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Hypernova Space Technologies Eyeing For Rocket Launch

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Africa is demonstrating significant growth in the commercial space industry. The government introduced policy reforms and implemented programs in support of the increasing demand for space technologies. Plus, many encourage companies to invest in communication satellite development across the continent. Hypernova Space Technologies in Cape Town is changing the game in space missions.

The company developed a thruster system capable of propelling even the most minor satellites. Hypernova claimed that this cutting-edge technology is helpful for small satellites weighing less than 10 kilograms. It is also suitable for CubeSats, a type of minisatellite for space research measuring 10cm.

Most satellites are just computers tossed out the side of a rocket tumbling in space – Jonathan Lun. 

At present, about 3,200 nanosatellites are floating in space which will possibly increase exponentially over time. SpaceX alone is planning to launch a constellation consisting of 42,000 satellites. However, experts worry that this rapid increase may lead to severe problems in the future. When left unmanaged, nanosatellites risk colliding with each other, causing debris that might be dangerous for other ongoing missions. 

A SpaceX rocket tested in May using the company’s latest nanosatellites (Source: BBC)

Milestones Of Hypernova’s Thruster Technology Development 

  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) researched Thruster tech but never fully succeeded. About a decade ago, Jonathan Lun, Hypernova’s Co-Founder and CEO, discovered an alternative fuel for space exploration. Then, he found out that an electric reaction could vaporize solid metal fuel. Then it allowed a jet of fast-moving plasma that could push a satellite forward. Mr. Lun also proved that solid fuels are stable enough to support the launching of a thruster system.
  • Notable improvements were discovered during the series of tests undertaken by the team. There is no need for refueling during the launch or about the material being toxic or damaged, according to Stephen Tillemans, the head of engineering of Hypernova Space Technologies. 
  • Hypernova has successfully undertaken several environmental tests. They tested the product by running it into a vacuum, within extreme temperature, and also with high vibration. 
  • Hypernova’s first space mission is scheduled in early 2022 in partnership with EnduroSat, a company located in Bulgaria. They are targeting to evaluate the performance of the thruster technology in space. They will also calculate its force to determine whether it could successfully change the orbit of a satellite.

Hypernova Space Technologies Pushes For Partnerships With Other Organizations

MIT and ESA

Hypernova Space Technology continues to build partnerships in the area of research and development. Other organizations also showed their interest in investing in the development of thruster technology. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) takes part in the study of a 3D-printed thruster. It is a first-of-its-kind nanosatellite thruster that uses a combination of 3D printing and hydrothermal growth of zinc oxide nanowires. 

The 3D-printed thruster produces pure ions from the ionic liquid that causes propulsion. Researchers are hoping for the technology to be cost-efficient propulsion for miniature satellites. The pure ions enable the thruster system to become more efficient compared with similar modern devices. It generates more thrust per unit flow of propellant, as revealed by Luis Fernando Velasquez-Garcia of MIT Microsystems Technology Laboratories. 

MIT’s 3D-printed thruster (Source: MIT News)

The European Space Agency (ESA) introduced its Helicon Plasma Thruster. This compact thruster system is ideal for the propulsion of small satellites and maintaining the formation of prominent orbital constellations.

The Helicon Plasma Thruster uses high-power radiofrequency waves to stimulate fuel into a plasma. It was first tested in 2015 and is continuously being improved into a more compact and lighter design. Since then, the product will receive research funding from the European Commission’s Strategic Research Cluster on Electric Propulsion. The objective of the research is to further develop the technology into a viable option for small satellites. The result of the study is the new “Helicon Plasma Thruster of in-space applications”. 

South African Organizations

Aside from these recent developments, Hypernova is also collaborating with other industry players in South Africa. One of which is the Electrical and Electronic Engineering Department at Stellenbosch University. The group is currently developing a technology that would allow satellites to dock with each other. The institutions may release more details about the study soon.

More importantly, the government has been supportive of Africa’s space industry. Since the first launch of the continent’s first-ever satellite over two decades ago, 44 more have been sent into space by 13 countries. Some 125 satellites are being developed and are expected to be launched into space by 2025. Based on a 2021 World Economic Forum report, data collected by satellites is valued at approximately 2 billion dollars per year.

Challenges and Next Steps 

The active partnership with the African government and other organizations plays a crucial role in the success of the Hypernova Space Technology space mission. Support to local businesses engaging in this type of project is critical. However, the continent’s space industry still has to overcome several challenges, mainly lack of resources. Considering the capabilities of the US and Europe, the comparison is indeed apples to oranges. 

There is more private funding available within the United States or European region. Whereas in Africa, it is a given fact that space technology is not a top priority. Changing the mindset of the government and the general public is another thing. Hopefully, this capital-intensive project will not fall through even with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. 

Everyone must stay in control amidst the ever-changing world of technology. Investors need to adapt to these changes quickly. For Mr. Jonathan Lun, the only way to move forward is to scale-up Hypernova’s thruster technology. The cutting-edge technology has a strong potential for much bigger satellites and successful space explorations.

He is confident that using metal as fuel will open more extensive opportunities for the industry. Therefore, replacing the rare, expensive liquid and gas fuels with low-cost metal fuels is a game-changer.

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Business

The Shift Towards Banking-As-A-Service

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The changing times and the pandemic have created a significant shift in how we bank. In addition, our expectations from banks have also differed through the years. The digitalization of the financial services industry has furthered the plan to get free access to banking data. This is in connection with the Open Banking initiative and the dramatic rise of fintech companies and neo-banks.

The market space that the traditional banks once dominated has now given new players the opportunities to compete alongside them. Indeed, the commoditization of bank services has inevitably begun.

A void to connect banks and these new players has been filled in the form of banking-as-as-service (or BaaS for short) providers. It’s only logical that a service such as this emerges. It’s the order next in line to streamline the customer experience and provide products that are built to engage the modern world. 

What exactly is banking-as-as-service?

The easiest way to explain what banking-as-as-service is is through a few examples, these are:

  • Bank accounts
  • Lending systems
  • Credit card payments

The digital world is changing the relationships of brands and businesses with their customers. It is rapidly shifting and improving that even non-bank companies have already integrated financial services to their customers. Established companies such as Walmart, Apple, Uber, or Amazon have already been doing this to add value to their products and services.

Why businesses should take the banking-as-as-service opportunity

To those in the know, banking technology is a complex matter. Developing it from the ground up can be laborious and expensive. Add to that the challenge of getting a bank license which turns off those trying to get in that niche. What banking-as-as-service does is to connect businesses with banks that take care of the requirements and provide the technology they need to provide financial services through a slew of digital channels.

This process will make banking services more engaging and less transactional. Businesses can now integrate services throughout the buying journey without redirecting them to a different platform. This means customers will no longer do the rigamarole of going from one channel to another. They will get what they need when and where they need it.

And statistics show that it is working. Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) services are steadily climbing at a rate of 39% per year for approximately 10 million Britons making their online purchases. 

What now for traditional banks?

Since traditional banks have little appetite for risks, they weren’t built to handle the demands for embedded finance. BaaS companies make it faster and easier for fintechs and other companies to increase their offerings by embedding digital banking services directly into the purchase. Instead of seeing this as competition, traditional banks should collaborate with BaaS to benefit from this embedding.

What can Banking-as-a-service do?

With the help of banking-as-a-service, new players in the finance industry will have the capability of targeting niche communities and coming up with slimmer product sets. Also, the solutions that BaaS offers can give valuable insights to businesses on how they can improve their products or services. They will have the much-needed data to learn about industry trends, saving and spending behaviors, and general engagement with their offerings.

All these means that businesses can have more information on how they can improve the overall customer experience. This also means companies can deliver products and services that are more targeted towards the right customers. The possibilities that banking-as-a-service offers are endless in terms of innovation in the banking and financial services market.

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Playrcart Gives You What You Want – Immediately

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We’ve all watched ads and immediately thought, “I want that. Right now.” Some of us wish we could jump right into the TV and into that sexy Ford F-Series quicker than we can have a second thought. But how many of us have gone to make a purchase only to be discouraged by the needlessly complicated payment process? “Too many,” says UK-based startup Playrcart

We believe this is the future of advertising.” 

Founder Glen Dormieux, along with CTO, Richard Mason, created Playrcart born of that very frustration.

What we’re seeing right now is fairly traditional – they’re doing the same thing time and time again.

Currently, when viewing an ad, you have to go through several pages in order to complete a purchase. How many sales are lost in that time-consuming process? “Too many!” say business owners in a Mr. Krabs-esque demeanor. 

How Does Playrcart Work?

Playrcart has designed its platform to convert digital assets into instant transactions within the ad itself. How is that possible? Technology, stupid. 

You can actually make the transaction go directly within the asset itself. So you engage with the ads, you interact with the purchase within the ad without ever leaving that same piece of content.

It effectively dilutes numerous clicks that you normally have to navigate through. The average of reduction clicks is about 75 percent.

With Playrcart, you can watch the trailer for a new Spider-man movie and buy tickets before it’s even completed. You can schedule a test drive in the Ford F-Series as you’re watching a professional drive it on a closed course. 

Consumers will now have the option to purchase something when their emotional response to an ad is at its peak. You can see an ad for a major event and as you’re riding that emotional wave you click and purchase tickets. As the ad concludes, you can emotionally conclude with it – satisfied. 

You can see Playrcart’s technology in action here

Playrcart is capitalizing on our instant gratification society, and they’re doing it with modesty and innovative advances in technology. 

We want to hit them instantly while you’ve got their attention.

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Slingshot Aerospace Launches Communication Tool After Acquiring Stellatus Solutions

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On Aug 18, 2021, Slingshot Aerospace acquired Stellatus Solutions. Initially, Stellatus was a project by the Department of Defense (DOD) Hacking for Defense Program. When they learned the problems faced by satellite operators were true, Holly Highfill and Kishen Ragunath eventually founded Stellatus. But months after its establishment as a company, the acquisition helped Slingshot Aerospace build their new tool: The Slingshot Beacon.

Let’s learn more about the acquisition and what it means for Slingshot Aerospace and the space industry.

The Stellatus Solutions- Slingshot Aerospace Acquisition: A Background

Before Stellatus Solution became part of Slingshot Solutions, Stellatus was a project by University of Chicago students to make communication easier between operators. This project aims to minimize the number of collisions among the 400 satellites in orbit. The number will be 200x more by 2030, with an expected number of 115,000 satellites in space.

At first, the students believed it was a theoretical project. But when they learned that satellite operators had communication issues, this motivated them to create the startup. It didn’t take them a year to get acquired by Slingshot. After all, their tech would be critical for one of their Slingshot Aerospace’s products, the Slingshot Beacon, announced by the startup in Aug 2021 as well.

The launch of the Slingshot Beacon was possible with the data and intellectual property Slingshot obtained from Stellatus. Holly Highfill and Kishen Raghunath, co-founders of Stellatus, are onboard Slingshot Aerospace. Highfill will have the position of Director of Customer Engagement and Strategy, while Raghunath will be Director of Finance and Strategy.

What is Slingshot Aerospace?

Founders Melanie Stricklan and Thomas Ashman know that space-related ventures have boomed over the past few years. Plus, they’re also Air Force vets, so they have more intelligence on the matter, especially satellites.

Not only that, there are communication issues in space. And it’s a problem. For one, it can be difficult to obtain data due to conflict. Plus, satellite operators may face challenges in analyzing data. Moreover, with high competition, the operators can’t get real-time and comprehensive information due to the number of satellites above. And it’s crucial they have relevant and complete information to determine the location of a satellite. Hence, satellites won’t crash.

To solve this problem, they collaborated with David Godwin. He’s a satellite architect, and with his knowledge of satellites, the trio can respond to the current communication problems faced by operators.

What does the acquisition mean for them?

The Slingshot Beacon, the product released in Aug 2021, is their new communications platform. The cutting-edge tech will help detect collisions and provide centralized communication and coordination. Plus, operators will know about maneuvers and other satellite-related functions.

Slingshot Aerospace has also collaborated with Numerica Corporation to help them with data and analytics.

The company got inspiration from the guard channels, which is a frequency monitoring only maydays and calls for help. With this in mind, they can aid organizations in monitoring their space objects and orbits. In addition, it has a few functions:

  • Operator contact info
  • Environmental anomalies reports
  • Alerts for planned maneuvers
  • Ephemeris sharing
  • Conjunction data messages

OneWeb, Orbit Fab, Spire Global Inc., and other companies will have the privilege to try their tool first. With the Slingshot Beacon, operators can communicate in one platform, which will allow them to access data easily. Based on the press release published by the startup, it ensures safety and transparency. Not only that, but it will prevent possible collisions.

Moreover, their tool ensures that data is digestible, accelerating decision-making and helping the public and governments build confidence.

Orbit Fab, in particular, has expressed its excitement over the use of Slingshot Beacon. They’re the Gas Stations in Space, and the tool will help streamline communication for them.

Features of the Slingshot Beacon launched Q3 2021:

  • File sharing
  • Live and historic data processing
  • Collaboration (internal and external)
  • Workflows with automation tools for risk screening
  • Third-party plugins and integration
  • Data capture and upload and download of customer ephemeris
  • Easy onboard
  • End to end security
  • Built-in compliance
  • AWS cloud services

For more news, read more stories here at Owner’s Mag!

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