Private Spaceflight Explainer

SpaceX launches 4 amateurs on private Earth-circling trip


SpaceX’s first private flight blasted off Wednesday night with two contest winners, a health care worker and their rich sponsor, the most ambitious leap yet in space tourism. It was the first time a rocket streaked toward orbit with an all-amateur crew — no professional astronauts. The Dragon capsule’s two… Read


The foreign legion of YouTubers defending China


With YouTube videos "debunking" allegations of human rights abuses and diatribes on Western "conspiracies" against China, an unlikely set of foreigners are loudly defending Beijing from its international critics. They are teachers and business owners from Britain, Colombia and Singapore, a collage of YouTubers garnering fame for their video takedowns… Read


U.S. startup aims to transform pet food with lab-made chow


Cloudy liquid bubbling in glass tubes is key to a U.S. startup's hopes of remaking the pet food industry by growing nutritional chow in a lab. Most pet food includes animal protein, which requires the slaughter of animals and is ultimately a source of planet-warming gases. Rich Kelleman's Colorado-based Bond… Read


Apple's next iPhone mirrors last year's, adds more storage


Apple unveiled its next iPhone line-up, including a model that offers twice the storage available in earlier versions and other modest upgrades to last year’s editions that proved to be a big hit among consumers devouring the latest technology during the pandemic. The pre-recorded video event streamed Tuesday gave Apple… Read


SpaceX to launch private, all-civilian crew into Earth orbit


SpaceX is set to launch four people into space Wednesday on a three-day mission that is the first to orbit the Earth with exclusively private citizens on board, as Elon Musk's company enters the space tourism fray. The "Inspiration4" mission caps a summer that saw billionaires Richard Branson and Jeff… Read


S Korea to fine Google $177 mil for forcing software on devices


South Korea’s competition watchdog plans to fine Google at least 207.4 billion won ($177 million) for allegedly blocking smartphone makers like Samsung from using other operating systems, in what would be one of the country's biggest antitrust penalties ever. Google said it plans to challenge the fine. It has accused… Read


Facebook shields VIPs from some of its rules: report


Facebook exempts certain celebrities, politicians and other high-profile users from some its own rules for posts as part of a program launched as a quality-control mechanism, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday. The program, referred to as "cross check" or "XCheck," shields millions of elite users from rules that… Read


KDDI teams up with SpaceX to give better access in remote areas

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Major Japanese telecommunications service provider KDDI Corp said Monday it has joined hands with SpaceX to provide better access to users on remote islands and in mountainous regions in Japan via the U.S. firm's satellites. KDDI said it aims to deliver with Space Exploration Technologies Corp, founded by tech billionaire… Read


China to target biggest payment app Alipay in tech crackdown: Financial Times


Chinese regulators have ordered sweeping changes to the country's biggest payment app Alipay, as the ruling Communist Party attempts to rein in "the unruly growth" of the tech giants. Alipay -- with more than one billion users in China and other Asian nations including India -- was told to spinoff… Read


Apple patches exploit attributed to hacker-for-hire firm


Apple released an emergency software patch to fix a security vulnerability that researchers said could allow hackers to directly infect iPhones and other Apple devices without any user action. The researchers at the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab said the flaw allowed spyware from the world’s most infamous hacker-for-hire firm,… Read

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