Today’s cache | NASA’s SpaceX Demo-2 readies for launch, and more

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the company's Crew Dragon spacecraft is rolled out of the horizontal integration facility at Launch Complex 39A as preparations continue for the Demo-2 mission, Thursday, May 21, 2020, at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the company's Crew Dragon spacecraft is rolled out of the horizontal integration facility at Launch Complex 39A as preparations continue for the Demo-2 mission, Thursday, May 21, 2020, at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla.  

Today's cache is your daily download of the top 5 updates from the world of technology.

Two space stories on the same day. In one, NASA gears up for its first launch by a private firm, Elon Musk’s SpaceX. The team will carry two astronauts to Expedition 63 crew. In another story, Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Orbit failed to successfully launch a rocket over the Pacific Ocean.

In the Netherlands, the court banned a woman from posting pictures of her grandchildren on Facebook and Pinterest, citing internet privacy law. Closer in Europe, Realme unveiled its flagship phone for sale in UK and Spain.

Lastly, dozens of global leaders signed a letter to protect healthcare facilities from cyber attacks.

NASA’s SpaceX Demo-2 readies for Astronaut launch

US’ space agency passed its final review of SpaceX Demo-2 on Tuesday at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The mission on Wednesday will be the first from US soil in nearly a decade, and will reset space exploration.

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon spacecraft are scheduled to carry NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley on May 27 at 4:33 p.m. US time from Kennedy’s Launch Complex 39A.

The Demo-2 will be SpaceX’s final test flight to prove its crew transportation system, including the Falcon 9 launch system, Crew Dragon and operational capabilities.

“We’re burning down the final paper. All the teams are a go, and we’re continuing to progress toward our mission,” Kathy Lueders, manager, NASA Commercial Crew Program said in a statement.

On Saturday, Astronauts Behnken and Hurley took part in a full-dress rehearsal. They suited up and climbed aboard the Crew Dragon at Launch Complex 39A. The duo remain in quarantine as part of the prelaunch preparations for astronauts travelling into space.

Upon arrival in space, the two astronauts will join the Expedition 63 crew to do research and support station operations and maintenance.

Virgin Orbit fails on debut flight

Virgin Orbit, a small satellite launch company founded by Sir Richard Branson, failed to successfully launch a rocket over the Pacific Ocean, the BBC reported.

An old jumbo, specifically converted for the launch, released the booster from under one of its wings. The rocket later ignited its engine, but “an anomaly then occurred early’’ in the booster’s trajectory, the company tweeted in follow-up messages.

Everything happened as planned with the booster dropping away from the plane on command before the anomaly occurred. Its main engine ran into a problem, and wasn’t successful in carrying the test payload to the planned destination.

It is still not clear as to what precisely went wrong. But, Virgin Orbit warned earlier that the chance of success was 50:50.

"Test flights are instrumented to yield data and we now have a treasure trove of that. We accomplished many of the goals we set for ourselves, though not as many as we would have liked," CEO Dan Hart said.

"Nevertheless, we took a big step forward today. Our engineers are already poring through the data. Our next rocket is waiting. We will learn, adjust, and begin preparing for our next test, which is coming up soon."

Monday’s flight had been delayed from last year over rocket modifications the company was working on.

Dutch court settles family dispute using internet privacy law

A grandmother’s refusal to remove pictures of her grandchild on Facebook and Pinterest has escalated into a court case to test the limits of internet privacy laws in the Netherlands, the New York Times reported.

A judge banned the grandmother from posting pictures of her three grandchildren on social media withing getting consent from the children’s mother, her own daughter.

The grandmother had violated Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The law mandates that posting photos of minors under 16 of age requires approval from their legal guardians, according to the Dutch court.

The judge had ordered the woman to delete all pictures of her three grandchildren from Facebook and Pinterest within 10 days. For every additional day after that, she would incur a fine of at least 50 euros/day, he ruled.

The case’s novel application of internet privacy law, enacted in May 2018, has drawn much attention to judgement. GDPR is usually seen in the light of governments going after big tech firms that hold users’ data. But the regulation also gives users rights to limit how their personal information is gathered, stored and shared online.

“This is to my knowledge the first case ever in which the G.D.P.R. is used to adjudicate a family dispute,” Arnoud Engelfriet, a lawyer specialising in internet law in the Netherlands said.

“This law gives private individuals cause of action against both companies, governments and individuals that violate their privacy. We rarely see this in action due to the costs involved, but it is certainly possible.”

Alternatively, according to a data-privacy lawyer and lecturer at Vrije University in Amsterdam, the Dutch court’s decision raises several questions on how data-protection laws are applied and the power of individuals to forcefully remove information.

“There will always be conflicting interests in applying these sorts of rights,” Tijmen Wisman, data-privacy lawyer, said.

Global leaders call on governments to curb cyber attacks

Over 40 global leaders, including Nobel laureates and former heads of state, have signed a letter asking governments across the world and the UN to stop cyberattacks targeted at health care and research facilities during the COVID-19 crisis.

The letter follows recent cyberattacks on medical facilities in France, Spain, the United States, Czech Republic, the World Health Organizations, and other health authorities.

The attacks against these countries and institutions range from ransomware operations aimed at primary and urgent care networks to disinformation campaigns that undermine and disrupt response to the pandemic.

These cyber campaigns have underscored the vulnerability of the sector to rogue actors.

“We’re in the midst of the most urgent health crisis in modern history, and these attacks threaten all of humanity,” Peter Maurer, President of the International Committee of the Red Cross and signatory of the call said.

Some of the signatories include, Nandan Nilekani, non-Executive Chairman of the Board, Infosys; Ban Ki-moon, Former Secretary General of the United Nations; Khoo Boon Hui, Former President, INTERPOL; Eugene Kaspersky, Chief Executive Officer, Kaspersky; and Brad Smith, President, Microsoft.

This call for action comes against the backdrop of discussions on cyber stability and cyber attacks against healthcare facilities. In recent times, these units have become a store of health and personal data of citizens in specific countries.

Realme unveils flagship phone for 499 euros

For the first time, Realme will launch its flagship phone outside India.

The Shenzhen-based smartphone maker will unveil its top-end phone Realme X3 Superzoom in Spain and the UK, TheVerge reported.

The phone’s key feature is its periscope zoom lens; something that has been seen only in expensive flagship devices such as Oppo Find X2 Pro or Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra.

The lens provides 5x zoom over a 64MP primary camera and is paired with an 8MP sensor. The quad-camera array has an 8MP ultrawide and a 2MP macro lens.

The flagship phone has a 6.6-inch 1080p screen with a 120Hz refresh rate. The X3 Superzoom has an LCD panel, which makes its slightly larger than usual chin at the bottom edge. And this phone’s fingerprint sensor is embedded in the power button on the side, instead of on the display panel.

The phone is powered by a Snapdragon 855+ processor, and has a 4,200 mAh battery that charges at 30W over USB-C. The X3 Superzoom does not have an IP rating, but the company claims “three waterproof layers” in the phone’s chassis.

In Europe, the phone will be sold in 12GB of RAM and 256GB storage configuration for 499 euros in the UK.

Recommended for you
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Jul 5, 2020 5:03:26 PM |

Next Story