Competitive Exams: Current Affairs 2011: Space Technology

Space Technology

Kepler-11

  • Kepler-11 is a sun-like star in the constellation Cygnus, located some 2, 000 light years from Earth.

  • It is located within the field of vision of the Kepler spacecraft, the satellite that NASAs Kepler Mission uses to detect planets that may be transiting their stars.

  • Announced on February 2, 2011, the star system is the most compact yet discovered and is the flattest known.

  • It is the first discovered case of a star system with six planets.

  • All discovered planets are larger than Earth, with the larger ones being about Neptunes size.

  • The five inner planets hav orbital periods less than 50 days. Orbital period of sixth planet is 118 days.

  • As is the case in our solar system, all of the Kepler-11 planets orbit in more or less the same plane.

  • All six planets have densities lower than Earths.

Kepler-10b

  • Kepler-10b is the first confirmed terrestrial planet to have been discovered outside the Solar System.

  • The planets discovery was announced on January 10, 2011.

  • Kepler-10b has a mass between 3.3 and 5.7 Earth masses and a radius of 1.4 Earth radii.

  • However, it lies extremely close to its star, Kepler-10, and as a result is too hot (2, 500 degrees Fahrenheit) to support life.

Dream Chaser (Spacecraft)

  • The Dream Chaser is a planned crewed suborbital and orbital vertical-takeoff, horizontal-landing (VTHL) liftingbody spaceplane being developed by SpaceDev, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC).

  • The Dream Chaser design is planned to carry seven people to and from low earth orbit. The vehicle would launch vertically on an Atlas V and land horizontally on conventional runways.

  • The Dream Chaser was publicly announced on September 2004 as candidate for NASAs Vision for Space Exploration and later Commercial Orbital Transportation Services Program (COTS).

GSAT-5P or GSAT-5 Prime Communications Satellite

  • Communication satellite launched by GSLV-F06 on Dec 25, exploded mid air

  • Reason: Communication failure between computer on board and other parts.

  • Was to provide continuity to INSAT system

  • 36 transponders in C (24) and extended C (12) Bands

10 years of International Space Station completed

Gliese 581g

Astronomers at the University of California have discovered a planet, orbiting a star some 20 light years away, which they claim is the most Earth-like yet found and very much likely to be habitable.

Change 2

Change 2 is a Chinese un-manned lunar probe that was launched on 1 October 2010 aboard a Long March 3C rocket from Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Xichang, Sichuan province. It is a follow-on to the Change 1 lunar probe launched in 2007 and is part of the first phase of the Chinese Lunar Exploration Program. The probe will conduct research at a 100-kilometer-high lunar orbit as a preparation for a soft landing by Change 3. Change 2 is similar to Change 1 with some improvements, including a better camera with a resolution of one meter. It is named after a legendary Chinese goddess of the moon.

Super-Earth

astronomers have for the first time analysed the atmosphere of a super-Earth, the name given to a distant, earthlike planet outside our solar system. Although most super-Earths found so far are giants more similar to Jupiter, some may not be too different from Earth. Space telescope Kepler--launched last year to search for Earth-like planets outside our solar system. More than 700 candidates have been discovered so far.

Life on Mars

CO 2 finding by NASA on Mars hints at ancient life.

Methane and Gypsum, the indicators of life, were previously found.

GLObal NAvigation Satellite System (GLONASS)

  • GLONASS (GLObal NAvigation Satellite System) is a radio-based satellite navigation system of Russia. It is an alternative and complementary to the United States Global Positioning System (GPS), the Chinese Compass navigation system, and the planned Galileo positioning system of the European Union (EU).

  • India is also cooperating in its modernization.

  • India will get access to high precision data of GLONASS for both military and civilian use.

Spacecraft Dragon

The SpaceX Dragon is a spacecraft developed by SpaceX, a space transportation company in Hawthorne, California.

In December 2010, it became the first spacecraft ever placed in orbit and recovered by a private company.

Courtesy: The Hindu and Times of India