SPACE TECHNOLOGY

SpaceX launches 60 Starlink satellites

SpaceX launched its second batch of 60 Starlink satellites on Monday, taking another step toward Elon Musk’s vision to create a network for space-based broadband Internet service around the world.

One of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rockets rumbled aloft at 9:56 a.m. local time from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The satellites deployed a little over an hour after the launch.

A space-based Internet service will be an important source of funding for the closely held company, according to Musk, who founded SpaceX in 2002 with the ultimate goal of enabling people to live on other planets. SpaceX launched its first batch of satellites in May and has tinkered with the design to increase spectrum capacity.

The first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket, which flew in three previous missions, landed back on a drone ship about 8½ minutes after the launch.

SpaceX called off an attempt to use two vessels to catch the fairing — the nose cone that protects the payload — out of concern about sea conditions. The company still plans to retrieve the fairing, which was used in one mission earlier this year, once its two halves splash down.

SpaceX plans to continue launching Starlink satellites in batches and aims to provide service to parts of the northern United States and Canada next year, according to Starlink’s website. The company isn’t alone in wanting to start a constellation: Jeff Bezos’s Amazon has a rival effort called Project Kuiper, and SoftBank Group-backed OneWeb aims to have a network available by 2021. (Bezos also owns The Washington Post.)

— Bloomberg News

MANUFACTURING

Adidas 'speed factory' experiment ends

Adidas plans to idle experimental “speed factories” in the United States and Germany, redeploying techniques developed there to suppliers in Asia, where the vast majority of its products are already made.

The decision is a setback for anyone who hoped that projects such as the speed factories represented the dawn of a new era of manufacturing in Europe and North America. The facilities were pitched as a way for Adidas to profitably produce footwear in high-cost, developed economies.

The move reflects Adidas’ need to bridge the often conflicting goals of catering to customers’ changing whims ever faster while holding down production costs. Outsourcing the next-generation techniques it developed for the factories, including enhanced 3-D printing, is sensible for a company that makes only a tiny fraction of its own products, Cedric Rossi, an analyst at Bryan Garnier, said by phone.

The German sports company plans to expand its offering of footwear that’s designed and sold within weeks — rather than needing months or years — beyond just the specialty sneakers that have been made at the speed factories in Atlanta and Ansbach, Germany, according to a statement.

The Ansbach facility, which is as large as half a soccer field, has needed only about 160 people to make 1,500 pairs of shoes a day, or 500,000 annually. The highly automated process has largely replaced manual stitching and gluing with molding and bonding done by machines.

— Bloomberg News

Also in Business

Merck on Monday received approval from the European Commission to market its Ebola vaccine, less than a month after a European medicines panel backed the first-ever vaccine against the deadly virus. The vaccine, Ervebo, is approved for individuals aged 18 years and older and has already been used under emergency guidelines to try to protect against the spread of a deadly Ebola outbreak in Congo.

The Federal Aviation Administration on Monday downgraded Malaysia's air safety rating, restricting the country's airlines from adding new flights to the United States. The FAA's safety rating is based on Malaysia's aviation oversight regime and is an assessment of the country's civil aviation authority. The downgrade does not affect existing flights.

Airbnb, Chobani, Western Union and a dozen other companies are urging the withdrawal of a Trump administration proposal to slow down the work permit approval process for asylum seekers. The companies — joined by Uniqlo, Ben & Jerry's, DoorDash and others — spoke out against a recently proposed regulation in a letter sent to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services on Friday.

— From news services