Boeing's Starliner has successfully reached and docked with the International Space Station, completing an important step for a crucial test flight that would determine whether it's ready for crewed missions. The unmanned spacecraft launched on top of a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral and traveled for over 25 hours to reach the orbiting lab. Starliner made its first attempt to reach the ISS in December 2019 but failed to achieve its goal due to a software issue that prevented the spacecraft's thrusters from firing. In August last year, Boeing had to scrap its launch plans due to a problem with the spacecraft's valves, preventing the company from planning another launch for almost a year. The @BoeingSpace#Starliner crew ship completed its trip to the station when it docked to the Harmony module's forward port at 8:28pm ET today. More... https://t.co/RgllPL4Uiupic.twitter.com/0uxslOk0Mn International Space Station (@Space_Station) May 21, 2022While successful, Orbital Flight Test-2 wasn't without its own issues. As The Washington Post reports, two of its 12 main thrusters failed shortly after launch, and its temperature control system malfunctioned. The docking process was also delayed by over an hour as the ground team ensured that the lighting was ideal and communications were working as intended. There was a problem with the spacecraft's docking mechanism, as well, and it had to retract the system before extending it a second time. Boeing said Starliner's main thrusters failed due to a drop in pressure in the thruster chamber, but it's not clear what had caused it. Company vice president Mark Nappi explained that since the thrusters are on the service module that's discarded during the return flight, Boeing might never find out the exact reason for it. Still, NASA and the company plan to examine the other issues that occurred to understand them and prevent them from happening in the future. Starliner will remain docked with the ISS for the next five days before making its return journey, which will see it land in the New Mexico desert. If the spacecraft successfully comes back to Earth, then Boeing could be sending astronauts to orbit as early as this fall.
Oracle CEO Larry Ellison was involved in a call where a number of influential GOP figuresincluding Senator Lindsay Graham (R-SC), Fox News anchor Sean Hannity and Trump attorney Jay Sekulow brainstormed ways to contest the 2020 presidential election, reported the Washington Post. Details of the call which occurred on November 14, 2020 were revealed in new court filings from a lawsuit brought by voting rights organization Fair Fight against True The Vote, a conservative Texas vote monitoring organization that disputes the results of the 2020 presidential election.Jim was on a call this evening with Jay Sekulow, Lindsey O. Graham, Sean Hannity, and Larry Ellison, True the Votes founder, Catherine Engelbrecht, wrote to a donor, according to court filings reviewed by the Post. He explained the work we were doing and they asked for a preliminary report asap, to be used to rally their troops internally, so thats what Im working on now.Ellison is a high-profile GOP donor and has hosted fundraisers for former president Donald Trump. He has seemingly never expressed doubts about the 2020 election results publicly. While the CEO has donated to both parties over the years as the Palm Desert Sunpoints out, hes poured a substantial amount of money into the GOP and conservative causes since the 2020 election. His $15 million donation in February to a super PAC associated with Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) is one of the largest of the 2022 election cycle so far.Ellison's proximity to Trump has led to concerns that Oracle may have had an unfair advantage in competing for federal contracts during the former administration. Oracle nabbed a lucrative contract in 2020 to aid the Department of Health and Human Services to collect data on doctors who treat COVID-19 patients with hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malaria drug embraced by Trump. It is also nearing a deal with TikTok to store their US data, which Trump approved in 2020.
Hyundai is betting big on American electric vehicle sales. The automaker has struck a deal with Georgia to build its first dedicated EV factory in the US. The 2,923-acre plant near Savannah will make cars and batteries when production is projected to start in the first half of 2025. Construction starts in early 2023. The company expects to manufacture 300,000 EVs per year at the facility, covering a "wide range" of models.Multiple factors led to the location choice. Hyundai pointed to "favorable business conditions" that included speedy market access, a large talent pool and an existing network that includes Kia's main manufacturing hub as well as suppliers. Unnamed incentives play a part, according to Savannah Morning News. However, it's also a prime spot for transportation. The factory is less than 31 miles from Savannah's port, which is the largest container stopover in the US and has two railway facilities at its disposal. Add the proximity of two major highways (the I-95 and I-16) and it will be easy for Hyundai to receive supplies and ship finished EVs.Not surprisingly, both Georgia and Hyundai are touting economic benefits. They estimate the investment to be worth $5.54 billion, with Governor Brian Kemp claiming it will be the "largest project" in state history. Hyundai further claimed the plant would create 8,100 jobs, although it's not clear how many of those are full-time, permanent roles.The annual production level won't be quite as strong as Hyundai's conventional manufacturing output. The company's Montgomery, Alabama plant can make up to 399,500 vehicles per year. This represents a major commitment to EVs, however, and suggests Hyundai is racing to compete with Tesla, Rivian, Volkswagen and other brands expanding their electric car production in the country.
The Federal Communications Commission is aiming to boost rural broadband internet speeds through proposed changes to the Alternative Connect America Cost Model (A-CAM) program. The target is to improve minimum download and upload speeds to 100/20 Mbps in areas served by carriers that receive A-CAM support. The current baseline is 25/3 Mbps.The A-CAM Broadband Coalition proposed the creation of an Enhanced A-CAM program. The goal is to improve broadband speeds to the levels specified in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (also known as the $1.2 trillion Bipartisan Infrastructure Law) while avoiding the duplication of efforts across various federal programs.The notice of proposed rulemaking, which commissioners approved, seeks comment on how the FCC could bolster A-CAM support under an enhanced program and whether the current A-CAM framework even still makes sense. It's also seeking comment on how to align the Enhanced A-CAM program with Congressional goals and programs at other agencies.As we consider the future of A-CAM, we seek comment on the buildout timelines. The $42 billion BEAD program has a 4 year timeline. I will be interested to see where A-CAM providers land. Heres the point: we must ensure broadband is being deployed everywhere ASAP @FCC#broadband Geoffrey Starks (@GeoffreyStarks) May 19, 2022"With additional funding and an expansion of the length of time under which electing carriers would receive support, these carriers would increase deployment speeds up to 100 Mbps download and 20 Mbps upload in some of the most challenging and expensive areas to serve in the country," Commissioner Geoffrey Starks said in a statement. "[Some] consumers served by A-CAM carriers could see a four-fold, 10-fold or even 20-fold increase in their speeds."Last week, using funding allocated by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the Biden administration launched a $45 billion project to bring all Americans online by 2030 and eliminate the digital divide. Officials have also teamed up with internet providers to subsidize the cost of broadband for low-income households.
The various Kingsman films were positioned as the anti-Bond cinema — where viewers could see how agents trained and how they grew up. Here's how the franchise lost its way, especially with the poorly received last installment.
Amazons new Fire 7 tablets due to arrive this summer will be equipped with improved software. According to a report on AFTV News. tablets will come with Fire OS 8, an entirely new version of the Fire operating system that is based on Android 11. Given that Google no longer releases security patches or updates for Android 9, this will be welcome news for Fire tablet owners.As Liliputing points out, most of what Fire OS 8 changes bring to the table seem to be under-the-hood security updates. But users can expect a new system-wide dark mode, which might make browsing your tablet late at night a bit easier on the eyes. The new OS will also support HEIF or (High Efficiency Image File) format images, an update to JPEGs that most Apple and Android smartphones have supported since 2018. Fire apps will also now be able access your devices location while running in the background, but you'll need to give permission first. The update also includes a new set of privacy controls, including one-time permissions on location tracking. For a more nuanced breakdown of what to expect in Fire OS 8, check out Amazons updated developer guide.