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Space

The MEV-2 servicer docked to a live Intelsat spacecraft effectively

The MEV-2 satellite servicer from Northrop Grumman safely docked with the Intelsat’s in-orbit 10-02 spacecraft on April 12. At 1:34 p.m. Eastern, the maneuver was accomplished, making this the very first time a spacecraft servicer has docked with an operational commercial satellite in the geosynchronous orbit (GEO). The dual spacecraft will remain locked together for a period of five years to prolong the existence of IS-10-02, which has been in orbit since 2004 and is running low on fuel. MEV-2 would then detach from the dock and embark on a new mission.

“The performance of this project opens the path for our second wave of servicing satellites as well as robotics, which will allow completely new groups of missions for commercial as well as government satellite operators,” stated Tom Wilson. He works as the vice president in charge of the strategic space systems at the Northrop Grumman. IS-10-02 supports Intelsat subscribers in the Middle East, Europe, Africa, as well as South America with telecommunications and media delivery networks. Since early March, MEV-2 has been operating in near proximity with the spacecraft, coming close enough to calibrate and evaluate systems before backing off.

On several occasions in the last month, the two firms have come near to docking. Last year, MEV-1, the satellite servicer’s precursor, successfully connected to some other Intelsat satellite, IS-901, raising it out of the GEO graveyard orbit and returning it to operation on April 2, 2020. “Space servicing is a critical asset for Intelsat in expanding the high-quality service experience which our customers rely on,” stated Mike DeMarco, the Intelsat chief services officer.

“Northrop Grumman’s MEV technology has enabled us to prolong the lives of two high-performing satellites while concentrating our engineering resources on Intelsat next-generation network – it’s a ‘win-win’ for us.” Northrop was given a contract by the United States Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) last year to build a particular-purpose robotic vehicle (MRV).

The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has chosen SpaceLogistics LLC, a fully owned company of Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC), as its commercial collaborator for the agency’s Robotic Servicing of Geosynchronous Satellites (RSGS) initiative. The first-ever industrial robotic servicing spaceship will be launched as part of the project, which seeks to extend the demand for satellite operation of both commercials as well as government customer satellites using advanced robotics technologies. Improved technologies such as in-orbit maintenance, augmentation, assembly, comprehensive evaluation, and relocation of the client satellites are among the program’s goals. In addition to migrating satellites, Northrop stated the MRV would fly in 2024 to perform maintenance and other in-orbit facilities. The MRV would be used to mount project extension pods (MEPs) that Northrop is designed to help aging satellites last longer.

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Energy

PNM to minimize its baseload power from coal-powered plants and increase renewable energy capacity

The Public Service Company of New Mexico (PNM) has unveiled plans to reduce electricity from coal-powered plants and nuclear plants. Instead, the electricity utility is planning to increase its green energy capacity, add natural gas generation, and tap into hydrogen as power. PNM wants to ditch coal-powered generation by 2024 and cut on the nuclear power generated at Palo Verde Generating Station. The company has filed an integrated resource plan (IRP) for 2020 with the New Mexico Regulation Commission and is pending approval.

Some of the IRP changes include the shutting down of the San Juan Generating Station in 2022, previously slated to last until 2053. The new plan also mentions transferring thirteen percent of the utility’s share in the Four Corners Power Plant to Navajo Transition Energy Company. Furthermore, the roadmap indicates PNM does not intend to renew leased capacity at Palo Verde Generating Station. “We’ll be reducing our baseload down substantially, and we’ll be projecting to bring on a whole lot of renewables and energy storage and other resources to serve our customers,” said Nick Phillips, the director in charge of the integrated resource planning at PNM.

“I don’t think baseload in and of itself is the key to reliability. The key to reliability is making sure that you’ve got a wide mix of resources that if your renewable generation has big changes from minute to minute or hour to hour, you’ve got other resources that can fill in those gaps,” added Phillips. In the meantime, PNM will replace the energy sourced from coal plants with power from nuclear remains. The utility will also add renewables and maybe natural gas and hydrogen, according to Phillips. The hydrogen plants will be brought to life from 2040 and could push the company’s ninety percent clean energy to a hundred percent when complete.

Although the overall ambition is to provide clean energy to its customers at affordable rates, PNM notes that a hundred percent renewables will add some expenses to its clients. “I do think that as you go forward in time, decarbonizing a system completely cannot be done free of charge. And so, we’ll have to see what technologies develop and how the cost of those technologies hopefully declines over time,” noted Phillips.

Interveners think ill of PNM’s plan to transfer its Four Corners Power plant. Camilla Feibelman, director of Sierra Club Rio Grande Chapter, says the utility agreed to evaluate leaving Four Corners in 2024 and 2028. “By passing off their holdings in Four Corners to NTEC, they are short-circuiting the analysis that they are required to do and could potentially cause the plant to stay open for longer than necessary, not just from an economic perspective but also from a climate standpoint,” Feibelman,said. The New Mexico electricity provider is yet to decide what resources will replace energy sourced from the Four Corners plant.

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Energy

GICON, a German company, has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Vietnam Petroleum Institute on green energy

The Vietnam Petroleum Institute (VPI) and GICON, a German energy-sector engineering firm, recently concluded a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to collaborate on sustainable energy and hydrogen development in the Southeast Asian region. According to GICON, the collaborators will concentrate on wind power as well as biogas, with a particular emphasis on emerging innovative technology for the generation of renewable power and green hydrogen. The groups plan to adopt and improve GICON’s inventions, which the organization has already developed with Vietnamese requirements in mind.

An offshore wind turbine would be connected to an electrolyzer to generate hydrogen from seawater as part of one of the pilot ventures.  In another project, GICON would extract biogas using its patented method, which was developed specially for waste with high impurities. GICON, as well as the VPI, will both share expertise and run study programs in the fields of climate conservation, clean energy, ecology, and environmental toxicology, according to the MoU.

“Each spouse brings their individual abilities to the table in the most effective way possible. We blend GICON’s cutting-edge clean energy technology and engineering skills with our understanding of Southeast Asia’s requirements and our exploration and development capacities.  We improve the regional economy in Vietnam by executing the projects locally. “In a tweet, VPI Director General Nguyen Anh Duc stated.

The Vietnam Petroleum Institute (VPI), centered on the General Department of Geology’s Petroleum Geological Division No. 36B, was established on May 22, 1978, in response to the rapid development of the Vietnamese oil and gas sector. VPI has grown into a leading science and technical research center in the world, covering all aspects of the petroleum industry after approximately 35 years of growth. Processing, Safety & Environment, Petroleum Exploration and Production, Technology Application and Transfer, Economic and Management, Laboratory and Archives are the Institute’s seven specialized research centers.

The below are the roles and activities that have been delegated to the Institute:

• Conducting research and development in the fields of gas and oil prospecting, drilling, manufacturing, transportation, storage, delivery, economics, and management; collaborating with local and foreign organizations in these areas.

• Providing research and technological advice to businesses both inside and outside of the petroleum sector, as well as international energy companies.

• Providing technical and technical consulting in the areas of prospecting, drilling, development, transportation, storage, as well as the economics of oil and gas to the Vietnamese government, Petrovietnam, state agencies, as well as international oil firms.

• Providing instruction, including post-graduate programs, to develop the technical capability of workers employed in the oil and gas sector.

Categories
Energy

Congress is likely to make amendments to the Renewable Energy Project Development and Investment

Congress is working towards implementing Joe Biden‘s latest plan that is supposed to reinstate the US to its economic position before the pandemic struck. This discussion will feature the extension of the renewable energy tax incentives. The Biden administration is hoping that the tax credits can propel the development of renewable energy infrastructure to achieve the US’s decarbonization targets. The president’s move will witness the expansion of the Production Tax Credit (PTC), the Investment Tax Credit (ITC), and the 45Q credit intended for projects eliminating carbon emissions. Other technologies that might benefit from the switch to clean energy include energy storage technology and equipment to sustain the renewables.

Last month, Senator Carper brought forward the Save America’s Clean Energy Jobs Act and the GREEN Act to ensure the smooth procession of the renewable energy credits directly to the involved parties. Additionally, this move will facilitate implementing the other policies surrounding the projects without unnecessary bureaucratic twists.

The S. 985 bills from both houses reveal differences that require further discussion to come to a deliberate conclusion. A perfect example is the time impediment on the repayment of the renewable energy tax credits, which will affect construction work initiation for the renewable energy projects. The regulations differ when it comes to the claim 100% of the renewable energy tax credit as payment. These claims vary depending on the market, and that’s why the legislators are debating the most plausible way to help the economy get back on its feet without sequestering the dues for the customers.

The Carper bill’s inception is essential since it brings both differences in the two bills before the Congressional tax-writing committees. These teams will oversee the payment of renewable energy projects with tax considerations. Hopefully, taxes should not hurt the customers’ claims, or else investors might be scared away. The direct payment of these funds will help accelerate the establishment of renewable energy projects and attract potential investors.

The companies seeking to break even in the carbon capture technology and interfacing would be dealing with the Internal Revenue Service. This move eliminates their involvement with the equity market and brings forth the capital needed for developing mass-production facilities. Luckily, companies that have even little taxable income will still enjoy the payments and obtain refunds. This plan was developed to establish more renewable energy projects and unleash clean energy jobs.

Categories
Space

In Europe, Orbit Communications signs a deal for a Maritime Terminal

Orbit Communications Systems, a manufacturer of maritime as well as airborne satellite terminals, has secured a $3.1 million contract from an undisclosed European integrator for the OceanTRx4 Mil satellite communications program for the naval military systems. Deliveries are expected to begin in 2022, according to the group.

The OceanTRx 4 Mil terminal is planned to offer maritime end-users uninterrupted satellite broadband connectivity. The “Mil” version is built on Orbit’s OceanTRx4 platform, but with the military features included. It is compatible with antenna systems that have a diameter of 1.15 meters that operate in the Ku, X, and Ka bands, as well as synchronized operation of several frequencies for worldwide operation.  Comsat, which introduced Orbit’s Multi-Purpose Terminals (MPT) as well as OceanTRx hardware to its collection in September 2020, distributes OceanTRx.

Orbit Chief executive Daniel Eshchar stated, “We are confident of this pioneering European defense integrator’s decision to buy one of the Orbit’s leading platforms.” “The OceanTRx4 Mil platform… embraces both military and civilian frequencies, enabling our customers to utilize dual frequency bands on a military system,” according to the company. Orbit’s technical supremacy in maritime satellite communications networks in general, and specialized navies in particular, is enhanced by this order.”

The OceanTRx 4 Mil is commonly known as a Maritime Satcom Terminal focused on the OceanTRx4 platform together with upgraded military capability. A proprietary maritime satellite transmission device that supports a range of 1.15-meter diameter antenna systems as well as works at Ku, X, and Ka frequencies, as well as synchronized operation at various frequencies for global activity. The OceanTRx 4 Mil device is built for simple implementation, servicing, and improvement for protection customers, mixing RF performance with high system availability.

Orbit Communication Systems Ltd. (TASE: ORBI), a major global supplier of airborne messaging, maritime as well as ground-station satellite monitoring technologies, is helping to extend and redefine how we communicate. Orbit devices can be used on commercial airplanes and war jets, cruise ships, and naval submarines, as well as base stations as well as offshore platforms. We provide business carriers, major air forces as well as navies, space agencies, and developing New Space firms with creative, cost-effective, and highly efficient solutions.

For usage in the most challenging situations, Orbit provides extremely efficient and cost-effective communications solutions. Orbit solutions can be used on airliners and the jet fighters, cruise ships as well as navy warships, offshore platforms, and lightweight unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) – several over 9,000 fielded devices. They come up with creative ways to bind you and keep you hooked. It all starts with an innovative team and clever architecture – as well as a lengthy list of firsts, patents, and honors. They have won the confidence of key aerospace as well as government departments, as well as emerging service providers, thanks to our rigorous quality management, registration, and manufacturing processes. Via unsurpassed efficiency, long-term support, and collective product evolution, they help their customers evolve.

Categories
Space

Jim Bridenstine lands another job with the Viasat board of directors not long after stepping down as NASA administrator

Following the end of former US president Donald Trump’s reign, Jim Bridenstine resigned as the NASA administrator on 20th January. Not long after the resignation, he got a job in Acorn Growth Companies. The privately-owned equity firm assigned him the role of a senior advisor. His latest assignment is serving as one of the board of directors at Viasat. The satellite operator has seen a need to expand its board to accommodate Jim Bridenstine. From now on, it will now have eight members, and Bridenstine will have another corporate role ever since leaving his NASA position as the agency’s administrator.

According to the former NASA administrator, the opportunity to work with Viasat excites him since it gives him a chance to get involved in its commercial capabilities. It consists of increasing connection, bandwidth, and throughput, which is suitable for the human race. He also added that the expected capacity to be provided by ViaSat-3 would be in a better position to compete with other terrestrial networks. As a matter of fact, it would be a satellite constellation in a position to provide a throughput of up to 1 terabit every second.

It is no secret that Viasat-3, a broadband constellation comprising three satellites, has seen the company invest heavily. The end game is rewarding since it would mean the firm is providing its services globally. Were it not for the coronavirus pandemic, the first of the three satellites would have been up and running, serving the Americans before the end of 2021. Unfortunately, COVID-19 has affected various sectors, including disrupting the supply chain. Consequently, a delay is inevitable, and the launch can only take place earliest early 2022.

Bridenstine acknowledged that he is the one who approached Viasat less than two months ago. What motivated his move was the company’s efforts to reduce the digital divide using ways such as increasing the bandwidth and reducing costs. As far as Jim is concerned, those measures are necessary since the big digital divide has a share of its disadvantages. Its effect on healthcare, education, and the economy when it comes to consequences makes it a priority. It also has implications on other crucial matters and cuts across the board, affecting the United States and the rest of the world.

Viasat serves the government, enterprises, and consumers. It is banking on Bridenstine’s experience in safety, innovation, and technology associated with space to take the services a notch higher. There is hope for the mission since most things are being done online because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Categories
Energy

Taiwan Power Company awards a $17.7 million contract to DNV to build the Changhua II wind project

Norwegian independent energy expert as well as assurance provider, DNV will partner with Taiwan Power Company (Taipower) as the latter’s engineer for the Changhua II offshore wind farm. In this $17.7 million deal, DNV will be in charge of the design analysis, fabrication inspection, and installation assurance. “Our journey with DNV began several years ago. Drawing on both organizations’ rich culture and technical expertise, we are set up to contribute to the growth of Taiwan’s clean and green future,” said Tsao-Hua Hsu, vice president of Renewables at Taipower.

This project will extend into the second part of the year 2025.DNV will collaborate closely with international and local experts to support project engineering reviews as well as marine coordination during the construction of the 31-turbine offshore wind farm. The outline and design of the project will be released before the year ends. The offshore project is expected to be fully functional in late 2025 when Taiwan purposes to make 20% of its total electricity sourced from clean energy.

“This is a true testimony to the partnership of organizations sharing the same objectives for this market. Taipower and DNV are fully committed to the Taiwan government’s efforts to promote localization and build local capabilities,” added Hsu. Taiwan’s renewable industry will get a boost, with 5.7 GW of the installed capacity expected to be ready from the offshore wind farms by 2025. These wind farms include Changhua Phase I, which has a 109.2MW capacity, and the incoming Changhua phase II project.

DNV is excited about this project and will be working alongside Taiwan-based GIBSIN Engineers Ltd, a local engineering consultancy. “This win is a great example of why we decided to merge the expertise of DNV’s energy and oil and gas organizations. It makes us uniquely positioned to support both offshore project engineering activities and marine coordination work, thereby ensuring smooth project implementation,” said Brice Le Gallo, who works as the Regional Director in charge of APAC, Energy Systems at the DNV.

“Our broad expertise helped secure what the largest-ever offshore engineering project for the power and renewables side of DNV is,” Le Gallo added. Taiwan’s administration is vouching for the addition of 10GW of offshore wind power between 2026 to 2036. DNV will play a significant role in advising the Taiwanese energy sector on renewables’ risks and opportunities.

“We are committed to helping local developers in Taiwan and elsewhere assess the risks and to assist local stakeholders in achieving their renewable energy goals. In our experience, partnering with local companies can eliminate some uncertainties in local business environments,” said Mighui Zhang, who works as the Head of Section Taiwan for the Renewables Advisory at DNV. Taiwan will become the second-largest offshore wind market in the Asia Pacific region, competing with Mainland China that holds the throne.

Categories
Energy

Canada to mine materials for building more electric vehicles in North America

The automotive industry is slowly transitioning from gas-powered cars to electric cars since the globe is working on cleaning up the environment. However, change means having the necessary resources to build new technologies and resources to help the masses adopt new products. With this shift, we have learned and understood the importance of things in the ground and the role they can play in our daily lives. Before the automotive industry, we drilled to get petrol for our cars’ functionality; however, now we need minerals to help build batteries and electric motors for these digital cars.

Currently, Canada is working on Cobalt and Lithium mining, according to reliable sources from the country. Automotive supply settings are always a mixture of local and global partnerships, which explains why the US is working with Canada to help the country’s electric vehicles’ industry. President Biden’s administration works towards a net-zero emission target, meaning it requires adequate EV production, seeking help from Canada.

Recently, the US government, under the commerce department, held a virtual meeting with battery manufacturers and miners targeting to mine more minerals from the Canadian grounds to supply to the US automotive industry. With that, North America can have adequate electric vehicles to match the much-needed transition to clean energy. This move key reason is an international competition that doesn’t surprise with recent China and Europe’s investments.

VW announced its plans of building six battery gigafactories across Europe while the leading EV market, China, is currently working on its regional electric vehicles supply chain. The Tsingshan Company stated that it would supply about 100,000 nickel tonnes to Chinese battery producers, demonstrating the country’s strategic interest in maintaining its dominance in the electric vehicles’ market.

The US Commerce department declined Reuter’s request to comment on this matter, but reliable sources claim that they were 30 plus attendees, including Talon Metals, Tesla and, Livent Corp. North America is looking to see if Canada can become one of its most extensive minerals’ suppliers and help it handle some issues. In February, President Biden and Canada’s Prime Minister Trudeau met and mentioned that the two nations would improve the electric vehicles’ sector.

The two leaders agreed to work on the Minerals Action plan to reach the net-zero emission target by improving the batteries’ sectors and improving the renewable energy sources. Several existing EV minerals’ agreements between the two countries giving Canada benefits from these partnerships. Seamus O’Regan, the Natural resources minister in Canada, stated that North America is aware that Canada is the best and safest supplier of metals.

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Energy

VW targets EV lead by 2025 in platform push

Volkswagen automakers have made a name for themselves in the industry’s short term in the electric vehicles industry. Experts claim that it stands a chance to battle Tesla for the leading EV manufacturing company position despite the current gap. They currently deliver several electric vehicles at a friendly price compared to other carmakers and are targeting investing in new technology to promote the brand.

The Volkswagen Group aims to widen its cost-cutting efforts by using standard vital technologies. This German carmaker plans on accelerating a seismic shift towards electric vehicles in their plans to battle Tesla and keep the traditional manufacturers below them. It plans to make at least one million electric vehicles’ sales this yet and targets becoming the leading manufacturer of EVs in the next four years. Experts argue that shares of electric cars in Europe by the end of this decade are set to increase to about 60% of group deliveries.

In a statement from VW’s CEO, Herbert Diess, he talked about its plan to lead the EV market globally. Herbert stated that by pooling VW’s strengths, the development team would quickly scale up their future technologies. The company is overhauling its sprawling operations to have adequate funds to invest in new technologies to create the largest electric vehicle fleet in the market.

VW seems to be working day and night to combat Tesla and stand out among other traditional automakers from the recent reports. Recently, it unveiled Europe’s boldest move in the battery production industry and partnered with unions to cut more jobs in Germany. How will VW sell out its technologies and products? The company hopes to use a platform approach to raise efficiencies when releasing technologies such as batteries, software, and charging infrastructure.

Volkswagen is working on a plan to lower the fixed cost of electric vehicles by 5% equaling 2 billion euros and 7% of material expenses by 2023. In their recent interview, the VW carmaker explained that they expect their operating margin to increase by 5% to 6.5% this year. The company still keeps its dividend proposal the same even as experts braced for a cut. It replied that the management team expects a rise in vehicle deliveries to improve the revenue significantly.

VW’s effort to electrification slowed down last year after the covid-19 pandemic hit the globe, and with the health crisis, the management team was quick to stop most of their factories and showrooms. As European countries struggle with the rising infections and slow vaccination, the electric vehicles industry is suffering from inadequate semiconductors, which are slowing the production of electric vehicles.

Categories
Energy

P.E.I. is planning to provide $5K incentives for new or used electric vehicles

In the quest to make electric vehicles more affordable, P.E.I. (Prince Edward Island) has revealed plans that would ensure that these vehicles go for a lower price after the incentives are implemented. The Islanders will receive a $5000 incentive for either a new or used electric vehicle bought from an Island contractor.

Moreover, there will be a $2500 incentive for plug-in hybrids bought within this circle. Steven Myers, the Minister of Environment, Energy and Climate Action, stated that he is excited to witness P.E.I obtaining the bragging rights for being the first province with net-zero emissions as per this program.

Myers explained that they have decided to reach the 2030 vision by electrifying all the vehicles roaming this province’s roads. He added that the primary factor facilitating the high emissions from Prince Edward Island is the transportation sector. Therefore, switching to electric vehicles mitigates this emission problem. Additionally, the program ensures that anyone who purchases an electric vehicle is entitled to a free level-2 charging station that charges the vehicle in a short time.

The amount stated as an incentive was infused into the operating budget when it was being rolled out. The appropriation committee will be meeting to discuss the date when this plan becomes active. The Islanders will be observing the sliced price when they go to their car dealers to purchase the electric vehicles. Myers added that the dealers would be submitting their paperwork to the province for indemnity as provided in the budget allocations.

Myers emphasized that they are doing all this to effectively ensure that the people in all the income brackets transition to electric vehicles. He added that the incentives would be making the electric vehicles cheap for the low-income earners to access this new technology. Moreover, people can take loans to procure the cars since it is a prime time to utilize the cars to repay the loan and save the Island from the emission problem.

Myers noted that the remote and vulnerable areas are still skeptical about this idea since they fear that the models might not be suitable for their geographical habitat. One of the factors cited by these critics is the mileage range of the cheap models when factored with the availability of the charging stations for the cars. Myers articulated that they are working on disbanding these myths and proving that electric vehicles can efficiently serve rural areas. He explained that many of these vehicles could suitably host a person around the Island since the whole area does not have roads that can surpass 500 kilometers.