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NovaSAR the first all-British radar satellite is set to go into orbit on an Indian rocket.

NovaSAR the first all-British radar satellite is set to go into orbit on an Indian rocket.
Optical satellite (S1-4) and NovaSAR
S1-4 and NovaSAR pictured just before being enclosed at the top of their Indian rocket
The NovaSAR, has the ability to take pictures of the surface of the Earth in every kind of weather, day or night.
The spacecraft will assume a number of roles but its designers specifically want to see if it can help monitor suspicious shipping activity.
Lift-off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota is at 17:37 BST.
NovaSAR will be joined on its rocket by a high-resolution optical satellite - that is, an imager that sees in ordinary light.
Known as S1-4, this spacecraft will discern objects on the ground as small as 87cm across. Both it and NovaSAR were manufactured by Surrey Satellite Technology Limited of Guildford.
NovaSARImage copyrightAIRBUS DS
Image captionNovaSAR has something of the look of a cheese-grater
UK engineers have long had expertise in space radar but their technology has previously always gone on broader missions, such as those for the European Space Agency. NovaSAR, which has the distinctive shape of a cheese-grater, is uniquely British, however.
Its radar instrument was developed for SSTL by Airbus in Portsmouth. The mission incorporates low-cost, miniaturised components and will aim to demonstrate a more affordable approach to radar imaging.
It will operate in a number of modes for applications that include the detection of oil spills, flood and forestry monitoring, disaster response, and crop assessment.
Portsmouth from airborne SARImage copyrightAIRBUS DS/SSTL
Image captionPortsmouth viewed by the NovaSAR radar instrument when it was flown on an aeroplane
But perhaps its most interesting role will be in maritime observation.
The satellite is equipped with a receiver that can pick up Automatic Identification System (AIS) radio signals. These are the positional transmissions that large ships are obliged to broadcast under international law.
Vessels that tamper with or disable these messages very often are engaged in smuggling or illegal fishing activity. If such ships appear in NovaSAR's pictures, they will be reported to the authorities.
"We are very interested in this maritime mode, which is a 400km-plus swath mode," said Luis Gomes, the chief technology officer at SSTL.
"It is important to be able to monitor large areas of the ocean - something we don't do at the moment. We all saw with the Malaysian airline crash in the Indian Ocean the difficulty there was in monitoring that vast area. We can do that kind of thing with radar and NovaSAR is good for that," he told BBC News.
The NovaSAR project was initiated inside SSTL in 2008/9. Back then the idea of a radar satellite that measured 3m by 1m was regarded as something of a breakthrough because, up that point, such spacecraft had been big, power-hungry beasts that cost a lot of money.
It is a little unfortunate therefore that the programme got delayed because in the meantime others have also managed to package radar systems into small volumes. The Finnish start-up Iceye has a platform flying now that is the size of a suitcase. And an American company called Capella is promising a radar satellite that is not much bigger than a shoebox.
But radar expert Martin Cohen from Airbus is unperturbed by these developments.
"NovaSAR is still a step change, certainly for Airbus in terms of what you can do for a particular amount of money. But while we've been waiting for a launch, we haven't stood still," he said. "We've done lots of work on the next generation.
"NovaSAR is just the first in a family of instruments that will offer different capabilities, such as finer resolutions and other parameters; and we will be putting those capabilities on smaller spacecraft than NovaSAR."
London from satelliteImage copyright21AT
Image captionSI-4 is a copy of previous SSTL optical satellites, but it will see finer detail on the ground
The satellite, as presently configured, will operate in the S-band (3.2 gigahertz), giving a best resolution of 6m with a swath width of 15-20km. Future variants will go to the higher-frequency X-band and sense features on the ground as small as a metre across, and less.
The Indian Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) aims to put NovaSAR and S1-4 into an orbit that is 580km above the Earth.
SI-4 will be taking pictures of China for Twenty First Century Aerospace Technology (21AT). This company, based in Beijing, will use the data in the Asian nation to help with urban planning, working out crop yields, pollution monitoring and doing biodiversity assessments, among many other applications.
Credit: BBC

Automobiles: China’s Tesla Rival Prices $1 Billion IPO Near Bottom

Automobiles: China’s Tesla Rival Prices $1 Billion IPO Near Bottom
China’s Tesla Rival Prices $1 Billion IPO Near Bottom
The rear lights stand illuminated on a NIO Eve autonomous concept electric vehicle (EV) on display at the Beijing International Automotive Exhibition in Beijing, China, on Thursday, April 26, 2018. The Exhibition is a barometer of the state of the world’s biggest passenger-vehicle market. Photographer: Qilai Shen/Bloomberg

NIO Inc. sold stock in its U.S. initial public offering near the lower end of its target range, people with knowledge of the matter said, as investors scrutinize the Chinese electric-car maker seeking to take on the likes of Tesla Inc.
The Tencent Holdings Ltd.-backed company raised about $1 billion selling 160 million American depositary shares at $6.26 apiece, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private. The shares were offered at $6.25 to $8.25 each. The sale values NIO at about $6.4 billion.
NIO is testing investor appetite for electric-car makers vying to become a homegrown answer to Tesla in China, the world’s largest market for such vehicles. The company faces competition from dozens of local rivals as well as BMW AG, Daimler AG and a slew of other global players.
A representative for NIO didn’t immediately answer phone calls seeking comment.
By going public, NIO is set to attract the same type of intense scrutiny that Elon Musk’s company faces as investors seek proof that it has the manufacturing capacity to deliver on its promises. NIO had delivered fewer than 2,000 vehicles ever up until its IPO filing.
A slew of Chinese electric-vehicle startups that compete with NIO, including Byton and Xpeng Motors Technology Ltd., have raised funds as they prepare their product lineups. Xpeng was valued at 25 billion yuan ($3.6 billion) in a recent fundraising round even though it hasn’t delivered a single vehicle and doesn’t own a factory.
NIO, meanwhile, is ramping up production of the ES8 SUV, its first commercial product, at a partner’s plant in the eastern city of Hefei. Founder William Li has pledged to deliver 10,000 vehicles to customers by year’s end. The company needs to sell about 100,000 vehicles a year to break even, according to estimates by Sanford C. Bernstein & Co.
Like many peers, NIO hasn’t secured an EV manufacturing license from regulators, so it tapped Anhui Jianghuai Automobile Group to build its cars. That allowed NIO to start manufacturing while working to build a facility in Shanghai, but it also means many production-related hurdles are beyond its control. Anhui Jianghuai works with other carmakers and also has its own ambitions.
In its prospectus, NIO said it expects to receive a manufacturing license in 2-3 years, and that it plans to use about a quarter of its IPO proceeds to help develop production facilities and supply chain.
Based on its current financials, NIO may appear pricey. It has accumulated $1.6 billion in losses since the start of 2016, and only started generating revenue in the first half of this year, bringing in $7 million.
But the valuation of electric-car maker is based on the market’s expected growth. China targets 7 million new-energy vehicles sold by 2025 . By 2040, more than half of all new-car sales and a third of the planet’s automobile fleet -- equal to 559 million vehicles -- will be electric , according to a global outlook published by Bloomberg New Energy Finance in May.
Tesla was valued at less than $2 billion in its 2010 IPO, and now has a market value of $47.7 billion even after this year’s declines.
NIO’s offering was led by banks including Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. The shares are set to trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol NIO.

Automobiles: Aston Martin to Make Its First All-Electric Car by End of 2019

Automobiles: Aston Martin to Make Its First All-Electric Car by End of 2019
Aston Martin announced on Wednesday that it will begin development of its first all-electric production car, the Rapide E.
Limited in production to 155 units, the car will have an 800-volt battery with 65kWh capacity, using lithium ion cells mounted to where the original 12-cylinder Rapide engine and gearbox were located. The battery system powers two rear-mounted electric motors that make the equivalent of 602bhp and 700 pound-feet of instant torque.
It will be the most powerful Rapide sedan available.
Rapide E joins a slew of new conceptual and production all-electric luxury vehicles announced, including the Jaguar I-PaceMercedes-Benz EQ, the Audi E-Tron, and the Porsche Taycan. Bayerische Motoren Werke AG has announced an upcoming iVision Next all-electric vehicle, debuting on Saturday; Pininfarina has announced an entire line of electric hypercars arriving in 2020.
They are all gunning for the precedent Tesla set when it developed the all-electric (and good-looking) Model S sedan that has cornered the electric luxury car market for years.  
This is a powertrain diagram of the Aston Martin Rapide E. Charging time specifics remain vague, but the car has a 800V battery system and DC/DC converter to facilitate fast charging, even on a 400V network.
Source: Aston Martin 
“The term ‘Tesla killer’ is a little over-used and dramatic, but these are certainly strong Tesla competitors,” is how Rebecca Lindland, the executive analyst for Kelley Blue Book and Cox Automotive, puts it. “And in this group, range and performance like this is a really strong selling point.”
Aston developed the Rapide E with Williams Advanced Engineering, the technology and engineering services business of the Williams Group. Its goal: Orient the otherwise-handsome sedan better toward driving performance. It has newly designed aerodynamic wheels, new Pirelli P-Zero tires, lowered body roll, refined rear-wheel-drive, and reduced cavity noise. It has a top speed of 155 miles per hour and a zero-60mph sprint time of just over three seconds.
More important, said Aston Martin Chief Executive Officer Andy Palmer in a statement, the car will be especially beneficial as a first step toward relaunching the Lagonda brand, which will be a zero-emission marque when it begins production in 2021. 
The first Lagonda Vision Concepts are expected to get 400 miles on one charge—enough to drive from Los Angeles to San Francisco in one sitting—and have self-driving capability and zero emissions.
“It’s meant to feel like moving up to the Concorde from first class,” Palmer told Bloomberg during the last Geneva Motor Show. 
Deliveries of the Rapide E will start by the end of 2019.
Source: Bloomberg.

NASA’s climate-monitoring space laser 'ICESat-2', is the last to ride to space on a Delta II rocket

NASA’s climate-monitoring space laser 'ICESat-2', is the last to ride to space on a Delta II rocket
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NASA’s Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite-2 (ICESat-2) successfully launched from California at 9:02 a.m. EDT Saturday, embarking on its mission to measure the ice of Earth’s frozen reaches with unprecedented accuracy.
ICESat-2 lifted off from Space Launch Complex-2 at Vandenberg Air Force Base on United Launch Alliance’s final Delta II rocket. Ground stations in Svalbard, Norway, acquired signals from the spacecraft about 75 minutes after launch. It’s performing as expected and orbiting the globe, from pole to pole, at 17,069 mph from an average altitude of 290 miles.
“With this mission we continue humankind’s exploration of the remote polar regions of our planet and advance our understanding of how ongoing changes of Earth’s ice cover at the poles and elsewhere will affect lives around the world, now and in the future,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate.
ICESat-2 carries a single instrument, the Advanced Topographic Laser Altimeter System (ATLAS). ATLAS will be activated approximately two weeks after the mission operations team completes initial testing of the spacecraft. Then ICESat-2 will begin work on its science objective, gathering enough data to estimate the annual height change of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets to within four millimeters – the width of a pencil.
“While the launch today was incredibly exciting, for us scientists the most anticipated part of the mission starts when we switch on the laser and get our first data,” said Thorsten Markus, ICESat-2 project scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. “We are really looking forward to making those data available to the science community as quickly as possible so we can begin to explore what ICESat-2 can tell us about our complex home planet.”
A Delta II launching for the Aquarius mission in 2011
The high-resolution data will document changes in the Earth’s polar ice caps, improve forecasts of sea level rise bolstered by ice sheet melt in Greenland and Antarctica, and help scientists understand the mechanisms that are decreasing floating ice and assess how that sea ice loss affects the ocean and atmosphere.
ICESat-2 continues the record of ice height measurements started by NASA’s original ICESat mission, which operated from 2003 to 2009, that were continued by the agency’s annual Operation IceBridge airborne flights over the Arctic and Antarctic, which began in 2009. Data from ICESat-2 will be available to the public through the National Snow and Ice Data Center.
Goddard built and tested the ATLAS instrument, and manages the ICESat-2 mission for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate. Northrop Grumman designed and built the spacecraft bus, installed the instrument and tested the completed satellite. NASA’s Launch Services Program, based at Kennedy Space Center in Florida, is responsible for launch service acquisition, integration, analysis and launch management.

Elon Musk’s space company signs up passenger to fly around moon

Elon Musk’s space company signs up passenger to fly around moon
Elon Musk’s ultimate goal is to colonise the moon (John Raoux/AP)
Elon Musk’s space company has signed up the first private passenger to fly around the moon.
The name of the person and the timing of the flight will be announced on Monday at SpaceX’s headquarters in Hawthorne, California.
Mr Musk originally suggested two paying passengers would fly around the moon this year, using a Falcon Heavy rocket and a Dragon crew capsule.
At the time, he said the pair approached SpaceX about sending them on a week-long flight and paid a “significant” deposit for the trip.
The new strategy is to still fly around the moon but using an even bigger SpaceX rocket still in development that has its own dedicated passenger ship – and it appears there will be only one person aboard.
Given that this new BFR rocket has yet to be built, the flight presumably is a few years off.
SpaceX put out the teaser via Twitter late on Thursday, and Mr Musk, whose ultimate goal is to colonise Mars, also tweeted the news.
This lunar mission represents “an important step toward enabling access for everyday people who dream of travelling to space,” SpaceX said in a tweet.
It would be humanity’s first lunar visit since 1972. Twenty-four Nasa astronauts flew to the moon from 1968 through 1972, and 12 of them strolled on its dusty surface.
Next July will mark the 50th anniversary of the first manned moon landing by Apollo 11’s Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin.
By AP Reporter.

Space Science: A Mission to Deflect an Asteroid Just Moved into the Final Design and Assembly Phase

Space Science: A Mission to Deflect an Asteroid Just Moved into the Final Design and Assembly Phase
Within near-Earth space, there are over 18,000 asteroids whose orbit occasionally brings them close to Earth. Over the course of millions of years, some of these Near-Earth Objects (NEOs) – which range from a few meters to tens of kilometers in diameter – may even collide with Earth. It is for this reason that the ESA and other space agencies around the world are engaged in coordinated efforts to routinely monitor larger NEOs and track their orbits.
In addition, NASA and other space agencies have been developing counter-measures in case any of these objects stray too close to our planet in the future. One proposal is NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART), the world’s first spacecraft specifically designed to deflect incoming asteroids. This spacecraft recently moved into the final design and assembly phase and will launch to space in the next few years.
The Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) was designed and built by the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (JHUAPL), with support from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC), and Johnson Space Center (JSC). This mission will test the kinetic impactor technique, which consists of striking an asteroid to shift its orbit and deflect it away from Earth – thus demonstrating our ability to protect our planet from a potential impact.At present, the DART mission's launch window ranges from late December 2020 to May 2021.Once it reaches space, DART will rendezvous with the binary asteroid known as Didymos (Greek for 'twin'), which consists of Didymos A – which measures about 800 meters (half a mile) in diameter – and the moonlet Didymos B, which orbits A and is about 161.5 meters (530 feet) in diameter.
The DART spacecraft will be relying on the NASA Evolutionary Xenon Thruster – Commercial (NEXT-C), a solar electric propulsion (SEP) system similar to what the Dawn spacecraft used to reach the Main Asteroid Belt.
This thruster system will not only reduce the overall weight of the spacecraft (which reduces the costs of launching into space), it will also allow for a significant degree of flexibility with the mission timeline and launch window.
Once in space, DART will gradually spiral out beyond the orbit of the Moon to escape Earth's gravitational pull and then fly towards Didymos. It will intercept Didymos B in early October 2022, when the asteroid system will be within 11 million kilometers (6.8 million miles) of Earth.
At this distance, ground-based telescopes and planetary radar will be able to observe and measure the change in momentum imparted to the moonlet.
Using an onboard targeting system developed by the JHUAPL, DART will then aim itself at Didymos B and strike the smaller body at a speed of about 5.95 kilometres per second (3.7 miles per second). Both the spacecraft and ground-based observatories will then verify that Didymos B has been pushed off course.
DART will rendezvous with Didymos (NASA)DART will rendezvous with Didymos (NASA)
As Andrew Rivkin, a who co-leads the DART investigation with the JHUAPL's Andrew Cheng, said in a recent JHUAPL press release:
"With DART, we want to understand the nature of asteroids by seeing how a representative body reacts when impacted, with an eye toward applying that knowledge if we are faced with the need to deflect an incoming object.
In addition, DART will be the first planned visit to a binary asteroid system, which is an important subset of near-Earth asteroids and one we have yet to fully understand."
In short, this test will allow scientists from around the world to determine the effectiveness of the kinetic impact technique as an asteroid mitigation strategy. However, the most important tool when it comes to planetary defense remains the ability to track objects and issue early warnings of any potential close flybys of Earth.
The DART mission is managed by the Planetary Missions Program Office at Marshall Space Flight Center, as part of NASA's Planetary Defense Coordination Office (PDCO).
Established in 2016, the PDCO is responsible for finding, tracking and characterizing potentially hazardous asteroids and comets, issuing warnings about possible impacts, and assisting with plans for government-led responses to actual impact threats. 

'Watch out, America!': Astronauts in space photographed Hurricane Florence, and they say the view is 'chilling'

'Watch out, America!': Astronauts in space photographed Hurricane Florence, and they say the view is 'chilling'
Alexander Gerst, a German astronaut orbiting Earth from 250 miles (402 kilometres) up, has a warning for humans on the planet below him.
"Watch out, America!" Gerst, who joined the crew of the International Space Station in June, said Wednesday in a tweet featuring pictures he took of Hurricane Florence."This is a no-kidding nightmare coming for you," he added.
Hurricane Florence is a Category 4 storm headed for the US's East Coast and predicted to start affecting South Carolina and North Carolina as early as Thursday, according to the National Hurricane Center.
Because of its enormous size and power, the storm has been a recent – if not frightening – muse for astronaut photography.
Here are some of the best images of Hurricane Florence by Gerst and Ricky Arnold, a fellow NASA astronaut living aboard the ISS.
Gerst said Hurricane Florence was so enormous, with a width of more than 500 miles (804 kilometres), that he "could only capture her with a super wide-angle lens."
(Alexander Gerst/European Space Agency/Twitter)(Alexander Gerst/European Space Agency/Twitter)
When the space station flew over the storm's menacing eye, Gerst took this photo. "Get prepared on the East Coast," he warned.
(Alexander Gerst/European Space Agency/Twitter)(Alexander Gerst/European Space Agency/Twitter)
But Gerst also had a high-power telephoto lens handy to zoom in on the eye.
Alexander Gerst/European Space Agency/Twitter)Alexander Gerst/European Space Agency/Twitter)
"Ever stared down the gaping eye of a category 4 hurricane?" he said. "It's chilling, even from space."
(Alexander Gerst/European Space Agency/Twitter)(Alexander Gerst/European Space Agency/Twitter)
This photo shows what it looks like deep inside the eye of Hurricane Florence, a place of relative calm for such storms.
(Alexander Gerst/European Space Agency/Twitter)(Alexander Gerst/European Space Agency/Twitter)
The NASA astronaut Ricky Arnold has also been following the giant storm. He said on Wednesday that the ISS's crew "is thinking of those who will be affected."
(Ricky Arnold/NASA/Twitter)(Ricky Arnold/NASA/Twitter)
This oblique view of the cyclone shows its outer bands just within reach of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina - near where the storm's powerful eye could make landfall.
(Ricky Arnold/NASA/Twitter)(Ricky Arnold/NASA/Twitter)
Arnold has been following the storm's progress for days from his lofty perch. This picture shows Hurricane Florence on Monday.
(Richard Arnold/NASA/Business Insider)(Richard Arnold/NASA)
Here's a shot of the still strengthening storm on the same day.
(Richard Arnold/NASA/Business Insider)(Richard Arnold/NASA)
Arnold and his crewmates have seen two other big storms brewing in the Atlantic Ocean, including Hurricane Helene and Tropical Storm Isaac.
(Richard Arnold/NASA/NHC/Business Insider)(Richard Arnold/NASA)
NASA also recorded what it called "stark and sobering" video footage of Florence from the space station on Wednesday.
(NASA/Flickr/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)(NASA/Flickr/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
Source: Business Insider

Kalashnikov's CV-1 electric car touted as Russia's answer to Tesla

Kalashnikov's CV-1 electric car touted as Russia's answer to Tesla
A prototype electric vehicle developed by Russian manufacturing company Kalashnikov, 22 August 2018
Kalashnikov's answer to Tesla was inspired by a Soviet hatchback created in the 1970s
The firm behind the famous AK-47 assault rifle presented the eggshell-blue prototype vehicle, the CV-1, at an event near the capital, Moscow.
It said the CV-1, inspired by a Soviet hatchback created in the 1970s, was a revolutionary cutting-edge "supercar".
Kalashnikov was earlier ridiculed over its new combat robot "little Igor".
The company said in a statement on Thursday that the CV-1 car featured a number of "complex systems" with technology that would "let us stand in the ranks of global electric car producers such as Tesla".
It added that, when fully developed, the car would have a top speed several times higher than current electric vehicles produced by its firm and would be able to travel 220 miles (350 km) on a single charge.
As it is an initial prototype, details such as the vehicle's price tag have not yet been disclosed.Kalashnikov has been looking to take its brand in different directions and recently launched a clothing line and a catalogue of personal items ranging from umbrellas to smartphone covers.
However its decision to go down the road of developing electric vehicles was met with mixed reactions in Moscow.
Social media users quickly took to the company's Facebook page to share their thoughts on Russia's answer to Tesla, with some commenting on its "funny Zombie-like" design, while others praised its "cool" appearance.
"Your tanks are great, but it would be better if you stayed away from cars," one user wrote.
credit: BBC