Current Affairs Today - Current Affairs 2014

Bluefin-21 Robotic submarine deployed to solve mystery of lost Malaysian plane MH370

Flight MH370 flying from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, went missing on March 8, 2014 with 239 people on board. It lost contact with air traffic controllers over the South China Sea. The Bluefin-21 robotic submarine (Underwater Autonomous Vehicle) will explore for wreckage of the Flight MH370 in an area defined by 4 ping signals from the flight’s Black Box heard a few days ago.

Bluefin-21

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The Bluefin-21 is about 5m-long underwater autonomous vehicle that can produce a sonar map of the sea floor. It is an extremely modular autonomous underwater vehicle with power to carry multiple sensors and payloads at a time. It has a high energy capacity to carry extended operations even at the greatest depths.

Applications

  • Offshore Survey
  • Search & Salvage
  • Archaeology & Exploration
  • Oceanography
  • Mine Countermeasures (MCM)
  • Unexploded Ordnance (UXO)

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INSAT-3E expires well before its actual built life

Communications satellite INSAT-3E completed its life even before its expected time and and has become non-operational. Actually, INSAT 3E was built to last 15 years but, as it ran out of on-board oxidizer, it could only last for 10.5 years in orbit. In a short span of time, it will be moved to a graveyard orbit.

The 3rd Generation satellite was launched in September 2003 with 36 transponders out of which 24 C- are band and 12 are extended C- band transponders. Since 2009, only 25 out of 36 transponders were operational.

On-board oxidizer along with fuel, keeps a satellite Earth-locked (or fixed over India) and runs its everyday operations.

INSAT 3E

Defunct communication satellite built by ISRO, 4th satellite in the INSAT-3 series of ISRO.

  • Mission duration: 10 years, 5 months, 5 days
  • Launch date: September 27, 2003 from Kourou, French Guyana
  • Regime: Geostationary (till 2014)
  • Disposal: Moved to a graveyard orbit

Services provided by INSAT 3E:

  • Television
  • VSAT
  • Communication
  • Tele-education providing education to the poor and needy
  • Tele-medicine administering medical services from the metros to villages and remote areas

What is a Graveyard Orbit?

A Graveyard Orbit (Junk orbit or Disposal Orbit), is a super-synchronous orbit that where spacecraft are deliberately positioned at the end of their operational life. A Graveyard Orbit lies considerably over the synchronous orbit. For satellites in geostationary orbit and geosynchronous orbits, the Graveyard Orbit is a few hundred km over the operational orbit.

Why Satellites are moved to the Graveyard Orbit?

Satellites are moved to the Graveyard Orbit in order to lower the probability of their collision with operational space-crafts and of the generation of extra space debris (known as Kessler Syndrome). If the alteration in velocity needed to execute a de-orbit maneuver is too high, then a Graveyard Orbit is utilized.

Actually, De-orbiting a geostationary satellite requires a delta-v of approximately 1,500 m/s (4,900 ft/s), while re-orbiting the satellite to a Graveyard Orbit needs approximately 11 m/s (36 ft/s). So, it is easier to re-orbit a Satellite into Graveyard Orbit than de-orbiting it.

Air India seeks bridge loan of $500 million

Air India is in quest of a ‘Bridge Loan’ of up to $500 Mn to take delivery of 4 Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircrafts between May and November 2014 from an on-going order. For this, Air India has invited offers from banks to arrange the bridge financing for a period of 6-12 months. Air India is offering the aircraft as security and will pay back the loan following its conclusion of a sale and lease-back arrangement.

What is a “Bridge Loan”?

Bridge Loan (also called Bridge Finance, Bridging Loan, or Gap Financing) is a short-term (usually less than a year) loan taken to cover the period between the expiry of one loan and the beginning of another loan. Bridge loan is arranged mostly to accomplished a purchase (viz. a new house, aircrafts) before the borrower gets payment from a sale (of the old house, old aircraft), or before a long-term loan is made accessible upon completion of its requirements.

Bridge loans are normally more costly than normal financing, to pay off for the extra risk. The lender also may demand cross-collateralization and a lower loan-to-value ratio. On the other hand Bridge Loans are generally arranged rapidly with comparatively little documentation.