4 important Indian space exploration milestones in 2022
D V L S Pranathi, Mumbai Uncensored, 3rd January, 2023:
2022 was genuinely a historic one for space exploration. While we witnessed NASA successfully accomplish the Artemis 1 mission to return people to the Moon, we also saw the James Webb Space Telescope give us a treat to the eyes by showing insights into the previously unimaginable views of the cosmos.
Using its Launch Vehicle Mark III (LVM3) rocket, formerly known as the GSLV-MK3, the Indian Space Research Organization launched its first commercial satellite. It also accomplished the pretty underrated Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLVfirst ) ’s flight. Still, it was a sting in the tail because the rocket accidentally injected three satellites into the wrong orbit due to a sensor malfunction, making the mission only a fragmentary success.
2022 was an incredible year for private space technology firms in India. India launched its first privately made satellite vehicle on the Prarambh mission, carried out by Hyderabad-based Skyroot Aerospace. Chennai-based Agnikul Cosmos successfully tested the Agnikul launch vehicle, which has the world’s first single-piece 3D-printed rocket engine. The four most significant events in Indian space exploration in 2022 are listed below.
ISRO SSLV’s Maiden Flight
The launch of the first SSLV satellite was a massive milestone for the organization. The satellite was made keeping the Allied market research in mind, which states that the global small satellite market will reach 13.7 billion dollars by 2023. With the rapid turnaround time necessary for commercial launches, it combines three solid fuel-based stages and a liquid fuel-based velocity-trimming module (VTM) to deploy the satellites in orbit. The vehicle could be integrated and tested in two days, according to ISRO Chairman S Somanath. After that, the launch using the vehicle could be accomplished within a week if rehearsal and launch were completed within the next two days.
The SSLV-D1 mission was successfully launched on August 8 of this year. However, after that, the mission control room was hushed since there had been a few data losses during the mission’s final stages. The satellites were later found to be in an elliptical orbit rather than a circular one leading to them being declared useless.
“SSLV-D1 placed the satellites into 356 km x 76 km elliptical orbit instead of 356 km circular orbit. Satellites are no longer usable. The issue is reasonably identified. Failure of logic to identify a sensor failure and go for a salvage action caused the deviation. A committee would analyze and recommend. With the implementation of the recommendations, ISRO will come back soon with SSLV-D2,” said a statement from ISRO at the time. (sourced from the Indian Express)
Despite all the setbacks, the mission still turned out to be a partial success as it helped ISRO test any new elements and technologies that were incorporated into the rocket, including the hardware and the entire architecture.
LVM3’s first commercial mission
This mission was an absolute skyrocket for ISRO in 2022, quite literally. It was ISRO’s heaviest rocket and successfully injected 36 broadband satellites for the UK-based satellite internet company OneWeb. Since it was the first commercial launch of such a Complex mission, it marked many firsts for ISRO.
Additionally, it was the first time that LVM3 carried several satellites and orbited them. It was also the most significant payload that ISRO has ever launched, at 5.8 tons. On October 23, LVM3 launched after midnight from the second Launchpad of the Sriharikota spaceport, successfully putting 16 satellites into orbit and making sure they wouldn’t collide. Before that, Chandrayaan 2 was launched, and two development flights with LVM3 were successful.
The significance of LVM3’s string of successful launches extends beyond simply establishing India as a competitive competitor in the commercial satellite launch market. The Gaganyaan mission will send Indian astronauts into space, and ISRO is now working to human-rate the launch vehicle. India will become the fourth nation to launch crewed spacecraft thanks to the Gaganyaan mission, following the United States, Russia, and China.
Launch of Vikram S
Vikram S rocket was Skyroot Aerospace’s first private rocket launch in the country. It was launched from the Launchpad at Sriharikota at 11:30 am on November 18. It was a sub-orbital launch with the spacecraft traveling slower than the orbital velocity. This indicates that the spacecraft reached outer space but did not remain in orbit around the earth lasting lesser than five minutes. This series of rockets has been named after Vikram Sarabhai, the founder of the Indian Space program.
The engine launch pays homage to another great Indian scientist, APJ Abdul Kalam, and is named “Kalam-80”. The core structure of the satellite was made using carbon composites, and the thrusters used for spin stability were 3-D printed. Vikram S’s launch opened the door for Indian private space enterprises to take over some of the historical work done by ISRO, such as satellite launches.
First 3D-printed single-piece rocket engine:
Even though Skyroot is a groundbreaking Indian Tech startup, Agnikul, a Chennai- based startup, managed to overpower it by successfully test-firing Agnilet. This was its 3-D printed rocket engine at Thiruvananthapuram’s Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre. It is the world’s first single-piece 3-D printed rocket engine. It is intended to launch payloads up to 300 kg into low-Earth orbit along with the company’s proposed small satellite launch vehicle, Agnibaan, which is now in development. Agnilet is a “semi-cryogenic” rocket engine powered by a mixture of liquid kerosene at room temperature and super cold liquid oxygen.
At the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, the startup also inaugurated India’s first private Launchpad and mission control center in November. The Launchpad is four kilometers from the mission control center and is built to allow and assist liquid-stage controlled launches. Shortly, Agnikul intends to use this facility to launch the Agnibaan rocket.
India has once again succeeded in spellbinding the globe with its impressive technology and all the geniuses who sacrificed their time and energy and put in every drop of their sweat and blood to accomplish each of these milestones.
USA’s toxic spill case after train cars derailment in Ohio: Negligence or crime?
Arpita Sarkar, Mumbai Uncensored, 20th February, 2023:
Feb 3, 2023 is yet another day marked in history as the so called cherbony 2 disaster day. The incident occurred in east Palastine, Ohio after train derailment happened and fire broke out.
50 train cars carrying chemicals primarily vinyl chloride was spilled in air resulting in black plume casting an ominous shadow all over the town.
What makes the spill of vinyl chloride of more concern is it being a highly flammable and carcinogenic gas used mainly for PVC that is used in plastic and is byproducts of cigarette smoke. It can be linked to liver cancer, leukemia and lung cancer.
Emergency crews were called to control the release of vinyl chloride because the derailment itself set afire. Besides, burning of vinyl chloride caused huge plumes of black smoke high into the sky.
The incident not being reported by mainstream media was highly criticized by the locals of the USA. Many humans and wildlife were impacted followed by pets were found ill and fish floating in creeks.
Representatives of Northfolk Southern Railway company’s three more derailment accidents came to light which now raises the regulation authority’s safety norms. Report shows about 10 to 20 derailment cases cause spilling of toxic substances happen annually among 1000 of such derailment cases.
Lawsuits have been filed and pollution control regulatory needs are highly looked forward by people.
China’s Balloon spotted in the sky by US: Threat or a simple weather forecast balloon?
Arpita Sarkar, Mumbai Uncensored, 20th February, 2023:
A US meteorologist tracked the route of the balloon spotted in sky based on a model used to track the spread of pollutants. Weather analysts take into account the wind patterns and it shows trajectory from China across the Pacific Ocean, entering Alaska, Canada then the US. The balloon was seen lingering in Montana which the officials believe the location of Malmstrom Air Force Base that house the intercontinental missiles.
Later the US military shot the balloon and it was believed to spot the military sites which of Couse it will do with its devices. However, Bejing insisted that it was a weather platform that has blown away. Earlier almost octagonal shaped objects were brought down with strings attached to it. In a press conference of White House it was said that it did not pose any danger to humans but could be a threat to aircrafts and so it was shot.
It is likely to be filled with Helium with solar panels to provide power. Besides, it has got instruments like cameras, radar and sensors to collect data that could be used for science or surveillance military for various reasons.
Clearly, this was a violation of US air space and the international law and a question regarding the national security comes into focus. Washington says Bejing has blown surveillance balloons to over 40 countries.
Disney to restructure, cut 7,000 jobs for $5.5 billion savings
Payel Halder, Mumbai Uncensored, 11th February, 2023:
Walt Disney Co. announced on Wednesday that it would be undergoing a restructuring under CEO Bob Iger, which will result in the cutting of 7,000 jobs. The goal of the restructuring is to save $5.5 billion in costs and make the streaming business more profitable. The layoffs represent around 3.6% of Disney’s global workforce.
In a statement, a spokesperson for activist investor Nelson Peltz’s Trian Group said, “We are pleased that Disney is listening.” Peltz had been critical of Disney for overspending on streaming, but the company’s recent moves, including the promise to reinstate a dividend for shareholders, have addressed some of those concerns.
Under the restructuring plan, Disney will reorganize into three segments: an entertainment unit encompassing film, television, and streaming; a sports-focused ESPN unit; and Disney parks, experiences, and products. CEO Bob Iger said in a conference call, “This reorganization will result in a more cost-effective, coordinated approach to our operations. We are committed to running efficiently, especially in a challenging environment.” Iger also added that streaming remained Disney’s top priority and the company would focus more on its core brands and franchises.
CFO Christine McCarthy said that the initial dividend would likely be a “small fraction” of the pre-COVID level and would increase over time. Iger also said that he would ask the board to restore the shareholder dividend by the end of the year.
Disney plans to cut $2.5 billion in sales and general administrative expenses and other operating costs, and an additional $3 billion in savings would come from reductions in non-sports content, including the layoffs.
For the fiscal first quarter ending on December 31, Disney reported adjusted earnings per share of 99 cents, ahead of the average analyst estimate of 78 cents, according to Refinitiv data. Net income came in at $1.279 billion, below analyst estimates, while revenue hit $23.512 billion, ahead of Wall Street estimates of $23.4 billion.
This restructuring marks a new chapter in Iger’s leadership, who first took the role of CEO in 2005. He has since acquired several powerful entertainment brands, including Pixar Animation Studios, Marvel Entertainment, and Lucasfilm. He also repositioned the company to capitalize on the streaming revolution, acquiring 21st Century Fox’s film and television assets in 2019 and launching the Disney+ streaming service that same year. Iger returned to the role of CEO in November 2022.
Now, Iger will be seeking to put Disney’s streaming business on a path to growth and profitability, and the new structure will allow for the company’s creative leaders to have more control over decision-making, including what movies and series to make and how the content will be distributed and marketed. This is Disney’s third restructuring in five years, with previous restructure taking place in 2018 and 2020. The last time Disney made cuts was during the height of the pandemic in November 2020, resulting in the layoff of 32,000 workers, primarily at its theme parks. These cuts took place in the first half of fiscal 2021.
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