Wij willen met u aan tafel zitten en in een openhartig gesprek uitvinden welke uitdagingen en vragen er bij u spelen om zo, gezamelijk, tot een beste oplossing te komen. Oftewel, hoe kan de techniek u ondersteunen in plaats van dat u de techniek moet ondersteunen.

NASA and partners Boeing and the United Launch Alliance (ULA) are gearing up for a crucial milestone moment on Friday: The ‘Orbital Flight Test’ (OFT) of the Boeing Starliner CST-100 Crew Capsule. The capsule, a spacecraft designed to carry astronauts on board from U.S. soil for the first time since the end of the Space Shuttle program, will be launched on an Atlas V rocket provided by ULA – without anyone on board this time, but in a mission that is one of the last key steps before astronauts take their first ride.

What’s happening

On Friday, pending weather and everything else cooperates, ULA’s Atlas V rocket will carry the Boeing Starliner CST-100 crew capsule to the International Space Station (ISS). This launch will be essentially a full run-through of the forthcoming Crew Flight Test (CFT), the first flight of the Boeing crewed spacecraft with actual astronauts on board.

While this is one key component before that CFT mission takes place, it’s not the only one remaining: Starliner must still undergo three remaining reliability tests for its parachute system, on top of the data gained about this crucial component of the overall launcher, before the spacecraft is certified for regular service transporting astronauts to and from the ISS in a non-testing capacity.

During the mission, the Starliner will ascend atop the Atlas V rocket to a heigh of 98 nautical miles, at which point it’ll separate from the rocket and continue under its own power for the remainder of the trip to orbit, where it’ll rendez-vous with the ISS for docking. Astronauts on board the ISS will assist with docking using the station’s robotic arm, and then unload around 600 lbs of equipment and supplies that’s being carried aboard the crew capsule as a secondary mission, before the capsule undocks and returns to Earth.

When and where it’s going down

The launch is scheduled for Friday morning, December 20th at 6:36 AM EST (3:36 AM PST). It’ll launch from Space Launch Complex 41 (SLC-41) at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, and currently weather conditions are looking 80% favorable based on current forecasts, which means that as it stands there’s a good chance weather will be within acceptable limits for take-off.

The launch window is instantaneous, meaning that it only open for that specific time and if anything prevents the launch from happening, there are backup dates potentially available either December 21 and 23 – as well as options on either Christmas Day or a few days following. After launch, the Starliner will dock with the station on the morning of December 21, and then spend around a week at the ISS, before undocking on December 28 for its return trip. The journey back is as important as the trip to the ISS in terms of proving out the spacecraft’s proper functioning.

What happens after that

Should everything go to plan, Boeing’s Starliner CST-100 will be much closer to its ultimate goal of transporting people to space. As mentioned above, the parachute system still requires some additional testing for certification purposes, but the crewed CFT test launch should happen sometime in “early 2020” according to Boeing provided everything meets their strict requirements in terms of safety and other readiness standards.

On Wednesday, ULA rolled out its mobile launch platform and the Atlas V rocket to the launchpad in preparation for Friday’s mission. The teams will now conduct pre-launch preparations leading up to Friday, a process it already conducted in dress rehearsal mode covering everything right up to the actual ignition two weeks ago.

We’ll have live coverage of the launch right here on TechCrunch as it happens, and a summary of how the launch went immediately following, so check back Friday for updates.


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Following swiftly on the heels of a Thanksgiving that broke records with $ 4.2 billion in online sales, Black Friday also hit a new high, although it just fell short of predictions. According to analytics from Adobe, consumers spent $ 7.4 billion online yesterday buying goods online via computers, tablets and smartphones. The figures were up by $ 1.2 billion on Black Friday 2018, but they actually fell short of Adobe’s prediction for the day, which was $ 7.5 billion.

Salesforce, meanwhile, said that its checks revealed $ 7.2 billion in sales (even further off the forecast).

Popular products included toys on the themes of Frozen 2, L.O.L Surprise, and Paw Patrol. Best selling video games included FIFA 20, Madden 20, and Nintendo Switch. And top electronics, meanwhile, included Apple Laptops, Airpods, and Samsung TVs.

A full $ 2.9 billion of Black Friday sales happened on smartphones. These conversions are growing faster than online shopping overall, so we are now approaching a tipping point where soon smartphones might outweigh web-based purchases through computers.

“With Christmas now rapidly approaching, consumers increasingly jumped on their phones rather than standing in line,” said Taylor Schreiner, Principal Analyst & Head of Adobe Digital Insights, in a statement. “Even when shoppers went to stores, they were now buying nearly 41% more online before going to the store to pick up. As such, mobile represents a growing opportunity for smaller businesses to extend the support they see from consumers buying locally in-store on Small Business Saturday to the rest of the holiday season. Small Business Saturday will accelerate sales for those retailers who can offer unique products or services that the retail giants can’t provide.”

Adobe Analytics tracks sales in real-time for 80 of the top 100 US retailers, covering 55 million SKUs and some 1 trillion transactions during the holiday sales period. Salesforce uses Commerce Cloud data and insights covering more than half a billion global shoppers across more than 30 countries.

One of the reasons we may be seeing slightly less fervent sales than the analysts had predicted is because the holiday sales season is starting earlier and earlier. Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving when many people have days off, has for a long time been seen by retailers as the start of holiday shopping season. That has changed as retailers hope to catch more sales over a longer period of time.

As more people shop, they are also shopping for more expensive items. Adobe noted that Average Order Value was $ 168, a new record level yesterday for Black Friday, up 5.9% on a year ago.

Smartphone sales were up 21% over last year and those who were not buying were, as a start, browsing, with whopping 61% of all online traffic to retailers coming from smartphones, up 15.8% since last year.

As with yesterday, e-commerce “giants” with over $ 1 billion in sales annually were doing better than smaller sites: they had more smartphone sales, and 66% conversions on browsers on smartphones, Adobe said. They have overall also seen a 62% boost in sales this season, versus 27% for smaller retailers.

As with the Thanksgiving sales patterns — when bigger retailers also appeared to do better than their smaller counterparts — there are a couple of reasons for this. One is that the bigger sites have a wider selection of goods and can afford to take hits with deep discounts on some items, in order to lure users in to add other items to their shopping cars that are not as deeply discounted. Or, bigger online retailers can simply afford to give bigger markdowns.

The other is that the bigger stores often have more flexible delivery options. Adobe noted that those using click-and-collect orders, or buy online, pick up in store / curbside grew by 43 percent.

The story is not all rosy for big retailers, however. Edison Trends notes that some big platforms are actually seeing very mixed results this time around.

It will be interesting to see how and if patterns change for smaller retailers on Sunday, which is being dubbed “small business Sunday” to focus on buying from smaller and independent shops. Shoppers have already spent $ 470 million, and Adobe believes it will pass the $ 3 billion mark. Cyber Monday, the biggest of them all, is expected to make $ 9.4 billion in sales.


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Synchronize your watches startup fans, and get ready to score serious savings on passes to Disrupt Berlin 2019. For today only, you can get 2 passes for the price of one. Our Black Friday sale starts now and runs through 11:59pm CET on 29 November. Don’t miss out!

Simply purchase a pass to Disrupt Berlin now (Founder passes start at just €645 + VAT), and you’ll get two passes for the price of one. Split the cost with a colleague, gift the pass to a client or bring a member of your team to Disrupt. No matter how you choose to use that extra pass, you’ll reap extra value. Go BOGO — buy your passes — before the 24-hour clock runs out.

Now you and your buddy can get ready to make the most out of two program – and opportunity-packed days in Berlin. Connection is the name of the game at Disrupt events, and there’s no better place to start promising conversations than Startup Alley. You’ll find hundreds of early-stage startups and sponsors exhibiting an array of products, platforms and services that span the tech spectrum.

Looking for customers, collaborators, incubators, investors? Need manufacturing advice or simply want to talk shop with other founders? Startup Alley has that and more. Be sure to check out the TC Top Picks — our hand-picked cohort of exceptional startups that represent the best in these specific tech categories: AI/Machine Learning, BioTech/HealthTech, Blockchain, FinTech, Mobility, Privacy/Security, Retail/eCommerce, Robotics/IoT/Hardware, SaaS and Social Impact & Education.

There’s plenty to experience outside the Alley, and the Disrupt Berlin agenda can help you make the most of your time. Be in the room when TechCrunch editors interview CEOs from companies such as Away, UIPath and Naspers, as well as leading investors from Atomico, SoftBank and GV.

If you’re a founder (aspiring or otherwise), don’t miss what goes down on the Extra Crunch stage. You’ll hear panelists discuss important startup trends and offer actionable tips and advice on topics like scaling a business, product management, raising money and building a brand.

There’s so much more to experience at Disrupt Berlin: The Hackathon, the always-epic Startup Battlefield pitch competition, workshops and Q&A Sessions. It all happens on 11-12 December, and now you have 24 hours to double up on value. Buy your pass before the clock runs out at 11:59pm CET on 29 November, and you’ll get a second one free. Go BOGO!

Is your company interested in sponsoring or exhibiting at Disrupt Berlin 2019? Contact our sponsorship sales team by filling out this form.


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