Competitive Exams: Current Affairs 2011: Space Technology

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Space Technology


  • 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 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.


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

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