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Blue Origin announces a blue-chip team to return humans to the Moon

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On Tuesday, Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos announced that his company has a plan for NASA to return to the Moon by 2024. The company has assembled a proven team of US companies to design and build elements of a lunar landing system that will take humans from a high lunar orbit down to the Moon's surface.

"This is a national team for a national priority," said Bezos, announcing a partnership with three other companies—Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and Draper—to support NASA's Artemis Program.

Blue Origin will serve as the prime contractor, building the Blue Moon lunar lander as the "descent element" of the system to carry the mission down to the lunar surface. Bezos' company will also lead program management, systems engineering, and safety and mission assurance. Lockheed Martin will develop a reusable "ascent element" and lead crewed flight operations. Northrop Grumman will build the "transfer element," and Draper will lead descent guidance and provide flight avionics.

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zipcube
12 hours ago
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Dallas, Texas
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Google Fi will soon connect you to two LTE networks at once

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Google Fi will soon connect you to two LTE networks at once

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Google Fi is getting an upgrade today with what Google is calling "Dual Connect" technology—the ability to connect to two of Google Fi's licensed mobile networks at once for faster switching.

With Google Fi, Google is operating as a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO)—a company that doesn't build its own networks but instead resells network access owned by one of the big carriers. Instead of doing this for one network, Google does it for three. Google Fi gives you access to Sprint, T-Mobile, and US Cellular, picking the fastest network available at any given time. Normally, switching between these networks requires a small amount of disconnect time, but with this new "dual connect" technology, Fi phones will be able to hop between two networks seamlessly. Google says: "if you’re watching a video and Fi switches you to a better network, you won't experience any delays or pauses—you won’t even notice."

Getting this feature to work on a smartphone is a bit of a hack, and for now it will only work with the freshly released Pixel 4. Google is using Dual Sim Dual Standby (DSDS) hardware to connect to two networks at once, which isn't that crazy of an idea, but it's using DSDS to connect twice to the same network, that network being Google Fi. You'll have to have Fi activated on the internal eSim chip and have a physical card installed in the device, allowing your two SIMs to each pick one of Fi's MVNO networks. If you've been a purely eSIM Google Fi user, which normally needs no physical SIM chip, you'll need to order a physical SIM card, which you can do for free through the Google Fi app.

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zipcube
12 hours ago
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Dallas, Texas
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Elon Musk sends tweet via SpaceX’s Starlink satellite broadband

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Starlink logo imposed on stylized image of the Earth.

Enlarge / Starlink logo imposed on stylized image of the Earth. (credit: Starlink)

SpaceX's Starlink division is on track to offer satellite-broadband service in the United States in mid-2020, a company official said today. Meanwhile, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk posted two tweets that show he's testing the broadband service.

"Sending this tweet through space via Starlink satellite," Musk wrote. Two minutes later, Musk sent a followup tweet that said, "Whoa, it worked!!"

Musk "has a Starlink terminal at his house," SpaceNews wrote today in an article that has a deployment update from SpaceX president Gwynne Shotwell.

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zipcube
13 hours ago
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Dallas, Texas
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Used Cars Cost Almost Double What They Did Nine Years Ago

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The last time I bought a used car it set me back $9,000, which, according to new data from Edmunds, is just over average for a used car in 2019. That number is almost 75 percent higher than it was in 2010.

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zipcube
23 hours ago
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Dallas, Texas
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SUVs Are Gulping All The Gas Fuel Efficient Cars Are Saving

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One of the more lamentable trends over the last several decades has been SUVs, pick-up trucks and crossovers becoming the default option for many car-buyers. We at Jalopnik have lamented this trend because smaller cars tend to be more fun, not to mention more affordable, and Americans are often guilty of buying more…

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acdha
19 hours ago
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Ban SUVs
Washington, DC
zipcube
23 hours ago
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Dallas, Texas
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1 public comment
fxer
15 hours ago
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> So, unless you actually work as a contractor or are an off-roading enthusiast, just buy a damn car.

They just posted an article about how much they love minivans! Oh Grupo Gawker will you never change
Bend, Oregon
DMack
4 hours ago
Easy for you to say, mister macro-penis!

Rocket Lab—yep, Rocket Lab—has a plan to deliver satellites to the Moon

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The "Make It Rain" mission launches in June 2019 from Rocket Lab's spaceport in New Zealand.

Enlarge / The "Make It Rain" mission launches in June 2019 from Rocket Lab's spaceport in New Zealand. (credit: Rocket Lab)

Rocket Lab has successfully begun to transform into an operational launch company this year, with five successful Electron missions in 2019 and the promise of a couple more before the year ends. In accomplishing this, it has become the world's first private company to develop a low-cost rocket for small satellites.

Moreover, it continues to set performance milestones. With its "As the Crow Flies" mission earlier this month, Rocket Lab set a new altitude record for the company by sending a 20kg payload to a 1,200km circular orbit. But now, the US-based company that launches primarily from New Zealand has set its sights much, much higher.

On Monday, Rocket Lab announced that with its "Photon" upper stage, it will be able to send small payloads all the way to lunar orbit. “Small satellites will play a crucial role in science and exploration, as well as providing communications and navigation infrastructure to support returning humans to the Moon," Peter Beck, the company's chief executive, said in a news release. "They play a vital role as pathfinders to retire risk and lay down infrastructure for future missions."

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zipcube
1 day ago
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