Space technology Current Affairs - 2019
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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.
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.
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 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.
Japanese researchers from Shizuoka University will conduct world’s first experiment to test small prototype of space elevator in space by using two mini satellites. The test equipment will be launched by Japan’s space agency on board of H-2B rocket from southern island of Tanegashima.
In this experiment, two ultra-small cubic satellites developed by Shizuoka University Faculty of Engineering will be used for demonstration of space elevator technology. Each satellite measures 10 centimeters each side. Roughly 10-meter-long steel cable will be employed to connect twin satellites. The pair of satellites will be released from International Space Station (ISS) and container acting like elevator car will be moved on cable connecting satellites using motor. The movement of motorised elevator box will be monitored with cameras in the satellites.
It is proposed type of planet-to-space transportation system. Its components mainly are cable (also called tether) anchored to surface of planet and extending into space. It will permit vehicles to travel along cable from planetary surface, such as Earth’s, directly into space or orbit, without use of large rockets. The idea of space elevator was first proposed in 1895 by Russian scientist Konstantin Tsiolkovsky after he saw Eiffel Tower in Paris and later it was revisited nearly century later in novel by Arthur C. Clarke.
The one end of cable of space elevator will be attached near to surface and the other end in space beyond geostationary orbit (35,786 km altitude). The competing forces of gravity, which is stronger at lower end and outward or upward centrifugal force, which is stronger at upper end, will result in the cable being held up, under tension, and stationary over single position on Earth. Once cable (tether) is deployed at fixed position, climbers can repeatedly climb it to venture into space by mechanical means, releasing their cargo to orbit. Climbers also can descend ether to return cargo to surface from orbit.