Bezos’ Blue Origin conducts successful test flight for tourism rocket

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Jeff Bezos, founder of Blue Origin, at New Shepard's West Texas launch facility
Jeff Bezos, founder of Blue Origin, at New Shepard’s West Texas launch facility

Blue Origin, the US space company founded by billionaire Jeff Bezos, succeeded Tuesday in its latest test flight of its rocket aimed at one day taking tourists to space, even as the date of the first crewed launch remains unclear.

The New Shepard capsule, which was propelled over the boundary of space by a small reusable launch vehicle that returned to land vertically, will one day carry up to six passengers.

It attained an altitude of 66 miles (106 kilometers) above sea level, before descending back to the surface using parachutes and landing in a cloud of dust in the desert of West Texas.

Its total flight time was 10 minutes and nine seconds.

Blue Origin previously unveiled the capsule’s interior: six seats with horizontal backrests, placed next to large portholes, in a futuristic cabin with swish lighting.

Multiple cameras help immortalize the few minutes the tourists experience weightlessness while taking in the Earth’s curvature.

This summer, competitor Virgin Galactic showed off the interior of its own vessel which is one day supposed to take private passengers to the boundaries of space for a few minutes.

But neither company has announced the start of commercial flights, which have been expected for years.


Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin rocket makes 10th flight test (Update)


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Applied DNA Secures $1.0+ Million in COVID-19 Surveillance Testing Annualized Revenue, Builds Sales Pipeline for Test Kit and Testing-as-a-Service

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– Announces Completion of Initial New York State Department of Health Inspection of Clinical Lab Subsidiary –

Applied DNA Sciences, Inc. (NASDAQ: APDN) (“Applied DNA” or the “Company”), a leader in Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR)-based DNA manufacturing that enables in vitro diagnostics, pre-clinical nucleic acid-based therapeutic drug candidates, supply chain security, anti-counterfeiting, and anti-theft technology, announced that Applied DNA Clinical Laboratories, LLC (“ADCL”), its wholly-owned subsidiary, has secured COVID-19 surveillance testing contracts under its testing-as-a-service (“TaaS”) offering that are estimated to generate more than $1.0 million in total annualized revenue beginning October 1, 2020. The Company’s surveillance testing revenue expectation is contingent on full-term participation by TaaS customers, including:

  • Private schools based in Long-Island, N.Y., including Harbor Country Day School. Education customers comprise the bulk of the Company’s current testing volume;

  • Several New York State-based small enterprises and private clients.

Unlike diagnostic testing, which looks for the occurrence of COVID-19 at the individual level, surveillance testing looks for infection within a defined population or community and can be used for making health management decisions at the population level. Surveillance testing does not require a prescription. In surveillance testing, pooled test results are returned to the sponsoring organization in the aggregate, not directly to the individual, and may be performed without CLIA certification.

Concurrently, the Company is executing on a sales and marketing strategy to build a pipeline of LineaTM COVID-19 Diagnostic Assay Kit (“Assay Kit”) and TaaS opportunities through:

  • Outreach to independent and hospital laboratories in COVID-19 hotspots nationally and regionally to offer an additional diagnostic kit supply line;

  • Outreach to local laboratories to construct a reference laboratory relationship for overflow testing;

  • Deployment of testing at Stony Brook University in accordance with a recently signed Master Services Agreement.

“Our capacity to perform COVID-19 surveillance testing is grounded in self-collection

Tesla Autopilot Self-Driving Beta Test Will Start Tuesday, Elon Musk Confirms

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KEY POINTS

  • Tesla will roll out its FSD feature in a closed beta system test next week
  • The new autopilot software will be available to a small pool of Tesla owners
  • The updated FSD software is expected to include many new functionalities

Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced via Twitter on Monday that the company’s autopilot self-driving mode would be made available in a small beta test starting next week. 

The closed beta-test system, which will be limited to a small pool of “expert and careful drivers,” will roll out next week, Car And Driver reported. 

The Full Self-Driving (FSD) feature has undergone a complete reboot and is expected to carry a lot of new functionality. The rewrite also updated the autopilot’s labeling software to enable it to interpret the environment in 4D instead of 2D. 

Based on Musk’s recent descriptions, the updated software will build on its current “traffic light and stop sign control” feature and will likely add turns in intersections and integrate it fully on autopilot. 

“The FSD improvement will come as a quantum leap, because it’s a fundamental architectural rewrite, not an incremental tweak. I drive the bleeding edge alpha build in my car personally. Almost at zero interventions between home & work. Limited public release in 6 to 10 weeks,” Musk said in August.

According to Electrek, the new feature will allow Tesla drivers to monitor their entire journey with zero-intervention. However, they must still keep their hands on the steering wheel and be ready to take control when needed. 

Musk has previously said that he was confident that an advanced autopilot software would allow Tesla vehicles to become less likely to be involved in a severe or fatal crash by at least 10 times the current industry average. 

“That’s a lot of lives saved and

India’s Nirbhay cruise missile test fails

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NEW DELHI — The flight test of India’s homemade 1000-kilometer-range cruise missile failed Monday following technical problems.

Nirbhay — an intermediate-range subsonic land-attack cruise missile with terrain hugging — is an Indian version of the American Tomahawk and the Russian Club SS-N-27 cruise missiles.

Defense scientists in India said the test failed within 8 minutes of the launch due to technical issues in the engine. They gave no further details.

The Nirbhay missile is currently powered by the Russian Saturn 50MT turbofan engine. Its local development began in 2007 with the Defence Research and Development Organisation.

A senior DRDO scientist said Nirbhay is a stealthy missile capable of delivering different warheads and is capable of loitering and attacking multiple targets.

“The cruise missiles like Tomahawk and Nirbhay (when successful) do not follow a ballistic parabola but are terrain-hugging in their path. Therefore, they are more difficult to detect by conventional radars. And hence more lethal and thus required by Indian Armed Forces,” an Army official said.

Weighing 1,500 kilograms with a height of 6 meters and a speed of Mach 0.7 Mach, the missile can carry up to 300 kilograms of conventional and nuclear warheads.

Nirbhay is a two-stage missile. Its solid-fuel rocket motor serves as its first stage and accelerates the missile after launch to cruise speed, when a turbojet engine in the second stage takes over.

It is equipped with a domestically made ring laser gyroscope inertial navigation system, a GPS-enabled guidance system and a Russian seeker system.

In July, the Ministry of Defence’s procurement body moved to purchase about 300 Nirbhay cruise missiles for the three armed forces.

At least 20 more tests will occur before the missiles are inducted, another DRDO scientist said, which could take three to five years.

The weapon is manufactured by the

Australian valley a ‘natural laboratory’ to test carbon sequestration theory

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Australian valley a 'natural laboratory' to test carbon sequestration theory
Co-author Professor Dietmar Müller from the School of Geosciences at the University of Sydney. Credit: University of Sydney

Geoscientists at the University of Sydney have discovered a natural laboratory to test claims that the carbon captured during the erosion and weathering of common rocks could be a viable mitigation strategy against global warming.


That laboratory is the Tweed River valley in north-eastern New South Wales.

“When common rocks, known as olivine, chemically break down, they absorb carbon dioxide to form carbonates that can then be washed into the oceans,” said lead author of the study, Kyle Manley, a student at the University of Irvine in California, who started the research while studying at Sydney.

“In that way, river valleys like the Tweed can act as carbon sinks.”

The carbonates formed in this process later become the shells of marine animals and corals. Over millions of years, these remnants can form huge undersea carbonate structures. Occasionally they are pushed above sea level, such as the White Cliffs of Dover in England.

In order to combat global warming, some have proposed olivine weathering and its carbon capture could be harnessed to absorb millions of tonnes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

“But those ideas haven’t really been tested at scale,” said Mr Manley, who started the study while on undergraduate exchange at the School of Geosciences at the University of Sydney, completing it at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

Research now published in the journal Frontiers in Earth Sciences, will allow scientists to test these claims in the Tweed catchment area, a 1326 square kilometre region, and in other regions that act as carbon sinks.

Co-author Dr. Tristan Salles from the School of Geosciences at the University of Sydney said: “We ran seven scenarios up to 2100 and 2500 to see