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Lockheed’s hypersonic missile undergoes its final test by the US Air Force

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The U.S. Air Force conducted the final test of the hypersonic AGM-183A air-launched rapid response weapon on Sunday.

The service did not provide information regarding the success of the exam.

An Air Force representative told Defense News that after departing from Andersen Air Force Base in Guam, the B-52H Stratofortress tested the fully functional ARRW prototype in an all-up round test. The experiment was conducted at the Reagan Test Site, which is an Army facility located in the Marshall Islands.

The Air Force did not explicitly state the test’s goals, but it did claim that it gave valuable insight into the capabilities of the Lockheed Martin hypersonic weapon.

The spokesperson stated that this test obtained valuable and distinctive data with the purpose of advancing various hypersonic programs. Furthermore, we have successfully verified and enhanced our test and evaluation capabilities to facilitate the ongoing advancement of sophisticated hypersonic systems.

The ARRW program is one of the primary initiatives of the Air Force aimed at creating an air-launched hypersonic weapon capable of exceeding Mach 5 speed and possessing exceptional maneuverability. China and Russia have made substantial investments in their respective hypersonic weaponry, while the Pentagon is facing mounting pressure from Congress to demonstrate greater advancements in the development of the United States’ own capabilities in this domain.

Last year, Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall informed legislators that the ARRW program encountered difficulties during testing, following a failed test in March 2023.

Earlier this month, Air Force officials announced that the forthcoming test of ARRW will mark its final iteration, and the service intends to conclude its rapid prototyping initiative within the current year. In 2025, the military did not seek any financing for the acquisition of ARRW or for any research and development purposes.

Kendall has expressed a more sanguine stance toward the Hypersonic Attack Cruise Missile program, and the fiscal 2025 budget proposal suggests allocating $517 million to sustain the ongoing development of the technology. The HACM weapon is an air-breathing missile that Northrop Grumman and RTX subsidiary Raytheon have jointly developed. According to the Air Force, it is anticipated to possess a lower size compared to the ARRW and possess the capability to undertake significantly distinct flight paths in contrast to the boost-glide ARRW.

Earlier this month, the Air Force assistant secretary for acquisition, technology, and logistics informed reporters that the service intends to analyze the outcomes of the ultimate ARRW test in order to determine the necessary hypersonic capabilities.

As Editor here at GeekReply, I'm a big fan of all things Geeky. Most of my contributions to the site are technology related, but I'm also a big fan of video games. My genres of choice include RPGs, MMOs, Grand Strategy, and Simulation. If I'm not chasing after the latest gear on my MMO of choice, I'm here at GeekReply reporting on the latest in Geek culture.

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Gaming

Baldur’s Gate 3 has received an impressive haul of 5 BAFTA Awards, with the prestigious title of Best Game among them

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Baldur’s Gate 3 continues to solidify its position as a standout title, garnering five prestigious BAFTA awards, including the highly coveted Best Game accolade. In addition to the top accolade of the evening, the RPG created by the talented team at Larian Studios also emerged victorious in the categories of narrative, music, players’ choice, and performer in a supporting role.

Several games for the PS5 and PS4 received BAFTA awards. Alan Wake 2 won for Audio Achievement, Cyberpunk 2077 was recognized as an Evolving Game, Viewfinder was named the Best British Game, and Nadji Jeter received the Performer in a Leading Role award for his portrayal of Miles Morales in Marvel’s Spider-Man 2.

Standing on the stage that night, Swen Vincke, the founder of Larian Studios, expressed his disbelief: “It’s truly incredible to be here.” The effort and dedication poured into creating Baldur’s Gate 3 is truly commendable. It’s truly remarkable, and I extend my gratitude to Bafta and everyone involved.

Here are the winners of the BAFTA awards for 2024:

  • Debut game: Venba
  • Audio achievement: Alan Wake 2
  • Multiplayer: Super Mario Bros. Wonder
  • Evolving game: Cyberpunk 2077
  • Game design: Dave the Diver
  • British game: Viewfinder
  • Artistic achievement: Alan Wake 2
  • New intellectual property — Viewfinder
  • Narrative: Baldur’s Gate 3
  • Performer in a supporting role: Andrew Wincott, Raphael in Baldur’s Gate 3
  • Family — Super Mario Bros. Wonder
  • EE Players’ Choice — Baldur’s Gate 3
  • Animation — Hi-Fi Rush
  • Music — Baldur’s Gate 3
  • Game Beyond Entertainment — Tchia
  • Technical achievement: The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom
  • Performer in a leading role — Nadji Jeter, Miles Morales in Marvel’s Spider-Man 2
  • Best game: Baldur’s Gate 3

 

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Geek Culture

Financial records from before Starlink show that SpaceX spent a lot of money on moonshot bets

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SpaceX’s 2018 and 2019 confidential financial records give us a first look at how much the company probably depends on its Starlink business unit and getting the Starship rocket online in order to start making money.

The detailed balance sheets are from five years ago, but they give a very close look at how one of the most important and mysterious private companies in the U.S. works. In November, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg that SpaceX went from losing $2 billion in sales to supposedly making $9 billion in 2023 and $15 billion in 2024. These numbers help show what the company spent its money on and how much it spent it.

The company had two important years in 2018 and 2019: SpaceX launched its Falcon Heavy rocket for the first time in February 2018. In March of that year, the company failed a key flight test of its crew Dragon capsule, but a month later, the same capsule exploded while being tested on the ground. SpaceX was probably under a lot of pressure to give NASA astronauts a safe, reliable spaceship so that it could start making more money from the huge government contract it won to carry crews.

Also, SpaceX sent up its first 60 Starlink satellites that year. The company’s main goal is to build a colony of humans on Mars, or, as CEO Elon Musk often says, “to expand the light of consciousness” throughout the universe. The service has become an important part of those plans.

Let’s look at it

Comprehensive balance sheets from those years that were looked at show that the company made $1.98 billion in sales in 2018 and $1.45 billion in 2019, but it had a net loss of -$308 million in 2018 and -$501 million in 2019. SpaceX changed how it reported revenue from the percentage of a total contract that was completed to the percentage of discrete aspects of each contract that were completed because of a change in accounting rules, which is why revenue went down from 2018 to 2019. I saw the documents that explained this. I asked SpaceX for a word on this story, but they didn’t answer.

Most of the losses were due to “cost of revenue,” which is a broad term for all the costs that come with making and selling a product or service. In this item, it also lists the prices of its employees and contractors, as well as the rent and utilities. SpaceX even takes into account the costs of reusing launch vehicle gear that has lost value over time.

Additionally, the business spent a lot of money on R&D—$559 million in 2018 and $661 million the following year. Companies often put the costs of hiring people in this line item; this is the “development” part of R&D. In SpaceX’s case, though, the financial statement says that these costs were mostly for the Starlink and Starship projects. SpaceX launched the first batch of operational Starlink satellites in May 2019, which was a significant advancement for the program. At the end of 2018, the company had $868 million in cash and cash equivalents. In 2019, they will have $990 million.

The balance sheets cover the years after NASA gave SpaceX contracts to take people and things to and from the International Space Station. Getting contracts with NASA from the U.S. government brought in 37% of the money in 2018 and 83% of the money in 2019. This probably doesn’t come as a surprise.

The company’s value grew to $180 billion at the end of last year. Since May 2019, when 60 Starlink satellites were launched, it has made truly huge progress: More than 5,500 active satellites are now in space, and more than 2.5 million people have signed up to use them. This is clear from the fact that sales are through the roof.

When Starship gets there, things might change again. The huge rocket is currently being tested in space from the company’s launch site in Texas. It will be needed to keep up the launch schedule for the second-generation satellites. These satellites will weigh almost twice as much as the first generation of satellites. Adding more satellites to orbit will help end users get more room.

It was in May 2022 that Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX, said that Starship “is the only thing that can carry the Starlink 2 satellites.”

“Falcon [9] does not have the volume or the mass-to-orbit capability that Starlink 2 needs,” he said.

A lot of people have questions about SpaceX’s most recent financials. The company uses its own rocket, the Falcon 9, to launch its Starlink satellites. This lets it send the internet satellites into space at a rate that has never been seen before. The company can spread out the cost of gear over time because the rocket booster can be used more than once. But it will take longer to get Starlink to millions more people around the world if Starship doesn’t go live right away.

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Gaming

V Rising embraces its theme by introducing a Legacy of Castlevania crossover DLC

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V Rising, a vampiric RPG, made its debut on PC in 2022 and is set to grace the PS5 in 2024. The game clearly showcased a strong influence from Castlevania. Now, Stunlock Studios is fully embracing the opportunity, officially teaming up with Konami for a captivating DLC with a gothic twist.

Featured in The Triple-i Initiative’s recent digital indie showcase, Legacy of Castlevania offers players the opportunity to immerse themselves in the timeless visuals of hair, cloth, and character design from one of the most beloved vampire franchises in gaming history. The pack is set to be released in May, and it’s possible that we’ll gain further insights into the PS5 port at that time. In the upcoming game, players will have the chance to encounter the renowned vampire hunter Simon Belmont, who will serve as a formidable adversary. Additionally, fans will be delighted to know that they can dress up as the enigmatic Vampire Prince, Alucard, with a special cosplay set.

There will be three distinct shapeshifting variants for players to fully embrace the darkness. Among the options available are the Wolf Form Variant, Soul of the Wolf; the Human Form Variant, Glamour of Maria Renard; and the Toad Form Variant, Guise of The Flea Man. In addition, you’ll have access to luxurious furniture and decorations to adorn your sanctuary, creating an atmosphere reminiscent of a gothic masterpiece.

Did V Rising catch your attention? What are your thoughts on the Legacy of Castlevania collaboration? We eagerly await your thoughts in the comments section below.

 

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