Categories
Electric vehicles Energy

Uber advocates for reduced taxes and road usage fees to encourage the adoption of electric vehicles

To encourage the adoption of electric cars in Australia, the local leader of tech giant Uber says the country has to shift away from gasoline taxes and instead implement a road user charging structure. The US-based rideshare company has also advocated for decreased stamp duty, registration, and premium car taxes for electric cars, access to bus and transit lanes, and the deployment of suburban “near home” public charging sites in a white paper to be released.

Electric vehicle adoption in Australia is “a nightmare,” according to Dom Taylor, general manager (GM) of Uber Australia, who informed The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald that the cars make up 1.57% of new car sales in Australia, compared to 75% in Norway and 11% in the United Kingdom.

“When I talk to my friends across the world, they’re often startled at how much Australia is behind in the electric domain,” he added. Mr. Taylor explained that less than 1% of Uber’s found in Australia are electric vehicles, owing to a shortage of low-cost electric cars and a shortage of fuel emission rules in Australia. “If there is one market where there are no fuel emission rules, that is an apparent place where you will not ship your lowest cost, poor margin, electric cars,” he stated.

The $US77 billion ($104 billion) corporation has established a target to be carbon-free by 2040, and in some locations, like London in the UK, it wants all of its cars to be totally electric by 2025. Mr. Taylor, on the other hand, believes that meeting the 2040 target will be “a stretch” in Australia. To meet the aim, the business would have to stop enrolling non-electric cars in Australia by the year 2030, in a country where non-electric vehicles account for 99 percent of new auto sales. “If we’re going to change, that’s going to have to happen in the next years,” he said.

Mr. Taylor stated that the rideshare company believes it can have an “outsized impact” in hastening the transition to zero-emission transportation since rideshare drivers who switch to electric vehicles save three to four times more emissions than regular car owners due to the frequency of use. He added that Uber’s platform might help improve consumer understanding and exposure of electric vehicles by allowing drivers to answer queries about their performance as well as range from passengers.

Uber’s request for action on the electric car adoption comes after Transurban, a $39 billion toll company, called for motorists to be taxed for every kilometer they travel to pay for roads, citing the fact that the adoption of electric vehicles is eroding fuel excise revenue.

Categories
Military Space

China Could Utilize ‘Satellite Killers,’ according to the United States Space Force Chief

If you can believe it, the ultimate frontier is getting crowded. Based on an original report from Nikkei Asia, Chief of the United States Space Force General John Raymond cautioned that security in space would face a “whole spectrum of challenges” from China, requiring extensive international cooperation. It’s unclear whether a space conflict will occur. Still, with China, Russia, and the United States all working on ways to disrupt each other’s satellite networks, it’s only a matter of time before mounting tensions force the problem into a dialogue or something else.

According to the Nikkei report, Raymond stated that China is developing “anything from reversible jammers of the GPS system — which gives precise navigation and timing to blocking of communications satellites.” “They have missiles that they can use to destroy satellites from the ground. I’m confident that the skills they’re building will be put to use in any prospective confrontation.” Raymond’s voice holds weight as the first candidate to Space Force in the year 2019, a newly constituted sixth military branch that is swiftly catching up to other services like the US Navy and Army.

Raymond served in the military for more than thirty years, principally in the Air Force, and he was stationed at Yokota Air Base (US) in Japan from 2010 to 2013, when he served as vice commander of the Fifth Air Force. Following the March 2011 tsunami and earthquake in Japan, Raymond participated in Operation Tomodachi, in which the US military assisted those devastated by a combination of human and environmental calamities. According to him, the United States’ future interests in space must face the fact that the last frontier has now become “a lot more demanding,” as reported in the Nikkei. “All of the tools of national power, whether economic, information, diplomatic, or national security, are based on space.”

Raymond, alluding to China and Russia, noted in the paper that “major power competition is wider than just rivalry among forces.” “It affects all aspects of government. This necessitates the use of space.” It’s difficult to deny that satellites play a key role in many US military movements and strategies, from connecting ships via communications to monitoring the launch of hostile missiles or vehicles. “Access to freedom and space to operate in space are [both] incredibly crucial,” Raymond remarked, reiterating this sentiment.

Some officials have questioned the reliance on orbital satellites as a potential vulnerability, arguing that in the event of a clandestine battle with China or Russia, the essential priority for either side would be to wipe out the US satellite network. We cannot emphasize enough how debilitating this may be for the country’s ability to combat in the twenty-first century.

Categories
Satellites Space

OneWeb has secured a $1 billion insurance arrangement for the constellation’s remaining constellations

After its last policy expired due to delays created by its 2020 bankruptcy, OneWeb has signed a $1 billion insurance policy to insure the remaining 10 deployments for the broadband constellation. A previous multi-launch policy provided by insurance broker Willis ended on August 1, according to OneWeb, and competitor broker Marsh won the bidding for the remaining 56 percent of the constellation’s 648 members after it was placed out to market.

In a statement released September 2, Steven Fay, deputy chief financial officer at OneWeb, stated, “OneWeb is making progress on its next stage of expansion as it looks to accomplish its constellation and produce commercial service by the close of the year, and this deal offers an extra layer of security as our firm moves quickly toward realizing this goal.” OneWeb’s chief technology officer (CTO), Massimiliano Ladovaz, noted that the company’s next launch campaign with Arianespace will begin “later this week” in Baikonur, Kazakhstan. OneWeb 322 will be sent into low Earth orbit on September 14 by a Soyuz rocket.

According to an insurance source, despite growing insurance premiums in recent years, the Marsh and the Willis multi-launch regulations are quite similar. In the current market, OneWeb is claimed to have gotten insurance for less than half of the 5-6 percent normal rate for insuring the Soyuz launch. According to the source, the cost of insuring a solo Soyuz launch when the initial policy was implemented would have been under 2.25 percent. Its earlier package offer would have had a rate of under 2%.

Launch insurance costs have risen dramatically in recent years, given a string of launch mishaps, particularly those involving the Soyuz. The operator’s first insurance plan did not account for the hiatus in its launch effort when it filed for bankruptcy in March 2020, after the epidemic hindered its fundraising efforts.

In November, the firm emerged from bankruptcy under the new ownership, and the following month, it began its launch campaign. Since then, it has collected $2.7 billion in equity from a diverse group of foreign investors, $300 million more than the firm had estimated it would need to finance its inaugural satellite deployment.

So far, Arianespace’s nine OneWeb on Soyuz missions have gone off without a hitch. OneWeb’s insurance only insures the launch flight stage of the constellation’s deployment, not the year of the in-orbit coverage that bigger, geostationary (GEO) satellites typically have. OneWeb’s choice to keep insuring its LEO deployments bodes well for space insurance market as a whole, which has seen income fall due to a shift away from the GEO satellites, which have traditionally provided the majority of its revenue.

For example, SpaceX has determined that it has sufficient redundancy in its plans for the hundreds of satellites in the LEO Starlink constellation. Hence, it will not seek insurance coverage for these flights. So far, SpaceX has launched over 1,700 Starlink satellites.

Categories
Military Space

The Space Development Agency managed to negotiate a lower price for a national security launch after a series of meetings

The Space Development Agency of the Pentagon is all about cutting expenses and getting the most bang for its buck. When it needed launch services to deliver a set of 28 satellites in late 2022, it seeks competitive bids, and SpaceX was awarded the contract.

That decision angered the office of the United States Space Force, which controls the National Security Space Launch (NSSL) programme and relies on DoD to use its services to keep the programme affordable. The NSSL Phase 2 deployment suppliers are SpaceX and United Launch Alliance, with flights spread 60/40 between these two.

 The Space Development Agency (SDA), which is creating a vast constellation of the small satellites in the low Earth orbit, stated last month that it will no longer obtain launches commercially and will instead use the NSSL programme to purchase launch services. NSSL was initially a no-go for SDA Director Derek Tournear since it is much more costly than commercial launches. NSSL clients pay additional administrative costs, mission assurance, and other markups.

According to Tournear, the Space Force consented to reduce some of the additional markups and provide SDA a better price after extensive negotiations. Tournear stated SDA received opposition for planning a commercial launch with the SpaceX Company outside of the NSSL programme during a media briefing at the 36th Space Symposium. SDA maintained that there was a “substantial disparity” between NSSL Phase 2 expenses and commercial pricing, and therefore saving taxpayer money made sense.

As a result, Tournear claimed that the NSSL programme office, part of the Space Force’s Space Systems Command, decided to negotiate a superior deal for SDA. “They worked extremely effectively with us, and we collaborated closely together to find items that were incorporated in those NSSL fees that didn’t absolutely need to be incorporated for our release, and they were able to remove a number of them.”

Tournear said he couldn’t say exactly what costs were cut, but it amounted to “many millions of dollars each launch” less than what NSSL launches would normally cost. “They took away a lot of things that we didn’t need.”

The disparity between what SDA authority would pay for the commercial launches and what NSSL would pay is now “minimal,” according to Tournear. There is a distinction, but it is warranted because it allows NSSL to charter more rockets and negotiates better rates with providers. “Now that the department is buying more rockets under NSSL, they can utilize that to restructure things within the 60/40 split they’re obligated to.”

As an NSSL customer, SDA will work with rocket suppliers and integrators “to ensure that we can connect the spacecraft providers with the launch vehicles,” according to Tournear. “It is something we can surely do,” she said, although she hoped she wouldn’t have to.

Categories
Electric vehicles Energy

The next big British emblem is expected to be electric vehicle charging stations

Following the hiring of PA Consulting and the Royal College of Art (RCA) to develop a distinctive British charge point design, Grant Shapps, Transport Secretary, revealed today that electric vehicle charge points around the UK might become as recognizable as a black cab or the red post box (9 August 2021).

The design will be revealed at the COP26 in Glasgow this November, and it is expected to be on streets across the country by 2022. The charge points will be effective and available to all users, and they will be designed with sustainability in mind.

This project gets started as Zap Map reports that there are now more than 25,000 public charging outlets across the UK. This significant milestone implies electric car drivers are never upwards of 25 miles from the charge point on United Kingdom roads. According to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), more than one in every six cars sold in July 2021 had a plug.

In the run-up to the COP26, the United Kingdom government is urging nations around the world to speed up the shift to electric cars, which, along with the phase-out of coal power and the halting of deforestation, are critical to keeping global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius. It is critical to have the proper charging facilities in place as part of this.

“Excellent design plays a vital role in continuing to support our shift to zero-emission cars, which is why I desire to see Electric vehicle charge points which are as epic and easily recognizable as the London bus, British phone box, or black cab,” said Transport Secretary Grant Shapps.

With less than three months until COP26, we strive to position the UK as a global leader in the design, manufacture, and use of zero-emission vehicles and charging facilities as we rebuild a brighter future and call on nations around the world to follow suit.”

Drivers will be able to recognize charge points more quickly due to the rollout, which will help raise awareness about the transition to electric vehicles by linking them to iconic British designs from the past.

Today’s announcement comes on the heels of the government’s Transport decarbonization strategy; a world-leading “greenprint” unveiled earlier this summer that lays out a viable path for the United Kingdom to reach net-zero emissions by the year 2050 and dominate the world in climate change mitigation. It also comes with a slew of government initiatives aimed at making charging as simple as, if not easier than, refuelling a gasoline or diesel car or van.

Categories
Satellites Space

Amazon is asking the FCC to reject SpaceX’s revised second-generation Starlink proposal

Amazon is asking the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to reject SpaceX’s new intentions for second-generation Starlink constellation, alleging they are too speculative and broad. According to Amazon, on August 18, SpaceX suggested two prospective configurations for around 30,000 follow-on satellites, breaching FCC standards that require specifics of a planned change to be completed before submitting such an application.

SpaceX likes the design that employs its Starship rocket, which is heavy-lift, because it allows satellites to enter service “in a matter of weeks, rather than months,” according to the company. In preparation for Starship’s maiden orbital voyage, the company recently expedited operations at its Starbase testing facility in Boca Chica, Texas.

Despite the fact that SpaceX plans to explore only one of the options, Amazon contends that applying for both raises the technical work managers must put in to evaluate the hazards of interference as well as orbital debris.

In an August 25 letter to FCC, Mariah Shuman, who serves as the corporate counsel for Amazon’s broadband megaconstellation initiative Project Kuiper, wrote, “Should the Commission drift away from its regulations and precedent and promote the approach of implementing for multiple, mutually unique configurations, the implications will stretch far beyond the SpaceX Amendment.”

“However inefficient this technique may be for the Commission as well as parties reacting to applications, other potential licensees will undoubtedly recognize the benefit of describing numerous setups in their license applications to maximize their flexibility.” “Disregard SpaceX Amendment, and permit SpaceX to reapply its proposal after deciding on a singular configuration for the Gen2 System,” The FCC was engaged by Shuman. Project Kuiper has yet to deploy any of the anticipated broadband satellites.

SpaceX revealed in a July briefing that it has deployed 1,740 satellites for the first-generation Starlink is a global network with 90,000 subscribers in 12 nations. Second-generation Starlink network offers lower latency, faster speeds, more backhaul capacity, as well as the capacity to deliver more individuals worldwide than the first.

Both plans call for around 30,000 satellites in the low Earth orbit (LEO), which is comparable to SpaceX’s first concept for the Starlink Gen2 last year. However, they intend to distribute them out more equally over 9 – 12 inclined orbits to improve coverage for national security, rural and first responder clients.

The two configurations vary in terms of how such satellites are positioned, as well as their orbital parameters. According to SpaceX, the best arrangement is for Starship to launch the constellation faster.

Categories
Military Space

The Director of the NRO emphasizes collaboration and innovation

After signing a statement that clearly specifies each organization’s missions and duties, NRO Director Christopher Scolese announced on August 24 at the 36th Space Symposium that National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) is working effectively with the US Space Force and US Space Command.

Scolese, Space Force Gen. John “Jay” Raymond, chief of space operations, and US Army General James H. Dickinson, Commander of US Space Command, signed the Protect and Defend Strategic Framework, which “formalizes end-to-end operations” between the intelligence community and the Defense Department “on everything from procurement to operations,” according to Scolese. “It outlines and deconflicts each of our jobs in practical terms. It promotes purposeful and consistent coordination at different levels. It establishes a crisis management plan and enhances communication. Most critically, it establishes a previously unseen level of cooperation on all areas of space security.”

The formation of the United States Space Force and United States Space Command in 2019 as well as the United States Space Systems Command originally this year sparked discussion about how the various entities would share responsibilities. In their addresses at the Space Symposium, Scolese and Raymond emphasized the need for collaboration. Raymond stated on August 24 that “our cooperation with National Reconnaissance Office has never really been stronger.” “Everything we do is influenced by our cooperation. People are shared by us. We have operations centers that we share. We worked together to launch systems. We work together to invest in and build new capabilities. And, while we have different missions, we both work in the same field.”

Ex NRO Deputy Director Major General Michael Guetlein now leads Space Systems Command, as Scolese mentioned. The partnership between NRO as well as Space Systems Command will “get even better with time on” as a result of this appointment, according to Scolese.

According to Scolese, the US space agencies are cooperating to oppose global rivalry in space. Scolese stated, “China and Russia already have demonstrated that space is… a struggle.” “If we’re not careful, it’ll devolve into a heavy hit, drag-out brawl, which none of us want.” Scolese hinted at cyber-attacks while mentioning Chinese and Russian counterspace weapons.

Scolese stated, “In summary, China is demonstrating an unquenchable desire to move ahead of us and seize what has been our tactical intelligence edge since” President John F. Kennedy was in office. “How we beat off this rivalry and where we go next is mainly determined by how quickly we speed our growth and how much we can improve our existing space capabilities.”

The National Reconnaissance Office is modernizing its intelligence satellite constellation, which collects imagery and data for US government entities and allies. “Last year, amid a pandemic, we launched 12 cargos in orbit on six missions from two continents,” Scolese added. “It’s nearly a payload month if you consider the 4 payloads, we deployed earlier this year.” NRO wants to launch four rockets in 29 days in 2022. Nonetheless, Scolese stated that the organization is working to implement advanced technology even faster.

Categories
Energy Environment

New Renewable Energy Tenders Announced in Quebec

Mr. Jonatan Julien, Minister of Energy and Natural Resources for the province of Quebec, has announced the placement of wind energy in the province’s energy portfolio. Within the framework of his prepared statements, Minister Julien revealed the acceptance of an order-in-council1 (the “Order-in-Council”) asking that Hydro-Québec issue a call to tender for new wind energy resources to meet the province’s long-term energy and power needs, which could begin as early in 2026. A chunk of 300 megawatts (“MW”) of wind power must be included in the call for tenders, according to the vision that has been provided.

In conjunction with this release, the Quebec administration has issued two draft regulations on the same subject matter. A 300 MW block dedicated to wind energy is specified in the first2 regulation (the “300 MW regulation”), which is similar to the language used in the Order-in-Council. A further 480 MW of renewable energy is specified in the second3 regulation (the “480 MW regulation”), which requests that Hydro-Québec continues with an open tender for an extra 480 MW of renewable power. Hydro-Québec will be expected to execute both requests for tenders by December 31, 2021, by these requirements.

Because of a rise in the electricity market from new markets, like agricultural greenhouses as well as electric vehicles, these measures were necessitated. To meet these goals, the Quebec government has committed to lowering its greenhouse gas pollution by 37 percent by 2030 and reaching carbon neutrality by the year 2050 as part of the 2030 Plan for a Green Economy, which was released in December.

Because the Order-in-Council encompasses various domestic content requirements, the declaration also sends a clear message to the local wind power industry that Quebec aims to support its development. A minimum of approximately 50% local equity participation is necessary for a project to be qualified for competitive bidding. Furthermore, at least 60% of project expenditures must be directed toward Quebec-based content, with 35% of those expenditures being incurred in the Regional County Municipality where the initiative will be housed. The promoters of the project are also required to make an annual payment to a local municipality or even administration of $5,700 (adjusted yearly for inflation) every megawatt-hour (MW).

The contracts that will be issued will be for a period of 30 years, showing the government’s long-term dedication to renewable energy resources. More renewable power calls for bids are also expected in the near future, as projected electricity demand is expected to hit 1400 MW of capacity as well as 1.5 terawatt-hours of energy per year by 2029, according to the International Energy Agency. In a news statement, the Quebec government stated that wind energy will constitute a significant portion of future calls for tenders, with a specific emphasis on wind energy.

Categories
Satellites Space

RUAG Space is nearing the 1,000-satellite mark

RUAG Space ((Bern, Switzerland), a vendor to the space sector and a company that makes comprehensive use of the carbon fiber composites, announced on August 22 that a further 34 OneWeb internet satellites had been detached from a Soyuz launch vehicle and positioned in orbit with the dispenser from RUAG Space. According to RUAG Space, the company has already successfully launched 997 satellites into orbit, putting the Swiss-centered space supplier nearer to its goal of separating 1,000 satellites.

“This is a significant accomplishment that demonstrates the exceptional skills we have in the satellite separation,” said Holger Wentscher, RUAG Space’s vice president of product group launchers.

Separation systems from the RUAG Space are manufactured at the company’s facility in Linköping, Sweden. Similarly, the dispenser, which is also developed by RUAG Space, allows for the separation of many satellites in a specified order to achieve the desired orbit. “For us, each separation is a momentous accomplishment. We are capable of providing 100 percent reliability and meeting customer expectations in the severe environment of space,” Wentscher explains.

RUAG Space claims to be the world’s leading provider of satellite separation systems for commercial launch vehicles. During the difficult journey into space, “our separation mechanisms ensure that the satellite as well as rocket remain firmly attached to one another, and then transfer the valuable payloads into the orbit with pinpoint accuracy,” explains Andreas Jonsson, the facility manager in Linköping.

As a consequence of a lengthy and trusted relationship with NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA), as well as an increasingly sophisticated position in the commercial space business in recent years, the company says that all the 997 satellite separations have indeed been completed successfully. “We are the market leaders in the commercial sector, and we supply all of the world’s biggest launchers with technology for launching satellites of various sizes,” says Jonsson.

For the past 40 years, RUAG Space has been researching, developing, and manufacturing Payload Adapter Systems. “It has been a long period during which we have gained a great deal of experience and supplied our solutions to an ever-increasing number of customers,” adds Jonsson. “We are continually striving to improve and develop new items. Our newest innovation, the Soft Separation System, makes existing separation systems usable for next-generation satellites that have greater performance and reduced shock.” RUAG Space is the major supplier of technologies to the space sector in Europe, and the company’s foothold in the United States is steadily expanding.

Categories
Satellites Space

The small satellite sector faces issues in terms of interoperability, sustainability, and cybersecurity

One of the principal issues identified by Lt. Gen. John Shaw, deputy commander of US Space Command, in an August 9 presentation at the 35th Small Satellite conference is guaranteeing that small satellites can connect not only within their constellations but also within a broader ecosystem. In an interview with Pat Patterson, director and chair of the advanced concepts at Utah State University’s Space Dynamics Laboratory in charge of the Small Satellite Conference, Shaw remarked, “If small satellites are communicating to each other, it’s not much of a leap to say well, it needs to communicate into a bigger architecture.”

Small satellites could eventually provide a clear image of what’s going on in space, similar to what Google Maps or Waze do, by combining data from various sensors reporting their positions. Shaw believes that tiny interoperable satellites could offer similar information on the entire space environment.

Furthermore, Shaw stated that the US military is engaged in investigating the advantages of small satellite operations outside low Earth orbit (LEO). According to Shaw, small satellites are probably to operate in geostationary orbit and even lunar orbit, whether in smaller numbers or vast constellations. “How does that appear?” Shaw was the one who inquired. “How are we going to get there?”

The issue of disposal arises when small satellites are moved beyond low Earth orbit. Satellite operators must ensure that when their spacecraft age, they do not create a “navigational hazard,” according to Shaw. Because the number of satellites and the amount of junk in low Earth orbit are continuously increasing, sustainability is becoming a serious concern. “We should all be mindful that as we proceed to put objects up in space, it will get increasingly congested,” Shaw warned. He added, “We don’t want to reach a situation where” the amount of trash in orbit raises the chance of a space collision.

Developers and owners of satellites should consider alternatives to end-of-life disposal. Satellites should be constructed to avoid “falling apart when they become old, or things occur aboard the satellites,” according to Shaw. “Overall, the satellite’s entire lifecycle must be developed with a focus on sustainability.”

Similarly, satellite activities should address cybersecurity regularly. “I hate to be pessimistic, but I believe it’s only a question of the time of time before we view some of the cyber challenges that we’ve seen on the ground manifest themselves in the space field, whether it’s a ransomware strike on the commercial space system or perhaps an infiltration of a commercial constellation’s command and control system,” Shaw said. “Those are important threats on which we must concentrate our efforts.”