Manufacturing Minute: SpaceX's Satellite Internet Plans

Also in this episode, the world's largest air purifier and  the U.S. rail network.

The world's largest air purifier, SpaceX's satellite Internet and a potential hiccup in the U.S. rail network.

This is your Manufacturing Minute.

Welcome to the Manufacturing Minute. I’m today’s host Andy Szal.

Smog Free Tower

After three years of prep work, the world’s largest air purifier is up and running in the Netherlands.

But this 23-foot tower doesn’t just attract smog particles and remove them from the air — it also condenses the pollutants into small gem-like stones that can be embedded into jewelry.

Dubbed the Smog Free Tower, the prototype is powered by 1,400 watts of sustainable energy and will be traveling to different smog-ridden cities around the world.

Space Internet

Elon Musk in January announced plans to launch thousands of satellites into orbit, providing Internet service anywhere on Earth.

A recent interview with a SpaceX engineer added some detail to the plan. Provided SpaceX completes development of a fully reuseable rocket, the $10 billion dollar, 4,000-satellite endeavor should be in place by 2030.

After that, you'd just need to place a receiver the size of a pizza box somewhere outside.

Although the system could wreak havoc on your current Internet provider, Musk thinks it could be a revenue stream for SpaceX's more far-out ventures — including putting people on Mars.

Rail Shutdown?

Railroad companies are required under federal law to accommodate reasonable service requests from freight handlers — a policy called common carrier obligation.

But a looming deadline could put that standard — and the critical cargo moved by rail — in jeopardy.

As of January 1, trains are required to implement Positive Train Control, a safety system designed to prevent collisions or derailments.

Most, however, won't meet that deadline, and one federal transportation official now says railroads could suspend service after that date due to safety concerns.

At least one large carrier is considering taking that step if Congress doesn't authorize an extension.

So, What Do You Think?

Are railroads justified in shutting down service after failing to meet a seven-year-old deadline?

Should Congress take steps to ensure things like crude oil continue to get where they need to go?

Email us or leave your comments below.

That’s all the time we have for today, but check out our sites again next week for your next Manufacturing Minute.

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