Soupjoe5 OP t1_j292tep wrote


SEOUL, Dec 30 (Reuters) - South Korea conducted a successful test flight of a solid-propellant space launch vehicle, the country's defence ministry said on Friday.

Earlier on Friday, South Korean media reported multiple citings of an unidentified flying object over the country's airspace.

In June, South Korea's second test launch of its domestically produced, liquid-engine Nuri rocket successfully placed several satellites in orbit, taking a major step in progressing its space programme.


Soupjoe5 OP t1_j1jbjcx wrote


Deal for Sunday games is an expensive way for parent company Alphabet to buy an audience

Streaming companies cannot stop spending their money on live sports. Amazon paid $1bn to be the exclusive provider of “Thursday Night Football”. Apple signed a 10-year deal with Major League Soccer. Now YouTube has agreed to pay about $2bn per year for exclusive rights to certain National Football League Sunday afternoon games.

Perhaps Alphabet chief executive Sundar Pichai is an American football fan? This is an expensive way for YouTube’s parent company to buy an audience. YouTubeTV costs $64.99 per month. If it charges a $25 add-on for NFL games, it will need 1.85mn subscribers to break even. That means increasing its subscriber base by around a third. It will hope to pick up subscribers from former NFL Sunday Ticket rights holder DirecTV.

There is a reason Apple and Amazon do not separate out profits and losses from their own streaming services. Alphabet reports only YouTube’s advertising revenue (which is down on last year). Subscriptions for YouTube Premium and YouTube TV are included in “other” — a huge category that also includes in-app purchases and sales of Fitbits.

Alphabet says the division’s growth is led by YouTube. Given the increase was less than 2 per cent in the nine months ending September 30, this is not particularly impressive.

Look at results published by rivals and the brutal impact of competition is clear. Disney’s “direct to consumer” media and entertainment unit — aka streaming — reported an operating loss of $4bn on revenue of just under $20bn in the 12 months to October 2. Charging low monthly rates while buying pricey programmes is expensive.

Alphabet has the funds to compete. The NFL deal is equal to about 3 per cent of free cash flow last year. Using sport to lock in long-term subscribers may mitigate the slump in US streaming audiences that Netflix reports. YouTube has a seven-year contract with the NFL.

But sports broadcasting is not an automatic money-spinner. See BT’s exit from the game. The scrummage of competitors will make it tough for YouTube to break through.


Soupjoe5 OP t1_j13ulgj wrote


  • Roscosmos said it would place publicly traded bonds on Russia’s financial markets throughout next year

  • Russia’s space agency will borrow up to 50 billion roubles (US$710 million) in 2023

Russia’s space agency will borrow up to 50 billion roubles (US$710 million) in 2023 to fund a mass satellite-building programme to catch up with the United States and China, the organisation said on Tuesday.

Roscosmos said it would place publicly traded bonds on Russia’s financial markets throughout next year to boost its capacity to produce and launch satellites both for the Russian government and private companies.

The space agency has this year launched a number of satellites into orbit, including for Russia’s GLONASS radio-based satellite navigation system – seen as a potential rival for to US global position system (GPS) – and Iran’s Khayyam imaging satellite, a launch that raised fears in the West it could boost Russia’s military capabilities in Ukraine.

Roscosmos head Yuri Borisov said in an interview with the Vedomosti business paper on Wednesday that the organisation planned to fund the building of two factories to produce satellites.

Russia currently produces around 15 satellites a year, Borisov said, far behind the United States and China.

“Elon Musk produces six spacecraft a day and plans to create as many as 42,000 satellites by 2022. China’s production capacity is over 500 satellites a year,” Vedomosti quoted Borisov as saying.

Borisov wants Russia to produce 200 to 250 satellites a year by the end of 2025.

Roscosmos is currently scrambling to find a solution to a coolant leak on its Soyuz spacecraft docked at the International Space Station that saw a planned spacewalk by Russian cosmonauts cancelled.


Soupjoe5 OP t1_j10kv00 wrote


For decades Apple counted China as its most important assembly base, but that winning formula reached a crisis point this year. In the spring, key MacBook and iPhone production sites in Shanghai faced massive disruptions due to a monthslong COVID lockdown. In November, Apple warned of delays in deliveries of its premium iPhone 14 Pro and 14 Pro Max for the holiday season, citing pandemic-related labor shortages at its most important production base in Zhengzhou, Henan province.

Chiu Shih-fang, a supply chain analyst with the Taiwan Institute of Economic Research, says the changes to the tech supply chain are irreversible.

"In the past, most people in the industry always hoped that the situation could ease and things could go back to the good old days," Chiu told Nikkei Asia. "But this time, they realize there is no way of turning back and no matter what they need to prepare alternatives beyond China."

China's strict COVID policies have accelerated the shift, and it is now happening faster than industry executives and market analysts thought a few years ago, Chiu said, adding that intensifying U.S.-China tensions were also playing a role.

"No one wants their businesses to be trapped and hit badly just because their production is too concentrated in one place. From big to small, suppliers now need to have some solutions for facing this new global reality."

Apple's diversification to Vietnam started with AirPods, which went into mass production there in 2020. The company also shifted some iPads and Apple Watch production to the Southeast Asian country this year, Nikkei Asia first reported, and in October it announced it had started producing the iPhone 14 in India, only a few weeks after the release of the latest flagship phone.

Sources have told Nikkei Asia that Apple aims to significantly increase iPhone output from India this year and next, with the aim of turning the country into another key production base for the devices. Apple also aims to move some AirPods and Beats earphone production to India, Nikkei Asia earlier reported.

Apple did not respond to Nikkei Asia's request for comment. Foxconn declined to comment.


Soupjoe5 OP t1_j10krda wrote



iPhone maker aims to have 'out of China' production alternatives for key products

TAIPEI -- Apple plans to move some MacBook production to Vietnam for the first time next year as the U.S. tech group continues diversifying its production base away from China amid escalating tech tensions between Washington and Beijing.

Apple has tapped its top supplier, Taiwan's Foxconn, to start making MacBooks in the Southeast Asian nation as early as around May, sources briefed on the matter said. Apple has been working to add production sites outside of China for all of its major product lines, but doing so for the final one, the MacBook, has taken longer due to the complex supply chain needed for making laptop computers.

"After the MacBook production shifts, all of Apple's flagship products basically will have one more production location beyond China ... iPhones in India and MacBooks, the Apple Watch and iPads in Vietnam," one person with direct knowledge of the matter told Nikkei Asia. "What Apple wants now is an 'out of China' option for at least part of production for all of its products."

The company has been working on plans to move some MacBook manufacturing to Vietnam for nearly two years, and has set up a test production line in the country, Nikkei Asia reported earlier. Apple makes between 20 million and 24 million MacBooks annually, with production spread between bases in the Chinese cities of Chengdu, in Sichuan province, and Shanghai.

The shift to Vietnam comes amid not only rising geopolitical tensions but also production disruptions caused by China's zero-COVID policies and uncertainty from their sudden loosening in recent weeks. For China, the loss of its lock on MacBook production symbolizes the broader weakening of its position as the world's factory. Top electronics makers from Apple, HP and Dell, to Google and Meta have all made at least some plans to shift production and sourcing away from China since former U.S. President Donald Trump started a tariff war against the country.

Production of most U.S.-bound data center servers made for Google, Meta, Amazon and Microsoft, for example, has moved to Taiwan, Mexico or Thailand.

"Overall, China's benefits in terms of low-cost manufacturing are fading and many U.S. clients now want some production location alternatives outside of China," said an executive at Inventec, a key supplier to HP and Dell. "This is already an accelerating trend for almost all global brands and it will not likely change going forward."


Soupjoe5 OP t1_j0lmk87 wrote


UK companies that outsource their data to cloud providers must comply with the Financial Conduct Authority’s rules, including having a plan if the cloud computing firm faces an outage.

Some are concerned that the US tech companies’ growing presence in the infrastructure underpinning global financial markets may evolve into a greater challenge, including them becoming the exchanges themselves.

For now, they are looking to make money from selling the cloud infrastructure “so won’t be looking to compete with their clients, but long term they will want to harness the knowledge” and may therefore expand, said Beattie.

In October, the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority began seeking views on the role of Big Tech in finance.

Sheldon Mills, executive director of consumers and competition at the FCA, is assessing competitive threats and said: “This is vital when we consider the role of Big Tech firms in the provision of key technological infrastructure like cloud services.”

It is an assessment that points to how Big Tech may eventually look to build on this newfound interest in exchanges and their data. “Right now they need each other but long term, the friendly supplier could become a very big threat,” Beattie said.


Soupjoe5 OP t1_j0lmghq wrote


The cloud providers also see cosying up to the exchanges as helping to secure business with thousands of related financial companies. Nasdaq, for instance, has many infrastructure customers that rely on it for trading, clearing and settlement, which means they too will be relying on AWS.

“There are going to be opportunities for us to actually form new relationships,” said Scott Mullins, managing director of worldwide financial services at AWS. “There are some markets that we don’t have infrastructure in yet and we’ll have an opportunity to expand,” he added.

Beattie of MSP said: “The cloud providers definitely want to learn more about financial markets and the quid pro quo is that they get to stipulate a minimum spend on their platforms, thus guaranteeing future income. It was probably critical for Microsoft to get this sort of deal when their competitors already had something in the bag.”

The partnerships are non-exclusive — analysts say to avoid being caught in regulators’ crosshairs. Lawmakers are expected to be closely watching the creeping interest of Big Tech in global capital markets, especially since a handful of cloud computing firms run the majority of the market. Amazon, Microsoft and Google cloud computing services had a combined market share of 66 per cent globally in the third quarter of this year, according to Synergy Research Group.

The Bank of International Settlement warned in July that a growing reliance among financial institutions on cloud computing software supplied by a handful of Big Tech companies could have “systemic implications for the financial system”.

“The cloud has changed the idea of what a strategic [supplier] is,” said Lee Sustar, analyst at advisory company Forrester Research. “When the cloud becomes the vehicle for all your IT, that’s a qualitatively different type of challenge.”


Soupjoe5 OP t1_j0lmd9p wrote


One favourite function of the Bloomberg terminal is its messaging app. Microsoft and LSEG are aiming to create a new, unified chat and data platform by combining Microsoft’s Teams messaging system with the exchange’s analytics.

“People use Bloomberg primarily because of the chat function and creating that community ecosystem . . . that’s an important part of institutional financial markets,” said Ben Quinlan, chief executive of consultancy Quinlan and Associates. But he added that Bloomberg’s customers are sticky and eating into its market share has long been difficult.

One person close to LSEG said it would be wrong to think of this as the next phase in the terminal war. “Sure Microsoft will make the Eikon user interface better but that’s not the big prize, that war will never be won,” he person said, noting that Eikon generates a relatively small proportion of Refinitiv’s revenue, about $1bn.

Instead, this person said that the view inside LSEG was that terminal sales would decline because there are fewer human traders. The future fight was “data piping” via the cloud, feeding data into the computerised programmes that are doing the trading — and feeding data into the bespoke systems that banks build for themselves.

Here, Microsoft has the advantage of another product that has been around since the early 1980s: its Excel spreadsheet application. By integrating LSEG’s financial data into Excel, the companies intend to use algorithms to help analysts create financial models, charts and presentations all in one place inside Microsoft Office.

“It’s quite an ambitious set of proposals,” said Ian White, analyst at Autonomous Research, adding it would “make a competitive, better integrated tech offering that addresses some of the clunkiness”.

So what is in it for the tech groups? There is the financial aspect. Microsoft expects to generate $5bn in revenue through the 10-year partnership, with a $2.8bn minimum spend from LSEG guaranteed. Microsoft is also buying a 4 per cent stake in LSEG and taking a board seat.


Soupjoe5 OP t1_j0lm9ki wrote



Microsoft’s deal with London Stock Exchange Group follows moves by Amazon Web Services and Google into capital markets

Big Tech is cosying up to capital markets. The announcement this week of a partnership between Microsoft and the London Stock Exchange Group is the third such alliance to be formed in a little over a year.

In November 2021, Google spent $1bn and signed a 10-year cloud computing agreement with Chicago-based CME. Amazon Web Services and New York’s Nasdaq agreed a similar deal later that same month, and last week, Nasdaq completed moving one of its US options exchanges on to AWS.

For the exchanges, the advantages are clear. “We are building products together, we are going to market together,” said David Schwimmer, chief executive of LSEG. “This is about our data and analytics capability.”

The US software group will help LSEG shift its infrastructure to Microsoft’s Cloud, which will give it greater processing power and allow the company to package its data faster and more flexibly.

“Moving on to the cloud is very important as they have to enable themselves for the next generation of computing capability,” said Niki Beattie, chief executive of consultancy Market Structure Partners. She added that without this, “it will be hard to move forward at pace”.

LSEG’s data and analytics business is the linchpin of the company, generating £2.4bn in revenue in the first half of 2022. Its customers, which span fund managers and analysts to traders and investment bankers, use its data to make their decisions. LSEG says it has data on companies accounting for 99 per cent of the world’s market capitalisation, as well as price and economic figures from 165 countries.

“Microsoft has whizzy AI and algorithms, they have unique data, and they have the infrastructure to manipulate and create products with that. It’s reasonable to assume revenue growth,” said a top-20 LSEG investor.

Could the partnership also develop a “Bloomberg killer”? More than 40 years after Michael Bloomberg founded his data business, his eponymous terminal remains ubiquitous on trading floors. The rival Eikon product, which LSEG acquired through its $27bn acquisition of Refinitiv, trails in popularity.


Soupjoe5 OP t1_j0ll8d1 wrote


Executives from SpaceX and Blue Origin LLC were among the business, academic and non-profit leaders Vice President Kamala Harris named to serve on a National Space Council advisory group.

Harris said Friday that SpaceX President and Chief Operating Officer Gwynne Shotwell, Blue Origin Chief Executive Officer Robert Smith and Ted Colbert, president and CEO of Boeing Defense, Space and Security were selected for the council’s Users Advisory Group, pending their official appointment by National Aeronautics and Space Administration chief, Bill Nelson.

The group will provide advice and recommendations to the National Space Council, which seeks to encourage government and private-sector cooperation to boost the nation’s space industry. The advisers are intended to ensure that the interests of industry and other non-government stakeholders have a voice on the council.

CEOs Jim Taiclet of Lockheed Martin Corp., Kathy Warden of Northrop Grumman Corp. and Salvatore Bruno of United Launch Alliance LLC will also be on the advisory panel, along with Rajeev Badyal, vice president of technology at Amazon Project Kuiper, Daniel Hastings, who heads the Department of Aeronautics & Astronautics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Women in Aerospace Chairwoman Bridget Chatman.

President Joe Biden tasked the vice president with chairing the National Space Council last year.


Soupjoe5 OP t1_iye92ah wrote


“Some of the most critical technologies for a space program involve the ability to dock and rendezvous autonomously, accomplish maneuvers and in-space assembly,” said Goswami, all of which China aims to continue testing and improving.

But perhaps more importantly, permanent occupancy implies that China will build on its strategic goal of dominating the space between Earth and the moon, while training and equipping people to live in space. This will offer strategic insights into space biology, space weather and the long-term effects of long stays on the human body.

Last but not least, a sustained presence in space will also allow Chinese officials to prepare for landing astronauts on the moon and compete with NASA’s Artemis program.

So why the security concerns?

Although Beijing insists that it plans to use space for peaceful purposes and scientific achievements, the emergence of an undemocratic and autocratic China as a space power is seen as a potential security risk to other countries, particularly given the dual-use nature of the space technologies being developed, the PLA’s prominence in the domestic space industry and Beijing’s lack of transparency.

Compounding these concerns, said CSIS’s Bingen, are national intelligence laws that compel civil and commercial enterprises to support intelligence-gathering efforts and China’s ruling Communist Party’s “civil-military” fusion strategy, which blurs any line between military and civilian space programs.

“While Beijing pursues these exploration programs it is also building out a vast array of ground- and space-based anti-satellite weapons, including missiles like the one tested in 2007 that created dangerous orbital debris that will remain in orbit and threaten both our space stations and other satellites for decades to come.”

These concerns were confirmed by the U.S. intelligence community in the latest threat assessment report.

“Counterspace operations will be integral to potential military campaigns by the PLA, and China has counterspace weapons capabilities intended to target U.S. and allied satellites,” it said, warning that the Chinese military is also integrating space services — such as satellite reconnaissance and communications — into its weapons and command-and-control systems to erode the U.S. military’s information advantage.


Soupjoe5 OP t1_iye8z7f wrote


Earlier this year, Beijing released a White Paper outlining its plans for space science, exploration, technology and propulsion over the coming five years, while stating that the country’s space industry “serves the overall national strategy.”

The paper lays out a broad array of priorities for spaceflight, including upgrading and expanding launch vehicles, building out satellite constellations, operating the Tiangong space station and planning crewed lunar landings, as well as exploring the moon, Mars and beyond.

Independent scholar and author Namrata Goswami said that the thrust of China's space program is to accomplish resource utilization, including asteroid mining, lunar resource extraction, nuclear fusion and reusable rockets, while establishing a strategic presence on the Earth Moon Lagrange points, or positions in space where gravity and centrifugal force balance each other.

“China's space program has shifted the narrative of space from Cold War, Western-led concepts like 'space is all about prestige' to demonstrating that space is about the economic benefits it brings,” said Goswami.

Beijing has announced several ambitious plans for the coming years, including collecting near-Earth asteroid samples and conducting two lunar polar exploration missions by 2025. It also plans to launch a Mars sample-return mission, send an unmanned probe to Jupiter and land astronauts on the moon by 2030.

The country also wants to develop reusable carrier rockets by 2035 before establishing an initially robotic — and later intermittently crewed — research base on the moon by 2036 and one on Mars by 2045, the latter of which could benefit from China’s plans to build a nuclear-powered space shuttle by 2040.

“China is building a ‘Silk Road to Space’ and I have no doubt that they are capable of doing this,” said Head at Brown University.

But where does the Tiangong space station fit into these plans?

Although only about 20% the mass of the ISS, experts say the Tiangong will not only be used as a platform for space science experiments but also as a tool for soft power, prestige and potentially a means of attracting partners for space cooperation.

“The completion of the station demonstrates that China is a space power with the technical advancements, operational proficiency and resource commitment to sustain a long-term human presence in space,” said Bingen, adding that the breakthrough comes amid uncertainty about the future of the ISS.

Moreover, the Tiangong will enable China to build an entire low-Earth orbit logistical system, including cargo transfers vital for life support away from Earth.


Soupjoe5 OP t1_iye8wfb wrote


“The Chinese improved in some areas but they saved a lot of time and money using Russian technology,” he said.

In recent decades, the Chinese program has developed at an incredibly fast pace, with Beijing investing heavily to turn the country into a comprehensive space power behind only the U.S. in terms of accomplishments and capabilities.

The overarching aim is to transform China into an “all-round world-leading country in space equipment and technology” by 2045, according to Chinese state media.

“China's space program has been growing by leaps and bounds,” said Brown University professor James Head, pointing to the country’s achievements in human and robotic exploration and a string of successes on the moon and Mars.

Andrew Jones, a Finland-based journalist who covers China's space program, has a similar view.

“China's long-term vision for and investment in space has paid dividends in recent years, with notable achievements, including the first-ever landing on the far side of the moon, a successful rover landing on Mars and the development of space infrastructure for communications, Earth observation and navigation and positioning.”

China, which built its own space station in less than two years, now has an independent navigation system (Beidou) and the ability to support humans in low-Earth orbit. It also launched more satellites last year than any other nation.

In the coming months Beijing plans to launch the Xuntian space telescope, which is reported to have a field of view 300 to 350 times that of NASA's Hubble Space Telescope.

“The Chinese have been able to achieve what they said they would do in pretty short order,” said professor Quentin Parker, director of the Laboratory for Space Research at the University of Hong Kong.

“They plan well, they execute well. They learn carefully, and they are doing an exemplary job in demonstrating how to emerge as a major spacefaring nation,” Parker said.

An ambitious agenda

But as experts point out, this might be just the beginning.

“China’s space ambitions come directly from the very top as part of President Xi Jinping's space dream,” said Kari Bingen, director of the Aerospace Security Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).


Soupjoe5 OP t1_iye8v7q wrote



China has successfully sent a new team of astronauts to its Tiangong space station, a significant achievement that not only marks the country’s first in-orbit crew handover but possibly also the beginning of continuous occupancy at the station.

The rendezvous in space marks a milestone for China’s rapidly advancing space program as Beijing aims to catch up with and eventually surpass the United States as the dominant power in space.

The three-man crew arrived at the space station Wednesday aboard a Shenzhou-15 spacecraft to take over from three colleagues who had arrived in June and are set to return next week.

The new team will stay for six months and focus on installing equipment around the newly completed, three-module station, which will host a variety of experiments in near-zero gravity and become only the second permanently inhabited space outpost after the NASA-led International Space Station.

The Tiangong station is set to operate for about a decade in low-Earth orbit, while the ISS is expected to conclude operations by 2030.

While Wednesday’ success has given the Chinese nation reason to celebrate as it grapples with COVID-19 lockdowns and protests, there are concerns in the United States and elsewhere about the security implications of China’s ambitious space program.

“Beijing is working to match or exceed U.S. capabilities in space to gain the military, economic, and prestige benefits that Washington has accrued from space leadership,” the U.S. intelligence community said in this year’s threat assessment report.

But just how advanced is China’s space program?

The Chinese program started in the late 1950s and the country launched its first satellite in 1970 using the Long March-1 rocket. The program has long been tied to the military, with the Long March rocket series being closely linked to Beijing’s efforts to develop intercontinental ballistic missiles.

China is no exception in allowing a role for the military in space, but unlike the United States and its partners, the China National Space Administration, the country’s main civilian space agency, is heavily influenced by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA).

To speed up program development, China also relied on technologies made in other countries, particularly Russia, in the field of human spaceflight, said Pablo de Leon, chair of the Department of Space Studies at the University of North Dakota. De Leon pointed to similarities between Russian and Chinese space suits and re-entry vehicles, among other things.