Micro Satellites Current Affairs - 2019
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Elon Musk-led SpaceX has successfully launched 64 small satellites into low Earth orbit onboard of its reusable and preflown Falcon 9 rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. This has set new record in United States of launching satellites in single go. It was third voyage of Falcon 9 rocket, marking another milestone in SpaceX’s cost-cutting reusable rocket technology.
The 64 small satellites included 49 CubeSats and 15 micro-satellites belonging to 34 different clients including public, private and university sources from 17 different countries across the world including South Korea, France and Kazakhstan. The microsatellites weighed few dozen kilograms and CubeSats weighed even smaller. Among launched satellites, one was sculpture called “Orbital Reflector” by artist Trevor Paglen, sent by Nevada Museum of Art and it was not scientific missions.
Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) holds record for the most satellite launch in single flight. It had launched 104 satellites in one go using Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C37) rocket.
It is private US space agency. It was founded by Elon Musk on May 6, 2002 who is its current CEO of Space X. Its main purpose for its establishment was to reduce cost of space transport and establish human habitation on Mars house. Space X has developed series of Falcon Rockets. To reduce cost of internal transport, the space company has created re-usable rockets. Majority of these rockets are also used in other launches.
China’s experimental space lab Tiangong-2 orbiting the Earth with two astronauts on board has successfully launched a micro-satellite Banxing-2.
The two astronauts were launched into space onboard of the Shenzhou-11 spacecraft carried two astronauts on 11 October 2016. It docked with Tiangong-2 on 13 October 2016.
- The micro-satellite Banxing-2 is roughly the size of a desktop printer and the media has nicknamed “Selfie Stick”. It weighs 47 kilogrammes.
- It has series of visible light cameras, including a 25 megapixel camera and wide-angle imagers. It also has an infrared camera that is temperature-sensitive.
- Its mission is to take photographs of Tiangong II and the Shenzhou 11 spacecraft, which has been docked with the lab.
- The micro-satellite has three solar panels which generates enough power to adjust its orbit to shoot pictures of the lab and spacecraft.
- its predecessor, Banxing-1, accomplished the same mission for Shenzhou VII in 2008.
- Banxing-2 is new model of its predecessor Banxing-1 which had accomplished the same mission for Shenzhou VII in 2008. However Banxing-1 is smaller and has a higher capacity.
What are Micro-satellites?
They weigh around 500 to 100 kilograms. They are usually cheaper, faster and more advanced than traditional satellites. The commercial potential has attracted much attention from businesses.