Microsoft is winning in the cloud market right now. In this episode, we deconstruct the Microsoft Cloud, and expose what it can do, and some of the opportunities it can create.
Last month, China successfully launched a new space station, the Tiāngōng 2 which means "Heavenly Palace 2". It's 47 feet long and 14 feet wide, designed for a crew of 2, with life support for 30 days.
It's a prototype, part of the People's Republic of China's goal to create a third generation space station similar to the Russian Mir space station.
The Soviet Union built Mir in space over 10 years between 1986 and 1996. Mir was de-orbited in a controlled manner.
This space station is iteration 2 of Tiāngōng 1. Unlike the Mir, this baby coming back down to Earth out of control.
That's right, a year from now the weather prediction somewhere on Earth will be chance of rain of steel. Make sure to dress properly.
Yeah, the odds of hitting a populated area is low.
If you are going to launch something into space, you should probably consider, and maybe even plan for where your junk is going to go.
As of July 2013, there are over 170 million objects orbiting the earth that are under a centimeter in size, 670,00 in the 1 to 10 cm and 29,000 being larger than that. Look up at the night sky, and you will inevitably see 1 of 1419 satellites go by.
Look, going anywhere into space is not easy.
With everything going for it, SpaceX has had it's own disasters.
5 days before China's successful Tiāngōng 2 launch, the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket blew up on the launch pad.
Nobody got hurt, but it was a loss of over a quarter billion dollars.
The explosion took the AMOS-6 satellite with it. This was a Facebook project to provide 14 African countries with free Internet access.
The root cause at this point appears to be the a large breach in the cryogenic helium system.
Some are suspecting sabotage, with an image of an unidentified object near the rocket just before the explosion.
Conspiracy theorists have been liking this one. There is now a video on YouTube showing an unidentified flying object flying past the rocket at the same time as the explosion took place.
Although there was a lot of fire, it really wasn't an explosion, more like a flame that started at the top, rapidly moving down, engulfing the entire rocket.
The YouTube video is called UFO Destroys SpaceX Rocket On Launch Pad. If the object is actually flying over the rocket, It would be just a few feet across in size.
Let's assume that it is for arguments sake.
This thing is really moving, showing up in only seven frames of the video. The explosion takes place just prior to the UFO flying directly over the Falcon 9. This could be explained if the object had fired something at the rocket, right before the fly by.
Let's also assume that the object is not being flown by tiny aliens. This leaves very few possibilities, as to what it can be, other than a drone.
You may think that drones can't go that fast right? Well, considering that some commercial drones can move at over a hundred miles an hour, a custom built one, may very well be able to go much faster.
Again, this is assuming the video isn't a fake.
The implication here is of course sabotage. Yes, it's a leap, but what the hell. Let's see where this takes us.
If it's sabotage, then how, why, who?
Lets start with the why. That one is easy, money. If this is corporate sabotage, thus it's likely about money. Yes, we are taking all kinds of leaps today.
So then who. Who would benefit the most from this hit? Not Facebook. They lost their satellite. In the words of Mark Zuckerberg, "As I'm here in Africa, I'm deeply disappointed to hear that SpaceX's launch failure destroyed our satellite that would have provided so much connectivity to so many entrepreneurs and everyone else across the continent."
The alleged drone looks like it fired something at the rocket, so that would mean it was an armed drone.
So, the scenario now is that a pilot remotely controlled the armed drone and fired something at it while moving at high speed, at precisely the moment when the rocket was vulnerable, and at exactly the right spot to blow it up.
Sounds pretty fantastic doesn't it?
There are excellent drone pilots out there. Just google drone racing, and you will see drone pilots conduct some radical maneuvers at high speed through hoops, obstacle courses, and parking garages.
There are now drone racing leagues cropping up all over the place. It's about to get telivision coverage.
Their drones however are not armed and dangerous.
That would require someone who has both the skills to fly a drone super fast, and simultaneously be able to fire a weapon, targeting a very specific target, at precisely the right time.
An armed drone that can fire something with precision while moving at high speed, sounds like military level expertise.
Or, the drone could be programmed with an AI with one mission in mind. Sounds pretty advanced.
//-What if it's a kid, thinking he or she is playing a video game. Whoa, that opens up a lot more leaps. Enders Game.
Who has military drone capabilities? Countries, like Iran, China, Russia could do it, but why? They want to slow down the American space program, at the risk of looking like wimps for taking the route of sabotage if found out? The motive just isn't there.
Does SpaceX have competitors? Yes, one in particular stands out, United Launch Alliance (ULA).
ULA is a joint venture between Lockhead Martin Space Systems and Boing Defense, Space and Security. Sounds military doesn't it. Military in Space even.
Could we be witnessing corporate star wars? Or maybe it's a military control mindset. We can't have this Elon Musk take over the Universe and hold the world hostage for 1 million dollars.
Let's see, ULA held a monopoly over military launches for over a decade, until SpaceX was awarded a GPS satellite contract to SpaceX earlier this year.
That's right, on April 27th, The US Air Force awarded SpaceX an 83 million dollar contract to launch a GPS satellite. This contract effectively broke ULA's monopoly that Lockhead Martin and Boeing held for over a decade.
If SpaceX rockets keep blowing up, then they would be in a great position to remonopolize, if that's even a word.
By the way, the military GPS contract SpaceX won, won't be launched until May, 2018.
ULA didn't even compete to win the contract. Their Atlas Rocket uses Russian-made engines. This has been an issue since Russia's annexation of Crimea.
SpaceX successfully lobbied to ban the Russian engines.
This opened up a huge market for them.
By banning the Russian engines, ULA would have to use their Delta rockets. These would be 35% more expensive to launch than SpaceX rockets.
The stage is set. ULA vs. SpaceX.
Some think rivalry is healthy, and competition is good. Launching a drone to kill your competition however, would be lame, thus not likely.
SpaceX may now have to mitigate a new risk for future launches. Sabotage from the competition, real or not.
Drone defenses do exist. SkyDroner is a camera that can detect an approaching drone, and can hijack it mid flight, and land it.
Of course, nobody is accusing anyone. This is just a story. It's an awesome story though...
OK, so there is motive, money.
How about Opportunity?
ULA roof is line of sight... OK, enough about ULA, other than to say they've done a great job in supporting the US in space for 50 years. They have a strong code of ethics that would prevent them from engaging in anything like this.
Besides, if it were sabotage, there are other suspects conspiracy theorists are pointing the finger at.
Johny Depp, out of jealousy. Peter Thiel, from a grudge back in the Paypal days. Thanks for the leads Clair McNear.
Jeff Besos could be a suspect. He recently exposed his rocket to prove his is bigger than Elon Musks. Jeff isn't keen on going to Mars. He thinks it's just another gravity well like earth. Getting into space is difficult enough without having to recreate the problem. He would rather see people live on space stations and mine asteroids.
Anyways, it's interesting to speculate. The only thing we know for sure is that a new space race is brewing.
China's space program is about to take advantage of an opportunity. The International Space Station is scheduled to retire in 2024. This would leave China with the only space station in orbit.
Even though their first space station is about to rain down back to Earth, they plan to send more, with the goal of having a fully functional space station in 2024, right when the ISS retires.
China's space station will be the combination of several modules, with several docking ports. They are planning to have a 20 tone module in orbit by 2022. If they succeed they will be the second nation since Russia, to have an orbiting station.
Unlike the International Space Station, China isn't sharing much about the project.
Whatever, the real stars are in the private sector anyways.
Boeing's CEO said earlier this month that he plans on going toe to toe with newcomers such as billionaire Elon Musk in the next era of space exploration and commerce.
He envisions a Jetson-Like future where space-travel happens between continents on Earth in under 2 hours. He also wants to go to Mars first. The race to space is on people. It's a safe bet that we are about to become a multi-planetary species.
This race will open up space like never before. The solar system is going to become our new backyard.
And, while the race is on to own the solar system, others are working on getting us to planets outside our solar system.
Yuri Milner, a Billionaire Russian entrepreneur, venture capitalist and physicist, dropped a $100 million dollars to fund Breakthrough Starshot. The goal is to send a bunch of micro drones to our neighbor star system, Alpha Centauri to hunt for Alien life.
Using solar sails, they would be traveling at 20% the speed of light. This would allow the tiny drones to reach an exoplanet located there called Proxima Centauri B.
This planet is orbiting it's sun in the habitable zone. And, a recent study from the University of Marseilles and the Carl Sagan Institute suggest it may be up to 50% water.
Although the planet is similar to earth in size, it's much closer to it's sun. A solar year is 11 days. Imagine having a birthday every 11 days?
It's sun is a red dwarf which is way smaller than our sun. It may appear in the sky as a permanent red sunset. It's unclear yet if it is rotating fast enough not to always have the same side facing it, but liquid water sounds possible. This also means that alien life could also possible exist on this water world.
The only way to know for sure is to send our very own deep space drones.