Science and Technology Current Affairs – 2018

Latest Science & Technology Current Affairs 2015-2016; current developments in Science and Technology 2015-2016 all important national / international updates in science and tech and events for the year 2015-2016.

Light transport aircraft SARAS successfully completes second test-flight

India’s indigenous developed light transport aircraft SARAS PT1N has successfully completed second test-flight. It was the second of the 20 test flights planned for SARAS PT1N, before it is frozen to production version.  The first successful test was carried out in January 2017. Indian Air Force (IAF) has committed to induct 15 aircrafts initially.

SARAS PT1N

SARAS PT1N is first Indian multi-purpose civilian aircraft in light transport aircraft category as designed by the CSIR-National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL). ts development is seen as culmination of efforts of CSIR-NAL, IAF-ASTE, Centre for Military Airworthiness and Certification (CEMILAC), HAL and Directorate General of Aeronautical Quality Assurance (DGAQA).

SARAS PT1N upgraded version of envisioned Saras aircraft programme aircraft. It is 14-seater and the production version aircraft will have 19-seat capacity. It weighs 7-tonne and has been designed to travel at 425 km/h. It has maximum continuous flight time of around five hours.

The upgraded version of plane is equipped with more modern avionics system, improved radar, linear wing flap actuator, engine flap actuators, environment control, better flight control system, larger metallic rudder for enhanced control, redesigned landing-gear actuators,brand-new brake system, and fire resistant design for aircraft’s nacelle.

Background

The aircraft programme is named after Indian crane Saras. It was first conceptualised in 1990s to establish short-haul civil aviation market. The original design of plane included maximum take-off weight of 6,100kg and a maximum payload of 1,232kg.

The first prototype of the plane had made its first flight in May 2004. SARAS PT1N is upgraded version of plane, after second prototype of SARAS that had crashed during test flight killing all three crew members on board in March 2009.

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Maharashtra inks deal with Virgin Group for World’s First Hyperloop between Mumbai and Pune

The Virgin Group led by Richard Branson has signed an intent agreement with Maharashtra Government to build world’s first hyperloop transportation system between Mumbai and Pune.

The foundation stone for the project was laid by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on first day of Magnetic Maharashtra investor summit held in Mumbai.

Key Facts

The proposed hyperlook transportation system will link central Pune with megapolis as well as Navi Mumbai international airport. It aims to reduce travel time between two mega cities to 20 minutes from three hours at present. Details of project cost and time-line are yet to be announced.

The proposed loop will be a fully electric system and will have the capability travel up to 1,000 km per hour. It will be able to ferry 150 million passengers every year. It will transform transportation system and make Maharashtra global pioneer in this space. The project will create thousands of jobs and has numerous socioeconomic benefits.

Hyperloop Technology

Hyperloop Technology is dubbed as fifth mode of transportation. It is system of magnetically levitating capsules (pods) that are sent at high speeds through low-pressure tubes. It envisages tube modular transport system that runs free of friction. It uses linear Induction motors in it to control speed of pods. It is still in trial stages in different countries and not been implemented for practical use anywhere in world yet.

Advantages

Hyperloop is two-to-three times faster than fastest high-speed rail and claimed to have speeds even greater than commercial air travel. It has smaller civil engineering footprint, with no direct emissions or noise compared to railways. Hyperloop system’s capital cost per mile is 60% that of high-speed rail, and is less expensive to operate. Furthermore, Hyperloop departures could happen with a low frequency of a pod every 20 seconds which is not possible in railways.

Challenges

It requires heavy investments and therefore effective public and private sector coordination is prerequisite for implementing it. It consumes high-power compared to railways. Technical challenges and accidents may hamper its progress.

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