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Inside Space (Nov 10th, 2017)

Ride-hailing company Uber has inked a deal with NASA for its UberAir flying car project. The company announced the deal on Wednesday at the Web Summit tech conference in Lisbon. Under the agreement, NASA will help Uber develop "unmanned traffic management" systems for its vertical take-off and landing vehicles. "UberAir will be performing far more flights on a daily basis than it has ever been done before. Doing this safely and efficiently is going to require a foundational change in airspace management technologies," Jeff Holden, chief product officer at Uber, said in a statement. Uber is not the only company NASA is working with on traffic management for low-altitude flying cars, but the agreement marks the first time the ride-hailing company has partnered with a government agency. Uber is aiming to begin testing the cars in 2020.  — CNBC

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NASA said this week that its deep space rocket probably won't be ready for its first mission until 2020. The space agency hoped to have the Space Launch System ready in 2019 after postponing its original November 2018 launch. The heavy lift rocket won't carry any astronauts on its first flight, but is envisioned as a way to bring people back to the moon and eventually to Mars. There's still a chance the rocket could be ready in late 2019; NASA says that earlier launch date is "reasonable and challenges the team to stay focused on tasks without creating undue pressure," according to administrator William Gerstenmaier.— NYTIMES

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SpaceX says nobody was injured when an explosion occurred while it was testing one of its Merlin engines Nov. 4 at a facility in McGregor, Texas. "We are now conducting a thorough and fully transparent investigation of the root cause," the company, founded by Elon Musk, said in a statement. The explosion apparently happened when officials were conducting a test of a "Block 5" Merlin engine. The engine type will be part of future Falcon 9 rockets. — SPACE

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NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory captured an image of a rare "encircling filament" on the sun. These clouds of charged particles float just above the sun's surface, but usually appear as long, uneven strands. The one NASA photographed late last month in ultraviolet light is round in shape. "Only a handful of times before have we seen one shaped like a circle," NASA said in a statement. "The black area to the left of the brighter active region is a coronal hole, a magnetically open region of the sun." It's not clear what the scientific significance of the filament is, but it's highly unusual, NASA said. —SPACE

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She's worked on just about every unmanned American space probe since 1958, back when the National Aeronautics and Space Administration was a brand new government agency. She was part of the Vega mission to Venus and the team that studied Halley's Comet. Sue Finley is still with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory at age 80, overseeing and advising space exploration still.

Read: At 80, Sue Finley Still at Work at NASA

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