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The weekend is so close we can taste it. To whet your appetite, here's a recap of some cool and interesting stories from the week that was, including the latest on the soon-to-be historic all-female spacewalk.
The largest manufacturer of civil aircraft, Boeing, wants to merge with the third largest, Sao Paulo-based Embraer, but the European Union is saying not so fast. The two companies announced in February the creation of a joint venture called Boeing Brasil. EU market regulators have initiated a probe to determine if the combined company would result in reduced competition in the aviation market. A decision is expected before February 20, 2020.
350 employees within WeWork’s software engineering, product management and data science teams are expected to get pink slips as the new leadership attempts to get the company’s finances in order ahead of a future public offering. Another 150 roles are likely to be dissolved as the company sells several assets. WeWork has roughly 15,000 employees and expects to make as many as 2,000 layoffs.
A great many enterprises are looking to put micro-satellites into orbit for some reason (money) . Usually, multiple companies book a rocket launch into space and split the fare. But rocket ride-sharing often requires a reservation over a year in advance and the launch vehicles rarely go exactly where the satellites need to be. Leo Aerospace aims to offer a better solution by using a reusable hot air balloon that does most of the heavy lifting. No more splitting rides as the Leo solution fits neatly into a truck that can travel directly to the client. Then, it's simply a matter of inserting the payload into its proper orbital position, which can all be done on the client’s schedule.
The future of aviation is electric and MagniX aims to take us there. Recently, the company flipped the switch on the the magni500 – a 750-horsepower all-electric motor that the company claims is “the world's most powerful electric aircraft motor to have turned a propellor at full power.” Initial tests flights will be done on a Harbour Air Beaver seaplane scheduled to take place later this year.
Last March, astronauts Christina Koch and Anne McClain were set to take part in the first ever spacewalk conducted entirely by women. Just one problem – NASA didn't have two properly fitted spacesuits readily available for the both of them. Well, the agency dug through its closet and located a spare so the spacewalk is now a-go with history to made on Oct. 21.