How Boeing is building the world’s most powerful deep-space rocket

When NASA sends the first woman and the next man to the moon, those astronauts won’t just be the first humans to land on the lunar surface since the Apollo 17 mission in 1972, they’ll also be riding atop the biggest and most powerful rocket in NASA’s history: the Space Launch System, built by Boeing.

The SLS will stand taller than the Statue of Liberty when it’s ready to take off from the launchpad with the crew of NASA’s Artemis program. And with almost 9 million pounds of thrust, it will be powerful enough to carry a 38-metric ton payload to the moon.

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According to Matt Duggan, mission management and operation manager for the Boeing Company, the Space Launch System is a key piece of technology that will enable humans to travel farther into space and for longer periods. 

“The reason we need larger and larger rockets, as we go further and further into space, is that we want to take more and more stuff with us as we go,” Duggan said in an interview for CNET’s Now What series. “You’re going to pack differently if you’re going on a monthlong trip, than if you’re going on an overnight trip.

“That’s where the SLS comes in. It can carry these huge, huge payloads … and include all the supplies that humans need to live and work in deep space.”


An artist’s image of the SLS, shortly after launch. 


That ability to carry large payloads isn’t just vital for carrying crew and cargo to the moon, but also for future missions to Mars. Unlike previous rockets developed for NASA missions, the SLS will be able to carry entire payloads, pre-assembled, to deep space so that supplies are ready to go on Mars as humans arrive. 

While the team working on the SLS includes veterans who worked on the space shuttle program and the International Space Station (and the design of the SLS itself incorporates parts used on shuttle missions) a lot has changed since those earlier spacecraft were built. 


This interview is part of CNET’s Now What series, covering the leaders and trends shaping the world.

“It’s never been done before quite this way,” said Duggan “We’re taking advantage of the very best, most modern engineering practices that we have today. And I think that’s a huge advantage we have now over the people who — successfully, of course — but who designed Saturn V. That was a rocket where you had people doing designs on paper, doing calculations by hand, and making parts by hand. 

“We can do as much analysis in a single day as they did on their entire program over years. And with computer-aided manufacturing, we can build parts that are so precise, that they’re literally sculpted to be

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University President: COVID-19 Part Of ‘Powerful Punch’ To Higher Education

Colleges are beginning to reveal their spring plans as the pandemic continues into the cooler months.

Ohio Wesleyan University — a small, private liberal arts school located in Delaware, Ohio — recently outlined its spring strategy to students and staff. President Rock Jones, who has been the university’s leader since 2008, says this year has been full of obstacles — not just for the university, but for the country.

“We have the COVID-19 pandemic and … a second pandemic of systemic racism and the racial reckoning in our country. We have financial challenges that have accompanied the pandemic with high levels of unemployment in the country,” he says. “It’s a challenging time for all of us.”

Ohio Wesleyan approved a plan to start the spring semester later and have the first two weeks of classes take place online. To limit student travel, spring break is a thing of the past for now, but students will have a few Tuesday or Wednesdays off over the course of the semester, Jones says.

The academic calendar will start later than usual, into the warmer months, in order to utilize outdoor spaces for in-person learning, he says.

So far during the fall semester, students have been taking coronavirus measures seriously, he says. On campus, masks are required, social distancing measures are in place and about 200 people receive random COVID-19 testing per week. A few students have tested positive, Jones says, but that’s “the vast minority of the experience on campus.”

Recently, the university announced that a committee of faculty members decided to drop 18 of their more than 95 majors and consolidate some academic departments as it stares down a projected budget deficit and stiff competition for a dwindling number of students.

Majors such as dance, Middle Eastern studies, journalism, German and Earth sciences have been axed from Ohio Wesleyan. The move is estimated to save the university about $4 million.

The decision was made knowing that “there are fewer students available to go to college” and people are “not able to save for college in the ways that they once were,” Jones says.

The process to eliminate certain departments took place several months before COVID-19 hit, he says. Shifting demographics is something the university could plan for, while a worldwide pandemic wasn’t a foreseeable crisis.

Students and staff have taken each challenge head-on, Jones says. The committee of faculty who ultimately decided on the department cuts, he says, are “deeply committed to the long-term mission” of a liberal arts education as “fundamental and foundational for American democracy.”

“While it is a powerful punch to the gut in some ways,” he says, “in other ways, this is looking ahead to ensure that the work that’s happened on this campus for 178 years will be around for another 178 years.”

Lynn Menegon produced and edited this interview for broadcast with Todd Mundt. Serena McMahon adapted it for the web.

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Four Powerful Ways Businesses Can Grow With Predictive Marketing

AI Tech Entrepreneur, C-Suite Executive and Advisor. CEO, Co-Founder of Morphio.

Imagine being able to look into the future and see whether marketing campaigns are home runs or duds. You’d essentially have a crystal ball. Well, it isn’t something out of a sci-fi movie. You simply have to use predictive marketing software.

Predictive marketing solutions use historic and current data to train mathematical models. These forecast the performance of marketing campaigns, customer segments and channels, allowing businesses to focus on ventures that will improve their bottom lines while moving lagging assets to the back burner.

If you’re interested in adopting this type of software, look for demos and trials. Give them a test drive. My company’s software is one option, but there are many others on the market. SAP Analytics Cloud and MicroStrategy’s analytics platform are popular choices among enterprises. No matter the tool, ensure that it integrates with all of your channels and platforms to get the most data to use. Dashboards should be easy to understand and intuitive. Look for fast and helpful customer support that maximizes what you get out of the platform.

Once you’ve done this, here are four powerful ways your business can leverage predictive marketing to grow faster than ever.

Detailed Lead Scoring And Segmentation

HubSpot found that 61% of the marketers it surveyed said generating traffic and leads is their top challenge. But it’s not just about getting leads through the door. They also have to be measured based on their likeliness to close and where they are in the sales funnel. Welcome to lead scoring.

While ranking leads based on their potential conversion rate can be done by hand, predictive software takes the burden off your shoulders. Predictive lead scoring automatically uses the behavior and attributes of leads to forecast conversion rate, lifetime value and other key metrics.

Look for leads that have the highest forecasted scores. They are the most likely to convert. Hand these off to your sales team. Have them reach out and nurture relationships. Offer meetings, demos and exclusive content. Your business may be able to proactively fill the pipeline and convert more leads in a shorter time frame.

Additionally, I suggest using predictive software for segmenting. It can automatically audit existing customers and their past behaviors to forecast the traits that make up the most profitable groups. Take this information and feed it into assets like Facebook Ads or Google Ads to refine targeting. This can decrease cost per acquisition while increasing conversion rates.

Predicting Churn And Funnel Drop-Off

Businesses need thorough marketing funnels to maximize leads and sales. However, how do you know where customers are going to drop off in the funnel? How many are going to churn next month? You will have a superpower if you are able to forecast this.

Predictive marketing software is capable of predicting how many users are going to churn on a consistent basis. Knowing this, you can increase customer service, improve the user experience of your

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