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‘NASA rules,’ Elon Musk says as SpaceX wins $2.9 billion moon lander contract

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By Raphael Satter Hyunjoo Jin, and Munsif Vengattil

NASA awarded billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk’s space company SpaceX a $2.9 billion contract to build a spacecraft to bring astronauts to the moon as early as 2024, the agency said on Friday, picking it over Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin and defense contractor Dynetics Inc.

Bezos and Musk – the world’s first and third richest people respectively, according to Forbes – were competing to lead humankind’s return to the moon for the first time sine 1972.

Musk’s SpaceX bid alone while Amazon.com (AMZN.O) founder Bezos’s Blue Origin partnered with Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT.N), Northrop Grumman Corp (NOC.N) and Draper. Dynetics is a unit of Leidos Holdings Inc.(LDOS.N)

“NASA Rules!!” Musk wrote on Twitter after the announcement.

he U.S. space agency awarded the contract for the first commercial human lander, part of its Artemis program. NASA said the lander will carry two American astronauts to the lunar surface.

“We should accomplish the next landing as soon as possible,” Steve Jurczyk, NASA’s acting administrator, said during the video conference announcement.

“If they hit their milestones, we have a shot at 2024,” Jurczyk added.

NASA said SpaceX’s Starship includes a spacious cabin and two airlocks for astronaut moon walks and that its architecture is intended to evolve to a fully reusable launch and landing system designed for travel to the Moon, Mars and other destinations in space.

SpaceX also responded on Twitter, writing, “We are humbled to help @NASAArtemis usher in a new era of human space exploration.”

Unlike the Apollo landings from 1969 to 1972 – the only human visits to the moon’s surface – NASA is gearing up for a longer-term lunar presence that it envisions as a steppingstone to an even more ambitious plan to send astronauts to Mars. NASA is leaning heavily on private companies built around shared visions for space exploration.

SpaceX will be required to make a test flight of the lander to the moon before humans make the journey, NASA official Lisa Watson-Morgan told reporters.

NASA had been expected to winnow the lunar lander contest to two companies by the end of April, but instead it picked only SpaceX, a move that deepens their cooperation. On Thursday, NASA said it would send its crew to the International Space Station aboard a SpaceX rocket on April 22.

The agency aims to create regular service to the moon and said it will have a separate competition for that contract.

“We have to be able to provide for recurring lunar services,” said Mark Kirasich, deputy associate administrator for NASA’s Advanced Exploration Systems division.

The announcement added to an extraordinary run for Musk, who has turned electric car maker Tesla Inc. (TSLA.O) into the world’s most-valuable automaker, with a market capitalization of $702 billion.

Musk has become a one-person technology conglomerate, launching or controlling companies pursuing space flight, electric cars, neural implants and subterranean tunnel boring.

A factor in the choice of SpaceX was “what’s the best value to the government,” said Kathy Lueders, associate administrator for NASA’s Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate.

NASA said in a news release that SpaceX’s HLS Starship, designed to land on the moon, “leans on the company’s tested Raptor engines and flight heritage of the Falcon and Dragon vehicles.”

NASA’s decision was a setback for Bezos, a lifelong space enthusiast who is now more focused on his space venture after having announced in February he would step down as Amazon CEO.

The contract was seen by Bezos and other executives as vital to Blue Origin establishing itself as a desired partner for NASA, and also putting the venture on the road to turning a profit.

Musk has outlined an ambitious agenda for SpaceX and its reusable rockets, including landing humans on Mars. But in the near term, SpaceX’s main business has been launching satellites for Musk’s Starlink internet venture, and other satellites and space cargo. SpaceX announced on Wednesday it had raised about $1.16 billion in equity financing. read more

An uncrewed SpaceX Starship prototype rocket failed to land safely on March 30 after a test launch from Boca Chica, Texas. The Starship was one in a series of prototypes for the heavy-lift rocket being developed by SpaceX to carry humans and 100 tons of cargo on future missions to the moon and Mars. A first orbital Starship flight is planned for year’s end.

Source: Reuters

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Narendra Modi inaugurates India’s first 5G testbed; says aims to roll out 6G end of decade

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NEW DELHI: India is targeting the rollout of 6G telecom network, which will provide ultra high speed internet connectivity, by the end of the decade, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Tuesday.

India currently has 3G and 4G telecom networks and companies are gearing up to launch 5G over the next few months.

Speaking at the silver jubilee event of telecom sector regulator TRAI here, he said it is estimated that the 5G network rollout will add USD 450 billion to the Indian economy.

“This is not just increasing internet speed but also the pace of development and creating jobs,” he said, adding the 5G technology will bring positive change in governance of the country, ease of living and ease of doing business.

It will boost growth in agriculture, health, education, infrastructure and logistics, he said.

Connectivity, Modi said, will decide the progress of the country in the 21st century and so modern day infrastructure needs to be rolled out.

According to the prime minister, a task force has started work on rolling out 6G network by the end of the decade.

Taking potshots at the previous Congress-led UPA government, Modi said the 2G era was symbolic of policy paralysis and corruption.

The country, under his government, has moved transparently to 4G and is now going to 5G.

Teledensity and internet users are fast expanding, he said, adding that mobile manufacturing units in India have expanded from 2 to over 200 and the country is now the world’s biggest mobile manufacturing hub.

The prime minister also said that his government has encouraged healthy competition that has led to India having one of the cheapest telecom data charges in the world.

Indigenous 5G test bed in telecom sector is an important step in India’s self-reliance, he added.

PM Modi virtually inaugurates India’s first 5G testbed costing Rs 220 crore

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday inaugurated the country’s first 5G testbed to enable startups and industry players to test and validate their products locally and reduce dependence on foreign facilities.

The testbed has been set up at a cost of around Rs 220 crore. Speaking at the silver jubilee celebrations of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai), the Prime Minister said the 5G testbed is an important step for self-reliance in the direction of critical and modern technologies.

“I invite youth friends, researchers and companies to utilise the testing facility for making 5G technology,” Modi said.

The 5G testbed has been developed as a multi-institute collaborative project by eight institutes led by IIT Madras.

In the absence of a 5G testbed, startups and other industry players were required to go abroad to test and validate their products for installation in a 5G network.

The other institutes that participated in the project are IIT Delhi, IIT Hyderabad, IIT Bombay, IIT Kanpur, IISc Bangalore, Society for Applied Microwave Electronics Engineering & Research (SAMEER) and Centre of Excellence in Wireless Technology (CEWiT).

The testbed facility will be available at 5 different locations.

Source: Press Trust of India

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Airtel joins hands Tech Mahindra

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NEW DELHI: Bharti Airtel (Airtel), India’s premier communications solutions provider, and Tech Mahindra, a leading provider of digital transformation, consulting and business re-engineering services and solutions, today announced a strategic partnership to build and market innovative solutions for India’s digital economy by bringing together their core strengths.

Airtel and Tech Mahindra will co-develop and market 5G use cases in India. Airtel has been spearheading 5G demos and testing in India while Tech Mahindra has developed world-class 5G applications and platforms. Airtel and Tech Mahindra will set up a joint 5G innovation lab for developing Make in India use cases for the Indian and global markets.

The two companies will also bring to market customized Enterprise Grade Private Networks, which will be at the core of the digital economy. These solutions will focus on combining Airtel’s industry leading integrated connectivity portfolio of 5G ready mobile network, Fiber, SDWAN, and IoT along with Tech Mahindra’s proven system integration capabilities. The companies will initially focus on segments such as Automobiles, Aviation, Ports, Utilities, Chemicals, Oil & Gas and expand to other industries going forward.

Airtel and Tech Mahindra will also offer secure Cloud and Content Delivery Network (CDN) solutions to businesses. With enterprises rapidly moving to cloud based platforms as part of their digital transformation journeys, Airtel has built a formidable Hybrid Cloud portfolio with Airtel Cloud, Airtel IQ (CPaaS) alongside CDN offerings. Further, the two companies will explore leveraging Tech Mahindra’s technological expertise to support Airtel in Cloud Engineering, implementation of tools for Cloud Orchestration.

Ganesh Lakshminarayanan, CEO-Enterprise Business, Bharti Airtel said: “Airtel and Tech Mahindra have a shared vision of supporting the growth of India’s digital ecosystem. We are delighted to join forces with Tech Mahindra to bring to market a range of cutting-edge digital solutions for the emerging requirements of enterprises. With proven technology capabilities and deep customer trust enjoyed by the two brands, we believe this is a win-win partnership.”

Manish Vyas, President, Communications, Media and Entertainment Business, and CEO, Network Services, Tech Mahindra, said: “5G ecosystem will unlock immense opportunities for industries across sectors to improve productivity and enhance customer experience through digitally powered new-age platforms and solutions. We are excited to partner with Airtel to provide innovative and cutting-edge solutions for enterprise customers. In line with Tech Mahindra’s NXT.NOWTM framework, this collaboration is focused on offering next-generation services to the Indian market by enabling transformation via network, cloud engineering and customer experience.”

As part of NXT.NOWTM framework, which aims to provide ‘Seamless Customer Experience’, Tech Mahindra focuses on investing in emerging technologies and solutions that enable digital transformation and meet the evolving needs of changing customers.

 

 

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3 Scandinavia expands 5G footprint with Enea’s policy control technology

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NEW DELHI: 3 Scandinavia, a leading provider of voice and broadband services, has deployed Enea’s 5G policy control solution as it continues to expand its 5G footprint. The solution will allow 3 Scandinavia to effectively launch, manage, and monetize new services in Sweden and Denmark.

Enea’s powerful policy platform will allow the Nordic network provider to differentiate services and ensure that all subscribers benefit from a consistent quality of service to match their chosen pricing plans.

Enea’s policy management platform, a fully virtualized, multi-vendor solution, has provided 4G policy control functionality for 3 Scandinavia since 2008. As the operator looked to scale its capabilities with virtualized architecture, it turned to Enea for 5G policy control. Enea’s platform delivers robust connectivity and cost-effective service management while bringing operational agility through its tight integration with provisioning systems. It is also vendor agnostic, which means that the operator has the freedom to work with any network access provider and can configure new types of 4G and 5G services in a matter of minutes.

“We are always striving to offer innovative services that appeal to our growing base of subscribers,” says Per Stigenberg, CTO at 3 Scandinavia. “In today’s world of stream-based entertainment and hybrid working, this means taking full advantage of everything 5G has to offer. Enea has demonstrated a thorough understanding of our needs and with their flexible product approach we are now able to deliver a next-generation connectivity experience for all our subscribers in Sweden and Denmark”

The solution from Enea also enables the operator to effectively manage several of its virtual Policy Control Functions (PCFs) across two physical locations in Scandinavia. With Enea’s platform deployed, 3 Scandinavia can efficiently support fully redundant 5G voice and data services throughout both Sweden and Denmark, allowing the operator to seamlessly control policies as subscribers move between 4G and 5G, and across their networks.

“Policy control is very much the brains of the operation when it comes to providing cellular services to millions of subscribers,” says Jonas Jacobsson, Senior Vice President of Service Provider Sales at Enea. “Without it, there is simply no way to differentiate service in terms of data allowance or speed, particularly with 5G where these configurations become even more granular.”

A report from Deloitte found that the number of 5G subscribers in Scandinavia has more than doubled in the past two years. As networks grow, policy plays a critical role to help operators scale and monetize 5G.

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