Watch Rocket Lab launch NASA’s CAPSTONE mission to the moon live

After repeated delays, the microwaved oven-sized CubeSat known as CAPSTONE may finally start its long journey to the moon. With this launch, NASA aims to begin the first chapter of its ambitious Artemis program, and lay the groundwork for what would be a first in human history: an orbiting crewed platform around the moon. Before the crewed platform, which the agency is calling “Gateway,” can launch, NASA is first testing a unique, highly elliptical orbit around the moon. That’s where CAPSTONE, or Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment, comes in. The CubeSat will travel along that exact orbit (called a near-rectilinear halo orbit) for six months, gathering important data for NASA scientists. To get there, CAPSTONE will launch aboard a Rocket Lab Electron rocket from the company’s site on New Zealand’s remote Māhia Peninsula. It’s “the highest mass and the highest performance Electron has ever had to fly by quite some margin,” Rocket La

Google Cloud’s new sustainability platform aims to bring enterprise climate goals down to earth

If you ask most executives if they want to do the right thing by the planet, chances are they are going to say yes, even if they don’t know exactly what that involves. Some companies could exaggerate their intentions in a process known as “greenwashing ,” but companies with more honorable motives need tools to help understand the data about their energy usage, and if they are meeting the goals they have set for themselves. This week at the first Sustainability Summit , Google Cloud introduced a set of solutions, some building on existing tooling, some new, that are designed to form a sustainability platform of sorts for enterprise companies and governments to set goals, compare against publicly available and internal data and visualize and understand how they are doing when it comes to sustainability goals. Jenn Bennett, who is technical director for sustainability in the office of the CTO at Google Cloud, says sustainability is such a huge problem, the company wants to give customer

Waymo, UPS, others pressure Gov. Newsom to allow autonomous trucking in California

Waymo, Aurora, UPS and Luminar are among a group of 34 autonomous vehicle developers, California business organizations, and automotive and logistics companies that have signed an open letter to Governor Gavin Newsom asking him to revisit the California Department of Motor Vehicles’s 2015 prohibition on the operation of autonomous trucks in the state. California began regulating autonomous vehicles in 2012 , and has been the key battleground state for robotaxi operations. Late last week, Cruise began charging for fully driverless rides , and Waymo recently opened up driverless testing for employees in San Francisco. Despite opening up AV regulations to larger AVs for the purposes of delivery in 2019 , the DMV’s regulations continue to exclude autonomous testing or deployment of vehicles weighing more than 10,001 pounds. Texas, the state that’s getting all of Silicon Valley’s tax refugees, has been home to most of the nation’s autonomous trucking operations, with companies like Waym

Degreed’s co-founder is back at the company he left…with the startup he built

Edtech up-skilling platform Degreed has acquired Learn In , which creates talent resource hubs for employers to better spin up education services for their teams. While we’d nearly always cover a notable acquisition in a relevant tech sector, the extra interesting bit here is a personnel one: both companies were co-founded by the same entrepreneur, David Blake. It feels rare to see serial entrepreneurs have one of their startups acquire another one of their startups. Part of the reason is that there can be a conflict of interest, or power imbalance, when making decisions. After all, most people agree with themselves. For example , Tesla shareholders somewhat famously sued CEO Elon Musk when Tesla acquired SolarCity, where Musk was also chairman and the largest shareholder. (They accused him of bailing out the solar installer; a judge later determined that Tesla didn’t overpay for the company.) Blake said that he disclosed all conflicts and recused himself from representing Degreed

These four iconic European founders plan to kick the asses of VCs who never started a company

Until recently, Taavet Hinrikus, co-founder of Wise, and Sten Tamkivi, co-founder of Teleport, had banded together as a sort of “mini Angel brand” known as “Taavet+Sten.” Tamkivi has done around 50 angel deals, Hinrikus has, reportedly, done as many as 150. But they were effectively pooling their personal capital as angel investors. However, evidently this wasn’t enough for either, plus as former co-founders, they were viscerally aware that almost no VC funds in Europe have been founded by actual former entrepreneurs. And if you think about it, they’re right. Atomico might have Niklas Zennström, or PROfounders might have (or rather had, as both are far more concentrated elsewhere) Brent Hoberman ( and Michael Birch (Bebo), but these are hardly recent entrepreneurs, to put it mildly. In the U.S., founder-founded VCs are far more in abundance than in Europe, a fact that has not escaped many a European entrepreneur. So today’s launch of a new project involving Hinrikus an

Daily Crunch: Truth Social says federal grand jury probe could block its planned SPAC merger

To get a roundup of TechCrunch’s biggest and most important stories delivered to your inbox every day at 3 p.m. PDT, subscribe here . Hello, friends! I’m back from being OOTO for the past week. My inbox is a hot mess, but the beach was very relaxing, and I’m still thinking of those watermelon margaritas. As you can see, my partner in crime, Haje , is still enjoying his adventures, but we have a full day of news to dive into, so shall we get started? — Christine P.S. Want to bring a friend for free to TechCrunch Disrupt ? You’re in luck because we have our July 4th two-for-one flash sale. Fourth of July flash sale: Two-for-one passes to TechCrunch Disrupt The TechCrunch Top 3 Truth Social SPAC hits a snag : A New York–based federal grand jury sent subpoenas to members of Digital World’s board, Ivan reported. That’s the special purpose acquisition company getting ready to acquire Donald Trump’s media group responsible for Truth Social. According to an SEC filing, the subpoen

Max Q: Acronyms rule everything around me

Hello and welcome back to Max Q. In this issue: NASA sees a future for nuclear energy on the moon Epsilon3 closes funding for space industry OS News from AWS, SpaceX and more Don’t forget to sign up to get the free newsletter version of Max Q delivered to your inbox. NASA taps three companies to design nuclear power plants for the moon In a rather cool bit of news, NASA said that it’s contracting three suppliers for nuclear fission energy system concept designs for use on the lunar surface. Lockheed Martin, Westinghouse and IX (a joint venture from Intuitive Machine and X-Energy) were the three winning bidders. Each will work with partners to develop “initial concepts,” and will receive around $5 million for that work, which is expected to take around 12 months. NASA is aptly partnering with the Department of Energy (DOE) on this project, and the specs include a 40-kilowatt power-generation capability, capable of generating that for at least a decade. That’s about what a full

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