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ISRO upbeat after successful launch of six Singaporean satellites

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Sriharikota: India on Wednesday successfully launched six Singaporean satellites. As the Indian space agency achieved the milestone of its 50th rocket launch from here, its chief said they are now looking at the way forward and have a lot more to achieve.

The Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle’s core alone (PSLV-CA) variant — standing 44.4 metres tall and weighing around 227 tonnes — took off from the Sriharikota rocket port in Andhra Pradesh, around 80 km from Chennai. It rose into the evening skies, riding majestically on the tail of fierce orange flames.

Expressing satisfaction at ISRO’s performance in 2015, the space agency’s chairman A S Kiran Kumar said it was now way forward to 2016.

ISRO will carry on the activity of putting satellites — both communication and earth observation variants — into orbit, he said.

“We have a lot more to achieve next year,” he said.

Another official said with Wednesday’s successful blast-off, ISRO also achieved the milestone of its 50th rocket launch out of Sriharikota.

Besides launching the six Singaporean satellites, ISRO also tested the rocket’s fourth stage/engine’s ability to restart after it was cut off around 17 minutes into the flight.

Technically speaking, India was testing a multiple burn fuel stage/rocket engine for the first time.

“The restart and shut off of the fourth stage engine is done as a first step towards launching multiple satellites but in different orbits,” an ISRO official told IANS, declining to be named.

Launching multiple satellites with a single rocket is nothing new for ISRO and it has been doing that for several years now. The challenge is, however, to put several satellites into different orbits with one rocket.

This is what ISRO plans to test when the PSLV-CA ejects the six Singaporean satellites.

The PSLV rocket is a four-stage/engine rocket powered by solid and liquid fuel alternatively.

“Restarting a rocket engine soon after it is shut off is a critical technology that has to be mastered. Once a rocket engine is activated, then the heat generated is very high. The trick is to cool it down in space and to restart it after a short gap,” an industry expert said.

“This is entirely different from switching on and off the communication satellite’s engines in space. The interval between two restarts of a communication satellite engine will be in days. But in the case of restarting a rocket engine, the time gap will be in hours,” the expert added.

“By that time, the rocket’s engine has to be cooled down. This part of the experiment is very critical,” he explained.

The PSLV’s fourth stage/engine will be restarted just over 67 minutes into the flight or 50 minutes after the engine was cut off.

At the time of restart, the fourth stage will be in a lower altitude of 523.9 km while the satellites would have been ejected at 550 km altitude.

The engine will be operated for four seconds and is planned to go up to an altitude of 524 km before it is cut off again.

In December 16 blast-off, ISRO is using the ‘core alone’ variant of the PSLV rocket. The rocket did not have the strap-on boosters, its standard feature.

With the successful launch of the six Singaporean satellites, ISRO has put a total of 57 foreign satellites into space.

Out of the six satellites, the 400 kg earth observation satellite called TeLEOS-1 is the main passenger for the PSLV rocket and hence the mission is called TeLEOS mission by ISRO.

TeLEOS-1 is Singapore’s first commercial earth observation satellite designed and developed by ST Electronics.

The other five co-passenger satellites are VELOX-C1 (123 kg), VELOX-II (13 kg), Kent Ridge-1 (78 kg), Galassia (3.4 kg) and Athenoxat-1.

The December 16 mission is the last launch mission for ISRO in 2015.

So far in 2015, ISRO has launched 14 satellites (three Indian and 11 foreign) from its rocket port in Sriharikota. Thirteen satellites were launched with PSLV rocket and one communication satellite — GSAT-6 — with geosynchronous satellite launch vehicle (GSLV).

Last month, India also launched its communication satellite GSAT-15 using the Ariane rocket of the European space agency which takes the total number of satellite launches in 2015 to 21 (17 foreign, four Indian).(IANS, Image: thecampusconnect)

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Our Culture of Environmental Protection has long been Forgotten, says Union Minister Harsh Vardhan

The Environment Minister at the Union, Harsh Vardhan, stated that India has forgotten its important culture of environment protection

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Union Minister
Union Environment Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan. Twitter
  • Harsh Vardhan, India’s Union Minister, stated that environmental protection, which is a part of the country’s culture, has been fading away
  • The Environment minister blames the modern lifestyle behind this problem
  • He also stressed that the issue of global warming is taken seriously and attempts are underway in all organizations

July 08, 2017: During a plantation drive at a District Park in Paschim Vihar that marked the beginning of ‘Van Mahotsav’ celebrations, the Union Minister Harsh Vardhan stated that Environmental protection is a significant part of the Indian culture.

Blaming the present and modern day lifestyle habits, he notes that we are forgetting our culture and letting the environment concerns eliminate from it.

Stressing the importance of scientific research, the Environment Minister urged science to solve the basic problems such as water and sanitation. He suggests the scientists to “start from the grassroots level”

ALSO READ: Sahel: Climate Change May Turn Africa’s Most Dried Region Green, say Researchers

He also claimed that India could have set up a big example for the whole world had it stuck and continued with environmental protection in accordance with its culture. He reminded us that water, forests, air, and land are a matter of serious concern.

Dr. Vardhan also expanded that the issue of climate change and global warming is a burning issue and that all organizations of the government are making sincere efforts to take effective actions.

In times of potential danger to humanity, the minister said that ‘environmental soldiers’ are necessary for the country.

ISRO is working in the field of carbon emissions. The International Solar Alliance (ISA), with the cooperation of France, is a Prime Minister’s initiative to address climate change.

On this special occasion, the efforts of Anil Madhav Dave, a former environmental minister were also acknowledged.

– prepared by Saksham Narula of NewsGram. Twitter: @Saksham2394

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Decades’ worth of man-made junk is cluttering up Earth’s orbit, posing a threat to Spaceflight and Satellites

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FILE - A piece of metal, presumably from doomed US rocket SpaceX Falcon, recovered from the sea off the Isles of Scilly in Britain, is seen in this handout provided to Reuters on Nov. 27, 2015. VOA

Decades’ worth of man-made junk is cluttering up Earth’s orbit, posing a threat to spaceflight and the satellites we rely on for weather reports, air travel and global communications.

More than 750,000 fragments larger than a centimeter are already thought to orbit Earth, and each one could badly damage or even destroy a satellite.

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Last year, a tiny piece of debris punched a gaping hole in the solar panel of Copernicus Sentinel-1A, an observation satellite operated by the European Space Agency, or ESA. A solar array brought back from the Hubble Telescope in 1993 showed hundreds of tiny holes caused by dust-sized debris.

Experts meeting in Germany this week said the problem could get worse as private companies such as SpaceX, Google and Arlington, Virginia-based OneWeb send a flurry of new satellites into space over the coming years. They said steps should be taken to reduce space debris.

Getting all national space agencies and private companies to comply with international guidelines designed to prevent further junk in orbit would be a first step. At the moment those rules — which can be costly to implement — aren’t legally binding.

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ESA’s director-general, Jan Woerner, told The Associated Press on Friday that so-called mega-constellations planned by private companies should have a maximum orbital lifetime of 25 years. After that, the satellite constellations would need to move out of the way, either by going into a so-called `graveyard orbit’ or returning to Earth.

That’s because dead satellites pose a double danger: they can collide with other spacecraft or be hit by debris themselves, potentially breaking up into tiny pieces that become a hazard in their own right.

The nightmare scenario would be an ever-growing cascade of collisions resulting in what’s called a Kessler syndrome — named after the NASA scientist who first warned about it four decades ago — that could render near-Earth orbits unusable to future generations.

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“Without satellites, you don’t have weather reports, live broadcasts from the other side of the planet, stock market, air travel, online shopping, sat-nav in your car,” Rolf Densing, ESA’s director of operations, said. “You might as well move into a museum if all the satellites are switched off.”

Even if future launches adhere to the guidelines, though, there’s the question of what to do with all of the debris already in orbit.

“We have to clean the vacuum, which means we need a vacuum cleaner,” Woerner said.

Just how such a device would work is still unclear. Proposals include garbage-cleaning spacecraft armed with harpoons, nets, robotic arms and even lasers to fry really small bits of debris.

Luisa Innocenti, the head of ESA’s “clean space” initiative, said a mission is already in the works to bring down a very large piece of debris.

“It’s a very complex operation because nobody wants to fail,” she said. “Nobody wants to hit the debris and create another cloud of debris.” (VOA)

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Indian Space Programme deserves kudos for sending a record 104 Satellites into the Orbit at one go

According to a chinese daily, even though the recent record-breaking accomplishment of Indian space program was marvelous, it still has a long way to go

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PSLV C35, ISRO, wikimedia commons

Beijing, Feb 16, 2017: India deserves kudos for sending a record 104 satellites into the orbit at one go but it was way behind than China in space technology, a Chinese newspaper said on Thursday.

An editorial in the state-run Global Times said by smashing the previous Russian record of putting 37 satellites into the orbit in 2014, India’s frugal space exploration offered “food for thought for other countries”.

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India did a good job but has a long way to go as there still was no Indian astronaut in space and the plan to establish a space station was yet to take off, the paper said.

“This is perhaps the first widely followed world record India has made in the field of space technology. The Indians have reason to be proud,” the daily said.

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“However, the space technology race is not mainly about the number of satellites at one go. It’s fair to say the significance of this achievement is limited. In this regard, Indian scientists know more than the Indian public, who are encouraged by media reports.

“It’s a hard-won achievement for India to reach current space technology level with a relatively small investment. It offers food for thought for other countries. India launched a lunar probe in 2008 and ranked first among Asian countries by having an unmanned rocket orbit Mars in 2013.

“Nonetheless, the development of a country’s space technology is determined by the size of its input.

“The US space budget in 2013 was $39.3 billion, China $6.1 billion, Russia $5.3 billion, Japan $3.6 billion and India $1.2 billion.

“As India’s GDP is about one-fifth to one-fourth that of China’s, the share of investment in space technology in India’s GDP is similar to that of China’s.

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“There is another figure that deserves attention. India’s defence budget is about one-third of China’s, a higher percentage of GDP than that of China.”

It said the Indian space programme was based on certain considerations, including an ambition to make New Delhi a great power.

Also, India felt it should remain present in space technology development, given its close links with military, the daily said.

“On the whole, India’s space technology still lags behind the US’ and China’s. It has not yet formed a complete system.

“There is no Indian astronaut in space and the country’s plan to establish a space station has not started.” (IANS)