NASA awaits approval of $24bn
NASA’s request for $24bn in funding for its 2022 fiscal year will be considered by US lawmakers this month.
This comes at an awkward time for the space agency: it was just recently criticized for underestimating the cost of Artemis – its mission to set foot again on the Moon – and the future of the International Space Station looks uncertain due to rocky relations with Russia.The budget is part of the proposed Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act [PDF, page 126] working its way through Congress. If passed as expected, NASA will bag $24,041,300,000, just $760,200,000 shy of what it requested [PDF], and a little more than the $23.3bn it got last year.A big chunk of the cash for 2022, some $7.6bn, will go toward NASA’s science projects to monitor Earth ($2bn), and study the Sun ($778m), the rest of the Solar System ($3.1bn) and beyond ($1.4bn), with $83m for biological sciences. NASA’s fiscal year runs October 1 through September 30.
The NASA budget will have to be spread across several missions, ranging from keeping its Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter going, to figuring out how to obtain the Mars samples collected by the Perseverance rover, to building the Dragonfly rotorcraft to explore Saturn’s moon Titan. Separately, the James Webb Space Telescope and the upcoming Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope will get $175m and $502m respectively.The next biggest chunk, $6.8bn, is left for exploration, where NASA’s most ambitious plans lie. It has grand plans to build the next-generation rocket and spacecraft to take humans to the Moon and Mars. These projects, however, have suffered multiple setbacks with failures and delays.NASA today relies on SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rockets to get its astronauts and gear to the ISS. Flight tests of NASA’s own Space Launch System haven’t gone smoothly; the rockets have repeatedly failed during launch. Still, Congress may be willing to splash another $2.6bn on it.
NASA’s goal of sending the first woman and next man to the Moon under its Artemis program is unlikely to meet its initial 2024 deadline. A 2021 report by government auditors said the space agency wasn’t able to lay out a concrete schedule and spending plan since it was still stuck in the early stages of development. NASA Inspector General Paul Martin recently estimated that it would cost $4.1bn per launch for the first four missions to the Moon, and called it “unsustainable” during a House Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics hearing. Multiple components of the program are still under development, such as the Orion capsule, which has $1.4bn earmarked for it in 2022.The other interesting part of the budget is a little over $1bn for “commercial LEO development” for space stations. The ISS is old, and space agencies around the world are beginning to think more seriously about replacing it. As an international hub, it is operated and maintained by NASA, ESA, Russia’s Roscosmos, Japan’s JAXA, and Canada’s CSA.
As NASA Russia faces harsh economic sanctions for invading Ukraine, leaders at Roscosmos said they’re thinking about pulling out from the ISS after 2024. Now is a good time as any to look to start preparing for that scenario.Our story, from a reader we will call “Philip”, takes us back to the 1990s. It was a heady time of hulking on-premises servers, demanding customers, and an in-house call center. “What could possibly go wrong?” he asked.Evidence of the two companies’ Russian presences are not hard to find. Infosys lists a Moscow office among its European points of presence, and in 2016 proudly announced the founding of a development center to support its heavy engineering practice.Wipro published a “Special Purpose Financial Statements and Auditor’s Report” for an entity named “Wipro Technologies Limited, Russia” in a document [PDF] dated March 31, 2021. The document reports that the entity earned revenue of 78 million (about $1,045,000 at the time) for the year under audit.
Chinese web giants Alibaba, Tencent, and ByteDance – the latter through its Volcano Engine hyperscale cloud service – have teamed up to create, in their terms, a new video streaming standard.The project was announced at a Chinese conference in late February. The Register has been able to source a little more information than was revealed in the Chinese press at the time.We now know is that the project focuses on ensuring a better experience in the first few seconds of a live stream by reducing the time required to initiate a stream to a single second – or perhaps even half that. The three companies say stream-watchers today need to count for between three and six Mississippis while they wait for streams to start – which is painful for individuals, and intolerable if streams are piped into broadcast platforms.Germany is getting more serious about quantum computing with the foundation of the QSolid project which aims to build a complete quantum computer based on cutting-edge native technology.
QSolid has been formed by
QSolid has been formed by a consortium of 25 German companies and research institutions, backed by funding from the NASA country’s Federal Ministry of Education and Research, which has stumped up €76.3m ($84m) for the next five years.The German research project will be coordinated by the Forschungszentrum Jülich, one of the largest interdisciplinary research centers in Europe, and aims to drive development of quantum systems by creating qubits of a high quality, aiming to deliver a demonstrator by mid-2024.The Japanese conglomerate first planned to split into three entities, but that plan was poorly received, so management went back to the drawing board and came up with a new strategy to split into two companies.A notice on the government’s unified public service portal states that the certificates will be made available to Russian websites unable to renew or obtain security certificates as a knock-on effect of Western sanctions and organizations refusing to support Russian customers. These certs are primarily useful for providing secure HTTPS connections. Delivery of the certificates is promised within five days of requests.
A NASA consortium of 25 German companies and research institutions, backed by funding from the country’s Federal Ministry of Education and Research, which has stumped up €76.3m ($84m) for the next five years.The German research project will be coordinated by the Forschungszentrum Jülich, one of the largest interdisciplinary research centers in Europe, and aims to drive development of quantum systems by creating qubits of a high quality, aiming to deliver a demonstrator by mid-2024.The Japanese conglomerate first planned to split into three entities, but that plan was poorly received, so management went back to the drawing board and came up with a new strategy to split into two companies.A notice on the government’s unified public service portal states that the certificates will be made available to Russian websites unable to renew or obtain security certificates as a knock-on effect of Western sanctions and organizations refusing to support Russian customers. These certs are primarily useful for providing secure HTTPS connections. Delivery of the certificates is promised within five days of requests.
The portal is silent on which browsers will accept the certs. This is a critical matter, because if browsers don’t recognize or trust the certificate authority that issued a cert, a secure connection isn’t generally possible. The Register cannot imagine any of the mainstream browser devs will rush to make these Russian certs work in their applications.The US last month, in response to the bloody invasion of Ukraine, issued sanctions banning the export of, among many other things, American semiconductor technologies to Russia.Then this week, the US Department of Commerce warned Chinese companies to fall in line with these sanctions, or face secondary punishment. It’s tough to design, develop, and manufacture modern processors and other integrated circuits without to some degree using American hardware and software – as Russia is now cut off from – and a lot of chips pass through China.Sébastien Vachon-Desjardins, 34, of Gatineau, Quebec, was detained by Canadian authorities on January 27, 2021. Upon executing a warrant to search his residence, officials found and seized more than 20TB of data including digital wallets containing 719 Bitcoin – worth about $28.5m presently – and C$790,000 (~$619,000) in cash, some of which was stored in bank safety deposit boxes.
The previous month, Vachon-Desjardins was indicted in Tampa, Florida, on charges of computer and wire fraud, intentionally damaging a protected computer, and transmitting a demand in relation to damaging a protected computer.It was a Ukrainian security specialist who apparently turned the tables on the notorious Russia-based Conti, and leaked the ransomware gang’s source code, chat logs, and tons of other sensitive data about the gang’s operations, tools, and costs. Since then, infosec researchers around the globe have been wading through this silo of intelligence, which reveals the inner workings of the criminal enterprise.”I call this the Panama Papers of ransomware,” Trellix’s head of cyber investigations John Fokker told The Record. Trellix is the cybersecurity company previously known as the combined McAfee Enterprise and FireEye.As security and networking converge, Fortinet CEO Ken Xie believes the company he co-founded will win this particular $200bn market with its custom application-specific ICs, or ASIC chips.”On day one, 22 years ago, we leveraged ASIC technology to lower computing costs, increase computing power, and also add additional performance and more function,” Xie said, speaking at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media and Telecom conference this week.
Using its custom ASICs to accelerate security and networking tasks lowers customers’ security computing costs by as much as 10x compared to using CPUs, he claimed. This becomes even more important as multi-cloud, 5G with 6G on the horizon, and the convergence of IT and operational technology environments expand, while an onslaught of traffic from applications, users, and devices put greater demands on network equipment and defenses.WhatsApp offers end-to-end encryption that protects the user messages from being read by network intermediaries. But the Meta-owned biz would like to add more security to its web client, because web security differs from native app security and WhatsApp is seeing more web usage.