SpaceX launches biggest U.S. 'rideshare' mission with 64 satellites

The top of a replica Crew Dragon spacecraft is show at SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California, US August 13, 2018. (File Photo/Reuters)
Updated 04 December 2018
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SpaceX launches biggest U.S. 'rideshare' mission with 64 satellites

CALIFORNIA: Elon Musk's SpaceX launched a Falcon 9 rocket from California on Monday carrying 64 small satellites into low orbit around the Earth, which the company called the largest-ever "rideshare" mission by a U.S.-based rocket.
The mission, dubbed SSO-A, also marked the third voyage to space for the same Falcon 9 rocket - another milestone for SpaceX's cost-cutting reusable rocket technology.
The Falcon 9 blasted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California at 10:34 a.m. local time (18:34 GMT) carrying satellites from 34 different companies, government agencies, and universities, including the University of Illinois.
SpaceX said the mission was "one of the most complex and intricate endeavors" for Seattle-based startup Spaceflight, the ride-share company that arranged passage for each satellite maker.
The mission comes days after India fired a rocket carrying 31 satellites into space.
After the launch, the Falcon 9's first-stage booster returned to earth as planned, landing on a ship off the coast of southern California, according to a live video of the flight.
However, the Falcon 9's payload fairing - an enclosure that protected the satellites during launch - missed a landing net on the barge and ended up in the ocean.
"Falcon fairing halves missed the net, but touched down softly in the water," Musk, SpaceX's chief executive officer, said on Twitter. He said the boat was moving to pick them up.
"Plan is to dry them out & launch again. Nothing wrong with a little swim," Musk, who is also the CEO of Tesla Inc, said on Twitter.


Bank lending for ‘real economy’ key to boost China growth: central bank official

Updated 11 min 6 sec ago
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Bank lending for ‘real economy’ key to boost China growth: central bank official

  • ‘The central bank doesn’t wish to use administrative methods to require banks (to lend)’
  • Quantitative easing is neither necessary nor possible at the moment

SHANGHAI: China should encourage its banks to support smaller, private firms in the real economy, rather than forced lending or policies such as quantitative easing, a state newspaper quoted a central bank official as saying on Saturday.
“The central bank doesn’t wish to use administrative methods to require banks (to lend),” Sun Guofeng, head of the monetary policy department at the People’s Bank of China (PBOC), told the Financial News, a bank publication.
“It wants to establish positive encouragement mechanisms though monetary policy tools to encourage banks to actively increase their support for the real economy, especially toward smaller and privately-owned firms,” Sun said.
The comments come a month after Sun wrote a commentary in which he argued that problems with timely capital replenishment, bank liquidity gaps and poor rate “transmission” are three major constraints on banks’ supply of credit.
In the interview with the Financial News, Sun said monetary policy transmission had “noticeably improved,” showing that steps to enhance transmission mechanisms had been effective.
He said the central bank would increase the strength of innovation in monetary policy tools.
Perpetual bond issuance “is only one breakthrough” in reducing capital constraints on banks, Sun said, adding that “other methods” could be used in the future.
He said that quantitative easing was neither necessary nor possible at the moment, noting that under China’s financial system the significance of the central bank buying Chinese treasury bonds on the secondary market is limited, and that the PBOC is barred from buying the instruments on the primary market.
China’s banks made the most new loans on record in January following a series of moves to boost lending as authorities try to prevent a sharp slowdown in the world’s second-largest economy.