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Exclusive: GM and Lockheed are taking their lunar rover project to the commercial space market

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GM and Lockheed are taking their lunar rover project to the commercial space market

#Lockheed #lunar #rover #project #commercial #space #market

MILFORD, Mich. — General Motors and Lockheed Martin said Thursday they plan to produce an array of moon-roving vehicles for commercial space missions and services powered by the automaker’s electric vehicle battery technology.

The companies said they plan to test the batteries in space later this year, with the goal of having their first vehicle using the batteries on the moon in 2025. In addition to potential NASA bids, they hope to strike deals with private companies such as Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin and Elon Musk’s SpaceX.

“The interest around the world is tremendous,” said Derek Hodgins, Lockheed Martin’s director of product strategy and sales for lunar infrastructure services, during a joint event here at the GM Proving Ground.

The announcement marks the latest expansion for GM’s Ultium technologies, including batteries, outside the auto market. The automaker also has announced partnerships to use or test the technologies in electric motors for trains, boats and other industries.

GM and Lockheed last year announced a partnership to develop a lunar rover utilizing its Ultium vehicle platform and batteries for NASA, which is assessing projects following a bid for its upcoming Artemis missions to the moon.

The companies say their experience developing the lunar rover for NASA is being used to develop other types of vehicles for space missions and services such as data and soil collection.

The lunar mobility vehicle for commercial use is being developed at a multimillion-dollar simulator at GM’s testing lab that emulates the moon’s surface and atmosphere, including the change in gravity. GM was previously the major subcontractor that helped Boeing create a similar vehicle used during three Apollo missions on the moon.

The new vehicle is being designed to be more technologically advanced, powerful and to last at least 10 years on the moon. Its top speed, for example, will be 12 mph compared to the 7 mph of the Apollo-era vehicles. It also is designed to operate autonomously when not being used by astronauts.

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“This is no dune buggy,” Hodgins said. “These are tools that were not available in the late ’60s.”

Lockheed Martin is already speaking with potential customers for the lunar rover vehicles, according to Hodgins. He declined to disclose what companies are involved in the discussions.

GM also said Thursday it is drawing on its experiences developing the Hummer EV for system controls, battery management and torque management to control the propulsion for the new lunar rover program.

“It’s moon dust, but there are also craters, rocks and other things you’re going to have to navigate,” Drew Mitchell, vehicle dynamics performance engineer for Hummer, said Thursday.

The project remains in development. However, executives said they expect to move into “execution phase” shortly.

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Exclusive: Small Businesses Are Facing Crippling Amounts of Paperwork. It'll Likely Only Get Worse – TalkOfNews.com

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Small Businesses Are Facing Crippling Amounts of Paperwork. It'll Likely Only Get Worse

#Small #Businesses #Facing #Crippling #Amounts #Paperwork #It039ll #Worse

If you think you are pushing more paperwork than ever, you’re not alone. According to a new Small Business Index report released this week from MetLife and U.S. Chamber of Commerce, 37 percent of business owners say they are spending more time on licensing, compliance, or other government requirements; that’s vs. 29 percent last quarter. 

The papers started piling up during the pandemic, as businesses started applying for funds through government relief programs such as the Paycheck Protection Program and employees starting requesting more sick leave due to Covid. While that seems reasonable enough, the time businesses are spending on forms and compliance is still likely to increase in the months ahead as federal agencies are seeking to implement more rules and enforce those already in effect.

In March the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), proposed rule changes that require registrants to include certain climate-related disclosures in their registration statements and quarterly reports, including information about climate-related risks. Small businesses say the regulator’s proposal on climate disclosures will saddle them with a compliance burden they won’t be able to handle, according to the Wall Street Journal. While small companies normally don’t fall within the SEC’s purview, they fear that they will be forced to cough up heaps of information on their roles, however small, in emitting carbon because the SEC wants large public companies to catalog emissions in their entire supply chains.

“Small and independent businesses cannot afford the experts, accountants and lawyers needed to comply with complex government reporting regimes,” the National Federation of Independent Business said in a comment letter filed with the SEC.

Additionally, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) are creating more rules and regulations. In April Director Rohit Chopra told the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs that the CFPB will “dramatically increase its issuance of guidance documents, such as advisory opinions, compliance bulletins, policy statements, and other publications,” to ensure businesses follow regulations. For small businesses without full HR staffs or legal teams to keep up with the added paperwork and unnecessary red tape and regulations, these changes can come as a harsh reality.

“[Small businesses] are wading through a seemingly never-ending debate of rule changes and shifting incentives that threaten their fundamental abilities to create, build, and grow the enterprises that will power our economy forward,” said Joe Shamess, General Partner at Flintlock Capital, during testimony before the House Small Business Committee in a hearing on veteran entrepreneurship in June 2022.

Meanwhile, a rare opportunity to overturn the federal government’s ability to police corporations is starting to materialize. Some regulations watchers suggest that the recent Supreme Court of the United States decision in which the Environmental Protection Agency was ruled to have overstepped its authority to curb power plants’ carbon emissions could fuel an easing of red tape in other instances. Similar cases involving the Clean Water Act, among others may follow similar precedent. 

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Exclusive: Bank of England's Bailey warns global economic outlook has 'deteriorated materially' – TalkOfNews.com

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Bank of England's Bailey warns global economic outlook has 'deteriorated materially'

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Andrew Bailey, governor of the Bank of England, has said the global economic outlook has deteriorated materially after surging commodity prices pushed up inflation around the world.

Bloomberg | Bloomberg | Getty Images

LONDON — The governor of the Bank of England said Tuesday that the global economic outlook has “deteriorated materially” and warned of possible further shocks to come.

Andrew Bailey blamed Russia’s invasion of Ukraine for piling further pressure on commodity prices and already rising inflation, and said that further resilience is needed to mitigate future risks.

“The global economic outlook has deteriorated materially,” Bailey said at a briefing at the Bank of England.

“It is the right time to lock in resilience so that we are well prepared for future possible shocks,” he added.

The warning came as the central bank published its Financial Stability Report Tuesday, in which it outlined a number of risks to the U.K.’s economic outlook. Those include ongoing disruption to food and energy markets as a result of the war, high household and government debt, as well as the continued impacts of Covid-19 in China.

We expect households and businesses to become more stretched over coming months.

Andrew Bailey

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governor, Bank of England

The BOE, alongside other central banks, has been raising interest rates in a bid to bring down high prices. However, Bailey acknowledged that this had made the economic landscape harder for households and businesses, and that there was little sign of let up in the near-term.

“These higher prices, weaker growth and tighter financing conditions will make it harder for households and businesses to repay or refinance debt,” he said.

“Given this, we expect households and businesses to become more stretched over coming months. They will also be more vulnerable to further shocks,” he said.

BOE lifts banking capital demands

The comments came as the Bank on Tuesday lifted its countercyclical capital buffer rate (CCyB) for banks from 1% to 2%, starting in July 2023. Central banks increase the regulatory capital demand when they believe risks are building up.

Bailey said the Bank’s Financial Policy Committee would be willing to continue readjusting the rate as needed.

“Given considerable uncertainty around the outlook, the FPC will continue to monitor the situation,”  he said. “We stand ready to vary the UK CCyB rate — in either direction — depending on how risks develop.”

In sharp contrast to the financial crisis, it is in a position to cushion the economic shocks, not add to them.

Andrew Bailey

governor, Bank of England

Bailey also said the BOE would move ahead with its annual stress test in September, evaluating the U.K. banking system’s ability to handle various potential risks, including higher interest rates, asset price falls and “deep” recessions.

However, he added that the sector looks generally strong and that lenders are much better placed now than during the 2008 Global Financial Crisis to handle a severe economic downturn.

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“The economic outlook is uncertain and undoubtedly a very challenging one for many households and businesses,” he said.

“The banking system is resilient to that outlook, however, or even a much worse one. In sharp contrast to the financial crisis, it is in a position to cushion the economic shocks, not add to them.”

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Exclusive: Twitter sues India’s government over content takedown orders – TalkOfNews.com

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Twitter sues India’s government over content takedown orders

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Twitter has sued the Indian government to challenge some of its takedown orders, a source familiar with the matter told TechCrunch, further escalating the tension between the American social giant and New Delhi.

In its lawsuit, filed Tuesday in Karnataka High Court, Twitter alleges that New Delhi has abused its power by ordering it to remove several tweets from its platform.

The lawsuit follows a rough year and a half for Twitter in India, a key overseas market for the firm, where it has been asked to take down hundreds of accounts and tweets, many of which critics argue were objected because they denounced the Indian government’s policies and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Reuters first reported the lawsuit. A Twitter spokesperson declined to comment.

Twitter has partially complied with the requests, but sought to fight back many of the challenges. Under India’s new IT rules, which went into effect last year, Twitter has little to no room left to individually challenge the takedown orders.

The tension between the two was apparent on May 24 last year, when Delhi police, controlled by India’s central government, visited two offices of Twitter — in the national capital state of Delhi and Gurgaon, in the neighboring state of Haryana — to seek more information about Twitter’s rationale to label one of the tweets by ruling partly BJP spokesperson as “manipulated media.”

Delhi police said it had received a complaint about the classification of the spokesperson’s tweet and visited the offices to serve Twitter India’s head a notice of the inquiry. In a statement, the police said Twitter India’s managing director’s replies on the subject had been “very ambiguous.”

Twitter at the time described the episode as “intimidation.”

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The company has “concerns with regards to the use of intimidation tactics by the police in response to enforcement of our global Terms of Service, as well as with core elements of the new IT Rules,” it said.

Twitter India managing director resigned from the firm last year.

Twitter is not the first tech giant to sue the Indian government. WhatsApp sued New Delhi last year, challenging new regulations that could allow authorities to make people’s private messages “traceable,” and conduct mass surveillance.

It’s unclear if the new lawsuit will have any impact on Twitter’s proposed acquisition by Elon Musk. Musk’s Tesla has been attempting to enter the Indian market for several years but wants the government to let it first sell and service imported cars first.

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