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On the issue of securing Indian satellites from space debris, Singh said the Directorate for Space Situational Awareness & Management at ISRO manages the space assets.

India is developing advanced safety and security measures to protect its satellites and neutralise any attack on its satellites orbiting in space, the government has said.

Answering a question in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday, Science and Technology Minister Singh said that the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is developing techniques to protect its satellites against jamming and spoofing, which will be implemented in the future communication and navigation satellites.

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Photo by Pixabay

An international team of engineers and technicians has finished assembling a next-generation satellite that will make the first global survey of the Earth's surface water and study fine-scale ocean currents.

An international team of engineers and technicians has finished assembling a next-generation satellite that will make the first global survey of the Earth's surface water and study fine-scale ocean currents.

The Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT) mission is scheduled for launch in November 2022, and the final set of tests on the spacecraft have started, according to a statement by NASA.

SWOT is a collaboration between NASA and the French space agency, Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales (CNES), with contributions from the Canadian Space Agency and the UK Space Agency.

The SUV-size satellite will collect data on the height of the Earth's salt and fresh water— including oceans, lakes and rivers -- enabling researchers to track the volume and location of water around the world.

SWOT will help to measure the effects of climate change on the planet's water, such as the processes by which small, swirling ocean currents absorb excess heat, moisture, and greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. The mission's measurements will also aid in following how much water flows into and out of the planet's lakes, rivers, and reservoirs, as well as regional shifts in sea level.

"SWOT will be our first global snapshot of all surface water that we have now, how the water moves around the planet, and what happens to it in a new climate.

In June, the satellite's scientific instruments were shipped to France, from the agency's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in the US. Ever since, the teams have been working to connect the part of the spacecraft holding the science instruments to the rest of the satellite and ensure that the electrical connections function properly.

The next six months will involve three phases of testing to make sure the satellite will be able to survive the rigours of launch and the harsh environment of space. Engineers and technicians will attach the satellite to a device called a shake table, which simulates the intense vibrations and rattling of launch. Then the spacecraft will move into an acoustic chamber to bombard it with high-decibel sounds similar to those of blastoff.

Next, the team will move SWOT into a chamber that mimics the temperature swings and vacuum of space. Finally the engineers will put the satellite through additional tests to make sure its systems can withstand any electromagnetic interference, including signals from various parts of the spacecraft and from other satellites. After that, the spacecraft will be shipped to the launch site. (IANS/JB)

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Photo by Wikimedia Commons

E-commerce giant Amazon aims to launch its first Project Kuiper internet satellites

E-commerce giant Amazon aims to launch its first Project Kuiper internet satellites in the fourth quarter of 2022, the company has announced.

With Project Kuiper, Amazon aims to build a network of 3,236 satellites in low Earth orbit to provide high-speed internet to anywhere in the world.

The company filed a request with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to launch and operate its first two prototype satellites, called KuiperSat-1 and KuiperSat-2. Amazon said the satellites will launch with ABL Space on its RS1 rocket, CNBC reported.

"We'll soon be ready to see how (the satellites) perform in space," Rajeev Badya, Vice President of technology at Amazon said in a statement. "There is no substitute for on-orbit testing, and we expect to learn a lot given the complexity and risk of operating in such a challenging environment."

The FCC had, last year, authorised Amazon's system, which the company says it plans to "invest more than $10 billion" in Kuiper. Early service from Kuiper is set to begin once Amazon has 578 satellites in orbit.

Amazon last week announced a partnership with Verizon, to collaborate with the telecom giant in the increasingly competitive field of high-speed satellite internet, the report said.

Kuiper is poised to go toe-to-toe with SpaceX's Starlink network, which is the furthest along in the latest generation of broadband satellite systems, the report said.

A variety of other networks are in various stages of development, including those of British-owned OneWeb, BlackRock-backed Astranis, satellite-to-smartphone specialist AST SpaceMobile, Lockheed Martin's partnership with start-up Omnispace and Canadian satellite operator Telesat's Lightspeed.

The Project Kuiper team has grown steadily at Amazon, which now has more than 750 people and "hundreds more" expected to be hired in the next year. Amazon built a 219,000 square feet facility in Redmond, Washington to test and manufacture the satellites, and plans to add another 20,000 square feet facility.


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Photo by Wikimedia Commons

Japan launched its new satellite, QZS-1R.

Japan has successfully launched a new navigation satellite into orbit that will replace its decade-old navigation satellite.

The satellite, QZS-1R, was launched onboard an H-2A rocket that lifted off from the Tanegashima Space Center at 10.19 p.m. on Monday night, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries said in a statement.

The company builds and operates H-2A rockets the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).

QZS-1R is a replacement for Quasi-Zenith Satellite System 1 satellite first launched in 2010. “It was a really beautiful launch," the company said in a tweet after a successful lift-off.

"H-IIA F44 flight proceeded nominally. Approximately 28 minutes 6 seconds after launch, as planned, the payload separated from the launch vehicle," the statement said.

The official QZSS website lists four satellites in the constellation: QZS-1, QZS-2, QZS-3 and QZS-4, reported.

The QZSS constellation will eventually consist of a total of seven satellites that fly in an orbit passing through a near-zenith (or directly overhead) above Japan, and QZS-R1 is meant to share nearly the same transmission signals as recent GPS satellites, according to JAXA.

It is specially optimised for mountainous and urban regions in Japan, JAXA said.

Mitsubishi's H-2A 202 rocket launch system has been operational since 2003 and has sent satellites to locations such as Venus (Akatsuki) and Mars (Emirates Mars Mission).

The latest H2-A rocket launch is the first since November 29, 2020, when Japan launched an advanced relay satellite with laser communications tech into orbit, the report said. (IANS/JB)

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