ISS Current Affairs - 2019

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FEDOR: Russia launches its 1st humanoid robot in space

Russia launched life-size humanoid robot called Fedor to International Space Station (ISS). It is the first ever life-size humanoid robot sent into space by Russia. It was launched onboard of unmanned Soyuz MS-14 rocket from Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

About Fedor

Fedor stands for Final Experimental Demonstration Object Research. It is also known as Skybot F850. It will spend 10 days learning to assist astronauts on the ISS. Its main purpose is to be used in operations that are dangerous for humans onboard spacecraft and in outer space. During its 10 days at ISS, it will learn new skills such as connecting and disconnecting electric cables, using standard items from screwdriver and spanner to a fire extinguisher.

Features:

It is size of human i.e. 1.80 metres (5 foot 11 inches) tall and weighs 160 kilograms.

It can emulate human body movements. This key skill will allow it to remotely help astronauts or even people on Earth to carry out tasks while humans are strapped into exoskeleton.

Note: US space agency NASA had sent world’s first humanoid robot Robonaut 2 (R2) to space in 2011 to work in hazardous environments.

Raavana-1: Sri Lanka’s 1st satellite successfully launched

Sri Lanka’s first ever satellite ‘Raavana-1’, designed and developed by two Sri Lankan engineers, was successfully placed into orbit. It was launched from International Space Station (ISS) along with two other BIRDS 3 satellites from Japan and Nepal.

About Raavana-1

Background: The satellite was officially handed over to JAXA (Japanese Aerospace and Exploration Agency) on February 18 and was sent to International Space Station on April 17, through assistance of Cygnus-1 spacecraft from United States.

Orbit: It was deployed to 400-km of orbit at an inclination of 51.6 degrees using JAXA (Japanese Aerospace and Exploration Agency) owned Kibo experiment module.

Engineer: It was designed and developed by two Sri Lankan engineers Tharindu Dayaratne and Dulani Chamika who are studying space engineering at Japan’s Kyushu Institute of Technology.

Features: It is a cube satellite measuring 11.3 cm x 10 cm x 10 cm, and weighs around 1.05 kg. It is expected to fulfil 5 missions including capturing pictures of Sri Lanka & its surrounding regions. It also has active attitude stabilization which will ensure that satellite’s attitude is stable under influence of external talks.

Life span: It is designed for a minimum lifespan of 1.5 years but is expected to be active for about five year.

About BIRDS 3 Project

The ‘Birds project’ is an acronym for ‘Joint Global Multi-Nation Birds Satellite project’, which is a cross-border interdisciplinary satellite project for non-space faring countries supported by Japan. It is first step towards creating an indigenous space program by designing, building, operating, testing and launching 1st satellite for participating nations.

The Birds 3 project is led by Japan’s Kyushu Institute of Technology and involves students from Sri Lanka, Nepal and Japan.