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Inspiration4: SpaceX’s all-civilian mission launches to orbit

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San Francisco, Sep 16: Inspiration4, run by tech billionaire Elon Musk’s SpaceX, has launched its first all-civilian mission to orbit on Thursday.

SpaceX’s charity-driven mission named Inspiration4 lifted off at 8:02 p.m. EDT Wednesday (5.30 am India time Thursday) aboard SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft from historic Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

It is commanded by tech entrepreneur Jared Isaacman and joined by Medical Officer Haley Arceneaux, a physician assistant at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and pediatric cancer survivor; Mission Specialist Chris Sembroski, an Air Force veteran and aerospace data engineer; and Mission Pilot Dr. Sian Proctor, a geoscientist, entrepreneur, and trained pilot.

“Liftoff of @Inspiration4X! Go Falcon 9! Go Dragon!,” SpaceX shared in a tweet.

“Congratulations, #Inspiration4! Proud to provide the launchpad from @NASAKennedy for the first spaceflight with an all-private crew. Today’s launch represents a significant milestone in the quest to make space for everybody,” added NASA in a tweet.

SpaceX is targeting a five-hour launch window.

The crew will orbit Earth aboard SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule every 90 minutes along a customised flight path.

The three-day mission will target approximately a 575 km orbit, flying farther from Earth than any human spaceflight since the Hubble Space Telescope repair missions.

Upon conclusion of the three-day journey, Dragon and the Inspiration4 crew will re-enter Earth’s atmosphere for a soft water landing off the coast of Florida.

The Dragon has a dome window, inspired by the Cupola on the International Space Station, and will provide the crew with incredible views of Earth, according to the Inspiration4 team.

The Inspiration4 mission marks SpaceX’s latest private astronaut mission.

“The #Inspiration4 launch reminds us of what can be accomplished when we partner with private industry! A commercial capability to fly private missions is the culmination of NASA’s vision with @Commercial_Crew,” Bill Nelson, NASA Administrator tweeted.

CEO Musk visited the crew before launch.

“Thank you for visiting our #Inspiration4 crew before their departure to Launch Complex 39A,” Inspiration4 tweeted.

Inspiration4’s goal is to inspire humanity and raise money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

During their multi-day journey in orbit, the Inspiration4 crew will partake in a first-of-its-kind health research initiative to increase humanity’s knowledge on the impact of spaceflight on the human body.

Once in orbit, the crew will perform carefully selected research experiments on human health and performance, which will have potential applications for human health on Earth and during future spaceflights.

In addition, SpaceX, the Translational Research Institute for Space Health (TRISH) at Baylor College of Medicine and investigators at Weill Cornell Medicine will collect environmental and biomedical data and biological samples from Inspiration4’s four crew members before, during, and after this historic spaceflight.

Earlier in July, Virgin Galactic’s billionaire CEO Richard Branson flew to the edge of space with three employees, including one of Indian-origin, heralding a new space tourism era. His flight climbed nearly 86 kilometres above the Earth’s surface.

He was followed by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, who flew beyond the Karman line — 100 kms above the ground and the internationally recognised boundary of space — on board his company Blue Origin’s fully automated and reusable New Shepard rocket.

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realme expands India footprint, opens 100 exclusive retail stores

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New Delhi, Oct 8: Smartphone brand realme on Friday announced a new milestone with the launch of 100 new exclusive stores pan India.

All of these stores will have the latest products from the realme TechLife ecosystem, including smartphones, laptops, tablets, and other gadgets.

“I am proud of achieving this new milestone, as it testifies to our capability to meet consumer needs despite all odds and challenges during the pandemic period. We will continue to maintain the strong pace of mainline expansion and deepen consumer experience. The love we have received from our users has made us more enthusiastic and energetic towards this offline expansion,” Madhav Sheth, Vice President, realme and CEO, realme India, Europe and Latin America said in a statement.

realme has focused on offline expansion into Tier II and Tier III cities. realme will also open its flagship store in Gujarat, where customers can experience a smart and connected life through smart gadgets.

The smartphone maker has set targets to unveil 300 realme exclusive stores by 2021 and expand it to 1000+ stores by 2022.

realme led the India market in 5G smartphone shipments, capturing more than 22 per cent share in Q2 2021, as per a report by Counterpoint Research.

The company said that its next goal is to achieve a dual-100 million target — shipping another 100 million handsets by the end of 2022 and completing the same milestone within the 2023 calendar year.

According to Counterpoint, realme took the sixth spot with 15 million shipments and 135.1 per cent year-over-year (YoY) growth in the second quarter of 2021.

Out of 100 million realme users worldwide, 50 million users are from India alone.

Amid the chipset shortage, the company is targeting six million handsets and two million IoT products for the upcoming festive season.

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Android 12 will provide robust enterprise trust and security: Google

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New Delhi, Oct 8: Google has made Android 12 open-source earlier this week and now, the company has said it is focused on helping organisations achieve the right balance between protecting employee privacy and equipping IT with necessary security and controls.

Android 12 introduces user privacy enhancements for all managed devices, including improved transparency of admin controls.

“Work profile users will be able to approve (if allowed by their IT admin) or deny sensor-related permissions, such as location and camera, to work profile apps. On fully-managed devices, IT admins can choose to give their users this same control,” Google said in a statement late Thursday.

To further protect user privacy, admins will be able to set up WiFi networks for employees through a new network API that doesn’t require user location permissions.

Hardware device IDs for personal devices have also changed.

“Now, instead of solely hardware-based identifiers, companies can use a combination of hardware and employer-specific identifiers that help preserve employee privacy if they leave their organisation,” said Google.

For Android 12, Google has added additional controls to help enterprise IT teams reduce security risks and ensure tighter monitoring of business data.

A key addition is network logging for the work profile, to give organisations added control and reporting for their work data, while still protecting user privacy in the personal profile.

“We’re also empowering IT to decide what input method editors (IMEs) employees can use in their personal profiles to reduce the risk of using a rogue keyboard that could capture data on the device. IT will also have the ability to disable USB signaling for anything but charging, reducing the risk of USB-based attacks,” the tech giant explained.

Admins can now easily set password requirements that meet modern security best practices by choosing between pre-set password complexity levels.

IT admins will also have the option to slice their 5G network and dedicate connectivity to all apps on a fully-managed device, or specifically to apps in the work profile.

“In partnership with their carrier, admins will be able to have wider control over quality of service and security of work data,” Google noted.

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Bitcoin reclaims $1 trillion cap, Indian crypto players cheer

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New Delhi, Oct 8: As Bitcoin once again reclaimed the $1 trillion market cap, crossing $54,000 per digital coin, Indian crypto leaders on Thursday expressed hope that India and its neighbouring countries will continue their dominance because of the large number of active crypto investors in the region.

The Indian cryptocurrency market is expected to reach up to $241 million by 2030 in India and $2.3 billion by 2026 worldwide.

According to a report by IT industry’s apex body Nasscom, there are 15 million retail investors in India investing in the cryptotech space.

“The recent jump in Bitcoin price has a larger message for the world. In the post-pandemic world, Bitcoin has emerged as the best performing asset class of 2021, as a result of which institutional and retail investors are moving from slow/traditional assets to high growth/technology-led assets,” said Shivam Thakral, CEO, BuyUcoin.

There has been a paradigm shift in the investment patterns across the globe which is underlined by the data shared by crypto exchanges from time to time.

“India is home to around 1.5 crore active crypto investors, which amounts to $40 billion in investment in crypto, and this is just the tip of the iceberg. India’s middle-class population is willing to explore digital assets for creating long-term wealth to fulfil their goals, which may not be possible through any other asset class,” Thakral added.

Crypto asset exchange ZebPay has also launched India’s first global Electronic Over-The-Counter (OTC) Desk for large volume traders and institutional investors globally.

Avinash Shekhar, Co-CEO, ZebPay, said that the company aims to create a robust crypto ecosystem and a multi-faceted business where the needs of both the retail and institutional investors are met seamlessly.

“With the ZebPay OTC Desk, we are addressing the growing institutional interest in crypto globally and in India. This will further encourage adoption of crypto in the country and help create a mark for India as a major player in this emerging space,” he added.

Jay Hao, CEO, OKEx.com, said that during the slight dip last month, crypto-related investments witnessed record inflows owing to the growing global acceptance of crypto assets.

“The same momentum is boosting the prices of other popular crypto assets like Ethereum, Dogecoin and Shiba Inu, among others. India and its neighbouring countries are the main growth drivers of the crypto economy in South East Asia and they will continue their dominance because of the large number of active crypto investors in the region,” Hao noted.

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