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Falcon Heavy’s Successful Launch for the Future

The SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket has successfully soared through the sky and outside the Earth on February 6, 2018. Its launch debut became one of the most exciting events in the history of rocket launches, creating a bold impact to the future of space flight. It is also a new launch vehicle to greatly expand the United States’ lead in the space program. It was almost a flawless execution, performing as planned, except for the middle Merlin booster that did not land on the drone ship.

There were an estimated 100,000 spectators gathered at NASA’s Kennedy Space Centre in Cape Canaveral, Florida to witness the most powerful operational rocket in the world blast into outer space. Youtube also catered to a total of 2.3 million viewers to watch the monumental launch through livestreaming. Other platforms that showcased a livestream were the SpaceX’s website and the NASA TV.

$1-billion flight cost of an SLS flight is significantly more than the $90 million cost for a Falcon Heavy Flight. Newfound operational efficiencies, bold technological innovations are said to be the reasons why SpaceX is able to build its rockets for a much lesser price.

The Falcon Heavy is a reusable super heavy-lift launch vehicle that was developed by the Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (SpaceX). Falcon Heavy draws upon Falcon 9’s proven design, which minimizes stage separation events and maximizes reliability. The second-stage Merlin engine, identical to its counterpart on Falcon 9, delivers the rocket’s payload to orbit after the main engines cut off and the first-stage cores separate.

The Falcon Heavy’s specs are remarkable. The three-core rocket vaunts 27 engines, more than any other working rocket has used before. It has the capacity to sustain more than 140,000 pounds of cargo, therefore equipped with five million pounds of thrust at liftoff. No other rocket in the world has this much capability.

NASA is currently developing yet another astounding rocket that could be used for lunar missions. It is called the Space Launch System (SLS) and is set to become more powerful than the Falcon Heavy. The earliest time SLS will be manned is in 2022 because there are still several problems that need to be fixed before it can carry people.

There are other vehicles certified for heavy lift launches, but after the success of the SpaceX launch, Musk is confident to say that using more expensive vehicles no longer makes sense. These other vehicles are the Ariane 5 of Europe, Proton of Russia and the Delta IV Heavy.

Something Unique for the First Test Flight

Elon Musk may be the proudest business magnate as his mission to send humans to Mars is one-step closer to becoming a reality. He took this even further by boldly launching his own Tesla roadster that is now rocketing through space beaming David Bowie for the galaxy to discover.

One of the main reasons why Elon Musk decided to launch a rocket of this magnitude is to take one step further to develop a spacecraft that has the abilities to deliver humans to the Red Planet.

It’s unlikely that the Falcon Heavy will replace the NASA rocket outright. But the Falcon Heavy could still perform other tasks for NASA, such as sending up pieces of the Deep Space Gateway or sending cargo to the lunar surface. Or it could act like a gas delivery service, sending massive amounts of fuel into orbit to fire up spacecraft for long journeys to deep space. Plus, SpaceX claims the rocket is at least capable of sending people around the Moon, so why not put them on the surface, too?

Greater Opportunity for SpaceX

The successful launch debut of the Falcon Heavy rocket is paving the way for SpaceX to commit to even bigger projects. The Falcon Heavy was introduced in April 2011. Musk planned its first flight in 2013 but that did not happen. The spacecraft’s first test flight was then announced earlier in 2017, but again, because of various difficulties such as weather conditions, the launch date was pushed back several times.

Two missions are already scheduled for this year. First is the launch of Arabsat 6A communications satellite and second would be the Space Test Program 2 mission dedicated to the U.S. Air Force.

Scott Hubbard, the Editor of New Space, and an adjunct Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics at Stanford University, said “This would be a major milestone in heavy lift. A successful test would really advance, in my view, the potential for planning commercially acquired launch services for deep space.”

In the future, SpaceX is creating a lunch system called Big Falcon Rocket (BRF), which experts say, is larger than the Falcon Heavy rocket model. The well-known company is also developing a crewed version of the Dragon space capsule, one that could be used to deliver astronauts to the International Space Station.

Musk said that he looked at the Falcon Henry and believed that it is still a bit small.

Other Companies Doing the Same Thing

Here are a few other initiatives that are going after the prize of the largest heavy lift platform

United Launch Alliance – United Launch Alliance or ULA is a joint venture of two huge aeronautics companies; Lockheed Martin and Boeing. The company provides spacecraft launch services for the government of the United States. Salvatore T. Bruno is the President and CEO of United Launch Alliance.

Blue Origin, LLC – The Washington-based company focuses on aerospace research and development. They work on spacecraft and launch systems. Jeff Bezos is the Founder of Blue Origin. It has an estimated revenue of $69 million.

When Elon Musk founded the SpaceX, he had a goal to help make humans a multi-planet species. That may sound surreal, but it is a great thought. The successful launch debut of the Falcon Heavy is just the first part of the goal. All of Musk’s bold ideas are for the betterment of the society as a whole.

 

 

Tree-Planting Drones Developed to Rescue the Environment

“Drones overall will be more impactful than I think people recognize, in positive ways to help society.” These famous words were uttered by none other than Bill Gates himself. The co-founder of Microsoft Corporation has always been supportive of the popular flying equipment.

Gates’s enthusiasm for drones is unsurprising, as the unmanned aerial vehicle has innovated massively from delivering food and medicine in some places to even serving as an autonomous flying taxi in Dubai. The drone industry seems to have already reached its prime, but the futuristic device is just getting started as it caters to the environment sector.

Deforestation is one of the negative elements that is slowly killing the Earth. Different companies and businesses are looking for ways on how to stop it and hopefully heal the dying world.

Many startups have become interested in saving the environment and made tree planting their business, especially after The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and the World Resources Institute (WRI) finished a report saying that a lot of companies around the globe are making money by planting trees.

BioCarbon Engineering, a startup company in the UK, is up for the challenge to rescue rainforests using the flight and speed capabilities of drones.  The British startup company has been aiming to create a bold solution and a bold impact on the society since 2015.

The company headed by Dr. Lauren Fletcher, a NASA veteran, is very much concerned with the environment, especially with the forest, that it developed and designed its very first drone prototype system called “Robin”.

Robin is a 30-pound drone that has the ability to plant different kinds of trees in a specific location at a very fast pace. Studies to the prototype have discovered that it can plant an estimated number of 100,000 trees every day.

Now, BioCarbon Engineering continues to develop Robin and the other fleet of tree-planting drones in order to do an industrial-scale reforestation. The startup company came up with a goal to plant 500 billion trees by 2050 to fight deforestation.

According to Fletcher, “I understand why forests were coming down so fast, but I was really puzzled as to why it was so hard to put them back together. I realized very quickly that it’s because the state of the art at the time was really hand planters, people with a bag of saplings on their shoulder going out, day after day, and bending over every 15 to 20 seconds and planting a tree, and it’s really hard, grueling work.”

How Does the Tree-Planting Drone Works?

The introduction of the tree-planting drones has definitely turned heads. And a lot of people and businesses want to know more, like how it works? The tree-planting activity of the drones is separated into two stages; surveying and planting.

SURVEYING

BioCarbon Engineering has a surveying drone that can fly over the desired planting area in order to scan the terrain. The surveying drones will map the area’s soil type, topology, moisture, composition, and physical obstructions. Surveying is going to help BioCarbon Engineering to know what seed to plant.

PLANTING

The tree-planting drones then do the job. They fly autonomously over the surveyed area and plant the biodegradable seedpods.

The planting process can be done in two ways. Drones could either shoot one seedpod into the ground every six seconds or they could sprinkle the seedpods in different directions in order for them to have a natural regrowth.

A tree-planting drone can have at least 300 seedpods and it can also cover one hectare for as fast as 18 minutes. This process will surely help the farmers in the society and so is the environment.

Tree-Planting Drones Are Tested and Proven

Since 2015, BioCarbon Engineering has been doing its best to serve the community. It first used the tree-planting drone technology in a program in Myanmar last September 2017. The British startup worked together with the Worldview International Foundation, a nonprofit company that guides local tree-planting projects.

Both companies were able to plant Mangrove trees in an area of 750 hectares. The tree-planting drones have also covered another 250 hectares with 1 million additional trees.

BioCarbon Engineering has also tested their tree-planting drone activity in Australia and U.K. The tests were both deemed successful.

Other Companies Saving the Environment Using Drones

BioCarbon Engineering is not the only company that wants to help the environment. There are also others like Aerial Forestation and DroneSeed.

Aerial Forestation is a startup company in the United Kingdom that plant trees and seeds by means of deploying them on military transport aircrafts.

DroneSeed, a Washington-based company, is also saving rain forests. The startup company headed by Grant Canary is developing and providing forestry management solutions. The Washington-based startup is currently creating plans on using drones to plant trees. DroneSeed has already used drones in order to spread fertilizers and spray herbicides.

BioCarbon Engineering is playing a great purpose right now with its motive to help the environment fight deforestation. The startup company has recently received an investment from companies like Founder.org and Parrot.

Tree planting and drones are two separate fields that have been combined to help the society and the environment. The continuous innovation of drones has definitely made a bold impact on a lot of people.

 

Celgene Acquisition Worth $7B and Other Acquisitions in the Industry

Celgene Corporation is a biotech pharmaceutical company known for its discoveries and development of innovative cures for cancer. It recently made a bold business headline when it signed an agreement to buy Impact Biomedicines for a staggering $7 billion, subject to certain milestones associated with regulatory hurdles and sales performance. Impact Biomedicines is a pioneer in the treatment for various types of cancers, specializing in myelofibrosis (MF). The Celgene acquisition, indeed, proves to be a bold move.

The Impact Biomedicines deal was one of the biggest acquisition exit prices in the cancer therapeutics industry, according to various reports. To improve its growth performance, Celgene also acquired healthcare-related startups like Delinia, Anokion, in 2017, and Juno Therapeutics. The past years have not been very good for biotech companies. And these deals are something that biotech companies have been waiting for, analysts revealed.

 All About the Future Cure

Celgene is interested in Impact Biomedicines’ fedratinib,  a kinase inhibitor, that is a promising possible cure for a specific type of blood cancer known as the myelofibrosis (MF). TargeGen, a company that specializes in vascular biology, developed the drug with scientist and former research chief, John Hood, as co-inventor.

Fedratinib was purchased by French drugmaker Sanofi for a whopping $635 million in 2010, which turned out to be the biggest clinical drug disasters that occurred in the history of the company. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) suspended the development process of the drug in 2013 because some patients who were part of the trial group started showing symptoms of a neurological disorder called Wernicke’s encephalopathy (WE)—characterized by the depletion of vitamin B. The pharma giant moved the failed program on the shelf. And that’s where it sat until early 2016, when John Hood decided to start his own company, get the rights back, re-assemble the shattered pieces, and put it together into Impact Biomedicines.

John Hood’s Move for Impact Biomedicines

According to Hood, “The decision to discontinue the development of fedratinib in 2013 was heartbreaking for the patients who were experiencing positive responses while in clinical trials. There are very limited therapeutic options for these patients, and fedratinib was active in most patients when nothing else had worked.”

Impact Biomedicines focused its energy on showcasing fedratinib and getting the FDA to pull back its suspension.  This allowed them to get the inhibitor back on track and in a place with Celgene to follow through on their mission of maximizing the potential of the medical drug and make it available to patients with MF. Impact Biomedicines is convinced that the New Jersey-based company will be a great fit considering its impressive contributions to the pharmaceutical industry.

“Because of the very high unmet medical need in myelofibrosis, the Impact team completed a thorough review of the available data, including careful due diligence into the potential cases of WE and I am glad to report that as a result of this effort, the FDA has lifted the clinical hold,” Hood further explained.

Celgene Acquisition and Others

On the topic of the Celgene acquisition, Impact Biomedicines is not the only cancer therapeutics company that was acquired for a hefty price value. Following are some of the startup companies that exited with more than $1B valuation:

  • Juno Therapeutics – The Washington-based company focuses on research and development of cellular immunotherapies. Hans Bishop is the CEO of Juno Therapeutics. It was sold for $1.87B and exited on December 19, 2014. Celgene acquired Juno Therapeutics.
  • IFM Therapeutics – IFM is a firm that discovers and creates small molecules in order to treat cancer. Gary D. Glick is the CEO of the company. It was sold for $2.3B and exited on August 3, 2017. Bristol Myers Squibb—a biopharmaceutical company in New York that discovers, creates, and delivers medicines for people who have a serious illness—acquired IFM.
  • Puma Biotechnology – Headed by Alan H. Auerbach, the company creates and commercializes products to enhance cancer care. Puma Biotechnology was sold for $3.6B and exited on February 11, 2014. Puma Biotechnology went into Initial Public Offering (IPO).
  • Acerta Pharma – The Netherlands-based company researches and develops drugs for autoimmune and oncology diseases. Ahmed Hamdy is the CEO of Acerta Pharma. It was sold for $7.3B and exited on December 17, 2015. AstraZeneca—a company in England that manufactures pharmaceutical solutions for diseases like cancer, infection, gastrointestinal and a lot more—acquired Acerta Pharma.
  • Stem CentRx – Stem CentRx discovers, creates and commercializes therapies that could cure and enhance the health of people suffering from cancer. Brian Slingerland is the CEO of the company. It was sold for $10.2B and exited on April 28, 2016. Stem CentRx was acquired by AbbVie—a company in Illinois that discovers, creates, and sells both small molecule drugs and biopharmaceuticals.

The Bold Impact of the Celgene Acquisition

Celgene acquisition of Impact Biomedicines worth $7 billion will not just elevate its contribution to the health industry. It will also create a bold solution especially for people who suffer from blood cancers. Based on the reported benefit risk profile of fedratinib from the JAKARTA-1 and JAKARTA-2 clinical trials, regulatory applications in myelofibrosis are planned beginning in the middle of 2018.

“Myelofibrosis is a disease with high unmet medical need as the number of patients who are ineligible for or become resistant to existing therapy continues to increase,” said Nadim Ahmed, President, Hematology and Oncology for Celgene. “We believe fedratinib is uniquely positioned as a potential treatment for myelofibrosis and it provides strategic options for us to build leadership in this disease with luspatercept and other pipeline assets.”

Tech Titans’ Different Approaches for Socially Inclined Campus Growth

As companies grow, their infrastructure also grows with them. This tandem of growth usually results in having various offices in different parts of a city, or even in different cities across states and the world. With today’s technology companies, each of the largest corporate campuses in US have taken different positions regarding their bold visions of ideal company headquarters, as well as that of a smart building or smart city.

Silicon Valley’s Draw

At the center of development is Silicon Valley. It has affected the immediate area with property values up to the Bay Area increasing as demand and disposable income also go up. The need to be within the immediate area has made it imperative for companies to stay in increasingly cramped quarters.

Apple is the most impressive among Silicon Valley companies, not just in valuation but also in its new building. The new headquarters, called Apple Park, is also known as “the Spaceship” due to its circular architecture. It stands on 175 acres of land, surrounded by around 7,000 trees, and is designed for 12,000 employees. For most visitors, especially journalists, the most that they will see of this complex is the Steve Jobs Theater, a 1,000-seat auditorium which will likely host future product launches. The entirety of Apple Park costs around $5 billion to build, on the land where the former Hewlett-Packard campus was located.

Unlike Apple, Google is moving to the periphery of Silicon Valley in nearby San Jose. Its new campus will have six to eight million square feet of space for the offices of nearly 20,000 employees. What makes the site desirable is the transport hub located beside the site. The San Jose Diridon Station connects Caltrain and Altamont Corridor Express (ACE) commuter trains, along with the Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) light rail and Amtrak intercity train service. The Silicon Valley Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) extension reaches the area and connects to the same hub, which also houses a number of bus lines going to and from the station. This efficient station is a big advantage to public transportation, giving more reasons not to drive to work.

Thinking Outside the Box

Seattle-based Amazon has come to a different conclusion. The rapidly growing company is outgrowing its offices and looking for space elsewhere. The company is not leaving Seattle, but they are looking for an urban area which can host what they call HQ2. They require office space of about 8 million square feet, and they have a budget of $5 billion for a campus that will have around 50,000 employees. Additional requirements include proximity to a city of at least a one-million population, an international airport within 45 minutes’ drive of the office, as well as requisite access to major roads and highways and public transit close by. If the proposals submitted meets these requirements, the construction can start as early as 2018.

For a truly novel approach to creating a smart city, Bill Gates has a solution. He recently purchased 25,000 acres of Arizona land where he plans to build a smart city from the ground up. The idea has its merits, as a city without any legacy or baggage makes it easier to follow the sensibilities of a digital environment. It will have high-speed networks, with provisions for autonomous vehicles, data centers, and the addition of new manufacturing technologies and logistics hubs. Named Belmont City, the proposed smart city has Belmont Partners as the lead development company; the company is a subsidiary of Cascade Investments, headed by Bill Gates. As a smart city initiative, Belmont City does not have any legacy systems attached to it.

Creating offices and campuses for the 21st century requires a large investment and vision from top management. The need for space requires the above initiatives. These companies require more room to grow and their new spaces will provide the new environment which goes with growth.