Current Affairs - January 2017

Dr Vijay Bhatkar appointed new vice-chancellor of Nalanda University

President Pranab Mukherjee has appointed Dr Vijay Bhatkar, architect of India’s first supercomputer the Param series, as the chancellor of Nalanda University.

He will have term of three years from the date of his appointment as provided under Section 11(3) of the Nalanda University Act. He shall succeed George Yeo, former Foreign Minister of Singapore, who resigned after the Board of the University was reconstituted.

About Dr Vijay Bhatkar

  • Dr. Bhatkar is one of the acclaimed scientists and IT leaders of India. He is best known as the architect of India’s first supercomputer Param series.
  • He is also known as the founder executive director of C-DAC, India’s national initiative in supercomputing. He is also credited with the creation of several national institutions.
  • He also was member of the scientific advisory committee to the cabinet of Union Government and as also of the governing council of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).
  • Bhatkar studied at the Indian Institute of Technology (Delhi) and the Maharaja Sayaji Rao University. He has been honoured with Padma Shri, Maharashtra Bhushan, Padma Bhushan (2015) awards for his contribution to field of science and technology.

About Nalanda University

  • Nalanda University revived version of ancient Nalanda University located at Rajgir in Nalanda District in Bihar.
  • It is a non-state, non-profit, secular and self-governing international institution. Its idea was mooted by former President APJ Abdul Kalam in 2006.
  • It was established through Nalanda University Act, 2010. It functions under Ministry of External Affairs.
  • It is mandated to be engaged in the pursuit of intellectual, philosophical, historical and spiritual studies

Note: The ancient Nalanda University was established in 427 AD during the reign of Gupta king Sakraditya. It was one of India’s earliest university. At its peak, it had attracted scholars and students from near and far with some travelling all the way from Tibet, China, Korea, and Central Asia

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ISRO Successfully tests Cryogenic Engine for Upper Stage of GSLV Mk III

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) successfully tested indigenously developed cryogenic engine for the upper stage ‘GSLV Mk III’ rocket.

 The cryogenic upper stage, designated as C25, was tested for 50 seconds at ISRO Propulsion Complex (IPRC) at Mahendragiri in Tamil Nadu demonstrating all the stage operations. It was the first test in a series of two tests.  The second test is planned for flight duration of 640 seconds.

Key Facts 
  • Cryogenic engines are used in the upper stage of a rocket launch as they provide the maximum thrust to a launcher vehicle.
  • The development of C25 cryogenic stage started after approval of GSLV MkIII, ISRO’s next generation launch vehicle, capable of launching heavy four tonne class spacecraft in Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO).
  • C25 stage was conceptualised, designed and realised by Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre (LPSC) with support from Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC), ISRO Propulsion Complex (IPRC) and Sathish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC).
  • GSLV MkIII vehicle consists of two solid strap-on motors, one earth storable liquid core stage and the cryogenic upper stage.
  • The C25 stage is most powerful upper stage developed by ISRO. It uses Liquid Oxygen and Liquid Hydrogen propellant combination. This stage carries 27.8 tons of propellants loaded in two independent tanks.
  • Note: Development of a cryogenic stage has unique design challenges liquid Oxygen stored at -195 deg C and as liquid Hydrogen is stored at -253 deg C in its tanks. To store these cryogenic fluids, special multi-layer insulation is provided for the tanks and other structures.
Comment

The 50 second test of C25 is a significant milestone in the ISRO’s development of indigenous cryogenic propulsion technology. The successful hot test of the stage in the first attempt itself demonstrates the ISRO’s ability to work in new areas like cryogenic technology. The first flight stage for ‘GSLV MkIII-D1’ mission is in an advanced stage of realisation. It is scheduled to launch GSAT-19 during first quarter of 2017. Its flight engine was successfully tested earlier in the High Altitude Test facility and integrated with the flight stage.

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