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Space fans get a treat this week

Four missions are scheduled to launch from Thursday to Sunday (Aug. 27 to Aug. 30). Three launch from Florida’s Space Coast, one from New Zealand.

The action was to begin early Thursday morning. A technical snag postponed the launch to Saturday. The United Launch Alliance (Boeing and Lockheed) plans for a Delta IV Heavy rocket to lift the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office’s classified spy satellite from Cape Canaveral. You can watch the launch here. I can imagine what this satellite will be able to see!

Then, at 7:19pm on Friday (Aug. 28), a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket was to be launched from Cape Canaveral carrying a satellite skyward for Argentina’s national space agency. A few hours later, on the other side of the world, Rocket Lab’s Electron booster was scheduled to roar to life. If all went according to plan, Electron will have launched from Rocket Lab’s New Zealand complex at 11:05pm, carrying the Sequoia Earth-observation satellite to orbit for San Francisco startup Capella Space.

SpaceX will be back in action on Sunday, launching 60 of its Starlink satellites atop a Falcon 9. Liftoff is scheduled to take place at 10:08am from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, which is next door to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

SpaceX plans to provide high speed Internet access across the globe with performance far surpassing traditional satellite Internet. It plans for its Starlink satellites to deliver high speed broadband to locations where access has been unreliable, expensive, or completely unavailable. Starlink is targeting service in the Northern U.S. and Canada in 2020, rapidly expanding to near global coverage of the populated world by 2021.

We might even get a fifth rocket launch in the same timespan. California-based startup Astra plans its first orbital mission from the Pacific Spaceport Complex on Alaska’s Kodiak Island.

Beyond the Pandemic: Has Voting Changed Forever?

The Chamber of Digital Commerce webinar last week was a dynamic conversation about the future of voting, featuring a high profile panel with election officials and cybersecurity experts—all in the thick of the election season. The video is worth watching. Following are some of the quotes from the panels.

“The key to West Virginia’s perspective [on elections] is providing voters options. Options to those people at the far fringes of the world, our military on the hillsides of Afghanistan and in submarines, under the polar ice cap—perhaps even to astronauts out there in outer space.”

— Sec. Mac Warner, West Virginia Secretary of State

“I can’t imagine a more important group to have a vote than our military. They’re defending our right to vote and we make it so hard for them to vote.”

— Jonathan Johnson, President of Medici Ventures, CEO of Overstock

“We no longer live in an era where only white male property owners get to vote. We live in a country where every eligible voter, regardless of their socioeconomic status, gender or the color of their skin gets to vote. And if we are using an antiquated system that leaves out single moms or people in inner cities, or people with disabilities or people under the age of 30, then we are changing the elections by doing that.”

— Amelia Powers Gardner, Utah County Clerk/Auditor

“I think the drivers are the combination of the necessity to ensure voter turnout, and the necessity to make available the ability to vote when you are posted on a hillside in Afghanistan and you don’t have access to first-class mail, and when you are a disabled person in this country — these are increasingly more visible problems.”

— Emily Frye, Director of Cyber Integration at MITRE Public Sector

“We went with mobile voting when I started looking at our overseas and military and our disabled population. The methods they were given were unreliable…When you start dealing with an overseas population, vote-by-mail becomes a lot more sporadic and really unreliable. The other option they were given was email. Email was absolutely not secure, and it waived their right to a secret ballot.”

— Amelia Powers Gardner, Utah County Clerk/Auditor

Paper Ballot Fiasco

The paper ballot stories will get more and more exciting, to put it mildly. Bob Reby and I will be doing a third webinar about voting and will be discussing the paper ballot issues. The webinar will be in late September. The Zoom event will be hosted by Danbury Library. Stay tuned for details. 

Wall Street and the MAGFA Stocks

It was an incredible week for my MAGFA index, now at a 27.8% share of the S&P 500. The five companies gained more than $300 billion for the week. Apple still on the way to the Moon, or maybe Mars. Bitcoin slipped 1.6%. Hard to say what BTC correlates to. Sort of like Gold but many other global factors. After the Apple and Tesla stock splits, perhaps we will see other companies consider doing the same. Nothing goes straight up forever. Hard to figure and many experts say the prices are not justified based on earnings or anything! The short sellers have lost tens of billions on Tesla. Would take a brave person to short this market. Will cruise lines get back to normal? Can they include social distancing on a ship and still make money? Will Zoom’s many competitors knock the wind out of their sail? Likewise with Tesla. 

John’s MAGFA Market Cap (08/28/20 4:00pm ET)
 ClosingMarket CapLastChange in%
Total $7.524$7.218$305.904.2%
S&P 500 7/31/2020
MAGFA/S&P 500 27.8%26.7% 4.2%
Royal Caribbean$70.12$15.1$13.2$1.813.9%
Note: These five stocks and Bitcoin are in billions not trillions
Bitcoin market cap from coinmarketcap.com

Note: My father gave me the following investment advice many years ago, “Don’t give any, and don’t take any.” Wise man. I am not recommending buying or selling any of the stocks, startups, crypto, or indexes I write about.