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Iridium to rely on used SpaceX boosters for next 2 launches

LOS ANGELES — Iridium Communications says its next two launches of new-generation satellites will use refurbished SpaceX Falcon 9 first-stage boosters that have flown previously.

The announcement Thursday is another step in SpaceX’s effort to reduce launch costs.

The company has launched a few used boosters and is trying to expand acceptance of reusability across the industry.

Delivery by drone: Switzerland tests it in populated areas

ZURICH — Drones will help deliver toothbrushes, deodorant and smartphones to Swiss homes this fall as part of a pilot project, the first of its kind over a densely populated area.

The drones will take items from a distribution centre in the Zurich area and transport them 8 to 16 kilometres (5 to 10 miles) to awaiting delivery vans. The van drivers then bring the packages to homes.

Walmart joins forces with Google on voice-activated shopping

NEW YORK — Walmart is diving into voice-activated shopping. But unlike online leader Amazon, it’s not doing it alone.

The world’s largest retailer said Wednesday it’s working with Google to offer hundreds of thousands of items from laundry detergent to Legos for voice shopping through Google Assistant. The capability will be available in late September.