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India Planning to Launch 32 Space Missions This Year

ISRO has also tied up with the Ministry of Home Affairs to provide technical support for establishing an integrated control room for emergency management, Sivan stated

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SpaceX Dragon
ISRO has also tied up with the Ministry of Home Affairs to provide technical support for establishing an integrated control room for emergency management, Sivan stated. VOA

India is planning to launch 32 space missions in 2019, a top space official said here.

“The year 2019 promises to be challenging to the Indian Space Research Organisation(ISRO) community with 32 planned missions,” its chairman K. Sivan said in a message to his employees on New Year on Tuesday.

The missions include the second lunar mission Chandrayaan-2 to land on the moon with lander and rover.

The Rs 800-crore lunar mission will the 25th from the second launch pad of the space port at Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh, about 90km northeast of Chennai.

India’s maiden human space mission in 2021-22, Gaganyaan, will also be pursued this year, Sivan said in a first-of-its-kind New Year message from the space agency top executive to its staff.

“Gaganyaan activities will go in full steam to accomplish the various development and qualification milestones,” the Chairman said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcement of Gaganyaan on August 15 last year has allowed the space agency to fulfill its dream of undertaking a human spaceflight programme, Sivan said.

The pad abort test held on July 5, 2018 to test the escape system of the crew module has given ISRO confidence to pursue the human space mission, he added.

The space agency is also aiming to re-instate its microwave remote sensing capability through the Radar Imaging Satellite (RISAT) series and hopes to attain geo-imaging capability through Geo Imaging Satellite (GISAT) series.

“The country will meet the high throughput bandwidth requirement of Digital India and also in-flight connectivity with the launch of GSAT-20,” Sivan said.

Sriharikota: Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)’s communication satellite GSAT-9 on-board GSLV-F09 lifts off from Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota on Friday. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has termed the satellite as India’s “space gift for South Asia”. PTI

The space agency will enhance remote sensing data for crop production estimation to cover 10 additional crops and provide inputs for water and energy security.

“It is planned to improve the payload capability of Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) and its variants,” he added.

Marking the birth centenary of the founding father of India’s space programme, Vikram Sarabhai, ISRO will host a year-long celebration from August 12, with national and international events such as fellowships, scholarships at universities.
Recounting the year gone by, Sivan said 2018 had many firsts for ISRO, which undertook 16 missions, of which seven were accomplished in 35 days.

“The national confidence in ISRO is reflected in the highest ever allocation of about Rs 30,000-crore for 23 new and continuation programmes in a single year,” Sivan said.

Among the space agency’s achievements in 2018 were launch of the heaviest satellite GSAT-29 (3,423 kg) on November 14 and building the heaviest communication satellite GSAT-11 (5,854 kg), launched on December 5 onboard the Arianespace space agency’s rocket from French Guiana on the north Atlantic coast of South America.

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ISRO has received approval for the Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV), along with a dedicated launch pad, and is working on reusable launch vehicle development, Sivan noted.

“The approval of 30 Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) and 10 GSLV Mk-III operational flights, along with development of semicryogenic stage, uprated cryogenic stage and all-electric spacecraft propulsion will accelerate ISRO towards new capabilities, Sivan added.

The space agency has been working on national programmes for the socio-economic security and sustainable development, including that of national geo-spatial energy information system, enhanced earth observational capabilities, real-time disaster management like during floods in Kerala and north eastern states last year.

ISRO has also tied up with the Ministry of Home Affairs to provide technical support for establishing an integrated control room for emergency management, Sivan stated.

The space agency is working to step up its launch capacity through a second vehicle assembly building for the second launch pad, which has been completed and is constructing a PSLV integration facility for the first launch pad.  (IANS)

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Report Claims, As Many As 1 Billion Indians Live in Areas of Water Scarcity

The report also highlighted that India uses the largest amount of groundwater -- 24 per cent of the global total and the country is the third largest exporter of groundwater -- 12 per cent of the global total.

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Global groundwater depletion - where the amount of water taken from aquifers exceeds the amount that is restored naturally - increased by 22 per cent between 2000 and 2010, said the report, adding that India's rate of groundwater depletion increased by 23 per cent during the same period. Pixabay

As many as one billion people in India live in areas of physical water scarcity, of which 600 million are in areas of high to extreme water stress, according to a new report.

Globally, close to four billion people live in water-scarce areas, where, for at least part of the year, demand exceeds supply, said the report by non-profit organisation WaterAid.

This number is expected to go up to five billion by 2050, said the report titled “Beneath the Surface: The State of the World’s Water 2019”, released to mark World Water Day on March 22.

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Pure water droplet. Pixabay

Physical water scarcity is getting worse, exacerbated by growing demand on water resources and and by climate and population changes.

By 2040 it is predicted that 33 countries are likely to face extremely high water stress – including 15 in the Middle East, most of Northern Africa, Pakistan, Turkey, Afghanistan and Spain. Many – including India, China, Southern Africa, USA and Australia – will face high water stress.

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Globally, close to four billion people live in water-scarce areas, where, for at least part of the year, demand exceeds supply, said the report by non-profit organisation WaterAid. Pixabay

Global groundwater depletion – where the amount of water taken from aquifers exceeds the amount that is restored naturally – increased by 22 per cent between 2000 and 2010, said the report, adding that India’s rate of groundwater depletion increased by 23 per cent during the same period.

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The report also highlighted that India uses the largest amount of groundwater — 24 per cent of the global total and the country is the third largest exporter of groundwater — 12 per cent of the global total.

The WaterAid report warned that food and clothing imported by wealthy Western countries are making it harder for many poor and marginalised communities to get a daily clean water supply as high-income countries buy products with considerable “water footprints” – the amount of water used in production — from water-scarce countries. (IANS)