Jun 15, 2018

Airbus and Alphabet invest in "space catapult" startup

Photo by Time Life Pictures/NASA/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

SpinLaunch, a Silicon Valley-based developer of space catapults, raised $35 million from Kleiner Perkins and venture capital affiliates of Airbus and Google parent Alphabet. It previously raised $5 million.

What? Yes, space catapults. The kind that could sit on earth and basically fling satellites into orbit without using rocket fuel, thus significantly increasing payload capacity.

SpinLaunch also is set to receive $25 million via a special purpose bond issuance by Hawaii, despite some resident objections to the prospect of megaton pieces of metal being chucked over their homes.

Go deeper with Bloomberg's Ashlee Vance:

"Why would anyone do such a thing? Well, [founder Jonathan] Yaney is trying to work around the limits that physics have placed on the rocket launch industry for decades. To overcome gravity and Earth’s atmosphere, rockets must be almost perfectly engineered and, even then, can only push a relatively small payload into space. The items carried on a typical rocket, for example, make up less than 5 percent of the rocket’s mass, with the rest going toward fuel and the rocket’s body."

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Coronavirus kills 2 Diamond Princess passengers as South Korean cases surge

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's

Two elderly Diamond Princess passengers have been killed by the novel coronavirus — the first deaths confirmed among the more than 600 infected aboard the cruise ship.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed more than 2,100 people and infected over 75,000 others, mostly in mainland China, where the National Health Commission announced 114 new deaths since Wednesday.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 56 mins ago - Health

Massive MGM data breach: Guests' personal details posted on hacking site

The MGM Grand hotel in Las Vegas. Photo: Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

An MGM Resorts security breach last summer resulted in the personal details of 10.6 million guests published on a hacking forum this week, ZDNet first reported Wednesday.

Why it matters: Federal government employees and high-profile guests were affected by the breach, according to analysis by data breach monitoring service Under the Bridge and ZDNet — including officials from the FBI, Department of Homeland Security and the Transportation Security Administration, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, Microsoft staffers and singer Justin Bieber.

George Zimmerman sues Buttigieg and Warren for $265M

George Zimmerman in Sanford, Florida, in November 2013. Photo: Joe Burbank-Pool/Getty Images

George Zimmerman filed a lawsuit in Polk County, Fla., seeking $265 million in damages from Democratic presidential candidates Pete Buttigieg and Elizabeth Warren, accusing them of defaming him to "garner votes in the black community."

Context: Neither the Massachusetts senator nor the former Southbend mayor tweeted his name in the Feb. 5 posts on what would've been the 25th birthday of Trayvon Martin, the unarmed black teen Zimmerman fatally shot in 2012. But Zimmerman alleges they "acted with actual malice" to defame him.