SpaceX off to a great start in 2021 with the launch of a Turksat 5A communications satellite, the first of many planned launches this year. The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched on the 7th of January, carrying a Turkish communications satellite which will provide Ku-band broadcast services over Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Turkey has secured orbital rights for the satellite for 30 years, starting its service in the second half of 2021.
The launch was also the first orbital launch worldwide for 2021, taking off from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station at 9:15 EST. The payload separated from Falcon 9’s upper stage 33 minutes after lift-off. Being the 4thflight for the SpaceX booster it successful completed a vertical landing after the mission on the droneship Just Read the Instructions.
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Astronomers have confirmed that the universe is nearly 14 billion years old, putting the calculation at 13.77 billion with a 40 million margin of error either side. This comes after there was another recalculation of the age of the universe in 2019 finding it to be hundreds of millions of years younger than previously thought, suggesting the age was 13.8 billion years old. The findings from an international team of astronomers led by Cornell University this year have confirmed the 2019 re-evaluation and helped settle the debate on the age of our universe.
Finding these new measures are likely to be more reliable is incredibly useful in ongoing research of how fast the universe is expanding, also known as the Hubble constant, which has now been calculated as 42 miles per second per megaparsec.
NASA’s facility based in Ohio is being used to test their new moon-bound spacecraft, therefore, the name change comes to honour the first astronaut to step foot on the moon. Now named NASA John H. Glenn Research Centre at the Neil A. Armstrong Test Facility, the research centre recently completed a 3 month test campaign in support of the Artemis I Orion crew capsule.
Always wanted to know what it’s like to live and work aboard the ISS? Filmed over 2 years on specially-designed cameras and with exclusive access to the space station's crew, there is now a four part, 3D,360-degree virtual reality series called Space Explorers: The ISS Experience. The series has been produced by Felix & Paul Studios in association with TIME Studios, making it the largest production ever filmed in space. The first of the four parts is called ‘Adapt’ a 24 minute experience including the outpost when all of the lights have been turned off and pause to float at the intersection between multiple modules and views from the window to watch the Earth rotating below the station. Episodes are available now for virtual reality headsets on the Oculus Store.
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SpaceX and Tesla founder Elon Musk has seen his net worth soar over the past year reaching $175 billion, taking Amazon founder Jeff Bezos off the top spot which he has held since 2017. The milestone was reached after Tesla stock price went up by 25% when the Democrats took over the US Senate.
Elon Musk responded to the news of his new title ‘richest man in the world’ on twitter commenting ‘how strange’. He has previously stated how "About half my money is intended to help problems on Earth, and half to help establish a self-sustaining city on Mars to ensure continuation of life (of all species)in case Earth gets hit by a meteor like the dinosaurs or WW3 happens and we destroy ourselves,". It is likely he will use his own wealth to continue to support SpaceX and Tesla, both of which had fantastic growth and success in 2020 and are likely to replicate this in 2021.