2017 March

Robots in warehouses to jump 15X over next 4 years, but won’t take all the jobs

Recent advances in robotics and demand to fill warehouse jobs have led to a “tipping point” in the number of robots used to automate supply chain operations, according to a new report from Tractica, a market intelligence firm that focuses on human interaction with technology. According to the report, titled “Warehousing and Logistics Robots,” there were an estimated 40,000 robotic units shipped worldwide in 2016—but by 2021, there will be 620,000.



US scientists launch world’s biggest solar geoengineering study

US scientists are set to send aerosol injections 20km up into the earth’s stratosphere in the world’s biggest solar geoengineering programme to date, to study the potential of a future tech-fix for global warming.

The $20m (£16m) Harvard University project will launch within weeks and aims to establish whether the technology can safely simulate the atmospheric cooling effects of a volcanic eruption, if a last ditch bid to halt climate change is one day needed.



SpaceX hails ‘revolution’ after recycled rocket launch, landing

SpaceX chief Elon Musk hailed a “revolution in spaceflight” on Thursday after blasting off a recycled rocket for the first time, a feat that could dramatically lower the cost of space travel.
Experts cheered the launch and landing of the previously used booster as a “historic” moment for spaceflight, particularly private industry, as companies like SpaceX and its competitors scramble to make space exploration cheaper and more efficient.



From Earth to orbit using a single-stage rocket

New Mexico-based ARCA Space Corporation has announced that it is developing the world’s first Single Stage to Orbit (SSTO) launch vehicle that can deliver both a small payload and itself into low Earth orbit, at a cost of about US$1 million per launch. Dubbed the Haas 2CA after the 16th century rocket pioneer Conrad Haas, the new booster uses a linear aerospike engine instead of conventional bell-shaped rocket engines to do away with multiple stages.

What ACRA is trying with the Haas 2CA is to replace the conventional engines with a linear aerospike engine, which the company claims is 30 percent more efficient than those used today. It’s an idea that dates back to the 1960s and basically works by cutting a rocket engine’s bell in half, then placing the two halves back to back to form a tapering spike.


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