ISRO losses contact with communication satellite GSAT-6A

Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has lost contact with India’s most powerful communication GSAT-6A satellite in less than 48 hours after it was launched. The loss in contact is believed to have been caused by power system failure or short circuit on the satellite.

Key Facts

The GSAT-6A satellite was to be placed in orbit in three phases after its successful textbook launch on March 29, 2018 onboard of GSLV-F08. ISRO had successfully completed first orbit raising operation of GSAT-6A Satellite on March 30, 2018, which saw satellite changing its closest and farthest point from earth besides changing its inclination. The second orbit raising operation of GSAT-6A was successfully carried out on March 31, 2018, but during the third and final firing scheduled on April 1, 2018, communication with satellite was lost, hours after maintaining uncharacteristic silence on the health of the satellite.

Orbit-raising refers to manoeuvres by which satellite is taken to its final orbit in stages. Each time, a series of thrusters – small engines onboard of satellite that makes alterations in the flight path – is used.

GSAT-6A

GSAT-6A is high power communication satellite which was to have a mission life of about 10 years. It mandate was to provide mobile communication for India with multi-band coverage facility—five beams in S-band and one beam in C-band. It was India’s most powerful communication satellite ever built.

The satellite had six-metre wide antenna, the biggest used by ISRO communication satellite so far, meant for the S-band communication. This was to enable satellite to provide mobile communication for country through handheld ground terminals, which was not possible earlier as smaller antennas meant larger ground stations. The satellite was also to provide with communication facilities for the armed forces.

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Delhi becomes first city to roll-out BS-VI fuel

Delhi became the first city in India to supply ultra-clean Bharat Stage (BS) VI grade fuel (both petrol and diesel) with an aim to combat the rising levels of air pollution in Delhi-NCR region. State-owned oil firms have started supplying the BS-VI fuel (equivalent to fuel meeting Euro-VI emission norm) at all their 391 petrol pumps in NCT.

Key Facts

Other cities in NCR like Noida, Gurugram, Ghaziabad and Faridabad as well as other 13 major cities, including  Mumbai, Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Pune will roll-out cleaner BS-VI grade fuel from January 1 2019. However, BS-VI fuel will be rolled out in rest of the country by April 2020. By switching to BS-VI, India will join league of US, Japan and European Union, which follow Euro Stage VI emission norms.

Background

The Union Government in October 2016 had decided to skip one stage and migrate to BS-VI directly from BS-IV from April 2020 to fight the growing pollution. The deadline for it in Delhi was brought forward to 2018 due to higher level of pollution i.e. thick toxic smog faced in winter season. It was part of concerted efforts of Government to reduce vehicular emissions and improve fuel efficiency with an aim to reduce carbon footprints and keep environment healthy.

Benefits of BS-IV fuel

The major difference in standards between the existing BS-IV and new BS-VI auto fuel norms is presence of sulphur. BS-IV fuels contain 50 parts per million (ppm) sulphur, while BS-V and BS-VI grade fuel will have 10 ppm sulphur. Thus, newly introduced BS VI fuel is estimated to reduce amount of sulphur released by 80%. It will also bring down the emission of NOx (nitrogen oxides) from diesel cars by nearly 70 % and 25% from cars with petrol engines. It will also bring down cancer causing particulate matter emissions from diesel engine cars by phenomenal 80%.

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