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ISRO develops Telemetry and Telecommand Processor

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has indigenously developed Telemetry & Telecommand Processor (TTCP) and its productionisation will be initiated with the help of Indian industry.

The processor development was undertaken up by ISRO as part of ‘Make in India’ campaign to replace the expensive imported equipment necessary for uplinking and downlinking to satellites. 

Key Facts
  • TTCP has been developed by Bengaluru based of ISRO Satellite Centre (ISAC). Besides, Spacecraft Checkout Group of ISAC is responsible for testing it.
  • It will be used by ISRO in Integrated Spacecraft Testing of Low Earth Orbit, Geostationary Orbit and Interplanetary Spacecraft.
  • It is configurable to meet uplink and downlink requirements of both CCSDS (Consultative Committee for Space Data Systems) and ISRO standards and multiple clients to remotely access for data and monitoring.
  • The system was developed on Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) platform. The softcore processor on board the FPGA allows programming all features of TCCP remotely.
  • It is being tested on the ground using the same communication protocols that will be used in space. During test, ground systems will communicate to spacecraft via the same uplink and downlink signals, as in space.
  • This indigenously developed Processor has been successfully deployed for the first time in checkout of GSAT-19, which is scheduled to be launched shortly onboard of GSLV-Mk III-D1.

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China launches World’s first Quantum Communication Satellite

China has successfully launched the world’s first quantum satellite dubbed as Quantum Experiments at Space Scaler (QUESS) satellite.

The satellite was launched on board of Long March-2D rocket from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre in the remote northwestern province of Gansu.

Key Features

  • The QUESS satellite has been nicknamed as Micius after a 5th century BC Chinese philosopher.
  • It will be located in sun-synchronous orbit at an altitude of 500 km and will circle the Earth once every 90 minutes.
  • The satellite will help China to establish hack-proof communications system by transmitting uncrackable keys from space to the ground.
  • Applications: Ranges from highly secured military and government communications to online shopping.

Significance

Earlier, researchers around the world had successfully sent quantum messages on land. But this first of its kind satellite-based quantum network would make it possible to send quickly encrypted (hack proof) messages around the world. It also opens door to other possible uses of the technology. The launch is also a major triumph for China in the field of quantum technology.

What is Quantum communication?

  • Quantum communication boasts ultra-high security communication. It uses subatomic particles to securely communicate between two points.
  • In case intruder (hacker) tries to crack the message in Quantum communication, it will change its form in a way that would alert the sender and cause the message to be altered or deleted.

Note: Chinese philosopher Micius has been credited for conducting optical experiments.

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UBI launches USSD based mobile app for basic banking needs with NPCI

The Union Bank of India (UBI) has launch an Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) based *99# mobile application for their customers for basic banking needs.

It was launched in partnership with National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), the umbrella organisation for all retail payments system in the country.

Key Facts

  • *99# mobile application can be downloaded in an android smartphone from the Google Play Store by the bank customers.
  • It can be used even without any internet connection as it does not require any data and is available in 10 languages.
  • It provides basic banking facilities like checking account balance, sending money, Mobile PIN (MPIN) management.
  • Besides, it provides value added services like checking Aadhaar linked overdraft status and PMJDY account overdraft status.

About Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD)

  • USSD is a GSM based technology i.e. used to send text between a mobile phone and an application program in the network.
  • It is sometimes referred to as Quick Codes or Feature codes. It is a protocol used by GSM cellular telephones to communicate with the service provider’s computers.
  • Unlike Short Message Service (SMS) messages, USSD messages create a real-time connection during a USSD session. So they are more responsive than services that use SMS.
  • It can be used for prepaid callback service, WAP browsing, mobile-money services, location-based content services, menu-based information services etc.

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