Wednesday, April 30, 2008

ISRO and PSLV-C9 Launch

ISRO has successfully placed 10 satellites into orbit in a single mission by PSLV-C9 on 28th April, 2008. The net payload of the mission was 820kg. The world record for putting the maximum number of satellites in one mission has been hold by Russia, which put 12 satellites with a net payload of 295kg into orbit in April, 2007.
The mission includes the following satellites

1:- CARTOSAT-2A: CARTOSAT-2A is an Indian remote sensing satellite weighing 695kg. It carries a panchromatic camera that has image resolution of 1 meter. The images will be used in making maps, which will provide valuable information in planning urban infrastructure, rural roads and settlements. They will be used in defense applications.

2:-IMS-1(Indian Mini Satellite-1): IMS-1 is also a remote sensing satellite weighing 67kg. It has 2 payloads, which would be operated in the visible and near infrared regions of electromagnetic spectrum (multi-spectral and hyper-spectral). The main purpose of IMS-1 is to try out new technologies, particularly those related to miniaturization. It is also providing a trial platform to a hyper-spectral camera which will be used on Chandrayana-1

3:-8 Nano Satellites: The 8 nano satellites have been built by universities and research institutes in Canada, Japan, Germany, Denmark and Netherland and were launched under a commercial agreement. They weigh 50kg. 6 of the 8 satellites are clustered together with the collective name NLS-4.

Can-X2 Space Flight Laboratory, University of Toronto, Canada
Cute-1.7 Tokyo Institute of Technology, Japan
Autsat-11 Aalborg University, Denmark
Compass-1 University of Applied Science, Aachen, Germany
Delphi-C3 Technical University, Delphi, Netherlands
Seeds Nihon University, Japan
NLS-5 Space Flight Lab, University of Toronto, Canada
Rubin-8 OHB Systems, Germany

Sunday, April 27, 2008

MAVs and Aerospace Innovation

Innovate, as described by Concise Oxford English Dictionary is to make changes in something already existing, as by introducing new methods, ideas or products. Obviously when you make a change in a system, the change can yield positive or negative outcomes. The result of the innovation is not always predictable before making the changes. So the key to innovation is the ability to change a system and to study the outcome of the system so as to reshape it accordingly.
But change comes at a cost in terms of man power, money and time. A system that is easy to tinker with, where changes can be brought easily can be subjected to rapid innovation. The software field is a perfect example of such a system. It costs quite less to put an idea into action in IT. It costs even less to do incremental changes/enhancements to an existing system. Whatever you think in mind can be developed and put into action quite easily. When the cost in terms of manpower and money falls, then many people go for the changes frequently. A fall in the duration of time enables to study the outcome of the change and mend the system accordingly. Linux kernel was developed by Linus Torvalds single handedly. Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak created personal computer Apple 1 with a very small investment. The history of the IT industry is full of such examples.
Coming to Aerospace, the rules change in toto. It costs huge amount to design and develop an aircraft or rocket. You need large manufacturing facilities, a large group of engineers and skilled labourers . And still it takes years to design and develop any system. As a result the pace of innovation in Aerospace is quite small.

I think MAVs are going to change this slow pace of innovation in Aerospace industry. MAVs(Micro Air Vehicles) and Micro/Mini Satellites are smaller versions of aircrafts and satellites respectively. A group of 4 people with an investment of some lakhs and within a span of 2 years can design and develop a MAV or Micro Satellite from scratch. A great deal of R&D has already begun and quite a good number of MAVs have been successfully built and operated. But as the MAV building know-how becomes widespread and streamlined and the parts required for making such a system becomes easily available, the process of design and development of MAVs will accelerate.
This will give ample scope for Aerospace engineers, researchers and evangelists to give wind to their imagination.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Russia threatening China over production of J11B

According to a news report at Nezavisimaya Gazeta, J11B fighters of China are modified versions of J11/Su-27SK fighters. So Russia has now threatened to sue China for copying and pirate production of Su-27SKs.

For details please follow this link

ISRO launching 10 satellites on 28th April, 2008

ISRO is launching 10 satellites on 28th April 2008. The satellites include Cartosat-2A(India), one experimental remote sensing satellite(India) and 8 nano satellites from Canada, Netherlands, Denmark and Germany.
Out of the 8 nano satellites 6 form a cluster called NLS-4. These satellites are built to test nano technologies for use in satellites.