Science & technology Current Affairs - 2020

ISRO successfully tests indigenous cryogenic engine with four-tonne capacity

Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on 28 April 2015 successfully tested an indigenous cryogenic engine.

The powerful version of the cryogenic engine was tested successfully at ISRO’s propulsion complex at Mahendragiri in Tirunelveli district of Tamil Nadu. A team headed by Director D Karthikesan had led the testing.

This engine will allow launch vehicles to carry satellites of up to capacity of four tonnes in geostationary orbit. It will also give boost to India’s interplanetary probes and manned space missions.

Facts about cryogenic engine

  • A cryogenic engine is more efficient as it provides more thrust for every kilogram of propellant burnt.
  • Cryogenic fuels are extremely clean as they give out only water while burning. The engine uses liquid oxygen at -2530C and liquid hydrogen at -1830C
  • It can develop the thrust needed in the final state of the rocket to put satellites, weighing two tonnes or more, into a geosynchronous orbit.
  • It is essential to master this technology for any space power as launching heavier satellites requires cryogenic engines even in the lower stages of the rocket.
  • It will also make India self-reliant in sending heavier satellites to the required orbits and eliminate need of dependence on foreign launch vehicles.

It should be noted that India sixth spacefarer after US, Russia, the European Space Agency, China and Japan to develop a cryogenic engine.

Earlier in January 2015, India had successfully launched GSLV-D5, the first successful launch vehicle with an indigenous cryogenic engine. But it had capacity to launch satellites of up to two tonnes.

Indian-Origin Scientist Sangeeta Bhatia wins Heinz Award 2015

Sangeeta Bhatia, an Indian-Origin scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has won prestigious Heinz award for year 2015.

She had won this award for her work in tissue engineering and disease detection in the Technology, the Economy, and Employment category of the award.

Ms Bhatia’s team has developed artificial human microlivers for drug testing. These artificial microlivers are being used to test the toxicity of drug candidates by many biopharmaceutical companies.

She is also using these microlivers to model malaria infection and test drugs that can eradicate malaria parasites completely in the laboratory.

This model seeks to eradicate malaria parasites completely as the reservoirs of parasite remains in the liver even after a patient’s symptoms subside.

About Heinz Award

  • Heinz Award is an annual award established in 1993 and given by the Heinz Family Foundation.
  • Every year it hounours and recognize outstanding individuals for their innovative contributions in five areas. They are Environment, Public Policy, Arts and Humanities, Human Condition and the Economy, Technology and Employment.
  • The award carries a cash prize of US 2, 50, 000 dollars and a medallion.