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NASA to Establish Virtual Institute for Small Spacecraft Systems at its Ames Research Center

NASA sees enormous benefits from investing in research and technology development in small spacecraft systems

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Representational image. Flickr

Washington, October 23, 2016 : NASA said it will establish a virtual institute to advance the field of small spacecraft systems at its Ames Research Center in the heart of Silicon Valley early in 2017.

The The Small Spacecraft Systems Virtual Institute (S3VI) will leverage the growing small spacecraft community, promote innovation, identify emerging technology opportunities, and provide an efficient channel for communication about small spacecraft systems with industry, academia, and other government agencies, the US space agency said in a statement on Friday.

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“The S3VI will provide the first one-stop shop for technical knowledge in the rapidly burgeoning small spacecraft technology fields,” said Jay Bookbinder, Director of Programmes and Projects at Ames.

Depending on the mission objective, a small spacecraft can range in size from a postage-stamp (under an ounce) up to the size of a refrigerator.

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“NASA sees enormous benefits from investing in research and technology development in small spacecraft systems, such as propulsion, that will be essential in advancing the commercial space sector,” said Steve Jurczyk, Associate Administrator for NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD).

“Over the past several years, NASA has increased the generation of new, innovative applications of small spacecraft, with several mission directorates using small spacecraft to meet their goals,” Jurczyk said.

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Small spacecraft are being used for a range of activities such as for earth and space science measurements to help understand our environment and investigations of microgravity effects on organisms to enable the safe exploration of space.

“This (the institute) will result in more efficient development efforts, and enable smaller vendors to compete more effectively in this market,” Bookbinder added.(IANS)

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Aadhaar Helpline Mystery: French Security Expert Tweets of doing a Full Disclosure Tomorrow about Code of the Google SetUP Wizard App

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Google comes up with a new feature

Google’s admission that it had in 2014 inadvertently coded the 112 distress number and the UIDAI helpline number into its setup wizard for Android devices triggered another controversy on Saturday as India’s telecom regulator had only recommended the use of 112 as an emergency number in April 2015.

After a large section of smartphone users in India saw a toll-free helpline number of UIDAI saved in their phone-books by default, Google issued a statement, saying its “internal review revealed that in 2014, the then UIDAI helpline number and the 112 distress helpline number were inadvertently coded into the SetUp wizard of the Android release given to OEMs for use in India and has remained there since”.

Aadhaar Helpline Number Mystery: French security expert tweets of doing a full disclosure tomorrow about Code of the Google SetUP Wizard App, Image: Wikimedia Commons.

However, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) recommended only in April 2015 that the number 112 be adopted as the single emergency number for the country.

According to Google, “since the numbers get listed on a user’s contact list, these get  transferred accordingly to the contacts on any new device”.

Google was yet to comment on the new development.

Meanwhile, French security expert that goes by the name of Elliot Alderson and has been at the core of the entire Aadhaar controversy, tweeted on Saturday: “I just found something interesting. I will probably do full disclosure tomorrow”.

“I’m digging into the code of the @Google SetupWizard app and I found that”.

“As far as I can see this object is not used in the current code, so there is no implications. This is just a poor coding practice in term of security,” he further tweeted.

On Friday, both the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) as well as the telecom operators washed their hand of the issue.

While the telecom industry denied any role in the strange incident, the UIDAI said that he strange incident, the UIDAI said that some vested interests were trying to create “unwarranted confusion” in the public and clarified that it had not asked any manufacturer or telecom service provider to provide any such facility.

Twitter was abuzz with the new development after a huge uproar due to Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) Chairman R.S. Sharma’s open Aadhaar challenge to critics and hackers.

Ethical hackers exposed at least 14 personal details of the TRAI Chairman, including mobile numbers, home address, date of birth, PAN number and voter ID among others. (IANS)

Also Read: Why India Is Still Nowhere Near Securing Its Citizens’ Data?