May 17, 2020

European Cargo Craft Travels to International Space Station

space cargo
European logistics
ISS
Kazakhstan
Admin
2 min
Nearly 3 tonnes of cargo were supplied to the ISS, including food and water for the astronauts
A Russian Progress cargo ship loaded with 2.8 tons of supplies and equipment blasted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan and climbed into orb...

A Russian Progress cargo ship loaded with 2.8 tons of supplies and equipment blasted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan and climbed into orbit Wednesday, the first step in a six-hour rendezvous with the International Space Station.

The cargo ship's Soyuz booster ignited with a rush of flame and quickly climbed away into the plane of the space station's orbit.

Eight minutes and 45 seconds later, the Progress M-24M spacecraft, the 56th Russian cargo ship launched to the station since assembly began in 1998, separated from the booster's upper stage. A few moments after that, navigation antennas and two solar panels unfolded as planned.

An unmanned Russian spacecraft filled with supplies for the six crewmembers living on the International Space Station launched on an express delivery run to the orbiting outpost.

The Progress is carrying about 5,700 lbs (2,587 kilograms) of food and other supplies for the Expedition 40 crew currently aboard the station. The spacecraft is also delivering 1,764 lbs (800 kg) of propellant, 57 pounds (26 kg) of air, 48 pounds (22 kg) of oxygen, 926 pounds (420 kg) of water and 2,910 pounds (1,320 kg) of supplies, spare parts and experiment hardware, according to NASA.

Historically, Progress ships have taken about two days to arrive at the station. Since 2012, however, the Russian crafts have been flying accelerated, six-hour journeys to the science laboratory. Astronauts and cosmonauts have also recently started flying these quick, four-orbit flights aboard the manned Soyuz capsules that deliver new crewmembers to the station.

A different Progress craft, dubbed Progress 55, left the space station on Monday 21 July to make room for the new cargo ship. Progress 55 is now flying a safe distance away from the orbiting outpost, where it will perform a series of engineering tests before it intentionally burns up over the Pacific Ocean on July 31, according to NASA.

Progress ships are similar to the crew-carrying Soyuz capsules. They both consist of three modules, but instead of the Soyuz craft's crew compartment, Progress ships are equipped with a fuel module for space station manoeuvres.

A variety of cargo ships regularly visit the space station. NASA has deals with two private companies — SpaceX and Orbital Sciences — to fly cargo to the station in their unmanned ships. Japan's H-II Transfer Vehicles and Europe's Automated Transfer Vehicles (ATV) also make runs to the station.

The space station currently plays host to a crew of six. NASA astronauts Steve Swanson and Reid Wiseman, European Space Agency astronaut Alexander Gerst and Russian cosmonauts Max Suraev, Alexander Skvortsov and Oleg Artemyev make up the Expedition 40 crew.

For more information, see: http://www.nasa.gov/content/cargo-ship-docks-to-station-less-than-six-hours-after-launch/#.U9DSZ_ldWrg

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Jun 21, 2021

Elon Musk's Boring Co. planning wider tunnels for freight

BoringCompany
supplychain
freight
elonmusk
2 min
Elon Musk’s tunnelling firm plans underground freight tunnels with shipping containers moved on “battery-powered freight carriers”, according to reports

Elon Musk’s drilling outfit The Boring Company could be shifting its focus towards subterranean freight and logistics solutions, according to reports. 

A Boring Co. pitch deck seen and shared by Bloomberg depicts plans to construct wider tunnels designed to accommodate shipping containers. 

Founded by Tesla CEO Musk in 2016, the company initially stated its mission was to offer safer, faster point-to-point transport for people, particularly in cities plagued by traffic congestion. It also planned longer tunnels to ferry passengers between popular destinations across the US. 

The Boring Co. completed its first commercial project earlier this year in April. The 1.7m tunnel system is designed to move professionals between convention centres in Las Vegas using Tesla EVs. It says the Las Vegas Convention Centre Loop can cut travel time between venues from 45 minutes to just two. 

 

Boring Co.'s new freight tunnels

The Boring Co.'s new tunnel designs would allow freight to be transported on purpose built platforms, labelled as “battery-powered freight carriers”. The document shows that, though the containers could technically fit within its current 12-foot tunnels, wider tunnels would be more efficient. Designs for a new tunnel, 21 feet in diameter, show that they can comfortably accommodate two containers side-by-side, with a one-foot gap between them.

The Boring Co.’s new drilling machine, dubbed Prufrock, can tunnel at a rate of one mile per week, which is six times faster than its previous machine, and is designed to ‘porpoise’ - mimicking the marine animal by ‘diving’ below ground and reemerging once the tunnel is complete. 

Tesla’s supply chain woes 

Tesla is facing its own supply chain and logistic issues. The EV manufacturer has raised the price of its vehicles, with CEO Musk confirming the incremental hike was a result of “major supply chain pressure”. Musk replied to a disgruntled Twitter user, confused as to why prices were rising while features were being removed from the cars, saying the “raw materials especially” were a big issue. 

Elon Musk Tweet

Car manufacturing continues to be one of the industries hit hardest by a global shortage in semiconductor chips. While China’s chip manufacturing levels hit an all-time high in May, and the US is proposing a 25% tax credit for chip manufacturers, demand still outstrips supply. Automakers including Volkswagen and Audi have again said they expect reduced vehicle output in the next quarter due to a lack of semiconductors, with more factory downtime likely
 

Top Image credit: The Boring Company / @boringcompany

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