SpaceX Current Affairs - 2020

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IITM hosts India’s first Hyperloop Pod Competition-What is Hyperloop Pod?

For the first time in India IIT Madras is to host Hyperloop pod competition in July 2020. India has taken a few steps in bringing the environment friendly Hyperloop pod transport in the country.

Highlights

The Hyperloop Pod Transportation Project was approved by the Maharashtra Government to build the first Hyperloop line between Pune and Mumbai. Similarly, another project of Hyperloop pod transport has been undertaken between the cities of Vijayawada and Amaravati.

Similar projects are expected to operate in China, UAE as well.

International Competition

The International Competition of Hyperloop Pod Contest was initiated in 2015. The Competition is funded by SpaceX, a leading Space organization of USA.

What is Hyperloop Pod?

The Hyperloop is a sealed loop through which a pod travels. The travel time of the pod is greatly reduced as the pod travels in the tube without air resistance. It is a proposed freight and passenger transport system.

The Concept was introduced in 2013 and has been open sourced by SpaceX since them. This means that anyone in the world is free to use the concept and build on systems based on it.

The Technology

Hyperloop pod works on the same concept of maglev trains where the trains levitate over the tracks with the help of electro-magentic energy. The only difference here is that unlike maglev trains, the pods will run in a partial vacuum environment increasing the speeds and efficiency.

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SpaceX launches First 60 satellites of its ‘Starlink’ Constellation

SpaceX launched a rocket carrying the first 60 satellites of its ‘Starlink’ constellation, from Cape Canaveral, Florida in US. The SpaceX’s new array of Starlink communication satellites is intended to provide Internet from space

Key Highlights

  • Launch Vehicle: The launch was conducted by SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rockets which began to release the satellites at an altitude of 280 miles (450 kilometers).
  • Orbit Position: The satellites later separated and used their thrusters to take up their positions in a relatively low orbit of 340 miles (550 kilometers).
  • The satellite orbit is slightly higher than International Space Station (ISS), but below the majority of terrestrial satellites placed. The highest of terrestrial satellites sit in a geostationary orbit of 22,400 miles (36,000 kilometers).
  • Satellite Features: Each of satellites weighs only 500 pounds (227 kilograms). They were built in-house in Redmond, near Seattle in US. Their weight makes them the heaviest payload carried aloft by SpaceX to date.
  • Starlink’s constellation: will become operational once over 800 satellites will be activated, which will require at least 12 launches carrying similar payloads. The 60 launched satellites are among the first of a planned 12,000-satellite megaconstellation with aim to provide high-speed internet service from space to customers around the globe.
  • Significance: This launch made SpaceX an early forerunner, along with its rival OneWeb, a startup, but way ahead of Amazon’s Project Kuiper, the brainchild of Jeff Bezos.

About SpaceX

  • The US California-based Space Exploration Technologies, or SpaceX is a private rocket company of high-tech entrepreneur Elon Musk. Musk is also chief executive officer (CEO) of automaker Tesla Inc.
  • When it comes to rocket launches it is leading the private space race.
  • With its Starlink venture the firm is now looking to seize a chunk of future space internet market.

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