Weekly Takeaways-February 15, 2022
Updated: Mar 10
Theme of the Week
Ditch the Dial-Up You may recall the distinctive sound of the dial-up modem from the early days of the internet. The modem allowed people to use their existing telephone landline to access the web. But it didn’t work well because the telephone infrastructure was not designed for it. It was only a bridge until a broadband network could be built. The same thing with GPS. GPS was not intended or designed to be a timing resource for the world, yet that is what has happened. Developed by the Department of Defense in the 1970's, it took a pair of Executive Orders to make it available for civilian use. Because GPS delivers both position and timing, newly built networks started capitalizing on this timing signal. Like the dial-up modem, they took advantage of the existing technology. It is now time to upgrade and build a timing network optimized for modern networks. Last Week's Theme: Time for the Quantum Internet
The US Chief of Naval Operations released a Navigation Plan that asserts that “...the Navy must establish itself as a key player in the U.S. quantum technology community. To do so, the Navy should host operational testing on board its platforms in two critical areas: quantum cryptography and quantum sensing.” China was the target of concern as the recognized leader in quantum technology. “[The United States] was ahead for so long, and in so many areas, that it hasn’t really had to do much thinking about what it means to be behind,” said physicist Mitch Ambrose.
The U.S. House of Representatives passed the $350B America Competes Act, a bill designed to “curb the country's reliance on foreign powers like China," and includes $7B for investments in “10 regional tech hubs outside of the nation's five leading technology centers.” It is the companion to the $110B United States Innovation and Competition Act of 2021 (USICA), formerly known as the Endless Frontier Act, which is stalled in Congress.
The National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) just released their “Critical and Emerging Technologies List” of “particular importance to the national security of the United States”, including Communication and Networking Technologies, Networked Sensors and Sensing, Quantum Information Technologies, and Space Technologies and Systems.
BryceTech just released their annual Smallsats by the Numbers report. By their calculation, 1,743 small satellites (defined as less than 600 kg) were launched in 2021, compared with 1202 in 2020. The majority belonged to Starlink and OneWeb, but there were 470 other smallsats launched.
But those numbers are going to increase! Space industry veteran Greg Wyler announced the largest space seed investment ever for his new venture, E-Space, with plans to launch 100,000 small satellites to create a “multi-application cloud server in space” and “the most sustainable satellite network in history.”
The More You Know...
D-Wave became the latest quantum startup to go public in a $1.6B SPAC deal, joining fellow quantum computing startups IonQ ($2B IPO) and Rigetti Computing ($1.5B SPAC). There have already been a few exits by quantum communication startups, including: