Jan 25, 2021

Whose satellites did SpaceX launch in world record flight?

SpaceX
satellite
Transporter-1
William Smith
2 min
SpaceX, Planet and PhaseFour all hitched a ride to orbit on the Transporter-1 rideshare
SpaceX, Planet and PhaseFour all hitched a ride to orbit on the Transporter-1 rideshare...

US space company SpaceX has smashed the record for number of satellites launched on a single flight.

Its Transporter-1 mission, which launched yesterday, beat the previous record of 108 satellites launched by Northrop Grumman in 2018, as well as its own previou record of 64, with a total 143 satellites and payloads on board.

Making space accessible

The launch was part of the company’s SmallSat Rideshare Program, which boasts launch costs as low as $1mn to launch 200kg to orbit.

Such capabilities are opening up the frontier of space to much smaller businesses, which previously had little hope of overcoming the huge costs involved. 

Whose satellites were aboard?

SpaceX

Reportedly, SpaceX itself had 10 satellites on board, all intended as part of the Starlink telecommunications constellation. The project was first announced back in 2015, with the aim of providing affordable internet to the entire world. A total 30,000 satellites are envisioned as part of the constellation.

Planet

San Francisco-based satellite firm Planet took up the most slots with 48 in total, its sixth launch on a SpaceX Falcon 9. The SuperDove model satellites take high resolution images of the earth’s surface. The latest additions to the fleet improve image sharpness and quality, while adding new spectral bands at a 3-5m resolution globally.

PhaseFour

Phase Four had two satellites powered by its Maxwell plasma propulsion engines on board the flight, allowing them to maneuver into optimal positions for earth imaging data. In a press release, Beau Jarvis, Phase Four CEO, said: "We developed the Maxwell plasma propulsion engine to provide small satellites with an optimal level of thrust and efficiency in a lightweight, space-saving design that hasn't existed before. As a result, we're seeing pent up demand for compact, high-performing satellite propulsion systems that have put us on track to deliver several Maxwell units to customers launching satellites in each quarter of 2021 and into 2022."

(Image: SpaceX)

Share article

Aug 1, 2021

Who Will Be the Next Tech Giant to Back Bitcoin?

Bitcoin
Apple
Microsoft
Amazon
Simon Chandler, Writer at Cryp...
4 min
Simon Chandler from Cryptovantage discusses Bitcoin in the technology sector and discusses rumours around which tech giant will be next to buy it,

PayPal was the first truly major tech giant to throw its weight behind Bitcoin, unveiling a cryptocurrency buying-and-selling service in October. Next was Tesla, which shocked onlookers in February by announcing the purchase of $1.5 billion in bitcoin, as well as plans to accept the cryptocurrency as payment.

 Since then, things have calmed down as far as Big Tech and Bitcoin are concerned (although a number of banks have rolled out cryptocurrency investment services for their wealthier clients). This raises the question: when will another significant tech firm take the plunge and back bitcoin?

This is a difficult question to answer, if only because the bitcoin market is in something of a funk right now. At the same time, regulators worldwide are looking to restrict crypto in the name of curbing money laundering and other illicit activities. Nonetheless, rumours continue to swirl through the sector that a few other important names in the tech industry may be on the cusp of embracing bitcoin, with Apple being the most notable.

Is Apple Buying Bitcoin?

If you tend to spend any amount of time on Crypto Twitter, you may be aware of rumours to the effect that Apple has recently bought something in the region of $2.5 billion in bitcoin.

Image removed.

Such rumours were almost certainly a desperate attempt to boost the price of bitcoin. And given that the market didn’t witness a sudden, dramatic rise (but rather a steep loss), it seems pretty clear that Apple didn’t buy a substantial quantity of bitcoin in the past few weeks or so.

That said, there remains a good chance that Apple will enter the cryptocurrency sector at some point, even if it won’t be adventurous enough to buy crypto for itself. Back in May, it placed a job ad for a business development manager for “alternative payments.” 

Such a manager would be tasked with cultivating partnerships with “strategic alternative payment providers,” implying that Apple may be weighing up the possibility of launching its own cryptocurrency-purchasing service (à la PayPal) via Apple Pay.

Needless to say, it would be huge for Bitcoin and cryptocurrency if the Cupertino company were to follow through with this.

Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook?

Rumours have also revolved around possible bitcoin interest from Microsoft, Amazon and Facebook, although there’s a little less substance to most of these rumours.

Back in October former Goldman Sachs hedge fund manager Raoul Pal predicted that Microsoft (along with Apple) would buy bitcoin in five years. Unfortunately, a CNN interview with Microsoft’s Brad Smith in February (shortly after Tesla’s bitcoin purchase) revealed that the company had no plans to purchase crypto, although Smith vaguely hinted that it might one day change its collective mind.

More interestingly, Amazon purchased three cryptocurrency-related domain names back in 2017: amazonethereum.com, amazoncryptocurrency.com, amazoncryptocurrencies.com. Nothing has been heard since then, while a job listing from February of this year revealed that the retail giant may be planning to launch its very own digital currency.

Facebook is another tech firm with plans for its own digital currency (Diem, formerly known as Libra). As for whether it’s likely to turn to bitcoin, a few relatively respected figures within the cryptocurrency industry (e.g. Alistair Milne) did spread rumours in April that the social media company would disclose bitcoin holdings on its Q1 financial statement. This didn’t happen, although Mark Zuckerberg did reveal in May that one of his pet goats is called “Bitcoin,” fuelling further speculation as to his and his firm’s interest in the cryptocurrency.

Risks and Rewards of Cryptocurrency

Again, it’s arguable that some or most of the rumours are generated largely to pump crypto prices. But if bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies do continue to appreciate in value and attract more adoption, it will become increasingly harder for large tech companies to ignore them.

But at the moment, it’s likely that most major tech firms will shy away from actually buying bitcoin, if only because it remains highly volatile and unpredictable as an asset. And as we saw with Tesla, buying a massive chunk of the cryptocurrency effectively turns you into a hedge fund overnight, something which can adversely affect your stock price if bitcoin goes down.

 Even so, there’s clearly a considerable amount of money tied up in the cryptocurrency market. And with numbers of holders growing every year, it’s only a matter of time before other big tech firms attempt to siphon off some of this value for themselves.

Share article