Here’s how to watch SpaceX launch its Starship rocket today
SpaceX is a few hours away from the uncrewed maiden launch of Starship, the most powerful rocket ever made (so far). Currently, the 120 metre-long Starship is sitting on the launch pad at SpaceX’s Starbase facility in Boca Chica, Texas. Today’s launch window opens at 08h00 local time, or at 15h00 here in SA. In a Twitter Spaces session yesterday, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said today’s launch was only a ‘maybe’. If anything gives the SpaceX team reason, the launch will be postponed. We can certainly understand why.
SpaceX’s Starship is capable of hauling a payload of up to 150 metric tonnes thanks to its Super Heavy rocket booster which is made up of 33 Raptor engines. At launch, these will create a record-breaking 17 million pounds of thrust. As Musk eloquently put it, “if any one of them goes wrong, it’s like having a box of grenades. You know, really big grenades.”
If everything goes according to plan, the test mission will last around 90 minutes with the Starship spacecraft separating from the Super Heavy rocket booster several minutes after launch. The booster will come back to Earth with the help of gravity near Hawaii’s coast while the Starship will attempt to reach orBit. It will return near the Gulf of Mexico, ready to be prepped for the next one. Unless, you know, it explodes.
The best place to catch the launch, should it even happen, is SpaceX’s own YouTube channel. The stream will start roughly 45 minutes before the expected liftoff time, at around 14h15. Is your reminder primed?
Disadvantaged Western Cape households get load-shedding emergency kits
As ‘Stage 6’ load shedding continues indefinitely, the Western Cape’s provincial government has a plan to help thousands of disadvantaged households by providing them with load-shedding emergency kits. Earlier in the year, WC premier Alan Winde said the provincial Treasury was asked to set aside R1.1 billion over a three-year period for the project which aims to assist in dealing with load shedding in the colder winter months. Last week, he appeared on radio station 702 to provide an update saying the budget for the project had been approved.
These load-shedding kits will, according to Winde, contain “some sort of charging capability to charge a phone, some sort of [rechargable] lighting capability and a cooking bag to help with keeping food warm.” According to Winde, there are 250,000 needy households but the initial amount of R60 million will only cover 100,000 households as they estimate the kits will cost R600 each. To cover the remaining households, Winde said he had approached businesses in the region who are willing to partner wIth the provincial government and that they also plan to approach Western Cape municipalities.
SA Post Office faces financial woes, Government investigates
Earlier this month, the South African Post Office, or SAPO, was placed under provisional liquidation after one of its creditors took legal action in an attempt to recover rent owed. According to a Bloomberg report, the agency has since settled the debt and might seek to have the order removed. But Sapo’s money problems don’t stop there.
In January, it announced plans to cut wage costs by implementing staff layoffs and reducing working hours as these account for more than two-thirds of its total spending. The state-controlled postal system is also struggling to pay employees benefits.
In response, the Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies, Mondli Gungubele, has requested “a detailed account of the circumstances that led to this development, the steps taken by the Board to address the issue, and the measures that SAPO intends to implement to resolve the situation promptly,” reads a government statement issued on Sunday. If you still get your letters at your Post Office, don’t worry, Hon Gungubele is on the case.
Samsung considers changing default search engine to Bing
In the current AI race, Google has found itself playing catch-up. Since OpenAI released ChatGPT to the public, it hasn’t taken other companies long to find ways of integrating generative AI into their businesses. Microsoft seems to be slightly ahead of the rest of Big Tech, which probably has something to do with all the money it’s thrown at OpenAI. Bing, its in-house search engine, and Microsoft 365, its suite of Office programs like Word or Excel, have all received some form of AI smarts.
Google, on the other hand, only has an announcement to show for its troubles. This is the main reason, as noted by The New York Times, that Google believes Samsung is considering a move to Bing as the default search engine on its Galaxy devices. The South Korean smartphone maker is reportedly already in negotiation talks with Microsoft to that effect. As a result, the search giant has broken out into a sPrint to release an all-new search engine with AI abilities. This is reportedly known as Project ‘Magi’ and could release as soon as May this year at Google’s I/O conference. Can Google stave off the competition and retain its claim as ‘world’s largest search engine’? We probably won’t have to wait long to find out.
Source: The New York Times