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It's Friday which means it's time for your weekly dose of the top stories in engineering, hiring, and aerospace including information on a not-so-top-secret US Air Force Hacking Competition.
Cancel culture has reached the US economy as recent data suggests that a much-feared recession might not be in the cards after all. Existing home sales and jobless claims have beat expectations, and even the Philadelphia Fed’s recent reading of manufacturing business activity has topped estimates. Meanwhile, upbeat investors are lifting US equity benchmarks back to record highs and both Europe and Japan are flashing more positive economic signs. Still, it’s a little too early to celebrate just yet as a Bloomberg survey of economists peg the chances of a recession in the next 12 months at 35%, up from 20% at the end of last year.
If you’re an elite hacker then Uncle Sam wants you to serve your country. The Air Force will soon put out a call inviting code ninjas to participate in a live hacking competition with the mission of virtually penetrating an orbiting satellite and its ground station. Of course, you’ll need to pass a battery of security checks to win a spot on the hacking team, but if you make the cut, you’ll get to show off your skills in finding software vulnerabilities in order to improve our nation's aircraft cyber security.
If you’re, say, a Bitcoin millionaire and don’t know what to do with all your cryptocurrency winnings, then perhaps Sir Richard Branson can interest you in a $250,000 trip to space. The legendary entrepreneur’s spaceflight company Virgin Galactic announced it intends to launch 16 flights in 2020, with plans to increase to 270 flights annually by 2023. That’s a launch every 32 hours so if you miss your once-in-a-lifetime trip you may be able to stick around and fly standby.
The world’s largest aerospace company is helping bring electric airplanes one step closer to reality. Boeing HorizonX Ventures and Safran Corporate Ventures have made a joint investment in Electric Power Systems – a company engineering aviation-grade energy storage solutions aimed at reducing the cost of battery systems for electric airplanes. In a news release Boeing HorizonX Ventures said, “This strategic investment accelerates the development of clean, quiet and safe urban air mobility solutions.”
The 20 or so elderly residents of Boca Chila Village, Texas, recently received buyout offers from SpaceX, and the townsfolk aren’t exactly jazzed about it. Elon Musk’s rocket company has offered to buy their homes for three times the appraised value. SpaceX has already constructed its experimental spaceport near the tiny community and, citing safety concerns, now wants to relocate the people who live there. However, many residents don’t intend to take SpaceX up on the offer.