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NASA and SpaceX say they are ‘go’ to proceed with historic crewed flight on May 27th

Sharon Ross

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NASA and SpaceX say they are ‘go’ to proceed with historic crewed flight on May 27th

After two days of intense reviews, NASA is giving its commercial partner SpaceX the thumbs-up to launch its first astronauts to space next week. There’s still more work to be done by both the agency and SpaceX, including another review on Monday, but officials decided there were no major issues standing in the way of the launch.

“It was a good review, great discussion,” NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine said during a press conference. “I think everybody in the room was very clear that now’s the time to speak up if there are any challenges.” Bridenstine noted that many people did speak up, and they had a lot of discussions about various aspects of the mission. “At the end we got to a ‘go,’” he said. “So we are now preparing for a launch in five short days.”

On May 27th, SpaceX is slated to launch its first crew of two — NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley — to the International Space Station for NASA. The flight is the final test for SpaceX as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, which enlisted private companies to create vehicles to ferry astronauts to and from the ISS. SpaceX’s vehicle for the program is the Crew Dragon, and after six years of development and testing, the company is less than a week away from finally putting people inside the vehicle.

During the review, officials talked over a lot of technical issues that could become a problem during flight, such as the Crew Dragon’s parachutes, which have required enormous amounts of testing over the last few years. They also discussed an unexpected technical issue that arose last year when SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule exploded during a ground test, as well as concerns about the company’s ability to suppress any unexpected fires that might break out on Dragon. Ultimately, everyone concluded that the risks were manageable. “There are no significant open issues, I am happy to report,” Steve Jurczyk, NASA’s associate administrator, said during the press conference. “It was a very, at the end, was a very, very clean review.”

Also this afternoon, SpaceX tested the Falcon 9 rocket that will launch Behnken and Hurley. At 4:33PM ET, the company ignited the engines on the rocket while holding it down on its launchpad at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, verifying that all the rocket’s systems were in working order.

While NASA says SpaceX is “go” for launch, there’s still quite a bit of work to do before the company’s rocket takes flight. On Saturday, Behnken and Hurley will do what’s called a “dry dress rehearsal,” where they’ll suit up in SpaceX’s custom spacesuits and go through all of the steps leading up to flight, without actually launching. Then on Monday, SpaceX and NASA officials will do yet another review about whether to proceed with the launch. That review will incorporate data from today’s ignition test, as well as data from the dress rehearsal.

“That’s a ton of data,” Benji Reed, director of crew mission management at SpaceX, said during the press conference. “It’s really, really important that all of our engineers, they’re all on deck and ready to go right now. And for the next few days through the weekend, they will be analyzing and looking at all the data and all the observations that are made.”

So things are still on track, but it’s not “all systems go” just yet.

Sharon Ross has been phenomenal in the success of Report Door. She is the super dedicated types, always glued to her computer. She talks less, but when it comes to work, she is behind none. She is a tech geek and contributes to the technology section of Report Door.

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With $84 million in new cash, Commonwealth Fusion is on track for a demonstration fusion reactor by 2025 – Report Door

Sharon Ross

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With $84 million in new cash, Commonwealth Fusion is on track for a demonstration fusion reactor by 2025 – TechCrunch

Commonwealth Fusion Systems closed on its latest $84 million in new funding two weeks ago. The U.S. was still very much in the lockdown phase and getting a deal done, especially a multi-million dollar investment in a new technology aiming to make commercial nuclear fusion a reality after decades of hype, was “an interesting thing” in the words of Commonwealth’s chief executive, Bob Mumgaard. 

It was actually one time when the technical complexity of what Commonwealth Fusion is trying to achieve and the longterm horizon for the company’s first test technology was a benefit instead of an obstacle, Mumgaard said. 

We’re in a unique position where it’s still something that’s far enough in the future that any of the recovery models are not going to affect the underlying needs that the world still has a giant climate problem,” he said. 

Commonwealth Fusion Systems purports to be one solution to that problem. The company is using technology developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to leapfrog the current generation of nuclear fusion reactors currently under development (there are, in fact, several nuclear fusion reactors currently under development) and bring a waste-free energy source to industrial customers within the next ten years.

Commonwealth Fusion Systems core innovation was the development of a high power superconducting magnet that could theoretically be used to create the conditions necessary for a sustained fusion reaction. The reactor uses hydrogen isotopes that are kept under conditions of extreme pressure using these superconducting magnets to sustain the reaction and contain the energy that’s generated from the reaction. Designs for reactors require their hydrogen fuel source to be heated to tens of millions of degrees.

The design that Commonwealth is pursuing is akin to the massive, multi-decade International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) project that’s currently being completed in France. Begun under the Reagan Administration in the eighties, as a collaboration between the U.S., the Soviet Union, various European nations and Japan. Over the years, membership in the project expanded to include India, South Korea, and China.

While the ITER project also expects to flip the switch on its reactor in 2025, the cost has been dramatically higher — totaling well over $14 billion dollars. The project, which began construction in 2013, will also represent a much longer timeframe to completion compared with the schedule that Commonwealth has set for itself.

Picture taken on January 17, 2013 in Saint-Paul-les-Durance, southern France shows the model of the reactor of the future International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) . The International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (Iter), based at the French Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) research center of Cadarache in Saint-Paul-lès-Durance, was set up by the EU, which has a 45 percent share, China, India, South Korea, Japan, Russia and the US to research a clean and limitless alternative to dwindling fossil fuel reserves. AFP PHOTO / GERARD JULIEN (Photo credit should read GERARD JULIEN/AFP via Getty Images)

“We have set off to build what has been our big goal all along, which is to build the full scale demonstration magnet… we’re in the act of building that,” said Mumgaard. “We’ll turn that on next year.”

Upon completion, Commonwealth Fusion Systems will have built a ten-ton magnet that has the magnetic force equivalent to twenty MRI machines, said Mumgaard. “After we get the magnet to work, we’ll be building a machine that will generate more power than it takes to run. We see that as the Kitty Hawk moment,” for fusion, he said.

Other startup companies are also racing to bring technologies to market and hit the 2025 timeline. They include the Canadian company General Fusion and the United Kingdom’s Tokamak Energy.

Within the next six to eight months, Commonwealth Energy hopes to have a site selected for its first demonstration reactor.

Financing the company’s most recent developments are a slew of investors new and old who have committed over $200 million to the company, which formally launched in 2018.

The round was led by Temasek with participation from new investors Equinor, a multinational energy company, and Devonshire Investors, the private equity group affiliated with FMR LLC, the parent company of Fidelity Investments.

Current investors including the Bill Gates-backed Breakthrough Energy Ventures; MIT’s affiliated investment fund, The Engine; the Italian energy firm ENI Next LLC; and venture investors like Future Ventures, Khosla Ventures; Moore Strategic Ventures, Safar Partners LLC, Schooner Capital, and Starlight Ventures also participated. 

“We are investing in fusion and CFS because we believe in the technology and the company, and we remain committed to providing energy to the world, now and in a low carbon future,” said Sophie Hildebrand, Chief Technology Officer and Senior Vice President for Research and Technology at Equinor, in a statement.

The company said it would use the new financing to continue developing its technology which would offer fusion power plants, fusion engineering services, and HTS magnets to customers. Funding will also be used to support business development initiatives for other applications of the company’s proprietary HTS magnets, the key component to its SPARC reactor, which also has various other commercial uses, the company said. 

Helping the cause, and potentially accelerating the timelines for many fusion players is a new initiative from the federal government that could see government dollars go to support construction of new facilities. The Department of Energy recently released a request for information (RFI) on potential cost share programs for the development of nuclear fusion reactors in the U.S.

Modeled after the Commercial Orbital Transportation Services program which brought the world SpaceX, Blue Origin, and other U.S. private space companies, a cost-sharing program for fusion development could accelerate the development of low-cost, pollution free fusion reactors across the U.S.

“The COTS program transitioned the space industry from ‘Here’s a government dictated space sector’ to a vibrant commercial launch industry,” said Mumgaard.

One investor who’s seen the value of public private partnerships to spur commercial innovation is Steve Jurvetson, the founder of Future Ventures, and a backer of Commonwealth Fusion Systems. Jurvetson acknowledged the necessity of fusion investment for the future of the energy industry.

“Fusion energy is an investment in our future that offers an important path toward combating climate change. Our continued investment in CFS fits strongly within our mission as we seek long-term solutions to address the world’s energy challenges,” said Steve Jurvetson, Managing Director and Founder, Future Ventures.

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The next ‘Dead By Daylight’ killer is Pyramid Head from Silent Hill

Sharon Ross

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The next 'Dead By Daylight' killer is Pyramid Head from Silent Hill

If you prefer to play as a survivor, you can adopt the guise of Silent Hill 3 protagonist Cheryl Mason (though she was known as Heather in that game). She’ll have DBD’s first legendary skin — you’ll be able to turn Cheryl into student nurse Lisa Garland. You can try to escape Pyramid Head in Midwich Elementary School, a key location in the original Silent Hill,

and maybe even look around for some Easter eggs (if you dare).

The paid Silent Hill DLC will be available on PC and consoles in June, but you can play as Pyramid Head right now on the PC public test server. This isn’t DBD’s first crossover with another horror game, as Bill from Left 4 Dead arrived in 2017.

It also emerged during the stream that cross-platform play is coming to Dead by Daylight later this year — in addition to PC and consoles, the game hit mobile last month. The Behavior team is working on a graphics overhaul as well. The Silent Hill crossover might be the most exciting addition for many though, especially given that it might be the only way you’ll get a new taste of that franchise any time soon.

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Indonesian startup Delman raises $1.6 million to help companies clean up data – Report Door

Sharon Ross

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Indonesian startup Delman raises $1.6 million to help companies clean up data – TechCrunch

Delman, a Jakarta-based data management startup, has raised $1.6 million in seed funding. The round was led by Intudo Ventures, with participation from Prasetia Dwidharma Ventures and Qlue Performa Indonesia, and will be used to establish a research and development center and hire software engineers and data scientists.

Delman was founded in 2018 by chief executive officer Surya Halim, chief product officer Raymond Christopher and chief technology officer Theo Budiyanto, who were classmates at the University of California, Berkeley. After graduation, they worked at tech companies in Silicon Valley, including Google and Splunk, before deciding to focus on the Indonesian market.

Originally launched as an end-to-end big data analytics provider, Delman shifted its focus to data preparation and management after talking to clients in Indonesia, said Halim. Many companies said they had budgeted for expensive data analytics solution, but then realized their data was not ready for analysis because it was spread across multiple formats. Delman’s mission is to make it easier for data engineers and scientists to do their jobs by cleaning up and preparing data.

Halim says many large companies in Indonesia typically spend up to $200,000 to clean and warehouse data, but Delman gives them a more cost-efficient and faster alternative.

“We have the capability to do analytics and data visualization for clients, but there are so many established companies that already do that, which is why we shifted our business model to something more niche and needed,” said Halim. “It also enables us to open our door to partner with everyone doing data analytics services.”

While newer companies and startups have cleaner datasets, Halim said many older Indonesian companies, especially ones with branches in multiple cities, often have large amounts of data spread across pen-and-paper ledgers, Excel spreadsheets and other software. The data may also have code, keywords and typos that need to be corrected.

“It’s easier for a new company, because everything is already standardized,” Halim said, “But if a company that was established in the 1970s wants to unify previous generations of data to integrate it into their system and keep notes on what customer behavior is like in order to compete with up-and-coming companies, then they need to have a data-driven policy.”

Delman is industry-agnostic and its clients range from large corporations and consulting firms to government agencies. Its customers have included PWC and Qlue. Halim said that the startup plans to expand into other Southeast Asian markets and expects that as COVID-19 changes the way people work, companies will want to invest more heavily in their IT infrastructure and make their databases easier to access outside of a central location.

In a press statement, Intudo Ventures founding partner Eddy Chan said, “By combining a highly localized approach with global technical expertise, Delman is providing Indonesian businesses with Indonesian-developed big data solutions, ultimately leading to better outcomes for end-users. Since meeting the Delman founding team in Silicon Valley in 2017, we have witnessed their growth as a management team, and are excited to continue to support them in their entrepreneurial journey ahead.”

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