Welcome to 5Things! Recently, I’ve signed up for a number of email newsletters that include a brief description of events or news in the past week. These include Axios, Tesletter, Platformer with Casey Newton, and Orbital Index. I’m trying to achieve a brief post every week that includes 5 things I thought were interesting or newsworthy in the past week!
1. SpaceX: Transporter 1 Record
On Sunday, SpaceX launched the first of its kind rideshare mission. SpaceX’s rideshare program aims to create competition for smaller space companies like Electron and Astra by launching smallsats. SpaceX usually launches one or two larger satellites for one customer. A rideshare program allows several satellites to be launched at once for a number of customers. Smallsats are the latest in the space industry, usually about the size of a washing machine, have created a new market for cheaper space launch services. With smaller space companies hot on their tail, SpaceX hopes that rideshare missions will help them stay relevant should the entire market go to smallsats.
Sunday’s launch set a record for the number of satellites launched at once- 143 satellites!
Further Reading: NASASpaceFlight | Written on Tuesday, January 26
Gamestonk!! https://t.co/RZtkDzAewJ— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 26, 2021
On Monday, Gamestop’s stock soared to its highest ever thanks in part to amateur investors on Reddit. For some reason that I’ve yet to understand, the /r/WallStreetBets community decided to conduct an experiment on GameStop stock. Before their recommendation, the stock’s high was around $30 or $40. After, it rose to $150+. This sudden rise in stock value pushed the company’s valuation to $10 billion. Making matters worse, Elon Musk tweeted about the meteoric rise, pushing the after-hours value up even higher. The biggest mystery to me: why GameStop? The retailer is struggling because of the COVID-19 pandemic, is this an attempt to save them? Or is it an experiment to see how the stock market would react?
Now that the initial hype seems to be over, the situation seems to have gained the attention of lawmakers and the Securities and Exchange Commission. It is apparently illegal to manipulate the market in the way that traders on the Reddit community did. As of writing, the SEC had not yet commented on the issue. (see update below…)
3. Back in the game
Intel has left the dedicated graphics game to Nvidia and AMD for a very long time, making only integrated graphics. Dedicated graphics provide much better performance for workloads like gaming or video editing. While integrated graphics are just fine for the everyday computer user, power users usually opt for dedicated cards. Intel has entered the game with the introduction of the Iris Xe family. Laptops with the new chip were released in October, but the desktop card was just released. While the jury is still out on whether or not these new cards will compete with the incumbents, I think this is an important step for Intel. After Apple announced they would ditch Intel processors for their own silicon, Intel has been predicted to fail. While I think they will stick around for a while, this new family of graphics cards should boost their sales. I’ve always preferred Intel processors over AMD ones, so I’m rooting for Team Blue! \
Further Reading: Intel Launches Its First Desktop Graphics Cards in More Than 20 Years | Intel starts shipping its first Iris Xe discrete graphics cards for desktop – Engadget | Written on Wednesday, January 27
3. GameStop… the saga continues
Just when we thought the GameStop frenzy was over, we realized it was only getting started. I cannot summarize everything that is happening right now, as there are new developments almost every couple of hours. Most notable, however, is the fact that retail trading apps like Robinhood have paused trading on stocks targeted by the /r/WallStreetBets community & others. As a result, some investors have been moving to the dogecoin cryptocurrency.
Instead of attempting to write in detail everything that is happening, I’ll just leave you with some articles that I’ve found.
Further Reading: How r/WallStreetBets Gamed the Stock of Gamestop – The Verge, AOC and others call for investigation into Robinhood’s GameStop freeze – The Verge, Dogecoin Surges As Reddit Traders Push To Make It The Crypto GameStop – Forbes | Written on Thursday, January 28th
5. SpaceX broke the rules?
SpaceX has been planning to test their SN9 Starship prototype for a couple of days now, but have been unable to because the FAA has not granted a license for them to do so. We have since learned that the test flight of SN8 violated the test license, but we are not sure why. Some speculate that it has something to do with the spectacular explosion that ended the flight. SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk tweeted shortly after an aborted test, criticizing the FAA launch license division.
Elon brings up a point- SpaceX works at an entirely different pace from the rest of the space industry. New rules and processes were set in motion last year, but won’t go into effect until later this year. Hopefully the SN9 launch will take place soon, and hopefully new FAA regulations will streamline the test flight process for SpaceX and other companies.
Further Reading: Elon Musk’s SpaceX violated its launch license in explosive Starship test – The Verge | What’s really going on with Elon Musk, the FAA, and Starship? – Ars Technicia, Starship SN9 fails to gain FAA green light for Friday attempt – NASASpaceFlight.com | Written on Saturday, January 30
Thank you for reading the first edition of 5Things! I hope you enjoyed it, and more importantly learned something. Feel free to let me know what you thought in the comments below! Hopefully, there will be another edition next week, we’ll see how long I can keep this up! 🙂