Current Affairs Today - Current Affairs 2016

India’s first reusable space shuttle RLV-TD launched

The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has successfully test launched the first indigenous Reusable Launch Vehicle-Technology Demonstrator (RLV-TD).

Launch Details: It was launched from the First Launch Pad at Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh.

The launch was part of a series of technology demonstration missions, which is considered as a first step towards realising a Two Stage To Orbit (TSTO) fully re-usable vehicle.

After launch RLV-TD glided back onto a virtual runway in Bay of Bengal and re-entered the atmosphere after reaching a height of over 70 km.

Key facts

  • RLV-TD is winged body aerospace vehicle that operated in hypersonic flight regime. It is capable of launching satellites into orbit around earth and then re-enter the atmosphere
  • It has been configured to act as a flying testbed to evaluate various technologies, including hypersonic flight, autonomous landing, powered cruise flight.
  • It was launched using a nine-ton solid rocket motor (SRM) which is designed to burn slowly to accommodate the vertical lifting of winged body
  • The RLV-TD was 6.5 meter long and has aeroplane like structure. It weighs about 1.75 tonnes and is very similar to the retired US space shuttle.
  • It was built by a team of 600 scientists over five years at the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre in Thiruvananthapuram.


RLV is being dubbed as India’s own space shuttle and considered as the unanimous solution to achieve low cost, reliable and on-demand space access. ISRO’s RLV will be competing with two US based private companies namely SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket and Blue Origin’s New Shephard rocket, which have already partially tested re-usable space shuttles.


India, Iran and Afghanistan sign historic land transit trade agreement

India, Iran and Afghanistan sign historic three-way land transit agreement on Iran’s strategic southern port of Chabahar.

It was signed by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani in Teheran, Iran.

Under the agreement, India will invest up to 500 million dollars in a deal to develop a strategic port in Iran.

Chabahar port is strategically located in the Sistan-Balochistan Province on the energy-rich Persian Gulf nation’s southern coast. It lies outside the Persian Gulf and is easily accessed from India’s western coast, bypassing Pakistan.


  • The agreement on the establishment of a Trilateral Transport and Transit Corridor has potential to alter the course of history of this region.
  • It can spur unhindered flow of commerce throughout the region and its economic fruits will expand trade, attract investment, build infrastructure, develop industry and create jobs.
  • India will get sea-land access route to Afghanistan bypassing Pakistan which will open opportunities for Indian companies to explore Afghanistan’s mineral wealth.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Iran

It was the first by an Indian PM to Iran in 15 years and comes months after international sanctions on Iran were lifted following its historic nuclear deal with the P5+1 nations over its contentious atomic programme. Earlier, then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had visited Iran in April 2001.


J Jayalalithaa sworn-in as Tamil Nadu Chief Minister for sixth time

Ms. J Jayalalithaa has sworn in as the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu for record sixth time after winning 2016 state assembly election with absolute majority.

State Governor Dr.K. Rosaiah administered the oath of office and secrecy to her at oath taking ceremony held at the Centenary Auditorium, Madras University. Besides, Governor also administered oath of office and secrecy to the 28 ministers of her government.

This is J Jayalalithaa’s second consecutive term as chief minister and sixth overall. She is the second female Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu after Janaki Ramachandran.

About J Jayalalithaa

  • J Jayalalithaa was born on 24 February 1948 in Mandya in then Mysore State (now in Karnataka).
  • She was an actress before entering into active politics and appeared in 140 films which include Tamil, Telugu, and Kannada films.
  • She was a leading actress in films from 1961 to 1980 and was famously considered as one of the most prolific and most versatile actress.
  • She was also known for her dancing skills and was often referred as the uncrowned queen of Tamil cinema.
  • Previously, she served as Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu from 1991 to 1996 (1st time), in 2001 (2nd time), from 2002 to 2006 (3rd time), from 2011 to 2014 (4th time) and 2015 to 2016 (5th time).