Connect with us

News

Forget the Honda Civic—Japanese Auto Giant Aims for Space Industry in Grand 2030 Plan

Published

on

Forget the Honda Civic—Japanese Auto Giant Aims for Space Industry in Grand 2030 Plan
A Honda auto dealership in, Lewiston, Idaho. Don and Melinda Crawford/UCG/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

In a few years, the manufacturer of the Honda Civic and CR-V may be operating air taxis above cities and launching reusable rockets into Earth’s orbit like SpaceX and Rocket Lab.

Last week, Japanese auto giant Honda announced a grand ten-year plan that involves developing flying cars, robots and small reusable rockets that can carry satellites weighing less than 1 ton to low Earth orbit before 2030.

The carmaker, with a market cap of $55 billion, plans to invest $45 billion in the next six years on the research and development of these new projects and expects to create a rocket division as big as its electric vehicle unit.

This idea to build reusable rockets is initiated by “young Honda engineers” who wanted to utilize the company’s “core technologies, such as combustion and control technologies” in new areas, Honda said in a press release on September 30.

Specifically, Honda says it will apply its combustion technology developed for gas cars to build a liquid fuel system for rockets and autonomous driving technology to rocket flight control and guidance. The company formed a team of combustion engineers in 2019 and has built a prototype rocket engine.

“Technologies for rocket combustion and control and lower costs are already in the hands of automakers. We will just change the field where the technologies are applied,” Honda CEO Toshihiro Mibe told Japan’s Nikkei Asia.

“This is not surprising, and Honda is not the first auto company to enter the space industry recently,” said Micah Walter-Range, President of Caelus Partners, a consulting firm specializing in the commercial space industry. Chinese automaker Geely is working on a satellite network to support self-driving cars.

“The rationale offered by the company makes sense,” Walter-Range added. “They know how to produce highly reliable components at a large scale, and they have the engineering expertise to apply to the challenge of rocketry.”

Honda’s rocket initiative will put the 73-year-old automaker in a tough race against billionaire and SPAC-backed companies like SpaceX, Blue Origin, Virgin Orbit and Rocket Lab.

All these companies—many of which are unprofitable—are betting on the booming business of small satellite launch. The demand for low Earth orbit imaging and communications satellites has soared in recent years. By one estimate, by the market research firm Mordor Intelligence, the small satellite launch industry is on track to grow from this year’s $4 billion to $7.2 billion by 2026.

But options for launching these satellites are still limited and largely dominated by a handful of companies. Competition to lower the cost of launch is intense. Delivering a full load of satellites to Earth orbit using a SpaceX Falcon 9 can cost as much as $70 million per launch, which is already much cheaper than traditional single-use rockets. SpaceX has made it less expensive for small satellite makers through its satellite “ride-share” program. And its competitors, such as Rocket Lab, have been able to significantly lower per-launch prices by making smaller reusable boosters.

Honda says its reusable rockets will be able to launch satellites for half what it costs today. Yet, it’s hard to say how competitive that proposition will be in ten year when its rockets are finally commercially ready.

Honda plans to build its first reusable rocket and test launch it with a satellite before the end of this decade.

Forget the Honda Civic—Japanese Auto Giant Aims for Space Industry in Grand 2030 Plan

google news

News

61-year-old found dead in burning St. Louis County home

Published

on

61-year-old found dead in burning St. Louis County home

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. – St. Louis Regional Bomb and Arson detectives are investigating an overnight house fire in south St. Louis County that claimed the life of a 61-year-old man.

According to Officer Adrian Washington, a spokesperson for the St. Louis County Police Department, officers responded to a call for a house fire in the 3500 block of Eileen Ann Drive around 1:35 a.m. Sunday.

Police arrived and saw heavy smoke coming from the home. Firefighters searched the residence and found a man’s body in the basement.

Anyone with information on the investigation can contact the St. Louis County Police Department 636-529-8210 or CrimeStoppers at 866-371-TIPS.

google news
Continue Reading

News

Mizzou football receives invite to Armed Forces Bowl

Published

on

Mizzou football receives invite to Armed Forces Bowl

COLUMBIA, Mo. – The University of Missouri football team has been selected to play in the Armed Forces Bowl later this month.

The Tigers will face the Army Black Knights at Amon G. Carter Stadium in Fort Worth, Texas. The game is scheduled for 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 22.

Mizzou went 6-6 in 2021 and 3-5 in SEC play. Army, an independent school, went 8-3 this season.

The Armed Forces Bowl will be broadcast on ESPN.

google news
Continue Reading

News

Early reports encouraging about omicron variant

Published

on

Early reports encouraging about omicron variant

U.S. health officials said Sunday that while the omicron variant of the coronavirus is rapidly spreading throughout the country, early indications suggest it may be less dangerous than delta, which continues to drive a surge of hospitalizations.

President Joe Biden’s chief medial adviser, Dr. Anthony Fauci, told CNN’s “State of the Union” that scientists need more information before drawing conclusions about omicron’s severity.

Reports from South Africa, where it emerged and is becoming the dominant strain, suggest that hospitalization rates have not increased alarmingly.

“Thus far, it does not look like there’s a great degree of severity to it,” Fauci said. “But we have really got to be careful before we make any determinations that it is less severe or it really doesn’t cause any severe illness, comparable to delta.”

Fauci said the Biden administration is considering lifting travel restrictions against noncitizens entering the United States from several African countries. They were imposed as the omicron variant exploded in the region, but U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has blasted such measures as “travel apartheid.”

“Hopefully we’ll be able to lift that ban in a quite reasonable period of time,” Fauci said. “We all feel very badly about the hardship that has been put on not only on South Africa but the other African countries.”

Omicron had been detected in about a third of U.S. states by Sunday, including in the Northeast, the South, the Great Plains and the West Coast. Wisconsin and Missouri were among the latest states to confirm cases.

But delta remains the dominant variant, making up more than 99% of cases and driving a surge of hospitalizations in the north. National Guard teams have been sent to help overwhelmed hospitals in western New York, and Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker issued an emergency order requiring any hospitals facing limited patient capacity to reduce scheduled procedures that are not urgent.

U.S. officials continued urging people to get vaccinated and to receive booster shots, as well as take precautions such as wearing masks when among strangers indoors, saying anything that helps protect against delta will also help protect against other variants.

Even if omicron proves less dangerous than delta, it remains problematic, World Health Organization epidemiologist Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove told CBS’ “Face The Nation.”

“Even if we have a large number of cases that are mild, some of those individuals will need hospitalizations,” she said. “They will need to go into ICU and some people will die. … We don’t want to see that happen on top of an already difficult situation with delta circulating globally.”

Two years into the outbreak, COVID-19 has killed over 780,000 Americans, and deaths are running at about 860 per day.

More than 6,600 new hospital admissions are being reported daily, according to tracking data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

COVID-19 cases and deaths in the U.S. have dropped by about half since the delta peak in August and September, but at more than 86,000 new infections per day, the numbers are still high, especially heading into the holidays, when people travel and gather with family.

By GENE JOHNSON, Associated Press

google news
Continue Reading

Trending