Science and Technology

CSIR & IMD collaborate for joint production of “Drishti” System

In a major development in the field of aviation safety CSIR-National Aerospace Laboratories (CSIR-NAL), Bangalore and India Meteorological Department (IMD) inked a partnership pact for joint production of Drishti System; a sophisticated instrument for assessment of Runway visual range, which is a vital parameter for safe landing and takeoff of aircraft in poor visibility.

The joint agreement between two government sector entities will lead to indigenization of a technology which so far was the exclusive domain of few developed countries. The indigenous production of this advanced instrument will not only result in considerable saving of foreign exchange but will also make the country self-reliant in the field of front-end technology.

Drishti Transmissometer (Drishti System)

A visibility measuring system indigenously designed and developed by CSIR-NAL to cover the wide span of lowest to highest visibility (< 25 to > 2000 meters) assisting pilots for safe landing and take-off. This cost-effective product is a mandatory system required at all airports as per International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and World Meteorological Organisation (WMO). At present, Seven Drishti systems are functioning in three international airports, viz., Choudhary Charan Singh International Airport, Lucknow, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport. Five systems are working in country’s most stringent CAT IIIB airport, viz., Indira Gandhi International Airport, New Delhi, for the last 2 years. Other important features of this system include web enabled health monitoring and remote control of the system from any location in the country for accessing the data and for maintenance.

“Drishti” has also won several awards during 2013-14 from National Research Development Corporation (NRDC), Institution of Electronics and Telecommunication Engineers (IETE), India, and Indian Electronics & Semiconductor Association (IESA) as the most innovative, meritorious product of the year.

Pinaka rockets test-fired successfully

India’s Multi-Barrel Rocket Launcher (MBRL)–Pinaka rockets, capable of decimating hostile targets at 40kms-range with rapid salvos, successfully test- fired thrice at an armament base in Chandipur, Odisha. The rockets, which have been subjected to several tough tests since 1995, have been already inducted into the armed forces and the current trials were performed with some improvements in the weapon system. Three rounds of Pinaka rockets were successfully tested from the Proof and eXperimental Establishment (PXE) at Chandipur.

Indigenously developed by DRDO, Pinaka is an unguided rocket system meant to neutralise large areas with rapid salvos. With a battery of 6 launchers, the system can fire a salvo of 12 rockets in 44 seconds and neutralise a target area of 3.9 sq km. It gives an edge to the army with its quick reaction time and high rate of fire, thus, supplementing artillery guns.

NASA designs high-tech cages to transport rats to ISS

The US space agency has developed high-tech cages to transport rodents from Earth to the International Space Station (ISS) to enable researchers to study the long-term effects of microgravity on mammalian Physiology.  These Rodent Habitat modules will first fly in August 2014 aboard an unmanned SpaceX Dragon cargo ship.

The newly designed habitats allow carrying the animals to the space station as well as provide for their long-term accommodation. Each habitat module accommodates 10 mice or six rats with all of the basics they need to live comfortably aboard the station including water, food, lighting and fresh air. A visible light and infrared video system enables the crew in space and researchers and veterinarians on the ground to monitor behaviour and overall health of the rodents on a daily basis.

 Since rodents physiology matches with that of humans and the former develop and age much faster than humans, studying rodent model organisms will speed up the understanding of diseases that may take years or decades to develop in humans. Furthermore, rodents may be studied in space during different developmental stages of life. Spaceflight rodent studies are important for developing countermeasures — procedures, drugs or devices — to protect health during spaceflight.