San Antonio company working with military, SpaceX to move cargo anywhere in world in an hour or less

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A San Antonio company is partnering with the military and SpaceX to move cargo anywhere in the world in an hour using commercial spacecraft — including vertical-landing rockets built in Texas.

U.S. Transportation Command, which is responsible for moving military personnel and equipment around the world, said it’s working with Exploration Architecture, or XArc, and Elon Musk’s SpaceX to develop “rapid transportation through space” capabilities.

XArc, with six employees, is responsible for determining what’s needed on the ground to launch and land commercial spacecraft around the world.

The collaboration is the latest development in Texas’ still-expanding role in space travel and could help the U.S. military more quickly respond to threats and humanitarian crises around the world.

The aim is to use commercial space vehicles, including SpaceX’s Starship, to deliver payloads anywhere in the world. Starship can carry loads of 220,000 pounds.

“Our role is to understand the ground support infrastructure required to make it happen,” XArc CEO Sam Ximenes said. “What are the ground facilities and cargo standardizations so that it is seamlessly integrated into the (military’s) current logistics system.”

Sam Ximenes is chief executive of XArc. His company is teaming with Houston engineering firm KBR to evaluate three types of rockets.

His company is teaming with Houston engineering firm KBR to evaluate three types of rocket landing areas: rugged sites with no infrastructure, remote sites with limited support and mature sites that have established capabilities.

Related: NASA contractors stake out San Antonio’s place in space

The nine-person team is considering the logistics, including fuel and cargo requirements, needed to support spacecraft around the world, Ximenes said.

“Think about moving the equivalent of a C-17 payload (170,900 pounds) anywhere on the globe in less than an hour,” Army Gen. Stephen R. Lyons, head of U.S. Transportation Command, said in a statement. “Think about that speed associated with the movement of transportation of cargo and people.”

The companies could begin


San Jose St. football goes to Humboldt without county approval

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Humboldt County Public Health officials say they were not consulted in the unusual decision to relocate San Jose State’s football team to Arcata to prepare for the 2020 season.

Health officer Dr. Teresa Frankovich said her office learned about the move from a Humboldt State official on Wednesday, the day the schools announced the arrangement. San Jose State is moving its football operation north to circumvent Santa Clara County’s strict guidelines on contact sports that have been implemented to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

Thursday, on the day updated state guidelines paved the way for practices and competitions for California college football teams, Frankovich said Humboldt health officers were trying to determine what they need to do to safeguard the community with the team’s arrival.

A San Jose State spokesman said late Thursday night Humboldt State created the protocols to allow for the relocation. “San Jose State is cooperating with HSU to follow its protocols,” he said in an email.

The Spartans’ contingent of 135 players, coaches and training staff are expected to arrive Friday in Arcata in six buses.

“At this point, we need to focus on making sure this move is seamless in Humboldt County and that it has minimal impact on our county,” Frankovich said Thursday on a video call.

She added that the county could include additional provisions to the plan, but health officers will handle any contact investigations.

San Jose State had been scouting locations outside of Santa Clara County after months of doing strength training and technique drills on campus. The Mountain West Conference announced Thursday the Spartans’ season will begin Oct. 24 against Air Force. The game is scheduled for CEFCU Stadium but still needs Santa Clara County approval.

San Jose State’s ability to hold contact drills remains unclear after the California


Accreditors place City College of San Francisco on ‘enhanced monitoring’ for its dire fiscal status

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Three years after City College of San Francisco emerged from an accreditation crisis that nearly shut it down, accreditors have placed the school on “enhanced monitoring” because its finances are in the danger zone.

City College scored in the lowest “at-risk” category in a financial analysis by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, which in 2017 renewed the school’s all-important accreditation for another seven years.

The new monitoring requirement imposed by the commission means City College has until Dec. 4 to explain how it will address six problems that are keeping the school financially unstable.

Not only did salaries eat up more than 92% of total expenditures in recent years, but there has been “multiple leadership turnover” and an audit showing severe financial losses.

The commission also found that over three years, deficits averaged $13.3 million, and cash plunged from $53 million to $575,000. Also, the college ran at a deficit of -8.3%.

Mark Rocha, who was hired as chancellor in 2017 after the five-year accrediting crisis came to an end, resigned under pressure in March after a series of debacles in which he both cut classes and tried to increase executive salaries with little to no public notice.

In her Sept. 23 letter informing interim Chancellor Raj Vurdien of the new status, Stephanie Droker, president of the accrediting commission, thanked Vurdien for his candor and the updates he has provided on the college’s fiscal condition.

“I have found our conversations to be very productive and I look forward to supporting your efforts… to address the institution’s fiscal issues,” Droker wrote.

In turn, Vurdien posted Droker’sletter on the City College website with a response he wrote intended to reassure the public.

City College “is confident it can address the financial issues outlined in this letter,” he wrote, adding