Science and Technology Current Affairs

 

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Aditya-L1 spacecraft, has completed its first halo orbit around the Sun-Earth L1 point

India’s first solar mission, the Aditya-L1 spacecraft, has completed its first halo orbit around the Sun-Earth L1 point. ISRO conducted a station-keeping maneuver on July 3, 2024, to ensure a smooth transition into the second halo orbit.

The Aditya-L1 mission is an Indian solar observatory positioned at Lagrangian point L1. It was launched on September 2, 2023, and successfully inserted into its targeted halo orbit on January 6, 2024.

The spacecraft takes 178 days to complete one revolution around the L1 point. During its orbit, the Aditya-L1 spacecraft faces various perturbing forces that affect its trajectory, as explained by ISRO.

Q: How long does it take for the Aditya-L1 spacecraft to complete one revolution around the L1 point?

a) 92 days
b) 178 days
c) 365 days
d) 730 days

Ans : b) 178 days
The Aditya-L1 mission is an Indian solar observatory positioned at Lagrangian point L1. It was launched on September 2, 2023. The spacecraft takes 178 days to complete one revolution around the L1 point.

DRDO handed over the Medium Range-Microwave Obscurant Chaff Rocket (MR-MOCR) to the Indian Navy

The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) handed over the Medium Range-Microwave Obscurant Chaff Rocket (MR-MOCR) to the Indian Navy on 26 June 2024 in New Delhi.

The Microwave Obscurant Chaff is a niche technology developed by DRDO’s Defence Laboratory in Jodhpur. This technology obscures radar signals and creates a microwave shield around platforms and assets, reducing radar detection.

Special type of fibres have been assembled in the medium range chaff rocket. When fired, the rocket forms a microwave obscurant cloud in space, spreading over a sufficient area.

Q: What happens when the Medium Range-Microwave Obscurant Chaff Rocket (MR-MOCR) is fired?

a) It explodes on impact
b) It forms a microwave obscurant cloud in space
c) It releases flares
d) It emits a high-frequency sound

Ans : b) It forms a microwave obscurant cloud in space
The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) handed over the Medium Range-Microwave Obscurant Chaff Rocket (MR-MOCR) to the Indian Navy on 26 June 2024 in New Delhi.

ISRO successfully conducted the third and final landing experiment of its Reusable Launch Vehicle ‘Pushpak’

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) successfully conducted the third and final landing experiment of its Reusable Launch Vehicle ‘Pushpak’ on June 23, 2024 at the Aeronautical Test Range in Chitradurga, Karnataka.

The experiment, named RLV LEX-03, demonstrated autonomous landing capability.

The Chinook helicopter released Pushpak from an altitude of 4.5 kilometers. Pushpak autonomously executed cross-range correction maneuvers and accomplished a precise horizontal landing at the runway center line, approaching with a speed of 320 kmph.

The experiment reaffirmed ISRO’s expertise in acquiring critical technologies for the development of a reusable launch vehicle, which will help reduce launch costs and advance space exploration.

Pushpak employed multi-sensory fusion including an inertial sensor, radar altimeter, flush air data system, Pseudolite system, and NavIC navigation system.

Q: Where was the third and final landing experiment of ISRO’s Reusable Launch Vehicle ‘Pushpak’ successfully conducted?

A) Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh
B) Aeronautical Test Range, Chitradurga, Karnataka
C) Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, Kerala
D) Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore

Ans : B) Aeronautical Test Range, Chitradurga, Karnataka

Sunita Williams and Barry Wilmore safely safely docked with the International Space Station (ISS)

Sunita Williams, a 58-year-old Indian-American astronaut, and Barry Wilmore, a NASA astronaut, launched aboard the Boeing Starliner from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on June 5. On June 7, 2024, they safely docked with the International Space Station (ISS).

  • The mission, Boeing Crew Flight Test (CFT), aims to certify the Starliner for regular crewed flights to the ISS under NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.
  • If successful, Starliner will become the second private spacecraft, after SpaceX’s Crew Dragon, to transport astronauts to and from the ISS.
  • The astronauts will spend about a week aboard the ISS, conducting tests and validating Starliner’s systems, before returning to Earth with a parachute-assisted landing in the western US.
  • The ISS is a collaborative project involving NASA, Roscosmos, ESA, JAXA, and CSA, serving as a microgravity laboratory and orbiting Earth at approximately 400 kilometers (250 miles). It has been continuously occupied since November 2000.

Q: What is the name of the mission in which Sunita Williams and Barry Wilmore were safely safely docked with the International Space Station (ISS) on June 7, 2024?

A. Starliner Test Flight
B. NASA Crew Mission
C. Boeing Crew Flight Test (CFT)
D. SpaceX Crew Mission

Ans : C. Boeing Crew Flight Test (CFT)

Q: What is the International Space Station (ISS)?

A. A lunar base established by NASA
B. A collaborative spacecraft orbiting Earth, used for scientific research and international cooperation
C. A Mars rover developed by ESA
D. A space tourism station run by private companies

Ans : B. A collaborative spacecraft orbiting Earth, used for scientific research and international cooperation

Indian-origin NASA astronaut Sunita Williams becomes first woman to pilot new Spacecraft on maiden crewed test flight

Indian-origin NASA astronaut Sunita Williams, along with Butch Wilmore, became the first to fly to space aboard the Boeing Starliner’s first-ever crewed mission. The 59-year-old Williams created history by becoming the first woman to fly on the maiden mission of a new human-rated spacecraft.

The crew was launched on 5 June 2024 aboard the United Launch Alliance’s Atlas V rocket from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. This is the third attempt, with weather being 90% favorable for the launch. Butch, 61, is commanding the flight, and Williams is piloting it. The duo will stay at the International Space Station for about a week before returning to Earth aboard the reusable crew capsule.

The Starliner mission aims to carry astronauts and cargo for future NASA missions to low Earth orbit and beyond.

Q: Who became the first to fly to space aboard the Boeing Starliner’s first-ever crewed mission in June 2024?

a) Neil Armstrong and Sunita Williams
b) Buzz Aldrin and Rakesh Sharma
c) Chris Hadfield and Kaplana Chawala
d) Sunita Williams and Butch Wilmore

Answer: d) Sunita Williams and Butch Wilmore

China landed a spacecraft, Chang’e-6, on the far side of the moon in sample retrieval mission

China landed an uncrewed spacecraft, Chang’e-6, on the far side of the moon on June 2, 2024, aiming to retrieve the first rock and soil samples from this region.

This mission enhances China’s status in the global competition to exploit lunar minerals for sustaining long-term astronaut missions and moon bases, with similar interests from countries like the United States.

China’s lunar ambitions include a manned mission around 2030, with Russia as a partner. This follows their 2020 Chang’e-5 mission, which retrieved samples from the moon’s near side.

Q: What is the main objective of China’s Chang’e-6 mission?

A) To establish a moon base
B) To retrieve the world’s first rock and soil samples from the moon’s far side
C) To conduct a manned mission to the moon
D) To explore the moon’s surface for water

B) To retrieve the world’s first rock and soil samples from the moon’s far side

Agnikul Cosmos launched World’s 1st Rocket with fully 3D-Printed Engine

IIT Madras’ startup, Agnikul Cosmos, launched the world’s first rocket with a single-piece 3D printed engine. It was launched from India’s first privately developed launchpad, ‘Dhanush,’ established by Agnikul at Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh, at 7:15 a.m. on May 30, 2024.

  • Rocket Details: The rocket, named Agnibaan SOrTeD (SubOrbital Technological Demonstrator), is India’s first semi-cryogenic engine-powered rocket that is entirely designed and manufactured indigenously.
  • Test Flight Objectives: The test flight aims to demonstrate in-house and homegrown technologies, gather crucial flight data, and ensure the optimal functioning of systems for Agnikul’s orbital launch vehicle, the ‘Agnibaan’.
  • Agnibaan Specifications: Agnibaan is a two-stage rocket with a capacity to carry up to 300 kg to a height of 700 km. The rocket engines are powered by liquid oxygen or kerosene.
  • Flexibility: The rocket can access both low- and high-inclination orbits and is designed to be completely mobile.

Q: What is the name of the world’s first rocket with a single-piece 3D printed engine launched by Agnikul Cosmos on May 30, 2024?

A) Agnibaan
B) Agnibaan SOrTeD
C) Dhanush
D) Atmanirbhar

Answer: B) Agnibaan SOrTeD

DRDO successfully flight-tested the RudraM-II air-to-surface missile from a Su-30 MK-I platform

DRDO successfully flight-tested the RudraM-II air-to-surface missile from a Su-30 MK-I platform of the Indian Air Force in Odisha on 29 May 2024.

RudraM-II is an indigenously-developed solid-propelled air-launched missile system.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh congratulated DRDO, IAF, and industry on the successful test, stating it consolidates

DRDO Chairman Dr. Samir V Kamat praised the DRDO team’s efforts leading to the successful test.

Q: What is the name of the indigenously-developed solid-propelled air-launched missile system that was successfully tested from the Su-30 MK-I platform?

a) BrahMos
b) RudraM-II
c) Akash
d) Nag

Ans : b) RudraM-II

TCS and IIT Bombay collaborate to create India’s First Semiconductor Chip Imaging Tool

Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) has partnered with the Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay (IIT-Bombay) to develop India’s first quantum diamond microchip imager. Over the next two years, TCS experts will collaborate with Dr. Kasturi Saha from IIT-Bombay to develop the tool.

Potential Impact: The quantum diamond microchip imager aims to improve precision in examining semiconductor chips, reduce chip failures, and enhance the energy efficiency of electronic devices.

Applications: Semiconductor chips are crucial in various industries, including communications, computing, healthcare, military systems, transportation, and clean energy.

Technological Innovation: The tool will use defects in a diamond’s structure, known as Nitrogen-Vacancy (NV) centers, to non-invasively and non-destructively map semiconductor chips, similar to an MRI in hospitals.

Q: Which two organizations have partnered to develop India’s first quantum diamond microchip imager?

A) Infosys and IIT-Delhi
B) Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) and IIT-Bombay
C) Wipro and IIT-Madras
D) HCL Technologies and IIT-Kanpur

Answer: B) Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) and IIT-Bombay

Sunita Williams, an Indian-origin astronaut, is set to fly into space for the third time

Sunita Williams, an Indian-origin astronaut, is set to fly into space for the third time. Boing Starliner will carry Williams and Butch Wilmore to the International Space Station.

  1. Spacecraft: She will be piloting Boeing’s Starliner, which is the first crewed spacecraft for the company.
  2. Launch Date: The launch is expected to take place between June 1 and June 5, 2024, after a previous postponement due to a technical snag.
  3. Mission Details: Williams will be part of the Boeing Crew Flight Test to the International Space Station.

Q.: What is the name of the Indian-origin astronaut set to fly into space for the third time?

A) Kalpana Chawala
B) Sunita Williams
C) Rakesh Sharma
D) Sunil Gupta

Ans : B) Sunita Williams

Q.: Which spacecraft will Sunita Williams be piloting for her upcoming mission?

A) SpaceX Dragon
B) Boeing Starliner
C) Orion
D) Soyuz

Ans : B) Boeing Starliner

Gopi Thotakura became the first Indian space tourist

Gopi Thotakura from Andhra Pradesh became the first Indian space tourist and the second Indian to venture into space on Blue Origin’s NS-25 mission.

  1. Mission Details: Blue Origin completed its seventh human spaceflight and the 25th flight for the New Shepard program on 19 May 2024.
  2. Crew Members: The six-member crew included Gopi Thotakura, Mason Angel, Sylvain Chiron, Kenneth L. Hess, Carol Schaller, and former Air Force Captain Ed Dwight.
  3. Previous Indian Space Traveler: Wing Commander Rakesh Sharma was the first Indian citizen to fly to space in 1984.

Q: Who made history as the first Indian space tourist?

A) Rakesh Sharma
B) Gopi Thotakura
C) Kalpana Chawla
D) Sunita Williams

Answer: B) Gopi Thotakura

Q: Who was the first Indian citizen to fly to space in 1984?

A) Sunita Williams
B) Rakesh Sharma
C) Kalpana Chawla
D) Gopi Thotakura

Answer: B) Rakesh Sharma

ISRO successfully conducts hot testing of PS4, Additive Manufactured Liquid Engine

Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) achieved a milestone by successfully hot testing a liquid rocket engine manufactured through Additive Manufacturing (AM) technology on May 9, 2024.

  1. The engine tested was the PS4 engine of the PSLV upper stage, traditionally manufactured through machining and welding methods.
  2. The redesigned engine, using the Design for Additive Manufacturing (DfAM) concept, was produced in a single-piece using Laser Powder Bed Fusion, eliminating 19 weld joints and reducing raw material usage and production time significantly.
  3. Manufacturing of the engine was carried out by M/s WIPRO 3D, an Indian industry, and hot testing was conducted at ISRO Propulsion Complex, Mahendragiri.
  4. Prior to hot testing, detailed flow, thermal modeling, structural simulation, and cold flow characterization were carried out, leading to four successful developmental hot tests of integrated engine, validating performance parameters.
  5. The engine successfully passed the full qualification duration of 665 s during hot testing, meeting expected performance parameters.
  6. Plans are underway to incorporate this Additive Manufactured PS4 engine into the regular PSLV program.

Q: Which liquid rocket engine did ISRO successfully hot test through Additive Manufacturing (AM) technology on May 9, 2024?

a) PS1 engine
b) PS2 engine
c) PS3 engine
d) PS4 engine

Ans : d) PS4 engine

Exoskeleton Technology: International Workshop in Bengaluru on April 16-17

The first international workshop on ‘Emerging Technologies and Challenges for Exoskeleton’ took place in Bengaluru on April 16-17.

  • Exoskeleton technology involves wearable structures that enhance human strength.
  • Dr. Samir V Kamat and Lt Gen JP Mathew were notable figures in attendance, representing the Department of Defence R&D, DRDO, and the Integrated Defence Staff.
  • The workshop attracted over 300 attendees from DRDO, Services, Industry, Academia, and Researchers, aiming to advance the development of wearable exoskeleton structures to enhance human capabilities.

Q: What is Exoskeleton Technology?

a) A form of virtual reality gaming equipment
b) Wearable structures that enhance human strength
c) A software used for cybersecurity purposes
d) A method of renewable energy production

Answer: b) Wearable structures that enhance human strength

ISRO’s Chandrayaan-3 Team Honoured With John L ‘Jack’ Swigert Jr Award

ISRO Chandrayaan-3 mission team awarded the 2024 John L ‘Jack’ Swigert Jr. award for space exploration by the US-based Space Foundation. The award ceremony took place during the Space Symposium’s annual opening ceremony in Colorado on April 8, 2024.

  1. DC Manjunath, Consul General of India in Houston, accepted the award on behalf of ISRO’s Chandrayaan team.
  2. Space Foundation CEO Heather Pringle praised India’s leadership in space, emphasizing Chandrayaan-3 mission’s technical and engineering excellence.
  3. The John L “Jack” Swigert Jr award commemorates astronaut John L “Jack” Swigert Jr, a pivotal figure in space exploration history.
  4. Previous winners of this award include NASA, University of Arizona OSIRIS-REx team, NASA JPL Mars Ingenuity Helicopter and InSight-Mars Cube One missions, as well as NASA Dawn and Cassini missions.
  5. Space Foundation, established in 1983, is a nonprofit organization providing information, education, and collaboration opportunities for the global space ecosystem.
  6. India’s Chandrayaan-3 mission marked the first successful landing on the Moon’s South Pole in September last year, positioning India as a significant player in lunar exploration alongside the US, Russia, and China.

Q: Who was honored with the 2024 John L ‘Jack’ Swigert Jr. award for space exploration?

a) NASA
b) ISRO Chandrayaan-3 mission team
c) University of Arizona OSIRIS-REx team
d) Russian Space Agency

Ans : b) ISRO Chandrayaan-3 mission team

India’s First Home-Grown Gene Therapy for Cancer at Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay

On April 4, 2024,  President of India, Smt. Droupadi Murmu, visited Mumbai to launch India’s first home-grown gene therapy for cancer at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay.

Key highlights:

  1. The Therapy: The gene therapy in question is known as NexCAR19, which falls under the category of Chimeric Antigen Receptor T-cell (CAR-T) therapy. It was developed by ImmunoACT, a company incubated at IIT Bombay in collaboration with Tata Memorial Hospital. CAR-T therapy is a cutting-edge approach that harnesses the patient’s own immune system to target cancer cells.
  2. Targeted Treatment: NexCAR19 is specifically designed for B-cell cancers, including conditions such as leukemia and lymphoma. By genetically modifying the patient’s T-cells, this therapy enhances their ability to recognize and destroy cancerous cells.
  3. Indigenous Innovation: The fact that this therapy is home-grown is a matter of immense pride for India. It signifies the country’s capability to develop advanced medical solutions within its own borders.
  4. IIT Bombay’s Role: The Bioscience and Bioengineering (BSBE) department at IIT Bombay played a crucial role in designing and manufacturing the CAR-T cells for NexCAR19. This interdisciplinary effort demonstrates the synergy between scientific research and clinical application.
  5. Hope for Patients: With NexCAR19, patients now have access to a novel treatment option that holds promise for improved outcomes and enhanced quality of life.

Q: What is the name of India’s first home-grown gene therapy for cancer?

A) NexCAR19
B) ImmunoACT
C) Tata Memorial Hospital
D) IIT Bombay

Answer: A) NexCAR19

Q: What does CAR-T therapy stand for?

A) Cellular Antigen Receptor Treatment
B) Chimeric Antigen Receptor T-cell therapy
C) Cancer Antigen Response Technique
D) Cellular Antibody Recognition Therapy

Answer: B) Chimeric Antigen Receptor T-cell therapy

Moon to get own Standard Time: NASA to Develop Coordinated Lunar Time (LTC)

The White House has directed NASA to establish a unified standard of time for the moon and other celestial bodies, aiming to set international norms in space amid increasing competition.

  1. The directive comes from the head of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), instructing NASA to develop a plan by the end of 2026 for a Coordinated Lunar Time (LTC).
  2. LTC would provide a time-keeping benchmark for lunar spacecraft and satellites, considering the differing gravitational force and other factors on the moon and celestial bodies.
  3. NASA’s Artemis program aims to send astronauts to the moon and establish a lunar base, involving numerous companies, spacecraft, and countries.
  4. Lack of a unified lunar time standard could pose challenges in data transfers between spacecraft, communication synchronization, and commercial activities on the moon.
  5. Deployment of atomic clocks on the lunar surface may be necessary to establish LTC.
  6. The initiative for a unified lunar time standard aligns with international efforts and may involve agreements among nations, including those within the Artemis Accords.
  7. While the U.S. leads in defining the standard, international cooperation will be crucial, potentially influenced by existing standards like Coordinated Universal Time.

Q: What is the name of the proposed standard time for the moon and other celestial bodies?

a) Lunar Standard Time (LST)
b) Coordinated Lunar Time (LTC)
c) Celestial Time Standard (CTS)
d) Universal Lunar Clock (ULC)

Ans : b) Coordinated Lunar Time (LTC)

Q: What is the average time difference between an Earth-based clock and a person on the moon (per Earth day)?

(a) It is always the same.
(b) There is no difference.
(c) An Earth-based clock would be 58.7 microseconds faster.
(d) An Earth-based clock would lose 58.7 microseconds.

Ans : (d) An Earth-based clock would lose 58.7 microseconds.

Bharat Biotech Starts Clinical Trials Of Tuberculosis Vaccine MTBVAC

Bharat Biotech International Ltd has initiated clinical trials for the Tuberculosis vaccine MTBVAC on adults in India.

  1. MTBVAC is the first tuberculosis vaccine derived from a human source, developed by the Spanish bio-pharmaceutical company, Biofabri.
  2. Bharat Biotech is conducting these trials in close collaboration with Biofabri.
  3. The clinical trials involve a dose escalation trial in HIV-uninfected adults, followed by a Phase 2 study in HIV-infected adults to assess the safety of MTBVAC in this population.
  4. The development of MTBVAC is seen as a significant milestone in global vaccinology, highlighting the importance of public-private, national, and international collaboration.

Q: Which company has initiated clinical trials for the Tuberculosis vaccine MTBVAC on adults in India?

a) Biofabri
b) Bharat Biotech International Ltd
c) Spanish bio-pharmaceutical company
d) Global Vaccinology Collaboration

Ans : b) Bharat Biotech International Ltd

ISRO successfully carries out landing experiment of Reusable Launch Vehicle (RLV) ‘Pushpak’ at the Aeronautical Test Range

On March 22, 2024, ISRO achieved a milestone with the successful landing of the RLV ‘Pushpak’ at the Aeronautical Test Range in Challakere near Chitradurga in Karnataka.

  • The mission aimed to demonstrate the autonomous landing capabilities of the reusable vehicle.
  • Costing over Rs 100 crore, the RLV was carried by an Indian Air Force Chinook Helicopter to 4.5 km altitude before being released mid-air.
  • Utilizing advanced navigation systems and radar altimeter, the RLV autonomously approached and landed on the ATR air strip, simulating space re-entry conditions.
  • This historic feat marked the first time a vehicle was carried to altitude by a helicopter and autonomously landed on a runway, showcasing significant advancements in space technology.

Q: What is the name of the first Reusable Launch Vehicle (RLV) successfully tested by ISRO?

A) RLV Viman
B) RLV-TD
C) RLV-Mk3
D) RLV ‘Pushpak’

Ans : D) RLV ‘Pushpak’

Q: Where is the Aeronautical Test Range (ATR) located, where the RLV test was conducted?

A) Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala
B) Bengaluru, Karnataka
C) Hyderabad, Telangana
D) Challakere, Karnataka

Ans : D) Challakere, Karnataka

First flight test of Agni-5 missile with Multiple Independently Targetable Re-entry Vehicle technology conducted successfully

On March 11, 2024, India achieved a significant milestone by successfully conducting the first flight test of its indigenously developed Agni-5 missile under the project named “Mission Divyastra”. This advanced missile is equipped with Multiple Independently Targetable Re-entry Vehicle (MIRV) technology

Here are the key details :

  • Agni-5 Missile: The Agni-5 is a nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) with a remarkable range of more than 5,000 kilometers. It can carry a nuclear warhead weighing over one tonne.
  • MIRV Capability: With the successful test of Mission Divyastra, India has joined the select group of nations possessing a weapons system with MIRV capability. MIRV allows a single missile to carry multiple independently targeted warheads, enhancing its effectiveness.
  • Indigenous Development: The Agni-5 missile was developed indigenously by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). It uses a three-stage solid-fuel engine and is equipped with indigenous avionics systems and high-accuracy sensor packages.
  • Striking Range: The Agni-5’s impressive range enables it to bring almost the entire Asia, including the northernmost part of China, as well as some regions in Europe, under its striking capability.
  • Historical Context: The development of Agni missiles began in the early 1980s under the Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme, led by the renowned scientist and former President of India, Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam.

MCQs

  1. What technology does the Agni-5 missile possess?
    • A) Hypersonic propulsion
    • B) Stealth capabilities
    • C) Multiple Independently Targetable Re-entry Vehicle (MIRV) technology
    • D) Laser guidance system
    Answer: C) Multiple Independently Targetable Re-entry Vehicle (MIRV) technology
  2. Who developed the Agni-5 missile?
    • A) NASA
    • B) European Space Agency (ESA)
    • C) Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO)
    • D) SpaceX
    Answer: C) Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO)
  3. What is the range of the Agni-5 missile?
    • A) 1,000 km
    • B) 3,500 km
    • C) 5,000 km
    • D) 10,000 km
    Answer: C) 5,000 km

India’s Gaganyaan Mission and its Astronauts

India is poised to take a giant leap in its spacefaring journey with the ambitious Gaganyaan mission, its first human spaceflight program. Named after the Sanskrit word for “celestial vehicle,” Gaganyaan aims to send a crew of four astronauts into low Earth orbit for a three-day mission.

The Astronauts:

On February 27, 2024, Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveiled the identities of the four Indian Air Force pilots chosen for the prestigious mission:

  • Gp Capt Prashanth Balakrishnan Nair
  • Gp Capt Angad Prathap
  • Gp Capt Ajit Krishnan
  • Wg Cdr Shubanshu Shukla

These individuals have undergone rigorous training at the Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) astronaut training facility in Bengaluru, preparing them for the physical and mental demands of space travel. While only three astronauts will form the crew for the first mission, all four individuals will continue their training, fostering a pool of qualified astronauts for future endeavors.

Mission Details:

While the initial crewed mission is targeted for 2025, India plans to launch its first uncrewed test flight of the Gaganyaan spacecraft before the end of 2024. This crucial step will provide valuable data on the spacecraft’s performance and pave the way for the historic crewed mission.

MCQs based on the passage on India’s Gaganyaan Mission:

1. What is the name of India’s first human spaceflight program?

  • a) Chandrayaan
  • b) Aditya-1
  • c) Gaganyaan
  • d) LVM3

Ans : c) Gaganyaan

2. What is the literal meaning of the word “Gaganyaan” in Sanskrit?

  • a) Lunar Chariot
  • b) Celestial Vehicle
  • c) Solar Probe
  • d) Orbital Station

Ans : b) Celestial Vehicle

3. How many astronauts will be part of the first crewed Gaganyaan mission?

  • a) 1
  • b) 2
  • c) 3
  • d) 4

Ans : c) 3

National Science Day: February 28th

Celebrating Innovation and Discovery

Every year on February 28th, India observes National Science Day.expand_more This day commemorates the remarkable discovery of the “Raman Effect” by Indian physicist Sir C. V.expand_more Raman on the same date in 1928. This groundbreaking discovery earned him the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1930, marking a significant milestone in Indian science.

2024 Theme: “Indigenous Technologies for Viksit Bharat”

This year’s National Science Day theme focuses on promoting the development and application of indigenous technologies for a developed and self-reliant India (“Viksit Bharat”).

MCQs on National Science Day

Q: National Science Day in India is celebrated on which date?

  • a) January 26th
  • b) February 28th
  • c) March 12th
  • d) May 11th

Ans : b) February 28th

Q: Which scientist is credited with the discovery of the “Raman Effect”?

  • a) S. N. Bose
  • b) Homi J. Bhabha
  • c) C. V. Raman
  • d) Vikram Sarabhai

Ans : c) C. V. Raman

Q: What year did Sir C. V. Raman win the Nobel Prize in Physics for his work on the Raman Effect?

  • a) 1928
  • b) 1930
  • c) 1935
  • d) 1940

Ans : a) 1928

India’s first septic tank cleaning robot, named “Homosep Atom”

India’s first septic tank cleaning robot, named Homosep Atom, aims to eradicate manual scavenging and bolster the Swachhata Abhiyan across the nation.

  • Developed by a startup incubated in the Department of Science and Technology (DST)-Technology Business Incubator (TBI) of IIT Madras, this technology revolutionizes traditional manual cleaning methods into robotic ones.
  • The Ministry of Science and Technology highlighted in a statement that the Homosep Atom robot has been deployed in 16 cities across India.
  • Its capabilities include extensive blade cleaning, solid waste desilting, suction, and storage, all integrated into one device.

Q: What is the name of India’s first septic tank cleaning robot?

a) Swachhata Atom
b) Homosep Atom
c) RoboCleaner 1.0
d) Sanitech Pro

Ans : b) Homosep Atom

Odysseus: first U.S.-built spacecraft to land on the Moon

Odysseus, built by Intuitive Machines, achieved a historic milestone by becoming the first U.S.-built spacecraft to land on the Moon since Apollo 17 in 1972, marking the first moon landing by a private company.

  1. The spacecraft landed on February 23, 2024, near a crater called Malapert A, about 186 miles from the Moon’s south pole.
  2. The descent was tense due to a last-minute navigation sensor malfunction, but engineers managed to ensure a successful landing.
  3. Communication confirmation was awaited anxiously after touchdown, and a faint signal eventually confirmed Odysseus’ survival, picked up by a communications antenna in the United Kingdom.
  4. NASA Administrator Bill Nelson commended Intuitive Machines, SpaceX (the launch provider for Odysseus), and NASA’s commercial moon program, highlighting the significance of collaboration with private companies.
  5. Two hours after landing, Odysseus began sending data, with the team eagerly anticipating the first images from the lunar surface.

Q: What is the name of the first private spacecraft to land on the Moon?

a) Apollo 11
b) Odyssey
c) Odysseus
d) Artemis

Ans : c) Odysseus

Q: Which private company built the Odysseus spacecraft?

a) SpaceX
b) Intuitive Machines
c) Blue Origin
d) Boeing

Ans : b) Intuitive Machines

ISRO successfully launches next generation weather satellite INSAT-3DS from Sriharikota

Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) launched GSLV F14 on 17 Feb 2024 from the second launch pad at the Sathish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota.

  • The weather satellite, INSAT 3DS, was injected into the destined path approximately 20 minutes after the lift-off.
  • All three stages, including the cryogenic stage, performed normally as expected.
  • The 51-meter-tall rocket carried INSAT 3DS and took off with a majestic roar witnessed by thousands of onlookers at the visitors gallery and scientists at the control centre.
  • Mr. Somanath, Chairman ISRO, confirmed the success of the mission, stating that INSAT 3DS is a next-generation satellite with deployed solar panels.
  • Mission Director, Tomy Joseph, highlighted the successful lift-off of GSLV and mentioned a 50-kilogram payload increase for INSAT 3DS.
  • INSAT 3DS is tracked by control centres at Brunei and Port Blair.

Q: What is the purpose of satellite INSAT-3DS?

A) Communication
B) Earth observation
C) Meteorological observations
D) Space exploration

Answer: C) Meteorological observations

Q: Which rocket was used to launch INSAT 3DS?

A) PSLV
B) GSLV Mk III
C) GSLV Mk II
D) GSLV-F14

Answer: D) GSLV-F14

Cochin International Airport and BPCL Collaborate for World’s First Green Hydrogen Plant at Airport Premises

Cochin International Airport Ltd (CIAL) in Kerala has signed an MOU with Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL) to establish a green hydrogen plant on its premises, producing 1000 KW of power.

  • This project is recognized as the world’s first Green Hydrogen plant in an airport.
  • BPCL will be responsible for setting up the integrated Green Hydrogen plant and fueling station at Kochi airport, while CIAL will contribute land, water, and green energy resources.
  • The project aims to be completed early next year, with the initial output used for powering vehicles within the airport.
  • The MOU signing took place in Thiruvananthapuram, in the presence of State Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, who is also the Chairman of CIAL.
  • Cochin International Airport is known for its commitment to green energy and is the world’s first airport to be fully powered by solar energy.
  • The airport currently has a cumulative installed capacity of 50 MW, generating two lakh units of power per day through big solar power plants and a hydel station.

Q: What makes the proposed project at Kochi airport unique globally?

a) Largest hydrogen plant in an airport
b) First Green Hydrogen plant in an airport
c) Most powerful hydrogen plant in an airport
d) First solar-powered airport

Ans : b) First Green Hydrogen plant in an airport

Vyommitra: Woman Robot Astronaut Prepares for Liftoff

Woman Robot Astronaut “Vyommitra” will fly into Space ahead of ISRO’s “Gaganyaan” mission, in the third quarter of this year.

Vyommitra, named for “space friend,” isn’t just a robot; she’s India’s stepping stone to human spaceflight. This female robot astronaut will fly solo in 2024, testing tech for the “Gaganyaan” mission, India’s first human spaceflight in 2025.

Vyommitra’s Mission:

  • Monitor & Alert: She’ll keep tabs on the spacecraft’s environment, alerting scientists of any issues.
  • Basic Tasks: Operating panels and responding to simple questions showcase human-robot collaboration potential.
  • Paving the Way: By testing life support, communication, and the spacecraft itself, Vyommitra ensures a smooth journey for future astronauts.

Significance:

  • Testing Ground: Gathers crucial data before humans fly, ensuring their safety and mission success.
  • Tech Validation: Validates technologies vital for human spaceflight, paving the path for advancements.
  • Inspiration for All: This mission ignites passion for science, technology, and space exploration in young minds.

Q: What is the name of the woman robot astronaut that will fly into space ahead of ISRO’s “Gaganyaan” mission?

a. Vyomnaut
b. Gaganyaatri
c. Vyommitra
d. Astronautila

Ans : c. Vyommitra

Q: What specific functions will Vyommitra perform to ensure a smooth journey for future astronauts?

a. Operating panels and responding to simple questions
b. Testing life support and communication systems
c. Piloting the spacecraft
d. Conducting scientific experiments

Ans : b. Testing life support and communication systems

NASA Postponed Artemis Moon Missions, which aims to send humans to the moon.

  • NASA has postponed its plans for the Artemis program, which aims to send humans to the moon.
  • The Artemis III mission, intended to land four astronauts near the lunar south pole, will be delayed until September 2026.
  • Artemis II, a 10-day mission to send a crew around the moon to test life support systems, will also be pushed back to September 2025.
  • NASA cited development challenges associated with the program as the reason for the delays.
  • The Artemis III mission aims to have astronauts walking on the lunar surface for the first time in half a century.
  • The postponement was announced shortly after a Pittsburgh company abandoned its attempt to land a spacecraft on the moon due to a mission-ending fuel leak.
  • The Astrobotic Technology’s Peregrine lander, launched as part of NASA’s commercial lunar program, was supposed to serve as a scout for astronauts.

Q: What is the primary goal of NASA’s Artemis program?

a. Sending humans to Mars
b. Sending humans back to the moon
c. Exploring asteroids
d. Establishing a space station on Mars

Ans : b. Sending humans to the moon

ISRO’s Aditya-L1 successfully placed in a halo orbit around L1 point  

  • ISRO successfully placed the Aditya L1 satellite into its final orbit around the Lagrangian point on January 6, 2024.
  • The Halo orbit around the L1 point is considered a challenging task, and ISRO used a meticulous approach, employing the motor and thrusters from the Ground Command Centre, located approximately 1.5 million km away.
  • The propulsion system of Aditya L1 includes a 440 Newton Liquid Apogee Motor, eight 22 Newton thrusters, and four 10 Newton thrusters, which were intermittently fired to position the spacecraft at the L1 point.
  • Aditya L1 is India’s first solar mission designed to observe and study the Sun’s Corona, exploring its extreme heat and its impact on Earth.
  • The Lagrangian Point (L1) is where gravitational forces between the Earth and the Sun achieve equilibrium, allowing observation of the Sun without the hindrance of an eclipse.
  • Aditya L1, launched from Sriharikota, underwent four Earth-bound maneuvers and a Trans Lagrangian Point Insertion maneuver as part of its mission.

Q: What is the Lagrangian Point (L1) ?

a. A point where two spacecraft collide
b. A point where gravitational forces reach equilibrium between Earth and the Moon
c. A point where gravitational forces reach equilibrium between Earth and the Sun
d. A point in space where there is no gravitational force

Ans : c. A point where gravitational forces reach equilibrium between Earth and the Sun

ISRO launched XPOSAT aboard PSLV-C58 from Sriharikota

  • ISRO launched X-ray Polarimeter Satellite (XPoSat) on January 1, 2024, aboard Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle PSLV-C58 from Sriharikota.
  • This marks India’s first dedicated scientific effort to study the polarization of cosmic X-rays from celestial sources.
  • PSLV-C58 also launched ten other scientific payloads along with XPoSat.
  • The launch involved PSLV-DL, placing XPoSat and other payloads in orbit at an altitude of about 650 km.
  • Objectives include measuring polarization of X-rays in a specific energy band, conducting long-term spectral and temporal studies of cosmic X-ray sources, and measuring X-ray emissions from cosmic sources in specific payloads.
  • After orbiting XPoSat at 650 km, the rocket’s fourth stage will be lowered to 350 km through two restarts, creating a 9.6-degree orbit.
  • The leftover propellant in the PS4 will be disposed of through main engines, contributing to the safety of PS4 stage in planned atmosphere re-entry experiments in the future.

Q: What is the primary objective of the X-ray Polarimeter Satellite (XPoSat) launched by ISRO?

a. Studying atmospheric conditions
b. Analyzing polarisation of cosmic X-rays
c. Monitoring space debris
d. Examining lunar surface features

Ans : b. Analyzing polarisation of cosmic X-rays

ISRO plans to launch 50 satellites in the next five years for geo-intelligence gathering

  1. ISRO plans to launch 50 satellites in the next five years for geo-intelligence gathering.
  2. The satellite deployment includes creating a layer in different orbits with the ability to track troop movements and image vast areas.
  3. ISRO Chairman S Somanath emphasizes the need for a satellite fleet size ten times larger than the current one for India to achieve its aspiration of becoming a strong nation.
  4. Somanath highlights the importance of enhancing satellite capabilities to detect changes and advocates for an AI-related and data-driven approach to data analysis.
  5. The goal is to reduce data downloads and obtain only necessary information for efficient satellite operations.

Q: What is the primary objective of ISRO’s plan to launch 50 satellites in the next five years?

  • A. Weather monitoring
  • B. Geo-intelligence gathering
  • C. Communication enhancement
  • D. Deep space exploration

Ans : B. Geo-intelligence gathering

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