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Rocket Lab Electron Rocket Launch: A Launch That Anchored a Space Bid

American aerospace company, Rocket Lab, solidified its bid in the space race with a successful Electron rocket launch in New Zealand. The Electron rocket, which they named “It’s A Test”, was fired from the company’s launch facility at the Mahia Peninsula on May 25. The reality of the successful Rocket Lab Electron rocket launch has certainly made an impact in the space race!

Rocket Lab, through a New Zealand subsidiary, aims to offer lightweight and cost-effective commercial rocket launch services. Its founders ran with the bold concept of using highly-advanced carbon composite materials to fortify the Electron rocket’s frame and structure. Its carbon composite tanks are compatible with liquid oxygen. In addition, it has cryogenic valves and helium pressurization systems for reliability.

Other Details On the Rocket Lab Electron Rocket Launch

The Electron rocket is a two-stage launch vehicle which was designed to deliver payloads of 150 kg to a 500 km into a Sun-synchronous orbit. Being able to reach space as early as possible increases the company’s credibility with the industry. It also offers its clients a highly specialized and challenging service.

The Electron rocket reached space after a successful lift-off and flight but was not able to get into orbit. Rocket Lab Founder and CEO Peter Beck explained the rocket was successful in both the first and second stages so they’re investigating why it ultimately failed to reach orbit.

“We’re one of a few companies to ever develop a rocket from scratch and we did it in under four years. We’ve worked tirelessly to get to this point,” said Beck after the launch. He also noted, “It has been an incredible day and I’m immensely proud of our talented team.”

Rocket Lab’s engineers in New Zealand and the U.S. will pore over thousands of data channels from the Electron rocket’s maiden flight and optimize the next mission. Thus, it is safe to say that the recent Rocket Lab Electron rocket launch will not be the last of its kind.

a cartoon rocket launching from New Zealand map amid the reality of the successful Rocket Lab Electron Rocket Launch
Private partnerships paved the way for NZ’s Electron rocket.

Opening Outer Space for Business

The company has scheduled at least two more rocket launches in 2017. This time they are determined to put an Electron rocket into orbit. After that, the company is planning to set a record in the space race by launching more than 50 times a year. Notably, each rocket launch is expected to cost $5 million. However, even without its rocket going into orbit, Rocket Lab already has an impressive portfolio of clients. The list includes NASA, Spire, Planet, Moon Express and Spaceflight. The company is financially and technologically supported by Khosla Ventures, Bessemer Venture Partners, Data Collective, Promus Ventures, Lockheed Martin and K1W1.

In addition, firms like Fleet, who are aiming to send 100 nanosatellites into space for the purpose of starting an internet of things (IoT)-based industrial revolution, are counting on the success of Rocket Lab’s launches to propel their own business growth. Also, aside from delivering satellites, Beck said opening space also means improved weather reporting, natural disaster prediction, updated maritime data, and even running the internet in space. Research and rescue services can also greatly improve with hundreds of nanosatellites in orbit.

Rocket Lab has already secured permits for up to 120 rocket launches a year. This case puts them in serious competition with tech billionaire Elon Musk’s Space X, which aims to start a space tourism industry and to eventually colonize Mars. (Musk is planning to send people and cargo to the Red Planet via reusable rockets.)

The Space Race is On for 2018

Rocket Lab—with its recent Rocket Lab electron rocket launch—is just one of many companies that are serious about conquering space. Interest Engineering has actually published an article listing companies competing in space travel technologies. Noticeably, Rocket Lab has only been ranked as 11th. The top 10 contenders are: Space X, SpaceIL, Virgin Galactic, Blue Origin, Axiom Space, Space Nation, Deep Space Industries, Bigelow Airspace, Vulcan Aerospace and Odyne Space. Nevertheless, Rocket Lab has joined the space race with its noteworthy successfully Rocket Lab electron rocket launch.

Heathrow Airport Says There Are Brexit Positive Effects

Despite economists predicting a “doom and gloom” outlook following Brexit, many international companies say it could have a positive effect on the economy and their businesses. Thus, Brexit positive effects are potentially approaching in the distance.inforgraphic of the U.K.'s flag as a puzzle piece amid the potential of Brexit positive effects

One of those embracing this change is Heathrow airport’s largest shareholder, Rafael del Pino, president and chief of Ferrovial—the company that owns a 25 percent stake in the airport. He said Brexit may have “positive side effects” and stimulate growth through low interest rates and the prospect of asset price inflation, according to The Telegraph newspaper.

According to Ferrovial’s website, del Pino told shareholders the U.K.’s exit from the European Union had been beneficial for his business because it had encouraged the British government to be “most favorable” toward an expansion of Heathrow airport. However, despite the short-term benefits of Brexit, the businessman warned that his firm would not be investing more in the U.K. because he “sees no opportunities” in the long-term.

Brexit Positive Effects for Heathrow, But Not for the UK?

“We do not invest more in the U.K., but we do not divest either,” he said, according to The Telegraph. “We watch the process prudently, not only because of the effect it has on the country but also throughout Europe.”

“There’s great uncertainty also because nobody, not even the U.K., knows how the process and consequences will be carried out,” said Del Pino.

Del Pino also pointed out that once the referendum outcome became apparent, the U.K. economy displayed signs of a “considerable GDP easing with a possible short-term slowdown”. These estimates had “been tweaked toward a more optimistic outlook” in more recent times, he added.

According to The Metro, Brexit is a positive step for many industries in the U.K. including British fisheries, the tourism industry and trade relations with Russia.

Last year, the Russian-British Chamber of Commerce announced that “Brexit would open up new prospects and new opportunities” for the U.K. and Russia to build a healthy bilateral partnership. In the end, it remains to be seen what affect Brexit will have on the British economy. But one thing is certain: It will take bold ideas and bold actions by those in power to ensure the global economy thrives and we all prosper during this change.

Teaching Teachers to Embrace Educational Technology

The phrase “technology in education” has always been associated with physical objects: the latest laptops or desktops, powerful tablets, or the fastest mobile phones. Even tech giants like Google equate technology outreach with raising funds to buy computers and tablets for school children in marginalized areas. While this is a reasonable aspiration, the question that needs to be asked is this: who will teach these children how to use educational technology?

Educators Need to be Trained Too

The Independent recently reported on the so-called “technology gap” and stressed that education technology is multi-faceted and multi-disciplinary. Moreover, while the physical devices are key instruments in learning, “the teacher has to be comfortable using the hardware and be supported by a principal leading information and communications technology (ICT) use across the whole school.

The content on the device needs to be curriculum-aligned, relevant, appropriate, and engaging.”

In an earlier article, Bold Business highlighted the need to make technology education culturally sensitive and relevant to the student’s environment. This is especially true in developing nations where students are faced with far more serious problems than not having new iPads. In these areas, electricity, internet connection, and sometimes even desks and chairs are more pressing issues.

Purely hardware-driven initiatives are doomed to fail if educators are not adept at – or are afraid to use — technology themselves. Ireland, for example, has been known to focus on deploying hardware in classrooms. Programs launched as early as 1997 costing the state some €550m centered on getting more computers into schools rather than continuous teacher training and content development. Overall the effort was a dismal failure.

Ireland Tackles Teachers & Technology Challenges

stack of broken laptops with the Irish flag

A new initiative was launched to turn things around, the Digital Strategy for Schools. It includes teaching teachers professional development, research, leadership, and practice as important parts of the curriculum. Hardware or equipment is just one aspect of the bigger picture.

The five-year program will last until 2020 and will adopt the UNESCO ICT Competency Framework for Teaching. One of the goals includes providing information to teachers on how to innovatively use educational technology in their day-to-day teaching. Additionally, they will be trained on best practices in order for the technology to be transferred to fellow teachers and later on to students.

Ireland is embarking on a brave journey of looking beyond shiny devices and focusing on the heart of the matter: teachers need to embrace technology first before they can effectively teach.

After that, the next bold step is to focus on the student and ensure that he or she can truly extract the best lessons from today’s advanced technology.



Venture Capitalist Bashes Supercomputer AI Watson

Venture capitalist Chamath Palihapitiya appears to have drummed up popularity for himself and his supercomputer AI by taking a swipe at mammoth IT company, IBM. The former AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) officer earlier called IBM’s supercomputer AI Watson, “a joke” and disparaged it for being named after a Sherlock Holmes character. In truth, the supercomputer AI is named after the first CEO of IBM, Thomas J. Watson. Several days later, on’s Closing Bell, Palihapitiya said that he should not have called it a joke and that he should be more careful with his words.

supercomputer ai watson at IBM headquarters
Watson remains the most popular AI supercomputer to date.

Palihapitiya is the managing partner of the Social+Capital Partnership, which he founded in 2011. He believes that when it comes to AI, Syapse, a venture he has founded in healthcare AI is building something better than Watson. Syapse features an AI which helps health-care providers deploy medicine programs in a focused, and high-precision manner. Social+Capital is a major investor in Syapse.

Palihapitiya: Watson AI is Over-Rated

His complaint is that he thinks that IBM is out-marketing the companies that he has backed. He said, “I have companies that we’ve been building and incubating for years in things like cancer and diabetes where we’re bringing machine learning to the market where we’ve competed with competitors including IBM.”

Palihapitiya worked with AIM and Facebook before becoming a venture capitalist. He explained his point of view as “the business of buying things that can grow in meaningful multiples . . . over five to 10 year periods.” Regarding AI, he thinks that it is, a business that I think can generate an enormous amount of cash. I think they’ll acquire aggressively.

“…it is, a business that I think can generate an enormous amount of cash. I think they’ll acquire aggressively.”

IBM has replied to Palihapitiya’s comment, explaining that, “Watson is not a consumer gadget but the A.I. platform for real business. Watson is in clinical use in the U.S. and 5 other countries. It has been trained on 6 types of cancers with plans to add 8 more this year.” IBM also added that “beyond oncology, Watson is in use by nearly half of the top 25 life sciences companies, major manufacturers for IoT applications, retail and financial services firms, and partners like GM, H&R Block and Does any serious person consider saving lives, enhancing customer service, and driving business innovation a joke?”

There is a bold difference in viewpoint between the venture capitalist and IBM. Syapse and the other companies that Palihapitiya controls may have great AI implementations. However, Watson has been in the business far longer and has proven itself as a viable AI platform to its customers. Who do you think will pull ahead in the AI race to the top?