Tech Digest daily round up: Space debris satellite launched

News, Space

A UK-led mission to show how space debris can be removed has blasted into space. Two spacecraft – a servicer satellite to collect the debris and a client satellite to act as the debris – launched from Kazakhstan on a Soyuz rocket operated by GK Launch Services. The End-of-Life Services by Astroscale demonstration (ELSA-d) will be operated from the In-Orbit Servicing Control Centre – National Facility at the Satellite Applications Catapult (SAC) at Harwell Campus in Oxfordshire. According to the European Space Agency, there are approximately 9,200 tonnes of space debris, with 34,000 objects greater than 10cm and 128 million objects from greater than 1mm to 1cm. It estimates there have been more than 560 break-ups, explosions, collisions or anomalous events resulting in fragmentation. Yahoo! News

A former Amazon UK boss Doug Gurr had landed a role advising the Government on tackling Covid-19. Mr Gurr had headed up Amazon’s UK operations up until last autumn. He is now working with the Department of Health and Social Care as a non-executive director “with responsibility for the union”. As part of the role, Mr Gurr is understood to be providing advice to the Health Secretary as well to other ministers and senior officials on co-ordinating the approach to the pandemic across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Telegraph 

The government has called on shipbuilders, shipping firms, ports, scientists, and academics to submit proposals to a new competition for innovative technologies that can chart a greener future for the UK’s shipping sector. The Department for Transport said this morning the £20m green shipping competition would support trials of projects that could bring the sector closer to net-zero emissions, such as hydrogen-powered vessels and electric charge-point port infrastructure. It urged players from across the maritime sector to collaborate with scientists and academics on proposals for the competition, noting that trials would allow companies to test emerging green technologies” with a view to them being developed commercially if proven to be successful.” Business Green.

Food delivery company Deliveroo could make Britain’s biggest stock market debut since commodities giant Glencore went public nearly a decade ago, after setting a price range on Monday that values it at up to $12 billion. The Amazon-backed food delivery firm has been held up by the British government as a sign the City of London can still attract major Initial Public Offerings (IPO) following the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union. It is set to be London’s biggest IPO since Glencore in May 2011, according to data provided by the London Stock Exchange. Reuters

Britain must learn from the “tragic” lessons of the past 12 months and start preparing for the next pandemic now, world-leading experts and scientists have warned. Although the UK appears to have turned a corner in its fight against coronavirus, with infections and deaths falling across the four nations, experts told The Independent there was no room for complacency and that more investment was needed in nationwide biodefences. Professor Sarah Gilbert, whose team developed the Oxford vaccine, said it was vital to listen to the warnings “and prepare for the next one”, while Professor Peter Horby, a scientific adviser to the government, said rising global connectivity was “increasing the odds” of future outbreaks. Independent 

Former US President Donald Trump will soon return to social media “with his own platform”, his adviser has said. “I do think that we’re going to see President Trump returning to social media in probably about two or three months,” Jason Miller told Fox News. He said the platform “will be the hottest ticket in social media” and would “completely redefine the game”. Mr Trump was suspended from Twitter and Facebook after January’s deadly riots at the US Capitol in Washington DC. BBC 

Hearing loss and other auditory problems may be strongly associated with coronavirus, new research suggests. Researchers found 56 studies that identified an association between Covid-19 and auditory and vestibular problems. They pooled data from 24 of the studies to estimate that the prevalence of hearing loss was 7.6%, tinnitus was 14.8% and vertigo was 7.2%. The vestibular system includes the parts of the inner ear and brain that process the sensory information involved with controlling balance and eye movements. However, the data primarily used self-reported questionnaires or medical records to obtain Covid-19-related symptoms, rather than the more scientifically reliable hearing tests. Yahoo! News




Chris Price
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