With latest Starlink launch, SpaceX to set record for rapid reuse

Patrick
Enlarge / Falcon 9, booster 1051, breaking through the sound barrier on December 13, 2020. It’s back for an eighth launch a little more than a month later.

SpaceX is continuing to make strides as it pushes the boundaries of reusing the first stage of its Falcon 9 rocket.

On Wednesday morning, the company plans to launch its next batch of 60 Starlink satellites, reusing booster No. 1051. This will in fact be the eighth flight of this Falcon 9 rocket first stage—setting a new record for the number of uses of any single rocket core. SpaceX anticipates reaching the

Virgin Orbit just earned the orbit part of its name

Patrick
Enlarge / LauncherOne heads to orbit after dropping from its carrier aircraft on Sunday.

Virgin Orbit

On Sunday afternoon, Virgin Orbit joined the rare club of companies that have privately developed a rocket and successfully launched it into orbit. Moreover, with its LauncherOne rocket dropped from a 747 aircraft, the California-based company has become the first to reach orbit with an air-launched, liquid-fueled rocket.

“This magnificent flight is the culmination of many years of hard work and will also unleash a whole new generation of innovators on the path to orbit,” said Sir Richard Branson, the founder of the company.

A curious observer’s guide to quantum mechanics, pt. 2: The particle melting pot

Patrick
One of the quietest revolutions of our current century has been the entry of quantum mechanics into our everyday technology. It used to be that quantum effects were confined to physics laboratories and delicate experiments. But modern technology increasingly relies on quantum mechanics for its basic operation, and the importance of quantum effects will only grow in the decades to come. As such, physicist Miguel F. Morales has taken on the herculean task of explaining quantum mechanics to the rest of us laymen in this seven-part series (no math, we promise). Below is the second story in the

The local politics of AirBNB’s ban on DC rentals

Patrick
Enlarge / Airbnb said it will refund guests who had booked stays in DC next week and reimburse hosts for lost income.

On January 9—three days after supporters of President Trump started a riot at the US Capitol—Sean Evans decided it was time for action. Evans had seen a post on Nextdoor about neighbors running into hostile Trump supporters the night of the riot, leading to a verbal altercation that had left residents of his corner of Northwest DC on edge. Now, rumors flew online that the upcoming inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden would bring more protesters and more

Report: MagSafe will return in new Apple Silicon MacBook Pro models

Patrick
Enlarge / This is the 16-inch MacBook Pro as it’s being sold now. According to today’s report, the new one will generally look quite similar.

According to a report in Bloomberg, Apple plans to launch new versions of its MacBook Pro laptops “around the middle of the year,” and these machines will feature speed and display enhancements, as well as a return of the MagSafe charging design seen in MacBook computers several generations ago.

Citing “a person with knowledge of the plans,” the Bloomberg story claims that Apple’s 13-inch MacBook Pro will get a 14-inch successor, just as the

PC sales finally saw big growth in 2020 after years of steady decline

Patrick
Enlarge / A promotional shot for Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 Titanium Yoga laptop, one of the new 2021 laptops meant to capitalize on growing traditional PC sales.

During the Consumer Electronics Show this week, research firm IDC released a report on worldwide traditional PC sales in 2020, and it tells a rosier story than we’ve been used to in recent years. In the fourth quarter of 2020, PC shipments grew 26.1 percent over the same period last year.

That means 13.1 percent year-over-year growth overall, and the best year and month for PC sales in quite some time. In total, 91.6

After corporate blunders and setbacks, Intel ousts CEO Bob Swan

Patrick
Enlarge / Intel Chief Executive Officer Bob Swan during an Intel press event for CES 2020 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center on January 6, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Getty Images

Intel is replacing its chief executive Bob Swan after a series of manufacturing setbacks and competitive blunders that lost the veteran Silicon Valley company its crown as the top US chipmaker.

Swan, its former finance chief who held the top job for just over two years, will be succeeded on February 15 by former Intel veteran Pat Gelsinger, who is currently chief executive of VMware, the infrastructure software

Bethesda, Lucasfilm tease new Indiana Jones video game

Patrick
Enlarge / Artist’s conception of the gaming public eyeing the prospect of another movie-licensed game with suspicion…

Bethesda will be publishing a new Indiana Jones game “with an original story” in collaboration with Wolfenstein: The New Order developers Machine Games, the publisher announced today via Twitter. Todd Howard, best known for his directing work on Skyrim and Fallout 4, will serve as executive producer for the title.

Bethesda said it will be “some time” before more details are available. For the time being, the company shared a 30-second teaser video featuring the opening notes of John Williams’ Raiders

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