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Global satellite to be named after Dr. Kalam

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Bengaluru: A global satellite for earth observation and disaster risk reduction — GlobalSat for DRR — proposed under the UN framework is to be dedicated to A.P.J. Abdul Kalam as a tribute to the vision of the celebrated rocket scientist and former Indian president who died July 27.

This has been stated by Milind Pimprikar, Chairman of CANEUS (CANada-EUrope-US-ASia) Organization on Space Technologies for Societal Applications headquartered in Montreal, Canada.

Founded in 1999, CANEUS serves to develop a common platform for space technology solutions for natural and man-made disaster management. The “GlobalSat for DRR” is a UN-driven global initiative on sharing space technology for disaster risk reduction, Pimprikar told IANS.

Launch of this satellite was mooted at the third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction held at Sendai in Japan this March.

The concept was initiated by CANEUS in cooperation with UN agencies including the UN Office for Outer Space Affairs, the UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction, the United Nations Development Programme and the World Bank.

The GlobalSat was proposed in response to the need for a globally interconnected disaster and environmental management system since no single country can afford to develop a complete set of sensors and satellite systems needed for forecasting, monitoring and mitigating disasters like floods, drought, typhoons, earthquakes, wild fires, windstorms, or tidal events, Pimprikar said.

The UN-led GlobalSat will provide a common platform that will allow sharing of space and data segments, with an ability to serve individual nation’s disaster management and development needs.

Pimprikar said the goals of UN GlobatSat are the same as those of Kalam. In his “World Space Vision-2050” Kalam had envisaged space faring nations joining hands to find solutions to mankind’s major problems such as natural disasters, energy and water scarcity, health-care education issues and weather prediction.

“Therefore we now plan to dedicate the UN GlobalSat initiative as a tribute to Late Dr. Abdul Kalam by renaming it “UN Kalam GlobalSat”, Pimprikar said.

Pimprikar hoped the renaming will inspire the next generation of scientists, engineers and space explorers to foster innovation and entrepreneurship and pooling of resources to find low-cost solutions to major problems facing mankind.

Pimprikar said the recommendations made at the Sendai conference including the proposed GlobalSat will be formally adopted by more than 150 world leaders at the UN Session in New York in September that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is also going to attend.

Noting that Modi has already proposed an Indian initiative for a dedicated satellite for the SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) countries. Pimprikar said India, “as a leading space nation in the world, has the unique opportunity to champion and lead the proposed “UN GlobalSat” initiative at the UN Session.

“Respecting India’s leadership, other nations from across the globe will support it wholeheartedly to seek formal UN endorsement of “UN Kalam GlobalSat”, he said.

After the formal approval, the UN Office for Outer Space Affairs will work out the details that can be addressed and finalised for implementation at the proposed UN-India Workshop in early 2016, he said.

The eventual goal of this satellite, he said, “is to establish a public/private partnership that would create a low-cost, internationally shared data collection and distribution backbone in space with no barriers to entry for participating nations.”

(IANS)

 

 

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Joint Mission To Mercury By Europe-Japan Satellite Launches

The mission is an expensive one. It's estimated the costs borne by the European Space Agency and the Japanese space agency amount to about 1.65 billion euros.

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TESS, rover, NASA, mercury
TESS, the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, is shown in this conceptual illustration obtained by Reuters on March 28, 2018. NASA sent TESS into orbit from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. VOA

Two satellites developed in Europe and Japan are on their way to the Sun’s closest planet Mercury. It is likely to take them seven years to reach their destination.

The joint endeavour BepiColombo left Earth on an Ariane rocket that launched out of South America on Friday, the BBC said.

The probes lifted clear of the Kourou spaceport in Atlantic coast of French Guiana at 10.45 p.m. on Friday.

Mission controllers based in Darmstadt, Germany, would spend much of Saturday talking to the spacecraft, to confirm they were properly configured for the long cruise ahead.

Coming close on the heels of NASA’s Parker Solar Probe that was launched in August, Bepi is aimed at finding more about Mercury that “doesn’t really fit with our theories for how the Solar System formed”, said Bepi scientist Professor Dave Rothery from the UK’s Open University.

Parker Solar Probe, NASA, mercury
This illustration from NASA shows the Parker Solar Probe spacecraft approaching the sun. VOA

“We can’t understand our planet fully unless we’re able to explain Mercury that has an oversized iron core — 60 per cent of its mass,” Rothery said.

Science has not yet explained why the planet only has a thin veneer of rocks. Bepi’s high-resolution data should bring us nearer to an answer, the BBC reported.

It’s the first time the European and Japanese space agencies (Esa and Jaxa) have set out for Mercury. The Americans have already been there, briefly with the Mariner 10 probe in the 1970s, and with the Messenger orbiter earlier this decade.

Messenger discovered that water-ice is held inside some of Mercury’s shadowed craters, and that its crust contains a lot of graphite (pencil lead).

Bepi will build on those. The new mission carries twice as much instrumentation and will get closer for longer.

Mercury’s dense body does not reflect its initial form. It’s possible the planet began life much further and later migrated inwards, mission scientist Suzie Imber from Leicester University.

Mercury
We know so little about the planet Mercury… The BepiColombo mission will try to unravel some of its mysteries. Flickr

 

“It’s also got huge cliffs, many kilometres tall. And those cliffs formed as Mercury shrank. We call them wrinkle ridges,” Imber said.

It is possible to directly reach Mercury in a matter of months, but the speed picked up by a spacecraft falling into the Sun’s deep gravity would make it very hard to stop at the planet, the BBC report said.

Bepi will take a more circuitous route. It will fly past Earth, Venus and Mercury itself, using the tug of their gravity to bleed off speed, so that by 2025 the mission can gently slot into position.

The toughest prospect ahead is the heat. At just 58 million km from the Sun, working at Mercury is like being in a pizza oven, Imber said.

The sides of the probes in direct sunlight will have to cope with temperatures over 400 degrees Celsius. Even those surfaces facing away from the Sun have to be protected.

Coping strategies include covering the MMO in thick blankets of insulation material made from titanium and ceramics. “The environment is extremely hostile,” explains Esa mission controller Elsa Montagnon.

Mercury
Solar system. Pixabay

 

“On Mercury, we get 10 times the solar energy we get on Earth. But then from the illuminated side of Mercury, we get about four times what we get on the Earth. So, the spacecraft are continually in a heat sandwich,” Montagnon said.

The mission is an expensive one. It’s estimated the costs borne by the European Space Agency and the Japanese space agency amount to about 1.65 billion euros.

Additionally, national space agencies in Europe have paid for the instrumentation on the MMO, taking the overall budget above 3 billion euros.

Also Read: Another Space Telescope Shuts Down: NASA

This number covers the full lifecycle of the mission, from its approval (2007) to its termination (late 2020s).

Engineers have had a torrid time developing the technologies to keep Bepi safe so close to the Sun. Delays have kept on adding to the price. (IANS)