Science and Technology Current Affairs

Science and Technology, Important Development for Competitive Exams. 

NASA unveiled a new generation of spacesuits for humanity’s return trip to the Moon.

  • NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) has unveiled a new generation of spacesuits for humanity’s return journey to the Moon.
  • The new design of the spacesuit comes with special features to help astronauts conduct scientific experiments on the lunar surface. The prototype is said to be better suited for female astronauts.
  • NASA said it hopes to have the updated suit ready for the Artemis III mission to the Moon in 2025.
  • NASA has entrusted the Axiom Space Company with the responsibility of making space suits for its astronauts, wearing which astronauts can land on the moon in the coming time.
  • A well-fitting suit is important to prevent extreme fatigue and, worst of all, physical harm. The current spacesuit worn by American astronauts hasn’t been completely redesigned since 1981.

NASA hands over NISAR satellite to ISRO.

  • The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has received the NASA-ISRO SAR (NISAR) satellite from the US space agency. NISAR is a low Earth orbit observatory jointly developed by NASA and ISRO.
  • A US Air Force C-17 aircraft carrying the NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar (NISAR) has landed in Bengaluru.
  • The satellite is expected to be launched into a near-polar orbit in 2024 from the Satish Dhawan Space Center in Andhra Pradesh. The satellite will operate for at least three years. It is a Low Earth Orbit (LEO) observatory.
  • According to ISRO, NISAR will map the entire globe in 12 days and provide spatially and temporally consistent data for understanding changes in Earth’s ecosystems, ice mass, vegetation biomass, sea level rise, groundwater and natural hazards, including earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanoes and landslides.

Also Read :

Indian Navy successfully test-fired the anti-ship version of the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile.

  • Indian Navy successfully test-fired BrahMos missile in the Arabian Sea on 5 March.
  • This was done with an indigenous seeker and booster designed by the Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO).
  • The Indian Navy said that the successful test has reinforced its commitment towards self-reliance.
  • According to the Indian Navy, the missile has been tested from Kolkata Class Guided Missile Destroyer War Ship.

SpaceX launches Crew-6 astronaut mission to the space station for NASA.

  • SpaceX’s Crew-6 mission for NASA launched on March with a complement of four astronauts to rendezvous with the International Space Station (ISS) in a little more than 24 hours.
  • Space-X’s Falcon-9 rocket will deliver four astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS). This is the sixth operational crew flight of Elon Musk’s Space-X. This includes 2 from NASA, 1 from Russia and one astronaut from UAE.
  • NASA astronauts Stephen Bowen and Warren Woody Hoberg are among the four passengers of the Crew-6 mission. There are also United Arab Emirates (UAE) astronaut Sultan Alneyadi and Russian space agency Roscosmos cosmonaut Andrey Fadeev.

International Space Station (ISS):

Astronauts keep on going for exploration related to space and searching for favorable conditions for human life etc. In such a situation, a lot of money is spent on the stay of scientists in space. In view of this, such a satellite was prepared, in which scientists can stop and do work related to their research. This is called the International Space Station (ISS).

ISRO successfully tests cryogenic engine for Chandrayaan-3 mission.

  • Indian Space Research Organisation- ISRO has successfully flight approved hot test of CE-20 cryogenic engine.
  • This engine will power the cryogenic upper stage of the LVM-3 launch vehicle for the Chandrayaan-3 mission.
  • The test was conducted on 24 February at the ISRO Propulsion Complex in Mahendragiri, Tamil Nadu. ISRO said that this hot test was carried out in the Altitude Test Facility for a specified duration of 25 seconds.
  • The Chandrayaan-3 interplanetary mission has three major modules – Propulsion Module, Lander Module and Rover.
  • Chandrayaan-3 is India’s third lunar mission. It is a follow-up mission to Chandrayaan-2 to demonstrate the capability to safely land and orbit around the lunar surface. Chandrayaan-3 is to be launched by Vehicle Mark 3 from the Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota later this year.

India’s Moon Mission: EMI/EMC test of Chandrayaan-3 successfully carried out.

  • India’s Chandrayaan-3 mission successfully underwent Electro-Magnetic Interference/Electro Magnetic Compatibility-EMI/EMC test.
  • The purpose of this test is to ensure that the satellite systems work properly in conjunction with the expected electromagnetic levels in the space environment.
  • The Indian Space Research Organization has said that this is an important milestone in the preparation of satellites. ISRO announced on 19 February that the test was conducted between 31 January & 2 February at the U R Rao Satellite Center in Bengaluru.
  • During this test, several issues related to the post-landing phase of Chandrayaan’s mission were investigated.
  • These include a number of tests including launchability, polarization of the antenna for all radio frequency systems, and compatibility of the lander and rover.
  • The Chandrayaan-3 mission has 3 major modules – Propulsion, Lander & Rover. The complexity of this operation relates to the establishment of radio frequency communication links between these modules.

Geological Survey of India finds Lithium reserves in J&K

The Geological Survey of India (GSI) has discovered lithium deposits for the first time in the country in the Salal-Haimana area of Reasi District in Jammu & Kashmir. Lithium is a rare earth mineral and a key material in the manufacturing of high-density batteries for electric vehicles, smartphones, and other electronics. This discovery could support India’s electric vehicle revolution, as previously lithium supplies came from Australia and Argentina.

The discovery is significant for India, as lithium is used in rechargeable and non-rechargeable batteries, alloys with aluminum and magnesium, special glasses, air conditioning systems, lubricants, and hydrogen fuel storage.

The GSI also handed over 51 mineral blocks, including 5 gold deposits, to various state governments during the 62nd Central Geological Programming Board meeting.

Geological Survey of India (GSI)

The GSI was established in 1851 and is headquartered in Kolkata with regional offices across the country. It will take up 966 programs in 2023-24, including 318 mineral exploration projects, geoinformatics programs, and training programs.

Recovery trials of Crew Module for the Gaganyaan Mission have started

Initial recovery trials for Crew Module were carried out on February 7, 2023, by ISRO and the Indian Navy in the Water Survival Test Facility (WSTF) of the Indian Navy at Kochi. The trials were a preparation for the crew module recovery operations for the Gaganyaan mission.

  • A Crew Module Recovery Model was used to simulate the mass, center of gravity, outer dimensions, and externals of the actual Crew Module.
  • Standard Operating Procedures (SoP) for recovery of Crew and Crew Module were finalized as part of the trials.
  • The recovery trials will be conducted in a closed pool, harbor, and open sea.
  • The WSTF provides realistic training for aircrew escape under varied conditions and crash scenarios and simulates different sea state, environmental and day/night conditions.
  • The trials validate the SoP, train recovery teams and flight crew, and provide valuable inputs for the utilization of recovery accessories.
  • Feedback from the recovery team helps improve the recovery operations SoP and finalize the training plan.

Gaganyaan mission

Gaganyaan project envisages demonstration of human spaceflight capability by launching crew of 3 members to an orbit of 400 km for a 3 days mission and bring them back safely to earth, by landing in Indian sea waters.

TThe mission is being led by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and is a significant step towards India’s goal of becoming a major player in the global space industry.

LVM3 rocket – The well proven and reliable heavy lift launcher of ISRO, is identified as the launch vehicle for Gaganyaan mission.

ISRO launched Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV-D2) from Sriharikota

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) launched the second developmental flight of the Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV-D2) on February 10, 2023. The launch took place at 9.18 am from Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh.

  • The SSLV-D2 successfully placed the Earth Observation Satellite Janus-1 and SpaceKidz’s AzaadiSAT-2 into their intended orbits.
  • The SSLV-D2 is 34 meters tall and weighs 120 tons, powered by solid fuel and has a velocity trimming module powered by liquid fuel.
  • The SSLV-D2 placed the following 3 satellite into their orbit :
    • The earth observation satellite EOS 07 will be used for earth observation purposes,
    • Janus 1 satellite will feature five different payloads and
    • Azaadi Sat-2 satellite will demonstrate low range and amateur radio communication capabilities.

ISRO-NASA builds NISAR satellite ready to be sent to India for launch.

  • The Earth-observation satellite jointly developed by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and ISRO will be sent to India in late February 2023 for a possible launch in September.
  • Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) Chairman S Somnath recently visited NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in California to oversee the final power test of the NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar (NISAR) satellite before it is dispatched to India.
  • The mission will help study Earth’s land and ice surfaces in greater detail than ever before.
  • The SUV-sized payload will be carried in a special cargo container for the 14,000 km flight to the UR Rao Satellite Center in Bengaluru.

About ‘NISAR’ satellite :

  • ISRO and NASA had joined hands in 2014 to build a satellite weighing 2,800 kg.
  • In March 2021, ISRO sent its S-band SAR payload developed in India to NASA for integration with the L-band payload manufactured by JPL.
  • This is an important step towards better understanding the Earth and the changing climate.
  • It will provide important information on the Earth’s crust, ice sheets and ecosystems.
  • The NISAR spacecraft will be integrated into the satellite bus at the UR Rao Satellite Center for launch.