JAXA Current Affairs - 2019

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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.

SpaceX launches Cargo Mission for NASA to ISS

SpaceX successfully launched a Dragon spacecraft on a cargo mission for NASA to International Space Station (ISS).

About Mission

  • This is SpaceX’s fifth launch of year. The launch was rescheduled earlier due to some electrical problem on ISS.
  • It was launched on a ‘Falcon 9’ rocket, from Cape Canaveral in Florida. It is being used for first time.
  • Rocket on boards an un-crewed Cargo Dragon spacecraft.

The Dragon spacecraft

  • It is scheduled to reach ISS on May 6.
  • It carries 2,500 kilograms of research, supplies and hardware for astronauts living and working on ISS as part of the CRS-17 mission (17th resupply mission).
  • It will remain at ISS for about four weeks before coming back to Earth with more than 1,900 kg of research and return cargo.
  • It has flown before on other Missions namely, CRS-12 mission in August 2017

About The International Space Station (ISS)

  • It is basically an orbiting laboratory where its crew members conduct experiments in fields of biology, human biology, physics, astronomy, meteorology,etc.
  • It is a space station, or a habitable artificial satellite, in low Earth orbit (LEO).
  • Launched into orbit for first time in 1998, it is now largest human-made body in LEO.
  • Primary partners on project are USA’s NASA, Russia’s Roscosmos State Corporation for Space Activities (Roscosmos), EU’s European Space Agency (ESA), Canadian Space Agency and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).