SpaceX reveals plans for a Texas spaceport resort in new job ad

SpaceX has big plans for its Boca Chica, Texas site – where it’s currently building and testing Starship, the company’s next-generation passenger and cargo spacecraft. A new job posting spotted by CNBC’s Micheal Sheetz seeks a “Resort Development Manager” to be based out of Brownsville, the nearest neighboring town to the small Boca Chica area where SpaceX has built out its existing test and development site.

The job posting seeks a manger to “oversee the development of SpaceX’s first resort from inception to completion,” with the ultimate aim of turning Boca Chica into a “21st century Spaceport.” That would include overseeing the entire design and construction process, as well as getting all necessary work permits and regulatory approvals, and completing the ultimate build of the facility.

SpaceX has provided some concept designs of what its ideal spaceports might look like, and CEO Elon Musk shared his intent to build floating spaceports for both interstellar and point-to-point Earth travel back in June, when the company announced it was seeking Offshore Operations Engineers, also to be located in Brownsville.

This new posting suggests that SpaceX will seek to create an end-to-end experience out of spaceflight, perhaps more in line with what Virgin Galactic is building at its Spaceport America site in New Mexico. Virgin has placed a lot of emphasis on the customer experience it is providing for its private space tourists, both in terms of its passenger space vehicle cabin, and the amenities available on the ground at the launch site.

SpaceX is readying its own vehicles for private astronaut launches, with announced plans to offer orbital return flights to paying customers using Dragon, which is now closer than ever to human flight certification thanks to having completed a return trip to Earth with NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley on board. That demonstration mission is the final requirement in its certification process, and SpaceX now looks on track to potentially fly private spacefarers as early as its target window of sometime next year.

DoubleVerify says ad fraudsters are using public domain content to create fake TV apps

The team at DoubleVerify, a company that helps advertisers eliminate fraud and ensure brand safety, said that it’s recently identified a new tactic used by ad fraudsters seeking to make money on internet-connected TVs.

Senior Vice President of Product Management Roy Rosenfeld said that it’s harder for those fraudsters to create a legitimate-looking TV app — at least compared to the web and mobile, where “you can just put up a site [or app] to generate content.” For a connected TV app, you need lots of video, which can be costly and time-consuming to produce.

“What these guys have started to do is take old content that’s in the public domain and package that in fancy-looking CTV apps that they submit to the platform,” Rosenfeld said. “But at the end of the day, no one is really watching the old westerns or anything like that. This is just a vehicle to get into the app stores.”

As noted in a new report from the company (which will soon be available online), DoubleVerify said it has identified more than 1,300 fraudulent CTV apps in the past 18 months, with more than half of that coming in 2020.

The report outlined a process by which fraudsters create an app from this content (often old TV and movies from the ’50s and ’60s that has fallen into the public domain); submit the app for approval from Roku, Amazon Fire or Apple TV; then, with the additional legitimacy of an app store ID, generate fake traffic and impressions.

Rosenfeld compared this to a previous boom in flashlight apps for smartphones: “Are there legit flashlight apps? Absolutely. But most of them were not.” In the same way, he argued, “This is not a testament about public domain content overall, it’s not to say that there aren’t legit channels and apps out there that people are consuming and enjoying” — it’s just that many of the public domain apps being submitted are used for ad fraud.

To avoid paying for fake impressions, DoubleVerify recommends that advertisers advocate for transparency standards, buy from platforms that support third-party verification and, of course, buy through ad platforms certified by DoubleVerify.

Trump administration announces major midband spectrum auction for 5G

5G is increasingly coming into focus as a set of technologies that has the potential to dramatically expand the quality, bandwidth, and range of wireless connectivity. One of the major blocks to actually rolling out these technologies though is simply spectrum: there just isn’t enough of it available for private use. 5G needs spectrum at very low frequencies to penetrate buildings and increase range, and it also needs high frequencies to support the huge bandwidth that future applications will require.

The crux though is in the midband — frequencies that can support a mix of range, latency and bandwidth that could become a mainstay of 5G technologies, particularly as a bridge for legacy infrastructure and devices.

Today, the midband of U.S. spectrum is heavily utilized by government services like the military, which uses the spectrum for everything from conflict operations to satellite connectivity. That has prevented commercial operators from accessing that spectrum and moving forward with wider 5G deployments.

That’s why it is notable today that the White House announced that the 3450Mhz to 3550 Mhz spectrum will officially be handed off to the FCC for an auction that will allow private operators to access midband spectrum. Given the legal process involved, that auction is expected to take place in December 2021, with private operation of services likely beginning in 2022. Usage of the band is expected to follow the spectrum sharing rules of AWS-3, according to a senior Trump administration official.

According to the White House, a committee of 180 experts was assembled from all the armed services and the Defense Secretary’s office to look at where a segment of the DoD’s spectrum could be freed up and moved to private usage to back 5G.

Such efforts are in line with the MOBILE NOW Act of 2017, which Congress passed in order to spur government agencies to speed up the process of allocating spectrum for 5G uses. That act encouraged NTIA, an agency which advises on telecom issues for the U.S. government, to identify the 3450Mhz to 3550Mhz band as a major area of study back in 2018, and earlier this year in January the agency found “viable options” for converting the band to private use.

It’s the latest positive step in the long transition of wireless to 5G services, which demands changes in technology (such as the wireless chips in cell phones), spectrum allocation, policy development, and infrastructure buildout in order to come to fruition.

Ted S. Rappaport, a professor of electrical engineering and the founding director of NYU WIRELESS, an academic research center focused on advanced wireless technologies, said that “It’s great news for America … and a terrific move for U.S. consumers and for the U.S. wireless industry.”

He noted that the particular frequency was valuable given existing knowledge and research in the industry. “It’s not that far from existing 4G spectrum where engineers and technicians already have good understanding of the propagation. And it’s also at a spectrum where the electronics are very low cost and very easy to make.”

There has been growing pressure on U.S. government leaders in recent years over the plodding 5G transition, which has fallen behind peer countries like China and South Korea. Korea in particular has been a world leader, with more than two million 5G subscribers already in the country thanks to an aggressive industrial policy by Seoul to invest in the country’s telecommunications infrastructure and take a lead in this new wireless transition.

The U.S. has been faster at moving ahead in millimeter (high frequency) spectrum for 5G that will have the greatest bandwidth, but it has lagged in midband spectrum allocation. While the announcements today is notable, there will also be concerns whether 100Mhz of spectrum is sufficient to support the widest variety of 5G devices, and thus, this allocation may well be just the first in a series.

Nonetheless, additional midband spectrum for 5G will help move the transition forward, and will also help device and chip manufacturers begin to focus their efforts on the specific bands they need to support in their products. While it may be a couple of more years until 5G devices are widely available (and useful) in the United States, spectrum has been a key gating factor to reaching the next-generation of wireless, and a gate that is finally opening up.

3 “Strong Buy” Penny Stocks With Triple-Digit Upside Potential

3 “Strong Buy” Penny Stocks With Triple-Digit Upside PotentialAre penny stocks a must-have or a must-avoid? Well, that depends on who you ask. There’s no middle ground when it comes to these tickers trading for less than $5 per share; those on the Street are either fans or harsh critics.Both sides make sense. The naysayers argue that the bargain price is just too good to be true, with it potentially indicating there are problems hiding beneath the surface like weak fundamentals or overwhelming headwinds.However, the investors that are pro-penny stocks just can’t get enough of them. Not only do the low prices mean that you get more bang for your buck, but also even minor share price appreciation can translate to huge percentage gains, and thus, major returns.While incredibly enticing, the risk is clear. So, you have to do your homework. Using TipRanks’ database, we pinpointed three compelling penny stocks, as determined by Wall Street pros. Each has earned a “Strong Buy” consensus rating from the analyst community and brings massive growth prospects to the table. We’re talking about triple-digit upside potential here. Infinity Pharmaceuticals (INFI)Kicking off our list, we have Infinity Pharmaceuticals, which develops biologically active and selective drug candidates directed against biologically well-validated targets. Based on multiple potentially significant clinical catalysts as well as its $0.99 share price, several members of the Street think that now is the right time to pull the trigger.   Representing Oppenheimer, 5-star analyst Kevin DeGeeter came away from management’s Q2 2020 update even more excited about the company’s prospects. During the update, INFI announced that the protocol modification for the MARIO-275 study, which involved lowering the dose of IPI-549 from 40mg to 30mg, payed off, with it resulting in an improved AE profile. Additionally, undisclosed positive responses from the open label MARIO-3 TNBC cohort could be released at a medical meeting in Q4 2020.“As such, we now see potential for material clinical catalysts for both MARIO-275 and MARIO-3 in Q4 2020. While our investment thesis remains focused on use of IPI-549 in combo with Nivo for urothelial cancer, we acknowledge the TNB cohort from MARIO-3 may offer a faster path to clinical proof-of-concept,” DeGeeter commented.Looking more closely at the data for MARIO-275, for the first 42 patients, IDMC identified elevated liver enzyme in seven patients, or 14% (five with Grade 3 and two with Grade 4). On top of this, six patients didn’t experience sequela and since the dose was reduced, no clinically significant liver toxicity has been witnessed. According to DeGeeter, INFI is slated to reassess the continuation of MARIO-275 around the end of 2020, “which will allow investigators to complete up to 3 additional scans at lower dose of 30mg before evaluating risk/benefit of the combination in urothelial cancer.”As for MARIO-3, the company believes that even though COVID-19 has impacted enrollment, positive early results might help speed up the process. To this end, DeGeeter rates INFI an Outperform (i.e. Buy) along with a $3 price target. This implies shares could soar 203% in the next year. (To watch DeGeeter’s track record, click here)What do other analysts have to say? As the stock has received 3 Buy ratings and 1 Hold in the last three months, the word on the Street is that INFI is a Strong Buy. At $2.17, the average price target brings the upside potential to 119%. (See INFI stock analysis on TipRanks)OncoSec Medical (ONCS)Using its plasmid DNA delivery platform, OncoSec Medical develops immunotherapy cancer candidates that could potentially provide safer and more effective cancer treatments. Given its promising technology, the $4.01 share price looks like a steal to some Wall Street pros.Dawson James analyst Jason Kolbert cites TAVO, the company's plasmid-based interleukin-12 that’s administered locally through its electroporation gene delivery system, as a key component of his bullish thesis. TAVO is able to cause the local expression of IL-12, essentially turning “cold” tumors “hot” in skin cancer. This makes checkpoint therapies such as Keytruda (pembrolizumab) effective.Digging a bit deeper into the data, during a Phase 2 trial in immunologically quiescent melanoma patients treated with intratumoral TAVO plus pembrolizumab, 41% of patients “were observed to have best overall objective response rate - ORR (CR+PR), with 36% displaying complete responses to treatment of their target lesions.” Additionally, Kolbert points out that the combination was well tolerated and the adverse events resembled those of pembrolizumab alone.When it comes to the Phase 2 trial in metastatic melanoma, Kolbert noted, “Here too, intratumoral TAVO was well tolerated and led to systemic immune responses in advanced melanoma patients. While tumor regression and increased immune infiltration were observed in treated as well as untreated/distal lesions, adaptive immune resistance limited the response.”The implication of these results? “We ultimately expect to see expansion into the broader Melanoma market, as well as other indications such as Squamous Cell Carcinoma Head and Neck Cancer (SCCHNCC) and Triple Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC),” Kolbert explained.It should come as no surprise, then, that Kolbert stands squarely with the bulls. To this end, he rates ONCS a Buy and gives it a $10 price target. Should his thesis play out, a potential twelve-month gain of 150% could be in the cards. (To watch Kolbert’s track record, click here) Other analysts are also optimistic about the cancer drug maker. ONCS' Strong Buy consensus rating breaks down into 3 Buys and no Holds or Sells. In addition, the $8.17 average price target puts the upside potential at 104%. (See OncoSec stock analysis on TipRanks)Trevi Therapeutics (TRVI)Moving on to another healthcare name, Trevi Therapeutics focuses on the development of Nalbuphine ER, with it hoping to improve the lives of patients suffering from serious neurologically-mediated conditions. Currently going for $4.45 apiece, its share price presents investors with a unique buying opportunity, according to the analysts.Among the TRVI bulls is BMO’s Gary Nachman. The analyst tells clients that the company wrapped up its sample size re-estimation (SSRE) analysis for the ongoing Phase 2b/3 PRISM trial for Haduvio (Nalbuphine ER) in lead indication prurigo nodularis (PN).Based on the independent data monitoring committee’s recommendation, TRVI can now increase patient enrollment from 240 to 360 in order to maintain statistical powering for the primary endpoint. Calling this a “key inflection point,” Nachman believes the result “suggests Haduvio has likely demonstrated some efficacy thus far, but the trial's adaptive design now enables TRVI to de-risk it further and have the best chance of achieving success (data now Q4 2021).”What was behind the recommendation? The decision was based on the SSRE analysis of 108 patients that completed a 14-week blinded treatment period and were evaluable for the primary endpoint (an improvement on the Worst Itch Numerical Rating Scale). The larger sample size will allow TRVI to keep the trial’s 90% statistical powering for the primary endpoint. Expounding on this, Nachman stated, “While the increased enrollment to 360 is the maximum allowed under trial’s protocol, it is not so surprising to us given that PN is a challenging condition, primary endpoint is a bit of a higher bar than prior Phase 2, and factoring elevated patient discontinuations in prior Phase 2 primarily related to mild/moderate transient AEs during two-week titration period that TRVI has been trying to manage with physician/patient education.”Adding to the good news, management said that enrollment has been ramping up after most COVID-19 screening and enrollment restrictions were removed, with the process set to be completed in Q3 2021. Nachman argues that its discontinuation of underperforming sites and activation of new sites could also help. He added, “Further, there is much less competition for PN patients following Menlo Therapeutics’ completion of its Phase 3 trials in PN with serlopitant (failed to demonstrate efficacy and leaves Haduvio as only oral in development for PN).”If that wasn’t enough, TRVI is hoping to restart the chronic cough in IPF Phase 2 trial, potentially in the fall. Nachman sees this as an “underappreciated opportunity,” and points out recent data demonstrates “pharmacological evidence of Nalbuphine as a cough suppressant using it to treat sufentanil-induced cough during anesthesia.”In line with his optimistic take, Nachman rates TRVI an Outperform (i.e. Buy). Along with the call, he has a $13 price target on TRVI, implying upside potential of 196%. (To watch Nachman’s track record, click here)Do other analysts agree? They do. Only Buy ratings, 4, in fact, have been issued in the last three months, so the consensus rating is a Strong Buy. Given the $10.75 average price target, shares could soar 142% in the next year. (See Trevi stock analysis on TipRanks)To find good ideas for penny stocks trading at attractive valuations, visit TipRanks’ Best Stocks to Buy, a newly launched tool that unites all of TipRanks’ equity insights.Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the featured analysts. The content is intended to be used for informational purposes only. It is very important to do your own analysis before making any investment.


Max Q: SpaceX takes a big hop forward in Starship development

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It wasn’t the busiest week in space tech news — much like a lot of the industry, it feels like we’re entering into a bit of a summer doldrums period, when things slow down considerably. That’s probably especially true right now, with a lot of companies coming off some Herculean efforts and big successes.

This down time will lead to big developments to come, including the first official International Space Station crew mission for SpaceX’s Dragon capsule, which is scheduled to take place toward the end of September. We might also see Blue Origin’s first sub-orbital launch of the year in the same month.

SpaceX launches more Starlink satellites

Image Credits: SpaceX

SpaceX had a successful launch of a batch of 57 more Stalrink satellites for its broadband internet satellite constellation, which is coming together nicely ahead of the planned beta launch this summer. SpaceX has been gearing up for that, and the details we’ve found reveal that it should be getting underway anytime — though we’re unlikely to hear much about how the actual service works, as participation includes agreeing to an NDA.

SpaceX hops its Starship for a good first flight test

Image Credits: SpaceX

SpaceX has flown a full-scale prototype of its Starship for the first time, hopping a long fuselage (with a simulated weight instead of its eventual dome cap, and temp legs) to a height of around 500 feet. The hop included a flight up and then a controlled descent and landing, all of which appeared to have gone very smoothly. This is the first significant forward progress the Starship development program has had this year, really, after a series of (likely very educational) failures.

Rocket Lab boosts payload capacity

Image Credits: Rocket Lab

Rocket Lab has increased the payload capacity of its Electron launch vehicle by a third, bumping the total weight it can carry to orbit up to 660 lbs. That should open up a lot of new potential market for the company, and make it possible for small satellite makers to build additional functionality into the spacecraft they’re putting up with the rocket. The company did this mid-product generation thanks to optimizations of the battery tech that powers some of its thrusters, along with some other tweaks.

Netflix has a new space show premiering September 4

AWAY (L to R) RAY PANTHAKI as RAM ARYA and HILARY SWANK as EMMA GREEN, in episode 109 of AWAY. Cr. DIYAH PERA/NETFLIX © 2020

Netflix’s new show “Away” stars Hilary Swank as an astronaut on a mission to Mars, and seems to focus on the family challenges she encounters between her crucial mission and the people she left behind back on Earth. Looks like more “This Is Us” and less “The Martian,” but it could be great.

Amazon tops 1 million Prime subscribers in India; reports record seller participation in Prime Day

Amazon has amassed at least 1 million subscribers for its Prime loyalty program in India, the e-commerce giant revealed today in a long rundown of how its platform fared during last week’s Prime Day in the world’s second largest internet market.

More than a million Prime subscribers in India shopped from small businesses in the two weeks leading up to the 48-hour Prime Day event last week, the company said in a blog post. Factoring in the ongoing global pandemic, Amazon last month chose India as the first market for Prime Day this year.

This is the first time Amazon has even vaguely disclosed how many of its users in India have signed up for the Prime subscription that costs $13.30 a year in the country (compared to $119 in the U.S.) and bundles Prime Video and Prime Music services. Amazon launched Prime in India four years ago. Globally, Amazon has more than 150 million Prime subscribers.

More than 91,000 small businesses (sellers) in India — a record for the company — participated in the local Prime Day, and sold to customers living in 5,900 ZIP codes (covering more than 97% of the country). Over 4,000 of these businesses clocked sales of more than $13,350 (slightly below 4,500 businesses during last year’s Prime Day), and overall 31,000 sellers reported the two-day period last week as their best selling on the platform.

Chinese firms Xiaomi and OnePlus continued to command dominance in the smartphone category, one of the top three selling categories on Amazon, during Prime Day, and also attracted customers to their accessories, laptops and television sets, Amazon disclosed. The reception stands in contrast with the all-time high anti-China sentiments swirling across India in recent months.

Amit Agarwal, SVP and Country Manager of Amazon India, said in a televised interview that last week’s Prime Day also illustrated an “increasing trend of local Indian sellers use Amazon as a starting point to launch products and reach customers globally” but he declined to share any figures.

“This Prime Day was dedicated to our small business (SMB) partners, who have been increasingly looking to Amazon to keep their businesses running. We are humbled that we were able to help as this was our biggest Prime Day ever for small businesses,” he said in a statement.

Prime Day is one of the biggest sales events for Amazon globally. In India, the e-commerce giant has historically sold more goods during sales events scheduled around the festival of Diwali, which is when local residents peak their spendings.

But the participation of 91,000 sellers in last week’s Prime Day is the highest Amazon has ever witnessed during any sales period in India. During the sale around Diwali last year, for instance, the company had reported the participation of 65,000 sellers.

Amazon, which competes with Walmart’s Flipkart in India, has visibly rushed to expand its base of sellers in the country in recent quarters. Earlier this year, Amazon founder and chief executive Jeff Bezos said the company would invest $1 billion in India to help digitize local small businesses and increase their cumulative exports on Amazon to $10 billion by 2025.

The company revealed today that it has amassed 650,000 sellers in India, up from 500,000 it disclosed in January this year.

Amazon has also been focusing on tie-ups with neighborhood stores across the country, leveraging their vast reach to drive more people to shop online. The company said over a thousand such shops from more than 100 cities made their debut on Prime Day last week.

Amazon also claimed that during Prime Day, the number of requests people made to Alexa exceeded one million. The company also shared a wide-range of other stats such as a claim that twice as many customers signed up for a Prime membership during last week’s Prime Day compared to last year’s. But without any concrete figures, these numbers are bereft of meaning.

Hyundai to bring three new EVs to market under spinoff brand Ioniq

Hyundai has launched a dedicated EV brand called Ioniq with plans to bring three all-electric vehicles to market over the next four years. The Ioniq brand is part of the Korean automaker’s broader strategy to sell 1 million battery electric vehicles — and take a 10% share of the EV market — by 2025.

If the Ioniq name sounds familiar, it’s because it already exists. In 2016, Hyundai introduced the Ioniq, a hatchback that came in hybrid, plug-in hybrid and electric versions. The Korean automaker is using that vehicle as the jumping off point for its new EV brand.

All of the vehicles under the Ioniq brand will have Hyundai’s underlying electric modular platform called E-GMP.

Hyundai said the new EV brand will begin with the Ioniq 5, a mid-size crossover that will launch in early 2021. The Ioniq 5 will be based on Hyundai’s Concept 45, a monocoque-style body crossover that the company unveiled in 2019 at the International Motor Show in Frankfurt. Designers of the Concept 45 leaned on some of the lines and characteristics from Hyundai’s first concept, the 1974 Pony Coupe. The “45” name comes, in part, from the 45-degree angles at the front and rear of the vehicle.

hyundai-concept 45

Image Credits: Hyundai

The Ioniq 6 sedan will follow in 2022 and will be based on Hyundai’s Prophecy concept that was unveiled in March. The Prophecy (pictured below) is a sleek, aerodynamic sedan with a long wheelbase and short overhangs that is reminiscent of a Porsche.

Hyundai Prophecy EV

Image Credits: Hyundai

Finally, Hyundai said it will release its large SUV, the Ioniq 7, in early 2024.

The numeric number might be uninspired, but there is a formula worth noting. The Ioniq vehicles with even numbers will be used for sedans and the odd numbers will be for SUVs.