Tag Archives: Space

Bringing Starlink to Iran

Iran’s government has shut down the internet in many parts of the country amid mass protests. But Elon Musk is offering Iranians a lifeline.


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Musk hopes to provide internet to Iranians cut off from the web. He is seeking an exemption from Iran sanctions to do so.

Protests spread across Iran after the death of a young woman in police custody last week. Masha Amini, a healthy 22 year old, died of a supposed heart attack shortly after being arrested.

Her crime: not wearing the hijab, or traditional veil. Her family denies she had any history of heart problems, per NPR.

Protesters have flooded the streets of the capital, Tehran, chanting “Death to the Dictator.” At least five protesters have been killed by security forces.

The protests are occurring against a backdrop of economic misery. Inflation is over 50% a year and the price of basmati rice alone is up 200% from 2021.

In the face of unrest, the Iranian government has shut down cell service in central Tehran. It has also cut the entire Kurdish region in the northwest off from the internet.

Starlink may be able to reconnect protesters with the world. But it won’t be easy.

Starlink requires a special receiver. The company would have to smuggle large numbers of them into Iran to get people online.

Getting the units into Iran will be difficult. But the receiver is small enough to hide and can support many users at once.

Restored internet will help Iranians coordinate protests. It will also let them shine a light on their government’s thuggery.

I applaud Musk’s work to get Iranians back online. Best of luck!

What do you think of Musk’s attempt to get Starlink to Iran? Leave a comment at the bottom and let me know!

More on tech:

Robot Hands, Vertical Farms, and the Future of Food

Why Drone Delivery Will Be an Awesome Business

How to Get Internet to Cuba

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Photo: Tesla and SpaceX CEO, and Solar City Chairman, Elon Musk, Sun Valley Idaho, Allen & Company Conference, July 2015” by Thomas Hawk is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0.


Growing Veggies on Mars

NASA intends to put the first man on Mars in the 2030’s. But once he’s there, what will he have for lunch?

Perhaps veggies grown in a BioPod.

This incredible new device from startup Interstellar Lab could finally allow us to cultivate crops in space. It could also revolutionize agriculture here on Earth.

The BioPod is an inflatable dome about 20 feet wide, 33 feet long, and 15 feet tall. It uses aeroponics, precision nutrient delivery, and careful climate control to produce the ideal growing environment for plants.

This means it can grow high value crops like flowers and microgreens. It can even grow plants that can’t be grown with traditional agriculture, like vanilla.

It’s also remarkably efficient, reducing water consumption by 98% while boosting yields up to 300-fold.

The BioPod is designed not just to feed humans in space, but on an increasingly unpredictable Earth. From a recent interview:

“Climate change is a real emergency for Earth, and we only have a small window to bring about positive change. We are developing a new framework for sustainable living on Earth and a testbed for future space missions,” Barbara Belvisi, Founder and CEO, Interstellar Lab said.

The BioPod is currently in production. You can even pre-order one now!

But at $250,000 each plus a monthly subscription fee, it’s a bit out of reach for most gardeners. Oh, and shipping’s not included.

However, if the BioPod can reduce inputs and boost yields as radically as Interstellar claims, I could see rapid adoption in the agriculture industry.

Already, companies like Bowery Farming are taking agriculture from farms to urban warehouses using hydroponics. They seem like a natural customer for Interstellar Lab, and I’m sure there are many more.

Long term, perhaps the BioPod will be deployed on Mars to support astronauts brought there by a SpaceX Starship. It’s a beautiful future I look forward to.

In the mean time, I’m itching to try a BioPod salad! 🙂

What do you think of the BioPod? Would you try its food?

Leave a comment at the bottom and let me know.

Have a great day everyone! 👋

More on tech:

Coffeebots and the Search for the Perfect Cup

Robot Pizzas and the Future of Fast Food

Male Contraception With an Ultrasound Device?

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Misfits Market

I’ve used Misfits for years, and it never disappoints! Every fruit and vegetable is organic, super fresh, and packed with flavor!

I wrote a detailed review of Misfits here.

Use this link to sign up and you’ll save $15 on your first order. 

What if Everyone on Earth Had Super Fast Internet for $1?

Only about half the world has internet access. Even rural America lags behind in broadband penetration.

But what if everyone on earth had incredibly fast internet for $1 a month?

A fascinating company called Akash Systems just might pull that off. It is delivering internet 100 times more cheaply than its competitors.

Given that Starlink is charging $99/month for its high speed satellite internet, Akash may one day be able to do it for as little as a dollar.

“This is sort of where the internet was in, I would say, ’98, ’99.”

Felix Ejeckam

The key is a new type of transistor called Gallium Nitride (GaN)-on-Diamond. The founder of Akash, Felix Ejeckam, invented it.

The hottest part of a transistor is put within nanometers of a synthetic diamond. Synthetic diamonds conduct heat better than any other material.

This means that the transistor produces way less heat. Anyone who’s had a laptop on their lap knows it can get hot.

Electronics getting hot cause all sorts of problems, especially in space.

Excess heat means problems with wireless communication. It also requires large heat sinks to dissipate the heat.

This makes the satellite bulkier and more expensive.

Today, Akash focuses on building transmitters for other satellite makers. In the future, they plan to launch their own satellites and internet service.

I can’t wait to sign up and cut my bill down to nothing!

In an interview with the Ejeckam, I was fascinated to hear that he dreamed up this idea 17 years ago. It shows the persistence needed to make a dream real.

“The limits of your imagination today define the limits of space tomorrow.”

Felix Ejeckam

More on tech:

Robot Hands, Vertical Farms, and the Future of Food

How Solana Could Wipe Out Visa and MasterCard

Inside a Startup Accelerator Demo Day

Photo: “Antares Rocket Launch” by NASA Goddard Photo and Video is licensed under CC BY 2.0

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This Hoboken-Based Rocket Company Could Revolutionize Space

In the shadow of New York City, I walked down a quiet street beneath an overpass. I came across a squat brick building with no windows. On the door, a small sign was the only indication of what’s inside: Hudson Space Systems.

Founded by graduates of the Stevens Institute of Technology, Hudson Space Systems (HSS) is working to make cheap, reusable rockets available to everyone. The microgravity (weightlessness) that being high above the earth provides is critical to research in medicine, physics and materials science. Cell cultures grow faster, physics experiments are simplified, and materials are tested like nowhere else.

But this invaluable scientific platform has a problem: waiting lists for launches are long and costs are high. HSS’s 3D printed, resuable rocket aims to bring the cost down by 40% and increase capacity until booking space on a rocket launch is as easy as booking a dinner reservation on OpenTable.

SpaceX proved rockets can be reused. What SpaceX did for launching satellites, HSS hopes to do for launching science experiments.

Hoboken, New Jersey, with its density and proximity to New York City, might seem like the last place where you’d find a rocket company. But it’s one of the most educated cities in the country, with over 80% of the population holding bachelor’s degrees or higher, and has a technical university right in town. Tech companies often grow out of universities, as this one did.

Will HSS be able to realize its vision? That’s anyone’s guess, but they have already raised $100,000 in 2020 and are $162,000 into a $250,000 raise that closes in a few days. Since they are currently working on protypes and don’t yet have a product in market, this company is earlier on than the startups I invest in. But if you like getting in on the ground floor, and especially if you have expertise in this area, it could be a great opportunity.

Best of luck to these hardworking men and women on their exciting new business right here in the Garden State!

More on startups:

Photo: “Antares Rocket Launch (NHQ201610170114)” by NASA HQ PHOTO is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

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Liftoff: How Elon Musk Built SpaceX

At 1310 East Grand Avenue in El Segundo, just south of Los Angeles, sits a large white building. In 2002, it housed only about a dozen people. There wasn’t even a receptionist.

Deep in this building was a small group of cubicles, staffed by about a dozen men. This tiny group had an audacious goal: sending the first humans to Mars.

Their leader was a young internet entrepreneur named Elon Musk. He had just made $180 million from the sale of PayPal. Many men in his position would buy an island and relax, or perhaps begin a career in philanthrophy. But Elon toiled away in this nondescript warehouse instead, building the future.

This is the subject of an outstanding new book I just finished called Liftoff: Elon Musk and the Desperate Early Days That Launched SpaceX.

From this tiny team, Musk built SpaceX, which now does two thirds of all commercial satellite launches in the world and owns the most powerful rocket on earth, the Falcon Heavy. That small group of employees has mushroomed to nearly 10,000.

To go so far so fast, Musk needed the best people in the business, and he focused like a laser on finding them. One engineer’s wife got a job at Google in the Bay Area, which meant he couldn’t accept Musk’s offer to work at SpaceX. Undeterred, Musk called the CEO of Google and got the engineer’s wife a transfer to Los Angeles. Sure enough, he got the engineer he wanted.

Musk went so far as to personally interview the first 3000 people SpaceX hired. Musk paid less and his company was unproven, but he excelled at inspiring people to join him to revolutionize space travel.

Even with Musk’s drive and a superb team, SpaceX faced many struggles. By 2008, they had three failed flights and barely a month’s worth of cash left. Even Elon’s considerable fortune had run dry supporting both SpaceX and Tesla. But Musk and his team stayed focused and successfully launched a rocket into orbit in the nick of time. This achievement won them a NASA contract that kept the company alive.

SpaceX questioned everything about how business is normally done in aerospace. Most companies buy parts from established suppliers, but SpaceX built almost everything itself, substantially lowering its costs. For the parts it did buy elsewhere, SpaceX ignored common practice as well. Instead of paying in 30 days, SpaceX paid in as little as 24 hours. This got their orders prioritized, which helped them move faster than other rocket companies.

Today, only one other private company, Rocket Lab, has reached orbit. Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin, despite all his money, has never reached orbit. Indeed, SpaceX is so dominant that customers sometimes spread around a few of their orders, just to make sure its competitors don’t all go out of business.

If I had seen Musk in that empty warehouse twenty years ago, I would never have believed what SpaceX would become. But Musk saw it, and stopped at nothing to get there.

When the first man steps on Mars, will it be Musk?

Dig into these posts for more on Elon Musk and space:

Photo: “SpaceX Dragon Propulsive Descent Landing Test” by NASAKennedy is marked with CC PDM 1.0

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This platform lets me diversify my real estate investments so I’m not too exposed to any one market. I’ve invested since 2018 and returns have been good so far. More on Fundrise in this post.

If you decide to invest in Fundrise, you can use this link to get your management fees waived for 90 days. With their 1% management fee, this could save you $250 on a $100,000 account. I will also get a fee waiver for 90-365 days, depending on what type of account you open.

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The only place I buy vitamins and supplements. I recently placed an order and received it in less than 48 hours with free shipping! I compared the prices and they were lower than Amazon. I also love how they test a lot of the vitamins so that you know you’re getting what the label says. This isn’t always the case with supplements.

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My wife and I have gotten organic produce shipped to our house by Misfits for over a year. It’s never once disappointed me. Every fruit and vegetable is super fresh and packed with flavor. I thought radishes were cold, tasteless little lumps at salad bars until I tried theirs! They’re peppery, colorful and crunchy! I wrote a detailed review of Misfits here.

Use this link to sign up and you’ll save $10 on your first order. I’ll also get $10.