSO satellites.

US market access was also given to Washington DC-based LeoSat to operate its 78 NGSO satellites in the 17.8-18.6 GHz, 18.8-19.4 GHz, 19.6-20.2 GHz, 27.5- 29.1 GHz, and 29.5-30.0 GHz frequency bands.

In total, the FCC has granted 13 market access requests and satellite applications to nine companies for NGSO FSS constellations seeking authority to provide “next-generation connectivity” across the country in the past 18 months.

The FCC said approval to the four companies on Thursday will enhance competition among existing and future FSS satellite systems.

“I’m excited to see what services these proposed constellations have to offer,” said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai in an email statement to ZDNet’s sister site CNET. “Our approach to these applications reflects this commission’s fundamental approach: encourage the private sector to invest and innovate and allow market forces to deliver value to American consumers.”

Authorisation comes as SpaceX successfully launched its 18th rocket into space from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Thursday, with a Falcon 9 rocket lifting Qatar’s Es’hail 2 communications satellite into orbit.

The satellite provides government and private sector communications across the Middle East, including direct-to-home television and data services.

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The New 2023 BMW 3 Series Avoids A Huge Grille Mistake

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The base 2023 BMW 330i and 330e PHEV get a moonroof, power front seats, open-pore wood oak interior trim, a sport steering wheel, interior ambient lighting, and sport seats. Also standard is BMW’s curved display comprising a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and a 14.9-inch center touchscreen powered by the latest-gen iDrive 8 OS. The system includes cloud-based BMW Maps with connected parking, a BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant (that replies to touch and speech commands), 5G connectivity, and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto with Sirius XM.

Meanwhile, the M340i has M sport brakes with blue calipers, variable sport steering, an M sport differential, M sport suspension, and an aero body kit with a rear spoiler. Optional features include the Driving Assistance Package (lane departure warning, active blind-spot detection, park distance control, and more), the Dynamic Handling Package, and the Premium Package (heated steering wheel, lumbar support, heated seats, etcetera). BMW will announce pricing for its 2023 3 Series nearer its official July 2022 launch date, but we expect base prices to start at $42,000 for the 330i and about $55,000 for the M340i. The first deliveries will arrive later this year.

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FDA Authorizes Pfizer Booster For Children 5 And Older

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In order to test the efficacy of the single Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine booster dose for children between 5 and 11 years of age, the agency monitored 400 children who received it anywhere between five to nine months after the primary series of dosages that involved two jabs. Coming to the side effects part of the booster shot, the U.S. FDA lists fatigue, headache, chills, fever, muscle or joint pain, pain, swelling, and redness at the injection site.

Talking about the decision, FDA Commissioner Robert M. Califf noted more kids have fallen ill and been hospitalized in the Omicron wave, complete with the risk of long-term effects on body systems even after a mild illness. With an official nod for the administration of a single booster dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to children as young as 5 years of age, the agency aims to provide a stronger line of defense against COVID-19.

Pfizer, on the other hand, estimates that more than 8 million children in the age group of 5 to 11 years have completed the primary series of COVID-19 vaccination and are eligible for a booster shot. Citing data from a clinical trial, the company claims that the booster dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine can produce antibodies that are capable of neutralizing both the Omicron variant as well as the wild-type COVID-19 virus.

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Old Pieces Of Technology That Still Work Today

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Before airplanes really took off, the best and sometimes only way to travel long distances over the air was the airship. In fact, the first airship lifted off more than fifty years before the Wright brothers achieved the first powered flight.

Instead of achieving lift through the physics of wing design, they used lighter-than-air gases to raise themselves into the air. Even after airplanes hit the mainstream, airships were a common way to travel trans-oceanic distances that planes couldn’t yet handle. The Hindenburg disaster more or less ended the airship’s tenure as a mode of travel and the number of blimps or zeppelins you were likely to see in the sky decreased dramatically.

Today, there are only 25 blimps still in operation and they’re largely used for advertising purposes, (via Reader’s Digest). While the airship appears to be a slowly dying technology, that might be about to change.

As explained by SingularityHub, several companies are working toward reviving airships as a method of passenger or cargo transportation. Instead of taking a flight around the world, the next generation of airships could offer slower, more ponderous and comfortable, journeys more akin to flying cruise ships.

One company, Ocean Sky Cruises, is offering flights from Svalbard to the North Pole by airship beginning in 2024. Passengers will get their own cabin and all meals and drinks included. The only downside is the price tag of two million Swedish Krona, or roughly $200,000 USD.

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