- The Basics
- Space programs: India
- Space programs: USA (NASA)
- Space Programs: Russia
- Space Programs: China
- Space Programs: Other countries
- PIN: Persons in News (Space)
- Mock Questions
Previous I released two Current Affairs compilations (2012-13)
Now moving to the third article on the series: Space tech.
For competitive exams, the Space tech is further divided into two parts:
||Basic info on planets, stars, supernova, big bang theory, blackholes etc.||NCERT science textbooks/ GS Manual / GK books.|
||Various space programs, satellites telescopes, astronauts in news.||Newspaper, magazine, internet.|
When it comes to MCQs (space tech):
- Both theory and current affairs are important for For SSC CGL (Tier 1), UPSC CSAT, CDS, NDA, CAPF, State PSC prelims exams.
- However, for IBPS, SBI, LIC type exams, they usually dont go into theory. If they want to ask space related questions, they generally ask it from the current affairs portion.
When it comes to Descriptive paper (Mains) of UPSC / State PSC
- For space tech related questions, only current affairs is important (mostly 2 marker, 5 marker questions.) The theory portion doesn’t come into picture, in the descriptive papers.
- The best way to prepare ^this (for mains)= maintain notes out of newspapers and magazines throughout the year, and revise it often.
Mainly there are two types of players in competitive exam (based on their approach for Space-Tech):
- Those who donot prepare space tech at all, thinking “Thik hai…for 2-3 marks, why bother at all!?”
- Those who prepare too much space tech e.g. On April 18, 2001, at 04.22PM, GSLV-1 was launched. Its weight was 1540 kg and height was 49m….
Either approach is dangerous. Keep the middle path.
- before dwelling into ready revision of Space-Tech current affairs, I’m going to write about a few basic concepts.
- Please note: following ‘basics’ are not necessarily technically correct. They’re just meant to help you visualize and remember things.
Basic: What does ISRO do?
- When something is sent to space, it can be Manned (with astronauts) or Unmanned (without astronauts).
- The unmanned missions have two things:
|One Launch Vehicle||PSLV, GSLV|
|One or More Satellite(s)||INSAT, RISAT, CARTOSAT.|
sometimes, instead of satellites, it can be rovers, space telescopes.
- The Launch Vehicle (e.g. PSLV, GSLV) sends the satellite(s) into the space.
- After covering a particular distance, the satellite (e.g. INSAT, GISAT) gets detached from the Launch Vehicle.
- Then Satellite opens up its wings like a butterfly from cocoon. Those wings have solar panels, they provide electricity to the satellite.
- Satellite rotates around the earth and sends signals to and fro- thus it helps in telecommunication, TV signal broadcasting, disaster/weather monitoring, sea navigation etc.
- If we put the satellite @35800 km in the equatorial plane, it’ll appear “fixed” from any point on earth, and we’ll call it a Geostationary satellite.
- And the Launch vehicle then returns back to Earth, usually falling in the ocean or uninhibited land. The scientists collect the launch vehicle and re-use its parts for next mission.
- ISS= International space station.
- ISS is like a hostel in the space. Astronauts go there, stay for some weeks/ months do some observation, research, repairwork and come back home.
- US, Japan, Russia, Canada and many other countries have invested in this ISS space station.
- But China is not a partner in ISS project. China wants to build its own Space station. That’s were Shenzhous-9 and Tiangong-1 come into picture.
Basics: Tiangong and Shenzhou
- Tiangong-1= means “heavenly palace”.
- This is China’s experimental space station. So this is the “hostel” for Chinese astronauts in space.
- Ok but how will you send Chinese astronauts to this “heavenly palace”? Ans. Via Shenzhou spacecraft.
- Shenzhou means “Divine vessel.”
- In 2012, China used this “divine vessel” (Shenzhou 9) to send its first female astronaut Liu Yang to that “Heavenly palace” (Tiangong-1)
- In 2013, China will send more astronauts to that Heavenly palace (Tiangong-1), using Shenzhou 10.
Basics: Atlantis Space shuttle
- Ok recap again, to send satellites in the space, you need a launch vehicle (e.g. PSLV, GSLV).
- Similarly to send people into space, you need a space craft / rocket e.g. China’s Shenzhou. America’s Atlantis and Russia’s Soyuz also do the same thing.
- The Atlantis is a space shuttle of NASA. It looks like an airplane.
- Atlantis can be used for launching space telescopes, satellites as well as people in to the space, as per the mission requirements.
- And Atlantis can come back and land on earth like a regular airplane (except that during the landing, Atlantis will open parachute to reduce its speed).
- It had carried 33 missions from 1985 to 2011
- Atlantis was retired in 2012.
- Columbia is another example of NASA’s Space Shuttle. But in 2003, it crashed during re-entering into Earth’s atmosphere.
- India born female astronaut Kalpana Chawla died in this accident. We named our Weather satellite after her (KALPANA-1).
Basics: Soyuz spacecraft
- Just like China uses “divine vessel” (Shenzhou) to send people into space, similarly Russia uses Soyuz to send people into space.
- In 2012, three astronauts (including Sunita Williams) were sent to International space station (ISS) using Soyuz.
- There are two types of missions/probes: Manned and unmanned.
- Manned = sending people into space.
- But what do people do in the space?
- They go to moon, hoist the flag of their nations, E.g. Neil Armstrong.
- They spend a few months on the international space station (ISS) or Heavenly Palace (Tiangong) or similar “hostel” (space station. E.g. India’s first astronaut Rakesh Sharma spent 8 days in a Russian space station.
- But often the outside body a spacecraft/hostel (space station) requires some repairing, maintenance or upgrades.
- So, when astronaut goes out of the spacecraft, wearing that white suit and ballon shaped helmet and does some walking/repairing work, that is known as “spacewalk”.
- Currently Sunita Williams holds the longest spacewalk record for females. (50+ hours). For males, it is Anatoly Solovyev (77+ hours).
- By the way, Sunita Williams also holds the record for the longest single spaceflight by a woman. (195 days).
Basics: Dragon capsule
- Ok so far we know there are “hostels” in the space (e.g. ISS, Tiangong). People go there, spend a few weeks / months. But if it is a hostel, it’d require food and supplies.
- A private company (Space X) has designed the “Dragon capsule” to deliver the food and supplies to space stations.
- It successfully delivered cargo to ISS space station in 2012.
Basics: Anti-satellite missiles
- We have learned the importance of launch vehicles, satellites and space stations.
- But if an enemy shoots down our satellites then our banking and sharemarket system will collapse, Our army, navy and airforce will not be able to attack back effectively, and more importantly juntaa will not be able to watch IPL matches and saas-bahu serials or log into facebook and orkut.
- Back in 2007, Chinese military used an Anti-Satellite missile to destroy its own weather satellite. This made Americans (and Indians) very nervous.
- But we have Agni-V missile. It has range of 5000kms. If we make some modifications in it, we can also use it to destroy enemy satellites. So now China is also nervous.
Basics part is over. now let’s get to business: Space Tech related current affairs (2012-13) for rapid revision. First we’ll look at the space programs of India, US, Russia, China and other countries. Then we’ll look at telescopes and Persons in News (Space)
Space programs: India
- Carried out by Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO)
- Chairman=Dr. K. Radhakrishnan. He had replaced G Madhavan Nair. (First Chairman of ISRO was Vikram Sarabhai.)
|Satish Dhawan Space centre||Shriharikota, Andhra. We usually launch satellites from here. (or from French Guiana in S.America).|
|Physics research lab||Ahmedabad|
India’s Launch Vehicles: PSLV vs GSLV
|Polar satellite launch vehicle||Geosynchronous satellite launch vehicle|
|Can carry upto 1600 kg satellite||2500kg|
|Used for launching Indian remote sensing satellites (IRS) such as CARTOSAT, RISAT, OCEANSAT, RESOURCESAT||For launching Indian National satellites (INSAT) such as INSAT 2E, 3A…., GSAT-2,8,12.|
|Latest version is PSLV-XL. Can carry upto 1750 kg. It was used to launch Chandrayaan, RISAT. And in future, it’ll be used for Mars mission as well.||Next version is GSLV MK-III, can carry upto 4000kg|
India’s Satellites: IRS vs INSAT
|Indian remote sensing satellites||Indian National satellites (INSAT)|
|Monitoring natural resources, crops, minerals, forest cover etc.||Telecom, TV broadcast, DTH, weather forecasting, telemedicine, tele-education, search and rescue etc.|
|Launched using PSLV.||Using GSLV.|
|Examples of IRS = CARTOSAT, RISAT, OCEANSAT, RESOURCESAT||Examples of INSAT= INSAT-2E, 3A,…. And GSAT-2,8,12.|
Now let’s take a look at the satellites that have been in news recently (or mentioned in Yearbook)
- ISRO’s first mission was to send aryabhatta Satellite into space. But at that time we did not have our own launch vehicle, so we used a Russian launch vehicle.
- Today ISRO has both Satellite + Launch vehicle. And we not only send our own satellites, we also help other countries send their satellites into space, using our launch vehicles. (ofcourse after taking cash for providing the “Taxi/courier” service.)
- For these type of commercial activities, ISRO takes help of Antarix.
- Antarix is a Government owned company, it works as the marketing and commercial arm of ISRO.
ISRO’s 100th mission
- ISRO’s 100th mission was launched from Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriarikota, Andhra Pradesh.
- Here, ISRO launched two foreign satellites using PSLV launch vehicle. The name of satellites are:
- SPOT 6: French satellite
- Proiteres: Japanese micro satellite
- By the way, recall that ISRO’s 101st mission was GSAT 10. And GSAT 10 is the heaviest satellite ISRO has launched so far. (because 100th mission is extremely clichéd and blown out of proportion, so if UPSC wants to apply its BackbreakingTM move, it’d rather ask about 99th or 101st mission hahaha).
India’s own GPS: IRNSS
At present only three countries have their own global navigation systems
|Russia||GLONASS. More discussed in earlier article click me|
- To deploy a global navigation system, you need to setup lots of satellites hovering around the world, so they can scan and sent pinpoint location of anywhere to anywhere.
- During the Iraq war, the Americans sent wrong GPS navigation signals to the Iraqi jets and missiles, therefore Iraqis could not attack Americans forces in accurate manner.
- Moral of the story = Don’t rely on other people’s navigation system.
- For the short term, We (India) are designing our missiles and fighter jets in such way that they can use both GPS (American) and GLONASS (Russian) signals for navigation. (so if we want to attack America or its ally, we can rely on GLONASS and vice versa.)
- But for long term, we will need our own GPS like system. Therefore, ISRO is developing IRNSS.
- IRNSS= Indian regional navigational satellite system.
- Now if you connect the dots: we need our own GPS (IRNSS) so we can accurately attack enemies. And we will need our own Anti-satellite missile, to shoot down satellites of enemies so their GPS cannot work accurately.
- GPS aided geo augmented navigation’ (gagan)
- It is a joint effort by the ISRO and the Airports Authority Of India (AAI).
- It’s main use is to help Air traffic control and helps pilots fly / land aircrafts in bad weather.
- But as the name suggests “GPS aided …” meaning it is not a separate independent navigation system. It depends on GPS (American navigation system). Therefore we need IRNSS.
Space Vision India 2025
This is what ISRO plans to for future:
- Use satellites for rural connectivity, security and mobile services
- Increase imaging capability for natural resource management, weather and climate change studies
- Get better understanding of solar system and universe
- explore planets.
- Develop Heavy lift launcher
- Develop Reusable Launch Vehicles.
- Send Humans to space.
- Cryogenic engines work at very low temperature.
- ISRO is developing cryogenic engines
- for GSLV launch vehicles.
- for Chandrayaan-2 moon mission
- earlier ISRO had tried this in 2010 but it was an #EPICFAIL.
- It was India’s first unmanned moon mission.
- It found evidence of water on Moon. It also did the surved the topography, craters, polar regions and environment of Moon.
- This happened in 2008 hence too old and too clichéd to be asked for MCQs.
- ISRO is now working on Chandrayaan-2 joint programme with the Russian Federal Space Agency, But Russians suffered a setback due to their Phobos grunt mission.
- India planning a Mars mission similar to Curiosity mission of NASA. (probably in October/November 2013.)
- Mohan made official announcement about this during Independence day speech.
- Mars mission will be launched using PSLV-XL.
- PSLV-XL is the most powerful version of PSLV launch vehicle. Earlier it was used for Chandrayaan Mission, RISAT and GSAT-12.
This leads to Essay / group discussion / interview topic that when millions of Indians are suffering from poverty and malnutrition, what’s point of spending crores of rupees on Moon and Mars mission? But this article is written for MCQs, so let’s not dwell into that for the moment.
Space programs: USA (NASA)
- NASA=National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
- There is no end to NASA missions either, but from the current affairs point of view, I would classify them into three: 1) Mars related 2) Moon related 3) Misc.
USA: MARS related
- This is Maha clichéd topic for MCQs but anyways…
- Name of the mission is MSL: Mars Science laboratory.
- Under this MSL mission, NASA launched Curiosity rover to Mars in 2011.
- In 2012, Curiosity rover successfully landed on Mars surface.
- This mission has following aims
- Did life ever exist on Mars?
- Find presence of water, and other life supporting elements.
- Collect data related to geology, radiation levels etc. for planning next manned mission to Mars.
|Device on Curiosity||Function|
|TLS||Tunable Laser Spectrometer (TLS)
- Located on Mars planet.
- Curiosity rover landed here and found signs that water may have flowed in the past through this Gale Crater.
- It is a 320 gram space rock from Mars.
- Discovered in Morocco’s Sahara Desert in 2011
- It contains more water than any other Martian meteorite previously found.
- could unlock vital clues to the evolution of Mars.
NASA: Moon related
NASA: Misc. Missions
Dragon Space X
Fire Fly Cubesat
Space Programs: Russia
|Robotic Lunar Mission in 2015.|
|Joint experiments conducted by EU, Russia, China for sending human missions on Mars.|
|Mars has two moons. Phobos is the largest of them.Russian sent Phobos grunt mission to study it. But the spacecraft failed and crashed into Pacific ocean.|
|Name of the two seater spaceship developed by Russia|
|Launched from Kazakhstan, carried three astronauts to International space station (ISS), including Sunita Williams in 2012.|
Space Programs: China
Space Programs: Other countries
- There are two types of telescopes:
- Those on the ground (e.g. SKA, Solar telescope in Ladakh) and
- Those in the space. (Kepler, NuSTAR, HXMT and Herschel.)
- ^this list is not exhaustive, but these telescopes were in news recently.
PIN: Persons in News (Space)
|Liu Yang||first Chinese woman astro.|
|Neil Armstrong||Apollo 11. 1969. First man to land on moon. Dead.|
|Sally Ride||First American woman astro. Dead. A Moon crate named after her.|
|Sunita Williams||Longest space walk (female).Took command of international space station in Sep 12.|
|Dr. K. Radhakrishnan||ISRO Chairman.|
Finally two topics:
- CERN, God particle= https://mrunal.org/2012/08/snt-cern.html
- Blue Moon= https://mrunal.org/2012/08/snt-blue-moon.html
Ok so these were the notable Space tech related events/ terms happened during Jan 2012 to March 2013. If you feel any important thing was missed, or if there is any correction, do write it in the comments below.
- Which of the following country is not associated with International space station?
- Correct Statements
- Tiangong-1 is the experimental space telescope of China.
- Shenzhou-9 is the name of Chinese space station
- Longest spacewalk record for Female Astronauts is held by
- Kalpana Chawla
- Sally James
- Liu Yang
- Sunita Williams
- Which of the following is not a telescope?
- Incorrect Statement
- Antrix is a privately owned company of Airtel.
- Antrix is the commerical and Marketing arm of ISRO
- Find Incorrect Match
- French Guiana=in North Africa
- Satish Dhawan Space centre=Banglore
- Physics Research lab= Pune
- All of above
- Correct Statements about Dragon Capsule
- It was designed by Nasa
- It was used for delivering cargo to International space station.
- Incorrect Statements
- Indian Remote Sensing satellites are launched using GSLV.
- Indian National satellites are launched using PSLV.
- Correct Statements about PSLV-XL
- It is a launch vehicle, used in Chandrayaan.
- It’ll be used in India’s Mars Mission.
- Incorrect statements about Indian remote sensing satellites
- They are used for monitering natural resources.
- They’re launched using GSLV.
- CARTOSAT and RISAT are examples of Remote sensing satellites.
- None of Above.
- Incorrect Match
- Aditya: Solar Coronas
- Cartosat-3: high resolution mapping
- GSAT-10: India’s heaviest satellite so far
- SARAL: Indo-Japanese Tsunami prediction satellite.
- Correct Match
- Spot-6: Japan
- Proiteres: France
- Beidou: Japan
- None of above
- Find the Odd sequence
- GLONASS, Beidou, IRNSS
- NuSTAR, HXMT, Herschel
- GAGAN, PISHGAM, SARAL
- None of Above
- which of the following country doesn’t have its own Global Navigation system?
- None of Above
- which of the following is not the main aim of ISRO’s Space vision 2025?
- Develop reusable launch vehicles
- Develop India’s own space station.
- Send humans to space
- Use satellites for rural connectivity, security and mobile services.
- Name of the mission under which Nasa sent a rover to Mars in 2011?
- None of Above
- Gale Crater is located in
- Black Beauty is a space rock from
- Who/ What is Sally Ride?
- First female astronaut of USA
- A Place on Moon where two NASA spacecrafts crash-landed.
- Both of above
- None of Above
- What is the purpose of GRAIL mission?
- Study the gravity field of Moon
- Study the gravity field of Mars
- Study the gravity field of Mercury
- Study the gravity field of Venus
- Correct Statement
- Titan is one of the moon of Mars
- Phobos is one of the moon of Saturn
- What is/ are common between NuSTAR and HXMT
- Both will are space telescopes used for finding black holes.
- Both are launched by NASA under Pegasus mission.
- Both A and B
- Neither A or B
- Beidou is the
- Space station of China
- Mars mission of China
- Global navigation system of China
- None of above
- World’s Largest radio telescope:
- Square Kilometer Array
- In 2012, Sunita Williams went to ISS using which of the following spacecraft?
- None of Above
However,a small query – ISRO’s 101st mission is SARAL(+ 7 other small satellites from Canada, Austria, Denmark and the UK)launched @ srihaikota and not GSAT-10 launched @ french guinea as mentioned by you in this article. Please correct me if I am wrong.
The one u are talking about was ISRO’s 103rd Mission.
That is also important mission mainly known as Satellite for Argos + ALtika
GSAT -10 is 101st mission only.
Check it out….101st mission is indeed argos+altika…
there is chinese lunar exploration programme also….
containing 4 phases of programmes
1) orbital programme–launched chang’e 1 and chang’e 2
2)soft lander programme= chang’e 3 and chang’e 4
3) sample return–chang’e 5
4) manned lunar programme
uses long march3a/ 5/e, 7 etc space vehicles to launch
17-c instead of a
mrunal something on FSLRC plz…..
mrunal sir eagerly w8in for your eco. survey articles
Another news item appeared recently (Mar29):
successful ignition of GSLV-D5 cryogenic engine in HAT(High Altitude Test) facility in Mahendragiri.
Will be used to launch Gsat-14 in July.
Also, GSLV will be used for Chandraayan-2 mission. India plans to go for it alone after the Russian Phobos Grunt failure.
I appreciate your input Aakash.
I would like to mention to all, that besides this,ISRO also launched Virtual global software(3D satellite tool) application-“BHUVAN” like Google Earth.
-launched in 2009,is beta version.
-able to display pictures from a perceived altitude of 10 metres.
-requires bhuvan plugin download from its portal.
-works well only with locations in india.
-ISRO has used data provided by satellites including Resourcesat-1, Cartosat-1 and Cartosat-2 to get the best possible imagery of India.
plz sir, also provide some material for punjab subordinate court exam for clerk, as soon as possible.
bcz this is on 12 MAY.
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THANK U SIR
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I love how mrunal writes epicfail in caps always brings smile to my face
*pishgam is name of rocket not monkey
AAP BATA SAKTE HO KI AGAR MUJE PG Diploma in Banking MAIN KARAN HAI TO MAIN IFBI ME SE KARU KI TIMESPRO ME SE KARU, THANX
sir u r awesome…..
great work sir..
on 19th ao august isro is launching a satelite with the help of gslv
Mrunal, you are really good in presentation and could take a step further and start your seminars on the same. My best wishes are with you..
Also keep your site updated as much as possible.Thanks for the valuable information.
Sir pls giv sme infrmtn about various defence deal and its benefit in Indian defence
What are the GSAT series and is there any relation between GSAT and GAGAN ??
The material in the section “Mrunal’s public health compilation & Mrunal’s Space tech compilation” is helpful for UPSC-15 or it is outdated.
sir please i want to meet you … i really need to take your blessings …. ” charansparsh” … thank you so much _/\_
the current chairman of isro is a s kiran Kumar
Please change it