The US space agency NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) successfully launched ‘Copernicus Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich satellite’, to monitor the rising global sea level. The joint US-European satellite lifted off on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 4E at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

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About Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich satellite:

  • The Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich satellite will help to enhance weather forecasts and provide detailed information on large-scale ocean currents to support ship navigation near coastlines.
  • The US-EU collaboration for the monitoring of sea-level record began in 1992 with the TOPEX/Poseidon satellite and followed by Jason-1 (2001), OSTM/Jason-2 (2008), and eventually, Jason-3 (2016).
  • This Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich satellite will be followed in 2025 by its twin, Sentinel-6B.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams: 

  • The administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration: Jim Bridenstine.
  • Headquarters of NASA: Washington D.C., United States.

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SpaceX has launched Four Astronauts (3 Americans, 1 Japanese) to the International Space Station on the first full-fledged taxi flight for NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) by a private company. They were launched by Falcon Rocket from the Kennedy Space Center.

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The capsule has been named as “Resilience”. The crew was led by Commander Mike Hopkins, Shannon Walker, Victor Glover (First Black Astronaut on a long-term space station) mission and Japan’s Soichi Noguchi (First person in 40 years to launch on three types of spacecraft).

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The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)  has launched the 51st mission of Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV). This is the first mission by ISRO in 2020. The carrier vehicle PSLV C49 will deliver 10 satellites in all with EOS-01 as the primary one. It is the 51st mission of Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV). The carrier was launched from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) in Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh.

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The EOS-01, an earth observation satellite, was intended to provide agriculture, forestry and disaster management support. The nine customer satellites are from Lithuania (1), Luxembourg (4) and USA (4). The customer satellites were being launched under a commercial agreement with NewSpace India Limited (NSIL), department of space.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • ISRO Chairman: K.Sivan.
  • ISRO Headquarters: Bengaluru, Karnataka.

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Two new studies published in Nature Astronomy suggest there could be much more water than previously thought, including ice stored in permanently shadowed “cold traps” at lunar polar regions. Using data from the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) Airborne Telescope, researchers scanned the lunar surface at a more precise wavelength than had been used before — six microns instead of three. This allowed them to distinguish the spectral fingerprint of molecular water.

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Previous research has found indications of water by scanning the surface, but these were unable to distinguish between water (H2O) and hydroxyl, a molecule made up of one hydrogen atom and one oxygen atom. But a new study provides further chemical proof that the Moon holds molecular water, even in sunlit areas.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams: 

  • The administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration: Jim Bridenstine.
  • Headquarters of NASA: Washington D.C., United States.

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The researchers at IIT Kharagpur have developed ‘COVIRAP,’ the Covid-19 diagnostic test technology, which is fairly easy to conduct and affordable as well and can produce results within one hour. This COVIRAP technology has been successfully validated for its efficacy in COVID-19 detection by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and been granted certification, after rigorous testing with patient samples by an authorized ICMR laboratory.

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About “COVIRAP”:

  • This testing technology is comparable to the celebrated RT-PCR tests, and will just cost the common people with a testing cost of around Rs 500.
  • COVIRAP is a cuboid-shaped portable testing device that can deliver results in an hour, making it an effective tool to scale up coronavirus screening in peripheral and rural areas.
  • This machine can be developed at a cost of less than Rs 10,000 with minimal infrastructural requirement making the technology affordable to common people. The testing process in this new machine is completed within one hour.
  • This implies influenza, malaria, dengue, Japanese encephalitis, tuberculosis and many other infectious, as well as vector-borne diseases, can be tested using the same machine.
  • This will virtually minimise the need for thermal cyclers or real-time PCR machines, without sacrificing the expected high standards of a molecular diagnostic test.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams: 

  • Director, IIT Kharagpur: Prof. Virendra Kumar Tewari.
  • IIT Kharagpur Headquarters: Kharagpur, West Bengal.

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Nokia has been selected by NASA to build the first cellular network on the moon. NASA aims to return humans to the moon by 2024 and dig in for a long-term presence there under its Artemis programme. The first wireless broadband communications system in space would be built on the lunar surface in late 2022.

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About cellular network on the moon:

  • The network will configure itself and establish a 4G/LTE communications system on the moon, Nokia said, though the aim would be to eventually switch to 5G. It will partner with a Texas-based private spacecraft design company, Intuitive Machines, to deliver the equipment to the moon on their lunar lander.
  • The network will give astronauts voice and video communications capabilities, and allow telemetry and biometric data exchange, as well as the deployment and remote control of lunar rovers and other robotic devices.
  • The network will be designed to withstand the extreme conditions of the launch and lunar landing and to operate in space. It will have to be sent to the moon in an extremely compact form to meet the stringent size, weight and power constraints of space payloads.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams: 

  • The administrator of National Aeronautics and Space Administration: Jim Bridenstine.
  • Headquarters of NASA: Washington D.C., United States.
  • Chairman of Nokia Corporation: Sari Baldauf.
  • Nokia Headquarters: Espoo, Finland.

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The Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC) will be commissioning India’s largest HPC-AI supercomputer ‘PARAM Siddhi – AI’. This initiative will place India among the top countries in global AI supercomputing research and innovation. The initiative was headed by Abhishek Das, Scientist and Program Director (HPC-AI Infrastructure Development) at C-DAC, who conceived the idea and designed the architecture for the largest HPC-AI infrastructure in India.

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About ‘PARAM Siddhi – AI’

  • This high-performance computing-Artificial Intelligence (HPC-AI) supercomputer is a machine with 210 AI Petaflops (6.5 Petaflops Peak DP).
  • It is built on the NVIDIA DGX SuperPOD reference architecture comprising of 42 NVIDIA DGX A100 systems, connected with NVIDIA Mellanox HDR InfiniBand networking along with C-DAC’s indigenously developed HPC-AI engine, Software Frameworks, Cloud Platform.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams: 

  • C-DAC Director General: Hemant Darbari.
  • C-DAC Established: 1988.
  • C-DAC Headquarters: Pune, Maharashtra.

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National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has launched the Northrop Grumman Cygnus resupply spacecraft named “SS Kalpana Chawla” after its astronaut  Kalpana Chawla.

The spacecraft was launched on an Antares rocket from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS) at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia, United States (US) to deliver nearly 8,000 pounds of scientific investigations, technology demonstrations, commercial products, and other cargo to the International Space Station (ISS).

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About Kalpana Chawla:

Kalpana Chawla, the first Indian-born woman to enter space and was one of the seven crew members who died in the Space Shuttle in Columbia disaster when the spacecraft disintegrated during its re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere in 2003.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • Administrator of National Aeronautics and Space Administration: Jim Bridenstine.
  • Headquarters of NASA: Washington D.C., United States.

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World Space Week (WSW) is observed from October 4 to 10 every year to celebrate science and technology, and their contribution towards the betterment of the human condition. The 2020 theme is “Satellites Improve Life.”

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History of World Space Week:

WSW was declared by the United Nations General Assembly on December 6, 1999. The dates commemorate the launch of the first artificial satellite, Sputnik I, on 4 October 1957 and the entry into force of the Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies on 10 October 1967.

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The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras has successfully developed ‘MOUSHIK’, an indigenously-made microprocessor for the Internet of things (IoT) devices. ‘MOUSHIK’ is a processor cum a system-on-chip that can cater to the rapidly-growing IoT devices, an integral part of smart cities of a digital India. The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology funded the MOUSHIK project of IIT Madras.

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“MOUSHIK” microprocessor was conceptualised, designed and developed at the Pratap Subrahmanyam Centre for Digital Intelligence and Secure Hardware Architecture (PS-CDISHA) of the RISE Group, Department of Computer Science and Engineering, IIT Madras. The field applications of ‘MOUSHIK’ include smart cards including credit cards, ID cards, debit cards, travel cards for metros and driving licenses, electronic voting machines (EVMs) and office management systems including attendance, surveillance cameras and safe locks. It also includes personalised health management systems.

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