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SpaceX Confident About Its Starlink Constellation for Satellite Internet; Others, Not So Much

Despite technical glitches, SpaceX plans to launch the first of nearly 12,000 satellites in 2019

3 min read
Photo-Illustration: Edmon de Haro
Photo-Illustration: Edmon de Haro

SpaceX has, of course, been ferrying quite a bit of stuff into space lately. [See “Musk vs. Bezos: The Battle of the Space Billionaires Heats Up,” in this issue.] But last February, SpaceX launched two small satellites of its own. They were for an initial test of gear intended for use in a globe-spanning broadband data network, called Starlink, made up of thousands of small satellites. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk nicknamed the two test satellites Tintin A and Tintin B, after the beloved Belgian cartoon character known for his adventures. And just as their fictional namesake often did, the satellites ran into unexpected troubles.

After launch, Tintin A and B were supposed to propel themselves from their initial orbital altitude of 511 kilometers to their final operational orbit of 1,125 km. But the satellites remained in their initial orbits; SpaceX has never been clear about why. (SpaceX declined to comment for this story.)

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Deep Learning Gets a Boost From New Reconfigurable Processor

The ReAAP processor allows AI to be faster, more efficient

2 min read
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iStock

This article is part of our exclusive IEEE Journal Watch series in partnership with IEEE Xplore.

Deep learning is a critical computing approach that is pushing the boundaries of technology – crunching immense amounts of data and uncovering subtle patterns that humans could never discern on their own. But for optimal performance, deep learning algorithms need to be supported with the right software compiler and hardware combinations. In particular, reconfigurable processors, which allow for flexible use of hardware resources for computing as needed, are key.

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Rory Cooper’s Wheelchair Tech Makes the World More Accessible

He has introduced customized controls and builds wheelchairs for rough terrain

6 min read
portrait of a man in a navy blue polo with greenery in the background
Abigail Albright

For more than 25 years, Rory Cooper has been developing technology to improve the lives of people with disabilities.

Cooper began his work after a spinal cord injury in 1980 left him paralyzed from the waist down. First he modified the back brace he was required to wear. He then turned to building a better wheelchair and came up with an electric-powered version that helped its user stand up. He eventually discovered biomedical engineering and was inspired to focus his career on developing assistive technology. His inventions have helped countless wheelchair users get around with more ease and comfort.

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FAST Labs’ Cutting-Edge R&D Gets Ideas to the Field Faster

BAE Systems’ FAST Labs engineers turn breakthrough innovations into real-life impact

1 min read

FAST Labs is an R&D organization where research teams can invent and see their work come to life.

BAE Systems

This is a sponsored article brought to you by BAE Systems.

No one sets out to put together half a puzzle. Similarly, researchers and engineers in the defense industry want to see the whole picture – seeing their innovations make it into the hands of warfighters and commercial customers.

That desire is fueling growth at BAE Systems’ FAST Labs research and development (R&D) organization.

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