The Falcon 9 rocket responsible for resupplying the International Space Station exploded mid flight earlier today, three minutes after launch. It is the third resupply mission to the ISS that has failed this year.
Overpressure in the upper stage liquid oxygen tank was the cause of the explosion, according to SpaceX CEO and founder Elon Musk. NASA and SpaceX will conduct an investigation to find out why exactly the overpressure occurred.
It is disappointing for SpaceX, who were planning to recover part of the Falcon 9 rocket on a drone platform in the ocean. The recovery mission is part of SpaceX’s own project to recycle parts of the rocket, instead of spending millions building new rockets for every mission. Musk believes this is the key to a sustainable space industry, one that will get us to Mars.
Mars seems like a distant future though, given the high rate of cargo mission failures. The ISS should be fine for the next few months, with food and water supplies until September. The Falcon 9 rocket was stocked with 5,000 pounds of supplies, including food, science experiments and Microsoft HoloLens devices for astronauts to communicate with NASA scientists on Earth.
The investment into privatising cargo missions is not going too well for NASA, perhaps putting too much value on the space industry and safety standards. That said, SpaceX has shown it is consistent, with this being the only failure out of 18 successful launches.
NASA will continue to work with private space companies for cargo missions, potentially opening the floor for other mid to high level missions in the near future. SpaceX has already been cleared for mid level missions, which include launching satellites.
French Justice Minister Christiane Taubira said it would be possible that National Security Agency contractor and leaker Edward Snowden, and WikiLeaks founder and activist Julian Assange could both seek asylum in France.
In an open letter addressed to Apple, superstar singer Taylor Swift threw a few punches at Apple Music’s policy to not pay artists for any songs listened by free trial users.
This means for the first three months of Apple Music’s existence, artists would not receive a single penny for their contribution.
It does seem like a rather stingy way of doing business. Thankfully, Apple’s head of services Eddy Cue was on the ball, responding to Swift’s open letter within a few hours revealing a reversal in the decision to not pay artists for free trial period listens.
Cue said that Apple will support all artists regardless of trial or payment period. It seems like a win-win for both sides, Swift and musicians receive more money; Apple gains PR for being the good sport and listening.
However, there is a worry that Apple’s reversal is only half-baked. In a report released later in the week, we found out that Apple is not disclosing the price per listen for music under the free trial, meaning artists will be paid less if a load of free listeners are tuning in.
Apple also said the music streaming platform will start sending more money to artists, as soon as it grabs more paying customers. Evidently, Apple is not planning to pay the same amount, but it still remains to be seen what the split in pay per listen will be.
It could be a similar payment difference to Spotify, but instead of customers paying with ads, Apple is paying with its own money. That would mean the 100 million it is trying to pull in over the three month period wouldn’t become too costly for the £120 billion the company is hiding away in its treasure chest.
One of the issues with Apple’s business model is instead of making money, they’re going to be spending a lot. Beats 1, the radio station, will undoubtedly need support and hundreds of artists are being tapped to work on Connect, the music social network.
Alongside paying for licensing, Apple is going to be forking out a ton of money to keep Apple Music alive. In two or three years this might be a worthwhile investment, but that all depends on if users stay subscribed after the three month period.
For those wanting to test a Hyperloop pod, Elon Musk’s space company SpaceX is offering a one-mile track outside its HQ in Hawthorne, California. The new initiative is the first public move by SpaceX to forward the Hyperloop, which Musk revealed in 2014 as a new type of transport using low-air tubes to carry passengers at high speeds.
Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba is planning to launch a Netflix-rival with HBO-style programming, named Tmall Box Office.
Elon Musk claimed Tesla Motors had three challenges: high-end, low quantity; mi-range, medium quantity; low-end, high quantity. It is currently still in the first stage, but plans to launch the Model X later this year will bring it into the second stage.
Apple announced iOS 9, Mac OS X El Capitan, Apple Music and WatchOS 2 at the Worldwide Developer Conference this week, but the event still left a lot to be desired.