This is what happens when you stupidly piss away a 30 year lead on tech. Congress is to blame. The Pentagon is to blame. Current and former Presidents are to blame.
Lockheed Martin Aculight is being awarded a $150,022,901 contract for Surface Navy Laser Weapon System Increment 1, High Energy Laser and Integrated Optical-dazzler with surveillance system.Under this contract Lockheed Martin Aculight will develop, manufacture, and deliver two test units in fiscal 2020, one unit for US Navy destoryer DDG 51 FLT IIA, and one for land-based testing, a US DoD announcement said Friday.This contract includes options which, if exercised, would bring the cumulative value of this contract to $942,818,114.A request for proposal for the High Energy Laser with Integrated Optical-dazzler and Surveillance (HELIOS) system had been released by the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) on 18 June 2017.
The launch of Russia’s Luna-25 lunar landing station is scheduled for 2019, with no delays in the timeframe of the mission’s commencement, the Lavochkin Research and Production Association (the lander’s manufacturer) told TASS on Thursday."Under the schedule, the launch of the Luna-25 mission is planned for 2019," the Lavochkin Research and Production Association said.Some media outlets reported on Thursday that the launch of the Luna-25 lander had allegedly been rescheduled for 2020.As was reported earlier, Russia plans to dispatch the Lunar-25 research landing module to the Earth’s natural satellite in 2019, the Luna-26 orbiter in 2021 and the Luna-27 lander in 2022.The Luna-25 project aims to launch an automatic probe for research in the Moon’s South Pole. The module is expected to land in the Boguslavsky crater to analyze the composition of regolith, the lunar dust, carry out stereo-photography for preparing the surface’s 3D map and identify the lander’s coordinates with millimeter accuracy using a laser angled reflector.
Quantum computing has been a major research topic for multiple companies the past few years, with D-Wave, IBM, and Intel all launching their own systems and improving them at a fairly rapid clip. At CES 2018 this week, Intel’s CEO, Brian Krzanich, declared the company’s new 49-qubit quantum computer represented a step towards “quantum supremacy.”A 49 qubit system is a major advance for Intel, which just demonstrated a 17-qubit system two months ago. Intel’s working with the Netherlands-based Qutech on this project, and expanding the number of qubits is key to creating quantum computers that can deliver real-world results.When Intel launched its 17-qubit system in October, it wrote: “Qubits are tremendously fragile: Any noise or unintended observation of them can cause data loss. This fragility requires them to operate at about 20 millikelvin – 250 times colder than deep space.” This is also why we won’t be seeing quantum computers in anyone’s house at any point. While early classical computers were also room-sized and required commensurate cooling solutions, there’s no known way to build hand-sized or even desktop quantum machines that incorporate the cooling required.
Crucial flight tests for NASA’s two commercial crew vehicles are slipping ever closer to 2019. The space agency released the following updated schedules for Boeing’s CST-100 and SpaceX’s Dragon 2 vehicles today:Targeted Test Flight DatesBoeing Orbital Flight Test (uncrewed): August 2018Boeing Crew Flight Test (crewed): November 2018SpaceX Demonstration Mission 1 (uncrewed): August 2018SpaceX Demonstration Mission 2 (crewed): December 2018Boeing’s schedule has not changed from the previous update. SpaceX’s demonstration flights have slipped from April and August to August and December, respectively. No reasons have been given for the slips.
China started building its third aircraft carrier, with a hi-tech launch system, at a Shanghai shipyard last year, according to sources close to the People’s Liberation Army.One of the sources said Shanghai Jiangnan Shipyard Group was given the go-ahead to begin work on the vessel after military leaders met in Beijing following the annual sessions of China’s legislature and top political advisory body in March.“But the shipyard is still working on the carrier’s hull, which is expected to take about two years,” the source said. “Building the new carrier will be more complicated and challenging than the other two ships.”
Sources in the military or defense industry tell Russian press that the first ejection test of the Sarmat missile did take place in Plesetsk. Normally, MK is not the most reliable source, but this time the information appears to be correct - sources on the other side also say that the test did happen.The MK report leaves the impression that the test took place in the last few days of this year, but the test apparently took place in early December. Which is interesting - a few days ago Rogozin had a chance to comment on the progress of the Sarmat program and he refused to say anything. In any event, the program is clearly behind the schedule and my take is that the chances of Sarmat being deployed in 2020 are extremely slim.One detail in the MK report caught eye of a few observers - the missile reportedly flew "several tens of kilometers" before landing "within the test site." This is a bit too far for an ejection test. It's quite possible that the reporter mixed up meters and kilometers. Or the launch involved a limited test of the first stage engines. A mix-up seems a safer bet, but a test of the engines is possible as well.
China's second aircraft carrier might conduct its first sea trials in February, military analysts said after Taiwan media reported that China's first aircraft carrier the Liaoning sailed near the island on Friday.China launched its second aircraft carrier in April 2017 after the Liaoning, a refitted Soviet Union-made carrier that went into commission in 2012.China's second aircraft carrier is the country's first domestically made carrier.
A plan to expand the Russian naval facility at the Syrian port of Tartus has been formally approved in Moscow.On 29 December Russian President Vladimir Putin formally signed into law a plan that was agreed by Moscow and Damascus on 18 January 2017. This followed ratification of the agreement by the Duma on 21 December and the Federal Council on 26 December.The Kremlin released a document saying the agreement covered the expansion of the territory of the Russian Navy’s logistics centre at Tartus, saying Syria is transferring land and water areas, as well as real estate, in the port.The agreement also covers visits by naval vessels to all Syrian ports and territorial waters and the status of Russian personnel in the country.It is valid for 49 years, at the end of which it will automatically be renewed for 25-year periods.
As China’s crackdown on cryptocurrencies broadens to bitcoin miners, some of the industry’s biggest players are shifting operations overseas.Bitmain, which runs China’s two largest bitcoin-mining collectives, is setting up regional headquarters in Singapore and now has mining operations in the U.S. and Canada, Wu Jihan, the company’s co-founder, said in an interview. BTC.Top, the third-biggest mining pool, is opening a facility in Canada and ViaBTC, ranked No. 4, has operations in Iceland and America, their founders said.The moves underscore how China’s once-dominant role in the world of cryptocurrencies is shrinking as policy makers clamp down.
Thales Alenia Space is partnering with three U.S. companies that are working on NASA studies of concepts for the proposed Deep Space Gateway, leveraging its expertise in space station and cargo module development.Thales announced Dec. 14 that Boeing was the latest company it was working with as part of NASA’s Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships (NextSTEP) 2 effort. Thales has previously also been working with Lockheed Martin and Orbital ATK. Thales did not disclose the value of the individual contracts with the three companies.For all three companies, Thales is providing expertise in areas such as structures, environmental controls and thermal controls, said Walter Cugno, vice president of Thales Alenia Space’s exploration and sciences domain, in a call with reporters. The company’s contributions are currently limited to studies, he said, and does not include hardware at this time.