The Advantages of Being the Final Player in a Category Launch

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When Jordan Nathan launched his DTC nontoxic cookware company, Caraway, in 2019, he knew he was not the only founder trying to sell a new brand of pots and pans to millennials scrolling through Instagram. When Caraway launched, it joined companies like Our Place, Great Jones and Made In Cookware in an increasingly crowded category of online cookware startups. Caraway’s competitors also helped Caraway decide to start talking to retailers early in the process. You can now find Caraway sets at Target and Costco, among others. While being a later entrant helped Caraway in many ways, it did hurt them in one area, Nathan said.

“The Unforgettable Week in TechCrunch Space”

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Hello and welcome back to TechCrunch Space. In the same seven-day period, we watched Boeing’s Starliner launch astronauts to space for the first time, and then we got to watch those two astronauts dock with the International Space Station. And we also got to see SpaceX launch Starship for the fourth time ever — and then bring it back home. I think I’m not alone in thinking that some of the most spectacular images in the history of rocketry were generated during that flight. Of course, the mission isn’t over yet: After around a week aboard the station, the two astronauts will re-board Starliner and use it to get back home.

“Starship Rocket Conquers Gravity: SpaceX’s History-Making Launch and Return”

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But to reuse, you have to recover, and SpaceX is proving that it will be able to do just that with Starship. The ultimate goal is to fly Super Heavy and the Starship upper stage back to Starbase, SpaceX’s private Starship launch and development site in southeast Texas, where they’d make vertical landings on solid ground. Starship lifted off from Starbase at 8:50 AM CT, the fourth launch in the rocket test campaign. A little over an hour after launch, Starship followed suit, surviving the extreme heat from traveling through the Earth’s atmosphere at hypersonic speeds and splashing down in the Indian Ocean. During that test, SpaceX also tested capabilities that will be key for delivering payload to space, including opening and closing the payload door.

Orbex’s Latest Funding Could Propel Prime Microlauncher to Space

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Founded in 2015, Orbex is one of a handful of firms racing to develop the next generation of European launch vehicles. The company is developing what’s sometimes called a microlauncher: a two-stage vehicle called Prime that stands just 19 meters tall, designed to carry payloads up to 180 kilograms. A larger vehicle could eventually be in the plans as well, though Chambers was clear that Prime was the company’s first priority. The new capital comes after Orbex closed a £40.4 million ($50 million) Series C in October 2022. While a spokesperson confirmed the new funding will “help Orbex ramp up the development of Prime … to ensure full readiness and scalability for its launch period,” a firm launch window has yet to be announced.

“Opportunity Unlimited: NASA’s Conversion of $11B Mars Mission Sparks Excitement in Space Startups”

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NASA Administrator Bill Nelson has pronounced the agency’s $11 billion, 15-year mission to collect and return samples from Mars: insufficient. But the strategy shift could be a huge boon to space startups, to which much of that planned funding will almost certainly be redirected. (There’s plenty of time to save and repurpose the most important concepts and research already done by NASA and its partners.) But the official announcement, and the implication that it is the new generation of space companies that will accomplish ambitious goals like a there-and-back trip to Mars, must be very validating. Whatever that new plan may be, it will almost certainly rely far more than before on commercial services and hardware.

“Unveiling “Truth Social”: Trump’s Innovative Platform for Live TV Streaming”

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Truth Social, the social media platform owned by Donald Trump’s media company, has announced plans to launch a live TV streaming platform. The streaming service will launch in three phases. The company first plans to introduce Truth Social’s CDN (content delivery network) for streaming to the Truth Social app for Android, iOS and the web. Next, Truth Social plans to release over-the-top (“OTT”) streaming apps for phones, tablets and other devices. Truth Social went public last month after shareholders approved a merger of TMTG and Digital World Acquisition, a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC).

“Orbit Domination: TechCrunch Space Teams Up with True Anomaly and Rocket Lab for Revolutionary Advances”

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Hello and welcome back to TechCrunch Space. You also can send a note to the whole TechCrunch crew at For more secure communications, click here to contact us, which includes SecureDrop instructions and links to encrypted messaging apps. The Space Force has contracted out its next “responsive space” mission, and this one is a doozy. The two awardees, Rocket Lab and startup True Anomaly, will each build and launch spacecraft that will conduct rendezvous and proximity operations on orbit.

Analyzing the Current State of Apple Vision Pro as the Initial Buzz Subsides: A TechCrunch Minute

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A few months after its launch, how is Apple’s Vision Pro faring? I am a long-term bull on augmented reality, virtual reality, and face-computers in general. So it is to my partial chagrin that the hype around the Apple Vision Pro has faded more rapidly than I anticipated. But I anticipated the Apple brand to keep the hardware in the news — and atop our collective minds — longer than it managed after its launch. I find it archaic that my monitors are akin to digital chalkboards when they should be built into my glasses.

New “responsive space” mission launched by Space Force in partnership with Rocket Lab and True Anomaly.

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Rocket Lab and True Anomaly will attempt to deliver and operate space hardware for the military under intentionally tight timeframes, as part of the Space Force’s push to solicit “tactically responsive” space capabilities from commercial companies. As part of Rocket Lab’s $32 million contract, it will also launch the satellite with its Electron rocket. True Anomaly will partner with an unnamed “trusted commercial launch provider” for its ride under its own $30 million contract, according to a statement. Once in orbit, Rocket Lab and True Anomaly must rapidly commission and ready their spacecraft for operations — with each other. If all goes to plan, Rocket Lab’s Pioneer satellite will conduct the so-called rendezvous and proximity operations with True Anomaly’s Jackal spacecraft.

New AI Assistant from Brave Coming to iPhone and iPad

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Brave announced on Wednesday that it’s bringing its AI assistant, called Leo, to iPhone and iPad users. The iOS launch of Leo brings voice-to-text capability, which isn’t available in the Android version of the AI assistant. By giving access to a built-in AI assistant, Brave is hoping users won’t turn to ChatGPT or other similar services. Brave isn’t the only browser company to launch an AI assistant; Opera launched an AI assistant called Aria last year. To access Leo, open the browser, start typing in the address bar and then select “Ask Leo.” Leo is an opt-in feature and can be disabled via the app’s settings.