Science and Technology Current Affairs – 2018

Germany rolls out world’s first hydrogen-powered train 

Germany has rolled out world’s first hydrogen-powered passenger train. These locomotives named iLint trains emit zero emissions, making them eco-friendly. This train technology offers greener and quieter alternative to diesel on non-electrified railway lines. These hydrogen trains are manufactured by French TGV-maker Alstom and are commercially running on 100km route between towns and cities of Cuxhaven, Bremerhaven, Bremervoerde and Buxtehude in northern Germany.

Hydrogen trains

Hydrogen trains are equipped with fuel cells that produce electricity by combining hydrogen with oxygen. This conversion process only emits steam and water, thus producing zero emissions. Excess energy produced is stored in ion-lithium batteries on board train.

These trains also make very little noise. Moreover, hydrogen fuel cells have advantages over batteries. Instead of recharging, they can easily be refueled like gas or diesel engine. It is also easier to build refueling infrastructure for these trains at railway stations.

These trains can run for around 1,000 km on a single tank of hydrogen, similar to the range of diesel trains. These trains offer attractive prospect to many cities scrambling to combat air pollution. The only disadvantage these hydrogen trains is that they are more expensive than fossil fuel-based trains.

Month: Categories: Science and Technology Current Affairs - 2018

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ISRO launches two satellites NovaSAR and S1-4 using PSLV-C42

Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) successfully launched two satellites— NovaSAR and S1-4-belonging to United Kingdom (UK) based Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL). Both satellites were injected into Sun Synchronous Orbit (pole-to-pole orbit) at an altitude of 583 km after the launch.

About launch

These satellites were launched on board of Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C42) from first launch pad of Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) SHAR, Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh. This was the 44th flight of PSLV and the 12th flight of Core Alone version of the vehicle.Core Alone version of PSLV is lightest version without six strap-on motors. It is used for launching smaller payloads. It was ISRO’s first fully commercial trip of the year. This launch helped Antrix Corporation, commercial arm of ISRO to earn more than Rs. 220 crore. As on date, ISRO has launched 239 foreign satellites of 28 countries.

Key Facts

S1-4 Satellite: It is high resolution earth observation satellite meant for surveying resources, environment monitoring, urban management and disaster monitoring.

NovaSAR Sateillite: It carries S-band Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) and Automatic Identification Receiver payloads. It is technology demonstration mission designed to test capabilities of new low cost S-band SAR platform. Its applications include forestry mapping, land use and ice cover monitoring, flood and disaster monitoring and maritime missions. It will be operated from SSTL’s Spacecraft Operations Centre in Guildford, UK.

PSLV

PSLV is the third generation launch vehicle of India, designed and developed by ISRO’s Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, Thiruvananthapuram. It is hailed as the reliable and versatile workhorse launch vehicle of India. It consists of four stages,  using solid and liquid propulsion systems alternately. Each stage of PSLV is self-contained vehicle capable of functioning independently with own propulsion systems.

It is capable of launching 1600 kg satellites in 620 km sun-synchronous polar orbit and 1050 ks satellite in geo-synchronous transfer orbit. There are three variants of PSLV, namely, PSLV-G, PSLV-CA, PSLV-XL. In the standard configuration, it measures 44.4 m tall, with a lift off weigh of 295 tonnes.

Some notable payloads launched by PSLV include India’s first lunar probe Chandrayaan-1, India’s first interplanetary mission, Mars Orbiter Mission (Mangalyaan) and India’s first space observatory, Astrosat.

Month: Categories: Science and Technology Current Affairs - 2018

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