Space technology Current Affairs - 2019
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NASA’s Dawn space probe has completed its orbit around dwarf planet Ceres which is the largest object in the Solar System between Mars and Jupiter.
With the completion of orbit, Dawn probe has become first spacecraft to visit dwarf planet.
Dawn has taken 7.5 years to reach the orbit of Ceres. Scientists are hoping to glean information from the Ceres which can tell them about the Solar System’s beginnings after its formation four and a half billion ago.
Earlier during its journey from 2011 to 2012, the spacecraft also had explored and surveyed the giant asteroid Vesta. It had delivered new insights and thousands of images from the asteroid.
About Dawn space probe
- Launched– In 2007 by NASA.
- Objective- to study the two massive protoplanets of the asteroid belt: Vesta and the dwarf planet Ceres.
- The mission is managed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
- Probes major components are contributed by NASA’s European partners i.e. from German Aerospace Center, Italian Space Agency and Italian National Astrophysical Institute.
- Dawn space probe is the first NASA exploratory mission to use ion propulsion to enter orbits.
World’s first electric satellites were successfully lifted off by a Space Exploration (SpaceX) Technologies rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, United States.
The rocket was carrying two all-electric commercial satellites built by Boeing. The satellites are owned by the French satellite provider Eutelsat and Asia Broadcast Satellite (ABS).
Eutelsat’s satellite is part of its 35-member commercial network. It will provide services like mobile, internet, video and other communications services to expand its reach into the Americas. While, ABS new satellite will serve its customers in Africa, Europe and the Middle East.
Features of electric satellites
- These satellites are fitted with lightweight, all-electric engines rather than conventional chemical propulsion systems.
- These electric engines allow satellites to produce electric propulsion in order to reach and remain fixed in particular orbit.
- Electric propulsion from these satellites consumes less fuel compared with satellite having chemical propulsion. Thus making satellites lighter in weight and further reducing cost of launch.