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Space

Telesat promises a satellite network offering internet connection similar to fibre to various businesses

According to Telesat, the Canadian telecommunications satellite operator, Lightspeed is coming soon. Lightspeed is the name it chose for its upcoming next-generation broadband satellite network. Thales Alenia Space will be the manufacturer, and the services will be available globally and will be no different high-speed fibre internet. Its constellation will comprise 298 such satellites. Additionally, it will be orbiting the Earth at a distance of approximately 1000 km from its surface. That altitude is only slightly higher than half that of the International Space Station (ISS).

According to Dan Goldberg, the CEO of Tesla, the company is not new in the industry. Therefore, venturing into Lightspeed is far from moving into uncharted waters. As a matter of fact, some aspects such as the market and customers are the same old ones. So, the difference comes in the architecture, which will be better and more groundbreaking than the previous one.

As usual, its customers will be businesses. Lightspeed’s constellation budget is $5 billion. The money will go towards purchasing satellites, paying for rocket launches, developing the necessary software platforms, constructing ground infrastructure, and eventually operating the network. Interestingly, a considerable chunk of money amounting to $3 billion will cater to the satellite’s cost. That’s the worth of the contract between Telesat and Thales Alenia Space. They have been in the business to business model, and 50 years later, the company doesn’t plan to change it. Therefore, Kuiper and Starlink by Amazon and SpaceX, respectively, will not be its competitors despite the project being quite similar.

Rural municipalities, cruise ships and airlines will be part of the customer base. That doesn’t mean that end customers can’t use the services, but that will only be possible through the Canadian government. The two have already signed a contract. It entails the government using Lightspeed to create a pool of capacity then sell it to extremely rural broadband providers and municipalities at a pocket-friendly price. As for Telesat, the project is about availing affordable satellite internet connection in the market.

If things go as planned, the launch will take place in 2023 and Lightspeed’s operation operations commencing soon after that. Its launch vehicle will most likely be Blue Origin’s, New Glenn. Its development is still ongoing, and its debut launch is scheduled for next year. Therefore, Goldberg, who has been following its progress, is hopeful that it will be ready by 2023. However, they are open to other launch providers, and the announcement of some of the alternatives will happen in a few months.

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Space

The Landscape could soon change the Space Sector with Liquid methane rocket launches

The Landscape is a renowned private firm in China. For a while now, it has been working on finding out the possibility of having a launching vehicle powered by methane fuel. If things go as planned, the debut orbital launch of this manner might see the light of the day by the end of this year. So far, so good since, at the beginning of February, it achieved a commendable milestone. The firm assembled the four Tianque-12 liquid methane-liquid oxygen engines. These engines will be responsible for powering the first stage of the Zhuque-2 rocket. Before that, there were several tests in late January, including the one for the payload fairing separation. The thrust engines, weighing 80 metric tonnes, also underwent several f 400-second hot-fire tests.

Zhuque-2 is a two-stage rocket with a length of 49.5 meters. Upon its successful launch, it will be the first methane-fueled launching vehicle. 2021 will also see debut launches for Vulcan and New Glenn by ULA and Blue Origin, respectively. The pair will be powered by BE-4 staged-combustion methalox engines manufactured by Blue Origin. The gas generator engines that will power the Zhuque-2 are neither complex nor too efficient.

Nevertheless, according to Landscape, the launcher can handle a payload delivery with a weight capacity of up to 4,000 kg to the low earth orbit of up to 200 km. Another possible scenario is a lift-off of payload weighing 2,000 kg to the SSO up to 500 km. So far, the schedule of the test for the launch is indefinite. However, Landscape expects it to happen this year.

For the debut launch, reusing will be out of the question. However, that is bound to change for the rest of the launch. After all, Landscape plans to come up with a different Tianque-12 thrust version using technologies such as pintle injectors. Such a design would facilitate the recovery and recycling of the first stages by allowing vertical takeoffs and landings.

The Zhuque-2 rocket will also make history in China, the first liquid-propellant rocket that a Chinese commercial launch provider has ever developed. That’s because they have been trying out solid rockets so far with a record of up to five orbital launches. Participants of these five attempts included Landscape, iSpace that has done 2, Galactic Energy, and OneSpace. Unfortunately, the majority of them, three to be precise, were unsuccessful.

Besides, iSpace, which is a Landscape competitor, is also in the process of developing a Hyperbola-2 methalox launcher that will be reusable. On the other hand, Aerospace Propulsion and Jiuzhou Yunjian, engine manufacturers, are also developing commercial liquid methane engines.

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Energy

Upstream SaaS ERP of W Energy Applications Selected for Management of Renewable Energy Royalties as well as Multimillion Acre Portfolio

W Energy SaaS ERP is the leading cloud-based energy logistics as well as transaction management software solution. In their recent announcements, it looks like the software just received another amazing deal. It will be in charge of the land and accounts of a different mix of royalty streams which spans renewable energy from its looks. In 2021, February 10th, the new boss in upstream and midstream oil and gas SaaS ERP solutions of W Energy Software went into the public about an exciting announcement. From the new leader’s statement, it is clear that W Energy has hit a new and awarding deal.

The statement highlighted that a broad royalty owner has confirmed up software licenses with the company. This fact means that the software solutions company will deal with its financial accounts and the land’s general management. What is exciting about this news piece is that W Energy won the bid after multiple lands and accounting software providers underwent a head-to-head evaluation to determine their legitimacy. W Energy is in charge of managing its multi-million-acre lease holdings and the revenue from these leases. The finances run from the surface to the mineral royalty streams.

Analysts explain that the top reason why W Energy Software was given a shot was its ability to manage the land and finances in a unique and exemplary way. It works with an integrated ERP solution that manages the accounts and the land simultaneously. Another reason why the deal went to W energy is its scalability features that meet the enterprise-level complexity. In addition to that, W Energy Software SaaS has a grand portfolio of the company’s cases for different clients. All these features go beyond what any legacy software vendor can offer, especially when dealing with a huge contract.

The client behind this W Energy Software contract has extensive lease holdings that revolve around millions of minerals and many surface areas in various states. This new client hopes that the W Energy enterprise-level ERP technology can work on their lands’ accounting and management. The management plan also involves different operations, including exploration, renewable power development, mining, and oil & gas exploration. With this software, the company can save on time and cost of integrating different systems to manage their management.

Following all the client’s requirements, the recruitment team settled for W Energy after the company exceeded its expectations. It is outstanding in financial accounting, land management, and fixed asset accounting. In their statement, Pete Waldroop, CEO of W Energy, thanked their clients for joining their team. In addition to that, Pete spoke about its dream to strive for excellence in its performance.

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Space

The setting of disruptive prices on new satellite IoT service by Sara Spangelo

Sara Spangelo, the Swarm‘s CEO, announced that the company’s Internet of Things (IoT) is now live. The internet links sandwich-sized satellites to small, handheld hardware to provide remote connectivity at a disorderly market price of $5/month/device.

Swarm was established in 2017, and in 2018 it gained more attention on media for launching satellites without the approval of FCC. Right now, Swarm is a critical player in the satellite IoT market. On Tuesday, Swarm announced its commercial availability after launching 36 satellites in the SpaceX rideshare mission. So far, the company has over 81 satellites in LEO, of which 71 are for commercial use.

Swarm is perpendicularly integrated, and it has designed and constructed software, hardware, and other arrangements for its satellites.  It has also developed a user modem known as Swarm Tile that costs $119 each. The modem can be fixed into any IoT device operating in a distant location. The Tile modem conveys data with other satellites in Low Earth Orbit weighing 400 grams.

 These satellites’ role is to gather data and then pass it to ground stations and place it into API where customers can access it faster. For a full cycle data transmission to be complete, it is usually two-way traffic. The sensor receives a command from the customer, and then the sensor gives the information or data that the client wants. In every three hours, satellites must pass over the Swarm’s ground stations. After launching about 150 small satellites, the company allows data transmission to take place anytime.

Spangelo said that the Swarm pricing scheme is less costly compared to other satellites in the market today. It is 4-20 times cheaper and allows the company to transfer data more regularly since it has many satellites. Spangelo said that with Swarm’s new model, a client who was previously paying $10000 per month to a service provider can now comfortably pay $500 per month. She added that this new pricing is set so as to attract new customers who could not afford to pay for the remote IoT connectivity before.

Spangelo said that this is a better opportunity for small companies in logistics or agriculture businesses. The model will advise them on the risks to take, how to run their price points, and the best markets to enter. Swarm has a high demand in monitoring water applications and maritime tracking as well as tracking trucks. Spangelo said that the company offers its services to both small and medium-sized customers.

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Space

Ku-Band Satellite Connectivity Added to Ansat Helicopters

Ansat helicopters in Russia have been fitted with in-flight satellite connectivity. The regulatory clearance for the in-flight operations was awarded the Mku30 system from the Kazan Helicopters, which is an affiliate of the Rostec State Corporation. Through the Yamal Ku-band satellite connectivity, the Mku30 solution will be able to offer up to 2 Mbit/s. The Yamal network is responsible for Russia’s widespread coverage and its surrounding regions, including Europe and a considerable African portion. The network also covers the south pacific and the northern parts of Australia.

Though the speed of connection is not high for Ku-band connection, the service is hindered by the antenna system’s size and location on the aircraft. When the antenna is placed on the aircraft’s side, just below the blades, interference is faced, and there is also the problem of reducing the size of the antenna to fit the aircraft’s profile.

Rostec is optimistic that models of the Ansat will be equipped for use by the public though for now, they are targeting the VIP configuration market where passengers will be willing to spend on the connectivity while on board. The company is optimistic that the medevac settings or the law discipline sectors will benefit significantly from the use of the connectivity. This is because the system is designed to help discerning passengers, doctors, police, those working in areas dealing with emergencies, among others, as it is designed to stay online and get operational information.

However, this is not the first attempt for a Russian firm to provide a home-developed inflight connectivity solution as Aeroflot had announced its plans to act as the pilot client for joint operation by SES and Sputnik Telecommunication Entertainment Company (STECCOM) back in 2018.  Though the deal was set to fit aircraft fitted at the beginning of the year and was meant to roll out by mid-2018 and see the A320 fleet online by 2019, it did not happen through the carrier has the STECCOM system online on its initial A350 planes.

“At the customer’s request, the satellite communication program will be mounted in the Ansat helicopters. For passenger as well as VIP adjustments of the aircraft, that choice will be most important.”  Aleksey Belykh, who works as the Managing Director of Kazan Helicopter Factory, noted that the ability to utilize the Internet between flights is yet another step in providing world-class luxury for Ansat helicopters. An enhanced Ansat-M helicopter took off on 29 December 2020 with an expanded flight range of close to 800 km with an added fuel tank. Improved track safety, new avionics as well as modernized heating and the ventilation system have been incorporated in the revised version of the aircraft. The aircraft will be fitted with a 3-channel autopilot in 2021.

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Energy

The rise in renewable energy increases investors’ returns

Among the beneficiaries of the White House Administration include SunPower, Enphase, and FirstSolar. These companies have substantial renewable energy stocks and are working towards the nation’s agenda of boosting green power and curbing climate change. Last year, the stock of these companies increased, improving the market’s gain.

President Joe Biden’s first day in office re-entered the United States to the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, stopped gas and oil leasing in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and canceled a permit for the Keystone XL oil pipeline. A global market strategist at J.P. Morgan Asset Management, David Lebovitz, said that the last year’s move was droved by the fact that there would be more policy to support these initiatives moving forward. All these things are done to help fight against climate change. America wants to go back to its previous position of being a global leader in tackling the climate crisis.

Renewable energy sources like solar and wind contribute to 12% of the total energy production. This is an increase from 4% in 2011. Power from hydroelectric sources was at 8%, while energy generated from coal decreased to 24% from 44%. Last year, Fremont, California’s Enphase renewable power cascaded by over six times. Biden’s administration plans to spend $2 billion to enable a pollution-free energy sector by 2035. This is expected to significantly benefit the companies that engage in the generation of wind and solar energy. Biden also has other initiatives such as investments in negative emissions technologies and battery storage.

Last year December, industry optimism was strengthened when the government approved a fiscal stimulus package to extend wind and solar generation tax credit and other incentives. The lithium mine’s approval in Nevada by the government is expected to increase access to rechargeable batteries’ key components for electric vehicle technology. The head of the sustainable and impact investing at UBS Global Wealth Management, Andrew Lee, said that thinking of long-term anticipations in renewables is a significant thing for future generations.

The US predicts more revenue returns as the demand for renewable energy increases. Also, more solar and wind projects are expected to build. In 2021, plant owners and developers target to have an additional 15.4GW of capacity to the grid.  According to the US Energy Information Administration, this will be an increase from 12GW in 2020. The agency said that they expect the largest portion of this renewable energy in 2021 would come from solar, saying that this would be the first time solar energy would exceed wind power.

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Space

DARPA to survey the capabilities of the private sector to construct factories on the moon

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is planning to listen from the space sector about their strengths to build the broad structures on the moon. This is the latest initiative that the DARPA agency announced on February 5, identified as “Novel Orbital and Moon Manufacturing, components as well as mass-efficient design.”

Bill Carter, who works at DARPA’s Defense Sciences Office as the program manager, said in a statement that DARPA seeks to “develop fundamental materials, processes, as well as designs required to realize in-space development of massive, accurate and resilient Defense Department systems.” DARPA invites companies that have innovations in this sector to participate in an online session scheduled for February 26. The organization does not plan to issue any new deals now, but it is conducting market evaluation for a potential solicitation.

This declaration does not state why lunar systems are of interest to DARPA or the Defense Department. This form of the project is in line with Defense Sciences Office of DARPA’s mission to prevent and predict what could come next from technological surprise. Wide, high-precision mechanical structures, large radio frequency reflector antennas, large solar arrays and segmented infrared-reflective optics are some of the lunar manufacturing innovations DARPA needs to learn about.

If the Defense Department wanted a center on the moon to stand up, the transport of materials as well as equipment would be the biggest challenge. For the government and private sector, access to space is becoming more routine, “but even with regular launches, modern rockets impose mass and volume limits on the payloads they deliver to orbit.” This size restriction prevents large-scale, complex space systems from being built and deployed that can cope with the developments in their environment or mission, DARPA said. Carter, the program manager, stated that “for some time, space companies and scientists have been thinking about on-orbit production, so we expect to show new materials and manufacturing technologies by the end of the program.” DARPA is planning a three-phase program of about 18 months each.

Carter said DARPA would like to learn about “system designs that are so mass-efficient that they can only be constructed off Earth and with features that allow them to withstand space and lunar environments typical of maneuvers, eclipses, damage, and thermal cycles. “The statement said that manufacturing in space would bring “significant improvements in structural efficiency, size, resilience, and accuracy for future space-based platforms.”

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Energy

The electric vehicle highs expected to proceed to overdrive

Tesla‘s chief executive, Elon Musk, is now the richest person, with the company boasting of more than 700% in sales. China’s Nio is the other company in the electric vehicle industry that has clocked 1300% sales demonstrating that China is the best market for these cars. Other electric vehicle stocks are also rising in value, with this trend expected to progress throughout the year after most countries showing high interest in transitioning their transportation sector to clean energy. Nio is very expectant of becoming the new Teslas in addition to other companies like Fisker. Another company on the watch-list in the electric vehicle industry Canada’s Facedrive, which procured Steer, a subscription service in Washington DC that will provide the renting option for cars instead of purchasing them.

Additionally, Biden’s election in the United States elections will bring the country into this quest after the previous president advocating for the opposite. Tesla will have the opportunity to develop and expand its technology, which it could not do under Trump’s administration for fear of ruffling feathers with the government and losing out on the United States market. One brand that the company is closely watching is the Fisker SUV. The model boasts of recyclable parts and is yearning for the attention that the other Tesla brands attained while entering the market. Fisker will be lucky to develop and release the Ocean SUV in 2023 after taking the advance orders this year and next year for the development of the most competitive units.

Another interesting experience for the electric vehicle industry is that the Biden administration will be pouring $2 trillion into the renewable energy utilities. This move will make the development of electric vehicle charging infrastructure swift, suppressing the grunts by the citizens over mileage range problems. Tesla, which boasts of a $660 billion net worth, will be the biggest beneficiary in such a move because the other competitors like General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler are still far from this value. The company’s stocks clocked an increase of more than 14000%. Nio appears to be rising with its shares growing from $3.24 last year to $61 this month in the China market. Moreover, the company unveiled a model that has the latest technology, which even Tesla fans would opt to try.

Li Auto of China finalizes today’s discussion, which can never end because the technology in this industry and the changes happen in short periods. Li Xiang founded this company five years ago, dedicating it to develop local plug-in hybrid vehicles. After merging with a SPAC and its subsequent listing on the Nasdaq stock exchange market, the company is already in its highs. The company has clocked over $30 billion as its worth and is expected to develop over 120 million electric vehicles in this decade. This move is possible since the ban on ICE cars is fast approaching, and Li Auto will be among the benefactors in this trend.

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Energy

MHI, Shell, and Vattenfall to develop a green energy hydrogen plant

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI), Shell, Vattenfall, and Warme Hamburg have penned an agreement that will inform the development of a green hydrogen energy plant in Germany. Initially, the companies intended to develop a 100MW electrolyzer at the Hamburg-Moorburg power plant before further analysis and decision to expand it into a green hydrogen energy facility. These partners have vowed to venture the potential of this facility expanding to generate more renewable energy. However, these activities will be waiting for authentication by the authorities before initiating green hydrogen generation through the next four years. These companies are hopeful that the Common European Interest program can financially support them through the EU Important Projects provision.

Additionally, this process will be useful in the first phase of this year when the partners design the project’s outline. The four companies explained that the site is perfect for this project because it has access to both the national 380,000-volt transmission network and the 110,000-volt network of the City of Hamburg. Moreover, ships can communicate with the operators at bay to develop a terminal in this area, creating a new venture that the companies can invest their profits. The companies can also provide a hydrogen network to supplement the government provisions and develop infrastructure to ensure they venture the remote areas with this technology promoting the transition to clean energy. A spokesperson for this project pointed that the neighborhood is a group of potential customers yearning for power that can meet their needs whenever they want.

Initially, Vattenfall had purchased this site from Hamburgische Electricitats-Werke, which had developed a gas-fired power plant in the area. Vattenfall then converted the plant into a coal-fired power plant, which has been operational for the last six years. After securing a contract, Vattenfall halted these activities that would see it phase out the emissive electricity production processes. The company will provide further details on the next step forward for this plant in March. Nevertheless, Hamburg and Vattenfall are in the process of preparing the site for the implementation of the green hydrogen energy project. Vattenfall’s chief of strategic development, Andreas Regnell, stated that this site’s transition to a carbon-free hydrogen power plant would pedal the region towards decarbonization and promotion of clean energy strategies.

Regnell added that they want to provide renewable energy to their market while expanding their facilities to reach more customers. This move would help the company provide its support in the quest to achieve the climate change objectives. The CEO of Shell, Fabian Ziegler, stated that they want to be part and parcel of this transformative plan to explore the supply chain to reach hydrogen power. On the other hand, MHI’s chief of energy systems, Kentaro Hosomi, highlighted that they want to implement their expertise and technologies through such collaborative projects.

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Energy

Renewable energy is the key driver towards Africa’s post-coronavirus economic recovery and boost

Last week, at the 2021 UK African Investment Summit, panellists said that one of the drivers towards African’s post-Covid-19 economic boom and growth recovery is renewable energy. The main theme of the panel was to keep a strong partnership between Africa and the United Kingdom. The panel discussed many things, such as developing sustainable and resilient infrastructure and British innovation and technology to advance Africa’s development. The panel members said that to achieve this investing in large-scale electrification projects is the way to go.

Louis Taylor, the UK Export Finance CEO, said that African countries are moving on well despite the coronavirus pandemic. He added that Africa is full of opportunities, and in its high times, the UK inventors grab them and are part of success of the African story. Taylor said that the UK needs to support African countries since much better compared to these nations. Furthermore, the UK government is still one of the biggest G7 investors in Africa. For example, a £ 1.7 billion guarantee has been offered by the UK Export Finance to support Cairo monorail’s development in Egypt.

International Energy Agency statistics said that more than $100 billion every year is needed to boost Africa’s universal energy access by 2030. 40% of these funds would be used to install wind, solar, and other low-carbon energy production projects. The African Development Bank is one of the leading organizations that have promoted the speed of the continent’s electrification in its fresh agreement on the Energy for Africa initiative. This initiative targets to increase energy access to all Africans.

Wale Shonibare, who works at the bank as the director in charge of Energy Financial Solutions, Policy, and Regulation, said that Africa would greatly benefit from vast expert knowledge of London City the innovative financial solution. Shonibare suggested that structured approaches such as sustainable infrastructure growth and execution of high-scale electrification initiatives will attract UK investors. For instance, the Bank’s Desert to Power Initiative has high chances of attracting UK businesses’ interest.

Nicholas Oliver, the United Kingdom-based NMS Infrastructure Ltd’s Business Development Director, implored investors to join and partner with governments and local companies. He added that this is the best time to make an investment in Africa, saying that there is a great opportunity to invest in climate change as it presents a $3 billion investment by the year 2030. Nicholas ended his statement by asking what an opportunity? Olusola Lawson, who works at the African Infrastructure Investment Managers as the Co-Managing Director, said that electrification is the key for Africa to attain energy transition. Therefore, there is a need to invest in large-scale power plants to get more energy.