Tech Digest daily roundup: Jumbo jet to launch UK’s first space rocket

Image: Virgin Orbit

The jumbo jet that will launch the UK’s first rocket into space has arrived at Cornwall’s Newquay airport. Cosmic Girl, a former Virgin Atlantic Boeing 747, has carried more than 2.5 million passengers on almost 8,300 flights. But now the seats have been ripped out, the upper deck has been converted into a control centre for launch engineers and a 21m (69ft) rocket slots under its left wing. The jet is operated by Virgin Orbit and is due to take off from Spaceport Cornwall, which is based at the airport, early next month. The LauncherOne rocket will be released at an altitude of 35,000ft over the Atlantic Ocean. It will then accelerate to 8,000mph before deploying seven satellites into orbit. Sky News 

Displaced families in Syrian camps are begging for donations on TikTok while the company takes up to 70% of the proceeds, a BBC investigation found. Children are livestreaming on the social media app for hours, pleading for digital gifts with a cash value. The BBC saw streams earning up to $1,000 (£900) an hour, but found the people in the camps received only a tiny fraction of that. TikTok said it would take prompt action against “exploitative begging”. The company said this type of content was not allowed on its platform, and it said its commission from digital gifts was significantly less than 70%. But it declined to confirm the exact amount. BBC

Microsoft and Meta have announced a partnership that will see Xbox Cloud Gaming come to Quest VR headsets at some currently unspecified future point. Xbox Cloud Gaming gives Game Pass Ultimate subscribers the ability to stream and play a steadily growing number of titles on a range of Android, Apple, and Windows devices, as well as Samsung Smart TVs, Xbox consoles, and eventually, Microsoft’s dedicated Keystone device. And that list, as revealed by Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella during today’s Meta Connect event, will grow to include Quest VR headsets via the Meta Quest Store. Eurogamer 

has a solution for what it politely calls ‘every waiting situation’, which, of course, means being parked up waiting to collect a friend or child – and absolutely not an especially slow set of temporary traffic lights. Turns out you will be able to play games through the manufacturer’s latest infotainment system. In a collaboration with AirConsole, it’s bringing a range of ‘casual’ games – this won’t be GTA 6 at Cobham services – to cars from 2023. All that’s required is smartphone and a car with the BMW Curved Display. It’s really as simple as that because the games are run directly through the car entertainment system; they’re downloadable to the vehicle and controllable via a phone. Pistonheads

A private equity backed-challenger to BT has secured nearly £1bn in funding to expand its full-fibre network across London, the latest injection of capital into the so-called “alt nets” taking on the former state monopoly. Community Fibre, which is backed by US fund Warburg Pincus, Deutsche Telekom, infrastructure fund Amber and the railways pensions scheme, is planning to wire up 2.2 million London homes to full fibre broadband by 2024. The fibre roll out will focus on London and the South East, where it has so far connected 675,000 homes, building and operating its own broadband network. The £985m in funding adds to £400m raised by Community Fibre in 2020. Telegraph 

Chris Price
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