The SpaceX company of Elon Musk has put into orbit this night the first constellation of 60 Starlink satellites, a small part of the 12,000 programmed for broadband internet coverage on a planetary scale, which will allow access to the web even from rural areas and from the oceans.
The mission started at Cape Canaveral’s 40 launch complex with a Falcon 9 rocket, and it was a success from all points of view, although, as we recall, the two previous attempts were canceled. A first time on May 15th, for high winds at high altitude, and the second time on May 16th, for a software update of the satellites. Even Musk himself had stated that there was a high probability of mission failure.
Instead, at 4:30 am on May 24, Italian time, when it was 10:30 pm on May 23 in Florida, the Falcon 9 turned on the engines without any problem. All the maneuvers were performed impeccably, with the recovery of the first stage, landed gently on the OCISLY barge in the Atlantic Ocean, and the recovery of the ogives, as planned. The first stage was already on its third flight, carrying a Telstar satellite in the fall of 2018 and an Iridium satellite in January of this year, further demonstrating the reliability of the reuse of the Falcon 9 Block 5 boosters.
The second stage continued its journey towards the orbit, planned at 440 km altitude, performing two ignitions, the first 2 and a half minutes after the launch, very long, approximately 6 minutes, to bring the load to the desired altitude . The second one at 46 minutes from the launch, very short, of only 3 seconds, to circularize the orbit. Everything went smoothly, even this stadium fulfilled its duty to perfection and after 15 minutes it released the load all at once, the 60 satellites with the rack that contained them. At 5:32 am the Falcon 9 mission ended successfully.
For small satellites, work is not yet finished. Once released into orbit they slipped slowly from the rack, like cards from a deck thrown in the air, with no release or ejection mechanisms, in a messy motion. Abandoned the nest they will have to explain the solar panels, make checks and position themselves in the operating orbit at 550 km altitude, higher than the orbit where they are currently parked.
A single satellite weighs only 227 kg, much less than classic telecommunications satellites, to facilitate mass production and to send the largest number in a single launch. They are equipped with an electric propulsion engine with krypton ion, instead of the classic xenon, more efficient and normally used for these purposes. Krypton was chosen to allow mass production and to reduce costs, as it costs about 90% less than xenon.
Even the radio communication system uses an efficient method of pointing the signal, without moving parts, exploiting the multipolar phase synchronization to direct the wave front towards the desired target. This technological device makes it possible to decrease the total mass of the satellite and to eliminate rotation mechanisms that could limit its average life.
Starlink is not the only high-speed communication prototype in low orbit, there are dozens of competitors that are entering the market in these years, some have already shipped prototypes in space, others are still in the planning stage, but the Elon Musk’s company currently has the most operational satellites. To be able to provide the service to customers it will be necessary to reach at least 400 satellites for the first tests and 800 for the first phase with an acceptable level of service.
Astronomer Dr. Marco Langbroek noted on his blog that he calculated where the satellites would be orbiting, and waited with his camera. The result is a spectacular one: a string of bright dots flying across the sky
Tweet of the American president, ‘Never again threaten the US’
Rohani’s adviser undermines: “Threats to make us accept sanctions”. But General Hajilou promises a “devastating response”
“If Iran wants to fight this will be the official end of Iran”, writes Donald Trump on Twitter. “Never threaten the United States”, adds the American president. The warning comes after a rocket was launched in Baghdad’s Green Zone where the US embassy is located and many suspects fall on one of the Shiite militias supported by the Tehran regime.
Last week the US State Department, by an extraordinary decision, had ordered all non-essential personnel to leave the embassy in Baghdad and the US consulate in the northern Iraqi city of Erbil. The move was motivated by the existence of a threat from Iran.
Iran will not start any conflict, but is ready to give a “devastating” response to any enemy aggression, replied General Ali Hajilou, commander of the Tehran army’s ground forces, during a military ceremony in the city of mianeh. “The products of our military scientists are very advanced, and today thanks to them we are self-sufficient in the military field.” Instead “the enemies of Islamic Iran are incapable of operations on the ground and for this they resort to the media war”, he added quoted by the agency Tasnim.
“Don’t be fooled by Trump. He makes inconsistent statements and calls for heavy concessions to reduce the likelihood of a war in order to force us to accept sanctions for fear of war ”, Hesameddin Ashena, adviser to Iranian President Hassan Rohani, writes on Twitter. “Trump should know that the Iranians will resist the dilemma of war or sanctions and will try to resist all sanctions.”
SPECIAL ELECTIONS EUROPEAN / FINLAND. The narrow victory of social democrats, the crisis of traditional parties and the success of radical forces.
The European elections in May are approaching. A crucial appointment for the future of Europe. The traditional center-right and center-left political forces must face the advance of sovereignists, populists and Eurosceptics.
Please, forget the word “stability” immediately. Even in Finland, politics is experiencing a stormy period, as witnessed by the elections on April 14th. Elections that have seen the victory of the Social Democrats, resurrected from their own ashes, but above all have marked the great crisis of traditional parties. As happens everywhere in Europe, the center-right and the center are in enormous difficulty. The True Finns, a party defined according to who speaks populist, sovranistist, eurosceptic, eurofobic or extreme right, has reached a handful of votes (0.2%) from the electoral victory.
EUROPEAN ELECTIONS, FINLAND: THE PROTAGONISTS OF THE VOTE / The narrow victory of the Social Democrats; the boom of the sovereign right and the environmentalist, the suffering of traditional parties.
The approach to the European elections will be conditioned in Finland by the consultations just begun for the formation of the new government. The guide should be the Social Democrats of Antti Rinne; who returned to victory after the historic debacle of the 2015 elections. In fact, the center-left won by gaining only 1 percentage point compared to four years earlier; when 16.5% had been hailed as a historical meltdown. A sign that more than a renaissance, victory comes from a new electoral fragmentation and above all from the crisis of historical parties.
Former Prime Minister Juha Sipila’s Finnish Center Party; who resigned in recent months after the rejection of his health reform, collapsed below 14%. On the podium, on the other hand; the conservative Kokoomus party of former Finance Minister Petteri Orpo, the bearer of a very strict fiscal policy, rose. The real success was that of the True Finns of Jussi Halla-aho, allies of the League of Matteo Salvini within the so-called sovereign axis in view of the European elections in May.
A success, that of the True Finns, dictated by the unscrupulous use of anti-migrant sentiments. But not only.
Significantly, if one considers the rise of the environmental movement in neighboring Sweden; the Halla-aho party has focused heavily on the no to fight climate change. An environmental issue, particularly felt in a country geographically within the Arctic sphere. If the majority of the parties have collected, at least in part, the environmental issues; the True Finns have instead criticized measures that in their way of seeing risk damaging Finnish companies by inviting them to relocate; presenting themselves as defenders of the working classes.
As the big parties suffer, the forces perceived as anti-establishment grow. Not only the True Finns but also the Greens and the Left Alliance, both up sharply compared to the 2015 elections. The two left-wing parties have distinguished themselves from the Social-Democrats; on many issues still mired in the middle; have intercepted not only the environmental soul but also some instances in terms of economic policy; such as the opposition of part of the electorate to the liberalization measures of the labor market and those of containment of public spending.
EUROPEAN ELECTIONS, FINLAND: THE TOPICS OF VOTE.
Difficult negotiations to form the new government, the rhetoric on migrants and the divided economic agenda of the Social Democrats.
By force of circumstances the approach to the European vote will be characterized by discussions on the formation of the new executive.
The impression is that the social democrats of Rinne are oriented to a great coalition with the center parties to keep out the True Finns; who could exploit this argument during the European election campaign; claiming to be kept out of maneuvers despite having arrived seconds only for 0.2%.
Rinne must inevitably expand the alliance beyond the Greens and the Left Alliance to have sufficient numbers to govern and attention should focus on Sipila’s or Orpo’s party.
At the heart of the issues that will decide the consultations there will be precisely the fight against climate change; a subject in which Rinne, a member of the left wing of the Social Democrats; is trying to forcefully take control. There will also be a lot of talk about economic policy. Rinne promises more money to pensioners, new measures on the tax front and against unemployment and education. In short, a return to welfare that was weakened during the Sipila executive. It is precisely on the economic agenda that an unbridgeable gap between social democrats and center-right could be created.
A furrow instead unbridgeable in the field of migrants with the True Finns; whose nationalist rhetoric has made its breakthrough especially in the province. The promise of the Halla-aho party is to bring the reception of refugees “almost to zero”. Whatever the composition of the government it is instead difficult to set aside the focus on innovation; of which Helsinki has become the protagonist in recent years; focusing on digital and artificial intelligence to revive an economy that has experienced a long contraction from 2007 to 2014; and that since 2015 it has recovered stabilizing between 2 and 3% in the last two years.
EUROPEAN ELECTIONS, FINLAND: THE GEOPOLITIC AGENDA / Neutrality, great mediation between the USA and Russia, the Europeanist and Baltic line
The peculiarity of Finnish foreign policy is that it is the responsibility of the President of the Republic “in cooperation with the government”; which actually maintains exclusive competence in the policies of the European Union. The head of state, on the other hand, has greater decision-making power at the macro and geopolitical level.
The current president is Sauli Niinistö, a member of the National Coalition party; whose second six-year term began in January 2018.
Like neighboring Sweden, Finland also has a traditionally neutral and non-aligned foreign policy. Compared to Stockholm, Helsinki’s narrowest geopolitical partner, however, maintains a more open dialogue with Moscow. Recently the president declared that he sees no threats from Russia.
A fact that has led Finland to stand as a great mediator between the United States and Russia, as demonstrated by the summit between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, held in Helsinki in July 2018. On the other hand, in recent years the commercial interchange between Finland and Russia is on the rise.
The line of the Finnish executive is traditionally strongly European, with the strengthening of the EU, also in digital matters, which is considered indispensable by a country that is geographically exposed to the great regional powers such as Moscow.
At the same time Finland is moving with great determination in the Baltic area trying to promote a strong “Nordic” axis.
The theme of a possible NATO membership has also entered the Finnish debate, which in any case does not represent a current priority for a country that tries to carve out an intermediary role between global powers.
Meanwhile, something is also moving with China. Recently the Chinese fund Touchstone has signed a 15 billion euro agreement with the construction company FinEstBayArea to build a submarine railway tunnel that will connect Helsinki to the capital of Estonia, Tallinn.
A large-scale infrastructure project that shows how Beijing is also active in the Baltic area but at the same time worries Russia; which does not look favorably on the logistics of the Baltic countries.
EUROPEAN ELECTIONS, FINLAND: THE LATEST POLLS.
The results of the parliamentary elections of April 14: the Social Democrats win by a whisker, the radical right second of a breath, the center collapses
Finland currently has 13 seats in the European Parliament, which should have become 14 with Brexit. If the United Kingdom were to participate in the European elections in May, the Finnish seats would remain 13.
Social Democratic Party (Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats) 17.7%
True Finns (European Conservatives and Reformists) 17.5%
National coalition party (EPP) 15%
Finnish Center Party (ALDE) 13.8%
Verdi (European Greens) 11.5%
Left Alliance (European United Left) 8.2%
Read more about elections Finland here.
Multi-ethnic war in Denmark
We are in Denmark. Is it possible that a provocative gesture triggers a multi-ethnic war? Apparently yes. A book fallen to the ground. a Koran, sacred to someone, logically less important to others. A provocative gesture by Rasmus Paludan, lawyer and activist of a right-wing party, Stram Kurs, who has been fighting against mass immigration since his foundation. A gesture that could be criticized, certainly a little over the top.
But there is no trace of violence. That is what the “imported Danes” unleashed, putting the city on fire, burning 70 cars, destroying shop windows. Natural clashes with the police, who had to react in various ways, using tear gas and arresting 23 people.
Multi-ethnic war in Denmark
As it happens the place of this wonderful theater of peace between peoples is a multicultural neighborhood: Nørrebro, in the capital Copenhagen, where one inhabitant out of 6 does not have a Danish passport. Nothing comparable to Malmoe or other communities in Sweden or Belgium, but let’s say that significant progress is being made.
In any case, Paludan wanted to repeat the gesture, but was stopped by the police who ordered him to avoid further provocation. Obviously, total silence on the media, which is silent on the matter. Will the case of Notre Dame concentrate all the attention? Perhaps.
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- Diesel and total petrol block, scheduled dates
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