Space exploration and technology

Discussion in 'Science and Technology' started by pyromaniac, Feb 24, 2009.

?

Is Solar Electrification Good for Military??

  1. Very Good

    56.0%
  2. Usable

    40.0%
  3. Bad

    4.0%
  4. Harmful

    2.0%
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. Pintu

    Pintu New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2009
    Messages:
    12,082
    Likes Received:
    329
    BBC NEWS | Science & Environment | Europe's Mars mission scaled back

    Europe's Mars mission scaled back

    By Jonathan Amos
    Science reporter, BBC News, Le Bourget

    [​IMG]
    Teams right across Europe are involved in the ExoMars project

    The European Space Agency says its flagship Mars mission will lose a major instrument package to contain costs.

    The Exomars venture will launch a rover to the Red Planet in 2016, to search for signs of past or present life.

    It was hoped a static science payload called Humboldt could also be put on the surface to study the weather and, for example, listen for "Marsquakes".

    But agency officials announced at the Paris air show that financial constraints now made this impossible.

    Esa director-general Jean-Jacques Dordain said de-scoping ExoMars would also give extra margin to engineers who were concerned that the rover's design was pushing the limit of the maximum possible mass for the mission.

    US investment

    Mr Dordain said the loss of Humboldt was inevitable given the promise he had made to European governments in November last year to keep the cost of the project as close as possible to 850m euros.

    He told the BBC he had given the Esa ExoMars development team three objectives: "To stay within the calendar; to try and stay within the money we have collected in November; and to keep the technology which I wish to demonstrate on Mars, which is landing, because we have never landed on Mars; moving on the surface; and drilling, because nobody has done that."

    He said it was also likely now that the US would play a significant role in the endeavour, further limiting the financial burden on European taxpayers.

    The American space agency (Nasa) has its own money worries and is keen to share the cost of Mars exploration with Europe.

    Nasa will sign a "letter of intent" to this effect at a bilateral meeting in Plymouth, UK, on 30 June.

    This would mean all future Red Planet missions being badged Nasa/Esa projects.

    On ExoMars, the US is now set to provide the launcher - an Atlas rocket. It will also probably build the carrier spacecraft that delivers the rover to Red Planet; and the orbiter which will circle above Mars and relay its data back to Earth. It is possible, though, the US could source many elements from European industry.

    The US offer represents a considerable investment, but the quid pro quo is that European money will then be put into future US-led missions.

    "If Nasa is ready to contribute as much to ExoMars, it is a clear demonstration that ExoMars is important," said Mr Dordain.

    Network possibility

    Humboldt's omission from ExoMars will be a bitter blow to its scientists.

    It was intended to study the surface environment and the geophysics of the deep interior.

    Its sensors were being designed to undertake - among other things - meteorological investigations and an assessment of the radiation conditions on Mars.

    Seismometers would have revealed remarkable new insights into the nature of Mars' geological structure.

    Esa's science director, David Southwood, told the BBC that the scientific imperative for Humboldt was clear.

    He said the science it would deliver was a necessary first step towards the agency's eventual goal of sending a mission to the planet that could fetch rocks back to Earth for detailed study.

    "I'm absolutely confident we will see the elements of the Humboldt payload eventually deployed on Mars, but probably in a more dedicated circumstance," explained Professor Southwood.

    "For instance, instead of having one stationary station, is it not better if you are looking at an entire planet to have multiple stations?"

    Mercury difficulties

    Changes are necessary also to Esa's Bepi-Colombo mission to Mercury, which, like ExoMars, is due to leave Earth next decade.

    Engineers are grappling with various technical problems as they try to design a spacecraft capable of withstanding the high heat and radiation experienced near the innermost planet.

    The mission is going to be much heavier than planned, which will require a bigger, more expensive rocket.

    "We are working with the industrial team to make a revised proposal to the member states, and especially to commit on the 'cost at completion'; because, as you know, the technical challenge we met with that mission [meant] we had to move from a Soyuz-class mission to an Ariane-class mission," Mr Dordain said.

    The cost at completion - the full and final cost of the mission - is currently looking to be 904m euros, at 2007 prices.

    The director general also announced that the first Soyuz rocket launch from Europe's spaceport in French Guiana would now take place in the "first few weeks" of 2010. The timeline had slipped because of delays in the construction of the new launch facilities in Guiana.

    In addition, there is a delay of "several months" in the schedule leading to the maiden flight of Europe's small Vega rocket. The testing of all the launcher's new systems is taking longer than planned.

    [email protected]
     
  2. I-G

    I-G Tihar Jail Banned

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2009
    Messages:
    2,736
    Likes Received:
    55
    Hydrogen gas leak forces another launch delay


    By MARCIA DUNN, AP Aerospace Writer Marcia Dunn, Ap Aerospace Writer – 11 mins ago

    CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – NASA has called off Wednesday's launch attempt for space shuttle Endeavour because of another hydrogen gas leak.

    The space station construction mission is now postponed until July.

    It's the same type of leak that cropped up Saturday during fueling, in the hydrogen gas vent line that connects to the external tank. Managers ordered repairs similar to those carried out in March, when a similar leak stalled a shuttle flight. The repairs did not work this time.

    NASA was already running three hours behind because of thunderstorms that delayed fueling Tuesday night. The leak did not appear until early Wednesday.

    NASA bumped an unmanned moon launch to give Endeavour one last chance of launching before a thermal blackout period kicks in

    Hydrogen gas leak forces another launch delay - Yahoo! News
     
  3. Pintu

    Pintu New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2009
    Messages:
    12,082
    Likes Received:
    329
    BBC NEWS | Science & Environment | Lift off for Nasa's lunar probes

    Lift off for Nasa's lunar probes

    By Paul Rincon
    Science reporter, BBC News

    Nasa has successfully launched two spacecraft to the Moon on missions that will pave the way for a return to the lunar surface by US astronauts.

    LRO (Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter) and a crater observation mission blasted off from Florida on an Atlas V rocket.

    Data gathered by LRO will help mission planners select future landing sites and scout locations for lunar outposts.

    The second mission will send a rocket crashing into the Moon to scour the debris plume for evidence of water ice.

    The Atlas main launcher, carrying both payloads, roared up from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at 2232 BST (1732 local time) - the third and last of Thursday's three launch opportunities.

    Thunderstorms around the site prevented a launch of the rocket at the original time of 2212 BST (1712 local time).

    LRO will enter a low polar orbit around the Moon at an altitude of around 50km (31 miles).

    It will spend at least one year orbiting the Moon, using its six instruments to collect detailed information about the lunar environment.

    "Together with the international armada of missions that have been flown lately and are still in orbit, (this mission) will really bring the Moon to a new plateau of understanding," Professor James Head, from Brown University in Rhode Island, US, told BBC News.

    Professor Head is a co-investigator on the spacecraft's Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter (LOLA) experiment, which will produce an accurate global topographic model for the Moon.

    [​IMG]

    CRaTER - will characterise the global lunar radiation environment
    Diviner - is to measure lunar surface temperatures
    LAMP - will map the Moon's permanently shadowed regions
    LEND - measures the flux of neutrons from the Moon
    LOLA - will provide a global lunar topographic model
    LROC - LRO's camera will help select future landing sites
    Mini-RF - uses radar to search for evidence of water ice

    "We did (laser altimetry) for Mars and it revolutionised our understanding of that planet. It's going to do that for the Moon," said Professor Head, who also worked as a scientist on the Apollo missions.

    "We don't have very good quantitative topography data for the Moon. This is just going to wallpaper the place with very high resolution data that are going to make us understand the Moon better in ways we just can't comprehend right now. That's just one experiment, so it's very exciting."

    New topographic data would provide important information on the thermal structure and thickness of the lunar crust as well as how the crust and the inner lithosphere had changed over time.

    It would shed light on the relationship between past volcanic and tectonic activity on the Moon.

    In addition to mapping the surface in unprecedented detail, the mission will enhance our understanding of the Moon's mineral composition, global temperatures and lighting conditions.

    The mission will also seek to characterise the Moon's radiation environment, helping mission planners assess the risks posed to astronauts.

    "The more we learn about the Moon, the better scientific questions we can pose, and the better locations we can find for future lunar landings for robotic and human explorers," said David Paige from the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), principal investigator for LRO's Diviner science instrument.

    Double impact

    The second mission, the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS), aims to answer whether there is water on the Moon - either in the form of ice or hydrated minerals. It consists of two elements: a shepherding spacecraft and a Centaur upper stage rocket.

    After being guided to a permanently shadowed crater at the Moon's south pole by its shepherding spacecraft, the Centaur rocket separates.

    [​IMG]

    LCROSS will crash a rocket into the lunar surface

    Hitting the Moon at more than 9,000 km/h (5,600 mph), the 2,200kg Centaur will kick up a huge plume of debris which could rise to 50km (30 miles).

    It is expected to excavate some 350 metric tonnes of lunar material.

    Kimberly Ennico, payload scientist on LCROSS, told BBC News: "The actual crater has not been chosen. There are several candidates for targets and the LCROSS mission will be using late-breaking maps of the lunar south pole by the LRO orbiter to assist in the choice."

    Four minutes after the Centaur strikes the lunar surface, the shepherding spacecraft will follow a very similar path to the rocket, descending through the plume.

    It will use its instruments to analyse the material, searching for water ice and vapour, hydrocarbons and hydrated materials.

    The spacecraft will collect data continuously until it too slams into the lunar surface, creating a second plume.

    The impacts will be watched closely by astronomers using ground-based telescopes.

    Dr Ennico said the impacts of the Centaur and shepherding spacecraft would generate small craters with diameters of 20m and 14m respectively within a larger natural depression.

    "Meteoroid impacts have similar energies to the LCROSS impacts, occurring naturally two to three times a month. Although they may be smaller - softball to basketball sized - they are travelling much faster than the LCROSS impactors," she explained.

    If there are natural reserves of water on the Moon, perhaps concealed in permanently shadowed craters, they are likely to figure prominently in planning for future manned lunar bases.

    Water can be split into hydrogen for rocket fuel and oxygen for breathing and it makes an excellent shield against radiation.

    "If you take the theory of cometary impacts and migration of water to cold traps, in principle, it sounds plausible," James Head explained.

    "But if we don't discover water ice in that context, it's also going to tell us a lot about the lunar conditions."

    [​IMG]
    LRO will carry out an investigation of the Apollo 15 landing site from orbit

    Professor Head added that scientists would be combining LRO's science data with those gathered by previous missions, including Apollo.

    The orbiter will carry out an investigation of the Apollo 15 landing site at Hadley Rille. Apollo 15's commander Dave Scott has been helping plan the science campaign.

    The Brown University researcher said this project would allow scientists to "think about what we have learnt in the lab, what we can learn from the new data about his (Mr Scott's) site and where he went and then to use that as an example of how to return (to the Moon) with sophisticated exploration".

    The US space agency hopes to send astronauts back to the Moon by 2020 for the first manned visit since 1972.

    However, the Obama administration has ordered a sweeping independent review of Nasa's manned spaceflight strategy, which could potentially set the agency on a different course.

    The first public hearing of the Review of US Human Space Flight Plans Committee was held at the Carnegie Institute in Washington DC on Wednesday.

    [email protected]
     
  4. youngindian

    youngindian Senior Member Senior Member

    Joined:
    May 6, 2009
    Messages:
    1,362
    Likes Received:
    73
    Boeing Team to Develop Revolutionary Spacecraft Power System for DARPA

    By Rob GoldsmithPublished:
    01 July 2009 5:02 PM CEST

    HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif., July 1, 2009 — An industry team led by The Boeing Company [NYSE: BA] has received a contract from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) for work on Phase 2 of the Fast Access Spacecraft Testbed (FAST) program. The $15.5 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract is currently funded to $13.8 million.

    DARPA’s FAST program aims to develop a new, ultra-lightweight High Power Generation System (HPGS) that can generate up to 175 kilowatts — more power than is currently available to the International Space Station. When combined with electric propulsion, FAST will form the foundation for future self-deployed, high-mobility spacecraft to perform ultra-high-power communications, space radar, satellite transfer and servicing mission.

    Boeing Phantom Works of Huntington Beach is leading the effort with support from Boeing Network and Space Systems, El Segundo, Calif. The Phase 2 work will include designing, fabricating and integrating test articles, performing a series of component-level evaluations and running two full-scale system tests.

    “Our team is pleased to partner with DARPA in developing this powerful new technology,” said Tom Kessler, FAST program manager, Boeing Advanced Network and Space Systems. “FAST offers significant cost and performance benefits to our commercial, civil and national security customers, including new high-power applications to provide a cost-effective means for spacecraft to travel to the outer solar system.”

    During Phase 1 of the program, the Boeing-led team, which includes DR Technologies, Northrop Grumman Astro Aerospace, Texas A&M University, Emcore, Boeing subsidiary Spectrolab Inc., and other key suppliers, developed a preliminary design for an HPGS capable of providing more than 130 watts per kilogram on a system that is less than half the weight and one sixth the size of an existing on-orbit solar power system. The team also defined the test program being conducted in Phase 2, which will verify the performance and operation of the HPGS’s solar concentration, power conversion, heat rejection, structure and deployment, and sun pointing and tracking subsystems.

    The Boeing team’s unique solar concentrator design offers higher performance and greater radiation tolerance than current on-orbit solar power generation systems. Boeing will also be using different approaches to solar cell technology to include capabilities from Emcore and Spectrolab.

    The size efficiency of the HPGS enables a new class of compact spacecraft that can self-deploy from low-Earth orbit to reach their final orbit using electric propulsion. This permits the use of smaller, less expensive launch vehicles that can support high-value science missions to the outer solar system without the need for expensive radioisotope power systems.

    A unit of The Boeing Company, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems is one of the world’s largest space and defense businesses specializing in innovative and capabilities-driven customer solutions, and the world’s largest and most versatile manufacturer of military aircraft. Headquartered in St. Louis, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems is a $32 billion business with 70,000 employees worldwide.

    Boeing Team to Develop Revolutionary Spacecraft Power System for DARPA
     
  5. youngindian

    youngindian Senior Member Senior Member

    Joined:
    May 6, 2009
    Messages:
    1,362
    Likes Received:
    73
    Israel seeks to market space images

    "Space News” says the images are taken with “Israel’s newest spy satellite".
    Ran Dagoni, Washington2 Jul 09 15:39
    “Space News” says Israel is seeking to market to US defense customers synthetic-aperture radar (SAR) images taken by satellite of asymmetrical threat targets worldwide. The images are taken with “Israel’s newest spy satellite”, equipped with SAR technology, which can take day and night high-resolution photographs in all weather conditions, including heavy overcast.

    The satellite in question was developed by Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd.'s (IAI) (TASE: ARSP.B1) Systems Missiles and Space Group and Elta Systems Ltd. subsidiaries. Officially, Israel has only announced the launch of one space satellite with SAR capability. The satellite went into orbit in January 2008, after launch with an Indian launcher from the Indian Space Research Organization's (ISRO) pad at Sriharikota. The launch was part of India and Israel’s strategic collaboration, and the launch drew protests by Iran and Arab states.In April, Indian sources reported that the ISRO launched another IAI-built satellite with SAR capability. The reports claimed that the Indian Army planned to use the satellite to spot threats from Pakistan. However, Israel reportedly has direct access to this satellite as well as download capability.

    Israel has declined to comment on these reports.

    Israel seeks to market space images
     
  6. Pintu

    Pintu New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2009
    Messages:
    12,082
    Likes Received:
    329
    BBC NEWS | Science & Environment | Moon probe returns first images

    Moon probe returns first images


    By Paul Rincon
    Science reporter, BBC News

    [​IMG]

    Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO)
    reached the Moon on 23 June


    The US space agency's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) spacecraft has returned its first images since reaching the Moon on 23 June.

    The probe's two cameras returned images of a region in the lunar highlands south of Mare Nubium (Sea of Clouds).

    LRO blasted off on 18 June atop an Atlas rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

    Its data will help mission planners select future landing sites and scout locations for lunar outposts.

    There are two cameras on board, a low-resolution wide-angle camera and a high-resolution narrow-angle camera.

    These are known collectively as the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC) instrument.

    "At the time we took the images, we were in the 'terminator' orbit. This means that when you look down for a whole orbit, all you see beneath you is the boundary between night and day," Mark Robinson, from Arizona State University in Tempe, US, told BBC News.

    This meant that light levels were low and that much of the surface was in shadow - not ideal conditions for photography.

    "In some areas where we thought we'd see the surface, we didn't, because local topography caused some things to be shadowed. While in other areas, we were able to see the surface," explained Professor Robinson, who is the principal scientific investigator for LROC.

    The images were taken over two orbits on Tuesday, during an engineering test of the LROC instrument. Though they are not part of the formal imaging campaign, Mark Robinson described them as "spectacular".

    "It was a huge relief. You spend four years making this incredibly delicate, sensitive instrument. Then you bolt it on a rocket, which vibrates for eight minutes," he said.

    [​IMG]
    The pictures are of cratered terrain
    near the Mare Nubium region


    "It's maybe an illogical nervousness, because everything is designed and tested to withstand that. But there are hundreds of people that want it to work.

    "We turned it on, and held our breath. Then we waited a couple of hours for the images to come down to the ground. When they appeared on the screen, they were gorgeous."

    The test was designed to check parameters on LROC such as the exposure. Scientists also wanted to see whether the camera was in full focus.

    LROC uses a telescope structure made of carbon fibre. Though lightweight, this material absorbs water from the Earth's atmosphere, causing it to expand. The team had to build the camera so that it was out of focus on Earth.

    But once in space, the carbon fibre telescope can be baked to drive the water out. This causes the structure to shrink and bring the instrument into focus.

    [​IMG]

    CRaTER - will characterise the global lunar radiation environment
    Diviner - is to measure lunar surface temperatures
    LAMP - will map the Moon's permanently shadowed regions
    LEND - measures the flux of neutrons from the Moon
    LOLA - will provide a global lunar topographic model
    LROC - LRO's camera will help select future landing sites
    Mini-RF - uses radar to search for evidence of water ice

    "It's roughly a three-week process, and we had only been baking out for 10 days when we turned (LROC) on," said Professor Robinson.

    Nevertheless, he said the pictures suggested the camera was about 80% of the way to being in full focus.

    On Friday, LROC will begin taking images "in earnest". Over two-and-a-half days, and 32 orbits, it will photograph some of the least known regions of the lunar surface, on the Moon's far side.

    On Sunday, engineers will switch the LROC instrument off again to resume the baking process.

    The spacecraft is currently in an elliptical orbit around the Moon, with a low point of 30km above the south pole and a high point of 199km over the north pole. This means the resolution of pictures will be lower in the north and higher in the south.

    In mid-August, the spacecraft will perform a burn to bring it into a circular orbit of 50km above the lunar surface. This will give LROC a resolution of 50cm per pixel.

    This month marks the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing. LRO will start flying over the Apollo landing sites in mid-July.

    However, the spacecraft will still be in its checkout phase at this time. If LRO does manage to take images of any Apollo sites in July, the pictures will not be at the best possible resolution.

    When the orbiter flies over the Apollo 11 site it is likely to be at an altitude of 100km - allowing the camera to capture images at a resolution of 100cm per pixel.

    LRO will spend at least one year using its six instruments to collect detailed information about the lunar environment.

    The orbiter was one of two payloads launched on the same Atlas V rocket.

    The second mission, called the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS), will send a rocket crashing into the Moon to scour the debris plume for evidence of water ice.

    [email protected]
     
  7. youngindian

    youngindian Senior Member Senior Member

    Joined:
    May 6, 2009
    Messages:
    1,362
    Likes Received:
    73
    Russia orbits three Cosmos-series military satellites

    By Klaus SchmidtPublished: 06 July 2009 7:57 AM UTC

    MOSCOW, (RIA Novosti) – A Rokot carrier rocket has orbited three Russian military satellites, a spokesman for Russia’s Space Forces said.Russia reportedly operates a network of about 60-70 military reconnaissance satellites. Some experts believe the new satellites could be part of Russia’s Oko (Eye) orbital missile early warning network.

    The Rokot launch vehicle is a modified version of the Russian RS-18 (SS-19 Stiletto) intercontinental ballistic missile. It uses the two original lower stages of the ICBM, in conjunction with a Breeze-KM upper-stage for commercial payloads.

    Russia has carried out 16 space launches since the beginning of 2009.



    Russia orbits three Cosmos-series military satellites
     
  8. Pintu

    Pintu New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2009
    Messages:
    12,082
    Likes Received:
    329
    AFP: Moon potential goldmine of natural resources

    Moon potential goldmine of natural resources


    By Jean-Louis Santini – 1 hour ago

    CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida — As the Earth's natural resources gradually dwindle, some scientists believe the moon could prove a goldmine for future generations.

    Forty years after American Neil Armstrong first walked on the moon, and as the United States prepares to return astronauts to Earth's nearest neighbor by 2020, it remains an object of fascination and curiosity.

    Part of the goal of once again returning to our only satellite, and establishing bases there, is to learn more about its hidden natural resources.

    "The moon still has a great deal of scientific information left to be discovered that relates directly to... our understanding of the history of the Earth and early history of other planets," geologist Harrison Schmitt told AFP.

    Schmitt landed on the moon in 1972 aboard the Apollo 17, the last manned mission to ever touch down on the lunar surface. He is among an elite group of 12 Americans who are the only people to have walked on the moon.

    Among the 382 kilos (842 pounds) of rocks and lunar soil brought back by astronauts from the moon during six Apollo missions is a rock that scientists call "genesis," which dates back to around 4.5 million years ago, about the time when the solar system began.

    The moon, which has virtually no atmosphere, is effectively a geological blank slate for scientists because it has not had the contact with water and air that has changed the Earth's surface.

    "One reason to go back to the moon is to find out whether there is anything of value to be done there... If the answer is yes, you can do economically valuable things and use local resources," said John Logsdon, a curator at Washington's National Air and Space Museum.

    America's new lunar program, dubbed Constellation, was launched in 2004 with the intention of establishing a forward operating station for astronauts as well as to seek evidence of water beneath the moon's ground ice.

    President Barack Obama has appointed a commission to review the program's cost and goals, but the launch last month of two preparatory lunar modules suggests it is likely to proceed in some form.

    Several other countries, including China and Russia, have announced their ambitions to send missions to the moon, which is 384,400 kilometers (238,855 miles) from Earth -- about a four-day trip by space shuttle.

    "I think you will see at least Antarctic-like scientific outposts and maybe even larger facilities on the moon, with people spending long durations of time there," Logsdon told AFP.

    Schmitt, a former astronaut, noted that the moon's soil is rich in helium-3, which comes from the outer layer of the sun and is blown around the solar system by solar winds.

    The element is rarely found on Earth, unlike on the moon, where it is heavily accumulated because it is pushed away by the Earth's magnetic poles.

    Helium-3 is highly sought for nuclear fusion, and though the technology is still in its infancy, the element "will ultimately be quite valuable on Earth," Schmitt said.

    "It's not the only solution to the accelerating demand for energy that we are going to see on Earth, but it's certainly one of the major potential solutions to that demand."

    Reserves of helium-3 on the moon are in the order of a million tons, according to some estimates, and just 25 tons could serve to power the European Union and United States for a year.

    The moon is also an ideal location for astronauts to prepare and train for long missions into space, including to Mars, according to NASA.

    "Lunar exploration will allow us to test technologies, systems, flight operation and exploration techniques that will reduce the risk and cost of potential future human missions to asteroids, Mars and beyond," the US space agency said.
     
  9. Dark Sorrow

    Dark Sorrow Respected Member Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2009
    Messages:
    1,848
    Likes Received:
    678
    Location:
    Mumbai
    We have simulators for this purpose. Simulators provide 98% accurate result. It is easy, simple, cheap and secure to test using simulators. The final conformation test is actually carried out.
    Looking at their current capability Pakistan won't be able to intercept even a single missile.
    For them attack is the best defence.
     
  10. Pintu

    Pintu New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2009
    Messages:
    12,082
    Likes Received:
    329
    The Associated Press: Damage eyed as shuttle heads toward space station

    Damage eyed as shuttle heads toward space station


    By MARCIA DUNN – 4 hours ago

    CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — Space shuttle Endeavour rocketed toward the international space station Thursday as engineers on Earth pored over launch pictures that showed debris breaking off the fuel tank and striking the craft.

    Mission Control told the astronauts late Wednesday that the damage looked less extensive at first glance than what occurred on the last shuttle flight, but it will take days to sort through available data to reach a conclusion.

    The astronauts planned a Thursday afternoon inspection of their ship's thermal shielding, using a 100-foot laser-tipped boom. The procedure has been standard since shuttle flights resumed after the Columbia accident.

    Endeavour's liftoff early Wednesday evening was the sixth try and came more than a month late. It occurred on the eve of the 40th anniversary of the launch of man's first moon landing mission.

    "Persistence pays off," launch director Pete Nickolenko told the astronauts, who are carrying up a veranda for Japan's enormous space station lab.

    The shuttle had been grounded by hydrogen gas leaks last month and, since the weekend, thunderstorms.

    Eight or nine pieces of foam insulation came off the external fuel tank during liftoff, and Endeavour was hit at least two or three times, said Bill Gerstenmaier, NASA's space operations chief. Some scuff marks were spotted, but that probably is coating loss and considered minor, he said.

    The impacts that occurred not quite two minutes into the flight were around the edge of the shuttle where the right wing joins the fuselage.

    Any additional damage should be evident Friday, when the space station residents use zoom lenses to photograph the entire shuttle as it performs a backflip right before docking.

    "The bottom line is we saw some stuff," said Mike Moses, chairman of the mission management team. "Some of it doesn't concern us. Some of it you just can't really speculate on right now. But we have the tools in front of us and the processes in front of us to go clear this vehicle for entry" in 16 days.

    At a news conference, Gerstenmaier noted that the Endeavour crew has shuttle repair kits on board. In case of irreparable damage, the astronauts could move into the space station for two to three months and await rescue by another shuttle.

    Columbia was destroyed during re-entry in 2003 because of a hole in its wing, left there by flyaway foam at liftoff.

    When commander Mark Polansky and his crew catch up with the space station, it will be the first time 13 people are together in space. All of the major space station partners will be represented. The combined crews will have seven Americans, two Canadians, two Russians, one Japanese and one Belgian.

    Endeavour will remain docked at the space station for nearly two weeks. During that time, the shuttle astronauts will help install the third and final piece of the Japanese space station lab, a porch for outdoor experiments. Five spacewalks are planned.

    NASA was anxious to get Endeavour flying, given time is running out on the shuttle program. Only eight shuttle flights remain, including this one, before NASA retires the fleet next year.

    The space agency, at least, finally has a new administrator to oversee everything. Former shuttle commander Charles Bolden was confirmed by the Senate less than two hours after Endeavour's liftoff. He fills a vacancy left by Michael Griffin's departure in January.
     
  11. Dark Sorrow

    Dark Sorrow Respected Member Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2009
    Messages:
    1,848
    Likes Received:
    678
    Location:
    Mumbai
    Sharp, can you please give your introduction.
     
  12. Pintu

    Pintu New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2009
    Messages:
    12,082
    Likes Received:
    329
    AFP: Endeavour astronauts to inspect heat shield

    Endeavour astronauts to inspect heat shield

    By Jean-Louis Santini – 17 hours ago

    CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida — Astronauts aboard the US space shuttle Endeavour prepared on Thursday to inspect the heat shield for damage caused by debris that peeled off the external fuel tank during lift-off.

    The debris was spotted after the shuttle blasted off Wednesday from the Kennedy Space Center, its sixth bid in recent weeks to reach the International Space Station after delays caused by weather woes and technical glitches.

    The six Americans and one Canadian aboard Endeavour are scheduled to reach the ISS on Friday, where they will complete the Japanese Kibo laboratory, a platform for astronauts to conduct experiments 350 kilometers (220 miles) above Earth's surface.

    A US space agency official downplayed the potential of damage caused by the debris that could be seen hitting the shuttle about two minutes into the flight in images broadcast on NASA TV.

    The debris could be ice or foam that broke off from the external fuel tank, said Bill Gerstenmaier, NASA associate administrator for space operations.

    "We had some foam loss events," Gerstenmaier told reporters. "You can clearly see, on the front part of the orbiter, some white indications where the tiles were dinged.

    "We don't consider those an issue for us, those are probably coating losses," he said. But specialists will scrutinize the images, Gerstenmaier said.

    NASA piped in the song "These Are Days" by the band 10,000 Maniacs for the Endeavour's crew wake-up, "targeted especially for Mission Specialist Tim Kopra," the space agency said.

    Commander Mark Polansky and pilot Doug Hurley were to kick off the day's work with an Orbital Maneuvering System engine firing to fine-tune Endeavour?s path toward the ISS. Officials plan a second burn at the end of the crew?s day.

    The crew also will install a camera in the shuttle's docking tunnel, extend the Orbiter Docking System ring and check out the hand-held laser range-finder and other equipment ahead of docking.

    For the heat shield inspection, specialists Chris Cassidy, Tom Marshburn, Dave Wolf, Kopra and Julie Payette of the Canadian Space Agency would use Endeavour's robotic arm and the Orbiter Boom Sensor System, NASA said.

    And Wolf, Cassidy, Marshburn and Kopra also were to begin sizing up space suits they will wear and the tools they will use on the mission?s five spacewalks.

    The Endeavour mission aims to help fulfill "Japan's hope for an out-of-this-world space laboratory," as the shuttle delivers state-of-the-art equipment to conduct experiments in the vacuum of space, the US space agency has said.

    NASA has been cautious about conditions for the space shuttle's exit and return since the shuttle Columbia blew apart some 20,000 meters (65,500 feet) above the Earth in 2003 as it was returning from a 16-day space mission to land in Florida.

    A chunk of insulation that broke off from the shuttle's external fuel tank during takeoff had gouged Columbia's left wing heat shield, allowing superheated gases to melt the shuttle's internal structure before it exploded, killing all seven astronauts onboard.

    The ISS should be completed in 2010, also the target date for the retirement of the US fleet of three space shuttles.
     
  13. venom

    venom DFI Technocrat

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2009
    Messages:
    601
    Likes Received:
    11
    Google adds Moon to online Earth map service

    Google on Monday marked the 40th anniversary of the first human footsteps on the moon by adding virtual lunar exploration to its free online Earth map and imagery service.

    The moon joins Earth, Mars, and Sky in an options list in an upper tool bar on the main Web page at earth.google.com. Aspiring lunar explorers will need Google Earth 5.0 software, which can be downloaded free.

    Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin joined Google, X Prize Foundation, and NASA officials in Washington, DC, for the launch of Moon in Google Earth.

    Astronauts Neil Armstrong and Aldrin on July 20, 1969 became the first men to walk on the moon.

    "Forty years ago, two human beings walked on the moon," said Moon in Google Earth product manager Michael Weiss-Malik.

    "It's now possible for anyone to follow in their footsteps. We're giving hundreds of millions of people around the world unprecedented access to an interactive 3D presentation of the Apollo missions."

    Moon in Google Earth meshes "Street View" style panoramic photographs and NASA video taken on the surface of the moon to create a virtual moonscape.

    Apollo program astronauts Jack Schmitt and Aldrin provided narration for online lunar tours.

    "This tool will make it easier for millions of people to learn about space, our moon and some of the most significant and dazzling discoveries humanity has accomplished together," said X Prize Foundation trustee Anousheh Ansari, the first female private space explorer.

    "I believe that this educational tool is a critical step into the future, a way to both develop the dreams of young people globally, and inspire new audacious goals."

    Moon incorporates images taken during Apollo missions and pictures from satellites.

    Along with tours of the moon's surface, Google Earth's new feature shows "human artifacts" left there by space missions.

    "We're excited to be a part of this latest chapter in Google's efforts to bring virtual exploration of the moon to anyone with a computer," said NASA Ames Research Center director Pete Worden.

    The center is near Mountain View, California-based Google and has been collaborating with the Internet titan under the auspices of a Space Act Agreement signed in late 2006.

    "With Google Earth, young explorers around the world can bounce around the galaxy in Sky, fly to Mars and now visit the moon from wherever they may be," Ansari said. "Outer space doesn't seem so far away anymore."

    The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum has recreated humanity's first trip to the moon online at wechoosethemoon.org to enthrall an Internet generation not yet born when the US mission made history 40 years ago.

    Apollo 11 astronauts rocketed into space to fulfill late president John F. Kennedy's goal of showing the prowess of democracy by beating the former Soviet Union to the moon.

    Kennedy in 1961 made the NASA space program a top national priority.

    The United States was being left behind in the space race by what was then the communist Soviet Union, which had launched the Sputnik satellite in 1957 and put cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin into orbit around the Earth in 1961.

    "Landing on the moon before the Russians was an absolute priority," said Kennedy museum spokesman Tom McNaught.

    "The only way to beat the Russians in the space race was to land on the moon before they did. President Kennedy wanted to show the world that democracy as a form of government could keep up with communism, if not surpass it."

    Wechoosethemoon.org website will remain online for at least a year, with visitors being able to replay selected portions of the mission at their convenience.

    Kennedy was assassinated in 1963 and was not alive to see his goal of reaching the moon realized.

    Google adds Moon to online Earth map service
     
  14. venom

    venom DFI Technocrat

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2009
    Messages:
    601
    Likes Received:
    11
    Arianespace To Launch HYLAS Telecommunications Satellite

    Avanti Communications Group plc, has chosen Arianespace to launch the HYLAS telecommunications satellite. This new contract is the 11th signed by Arianespace with the major satellite operators.

    The launch of the HYLAS satellite is planned for the first semester of 2010, using an Ariane 5 or Soyuz launcher from the Guiana Space Center, Europe's Spaceport in French Guiana.

    HYLAS is the first satellite entrusted to Arianespace by Avanti Communications, the new European satellite operator. Avanti Communications is Arianespace's 31st new customer.

    HYLAS has been built by the industrial consortium grouping EADS Astrium and ISRO (Indian Space Research Organization) using an ISRO I-2K platform. Positioned at 33.5 degrees West, this powerful Ka band satellite will be Europe's first superfast broadband satellite, serving customers all over Europe.

    The satellite will weigh about 2,750 kg at launch, and has a design life exceeding 15 years.

    "We have chosen Arianespace for the launch of HYLAS as they have demonstrated the right combination of reliability, value and performance," said David Williams, Chief Executive of Avanti Communications Group plc.

    "Their track record is the best guarantee of success. HYLAS, once in orbit will begin a new era in broadband services for the people of Europe and so a reliable and successful launch is of huge importance."

    Commenting on this latest contract, Arianespace Chairman and CEO Jean-Yves Le Gall said: "Arianespace is proud of this opportunity to serve a new satellite operator and I would like to thank Avanti Communications for its choice.

    "This new contract, the 11th signed in 2009 and the 2nd in the United Kingdom, is clear recognition of the quality and competiveness of our launch Service and Solutions offer."

    Arianespace To Launch HYLAS Telecommunications Satellite
     
  15. Sridhar

    Sridhar House keeper Moderator

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2009
    Messages:
    3,474
    Likes Received:
    1,032
    New ion engine could reach Mars in 39 days

    By Michael Mulcahy
    18:41 July 28, 2009 PDT
    [​IMG] The VASIMR engine could make a manned flight to Mars in about a sixth of the time of conventional rockets
    Image Gallery (3 images)

    Last week, as the world celebrated the first lunar landing, Apollo 11 astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins both called for NASA to make Mars its next goal. But the chemical propulsion system that took them to the moon would take six months, at least, to get a man to Mars and cost hundreds of billions of dollars. However, a new ion plasma rocket being developed by another former astronaut, Franklin Chang-Diaz, could potentially reach Mars in just 39 days using a fraction of the fuel.
    The problem with traditional rockets is that they’re terribly inefficient. About 90% of a mission’s initial weight is fuel, most of which is burned up escaping earth’s gravitational pull. After that, a traditional rocket could only slowly coast to Mars. Very slowly. Scientists describe rocket efficiency in terms of specific impulse, which is a rough measure of how fast fuel is ejected out of the back of the rocket. A chemical rocket has a relatively low specific impulse of 450 seconds - in other words, it gets one pound of thrust from one pound of fuel for 450 seconds.
    Chang-Diaz’s prototype, however, promises specific impulses as high as 15,000 seconds. How? Well, his rocket doesn’t achieve propulsion by combusting fuel but, rather, by superheating atoms to create and expel a plasma plume.
    The Variable Specific Impulse Magnetoplasma Rocket (VASIMR, for short) consists of three linked magnetic cells. The first stage works a bit like a kettle, heating the atoms of a neutral gas like argon with a radio frequency (RF) generator until electrons “boil” off, creating plasma.
    The plasma is now very hot – about 50,000 degrees Celsius – but not hot enough to produce efficient thrust. The second stage of VASIMR acts as an amplifier, further energizing the plasma using electromagnetic waves. By now, the plasma reaches about a million degrees, comparable to the center of the sun.
    The third and final stage is a “magnetic nozzle” that converts the energy of this superheated plasma into directed motion and, ultimately, high velocity thrust. And, in case you’re wondering how anything so hot could be possibly contained, that’s one of the reasons the cells are all magnetic. A magnetic field not only helps heat plasma but also contains it, so it won’t ever actually touch anything.
    VASIMR could, theoretically, reach power levels a hundred times that of other ion engines. But there are still two big problems that need to be addressed before anyone can start packing their bags for Mars.
    The first is that the 200kW VASIMR only produces a pound of thrust. That’s more than enough in the vacuum of space, where the ion engine can fire continuously for months on end and a pound of thrust can push two tonnes of cargo from the sun to Jupiter in 19 months. But it means VASIMR will never get off the earth on its own – it would need to catch a lift with one of those old gas-guzzling rockets.
    The second issue is that, while the current engine can run entirely on solar power – making it perfect for moon trips and other near-earth duties – for a deep space mission, it would need more like 200MW of power. And only an on-board nuclear reactor could provide that.
    In the meantime, Chang-Diaz and his colleagues at the Ad Astra Rocket Company (such a wonderfully old-fashioned name) are busy readying VASIMR for a 2012 test with NASA on the International Space Station. It could just be the beginning of a new power in long-distance space travel.


    New ion engine could reach Mars in 39 days
     
  16. Sridhar

    Sridhar House keeper Moderator

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2009
    Messages:
    3,474
    Likes Received:
    1,032
    Collision Course: The Need for Better Space Junk Regulations

    With 3000 satellites and a growing arsenal of space junk, Earth’s orbit is a crowded area. If debris continues to accumulate, low Earth orbit could eventually become too congested for safe satellite use and space travel. Unfortunately, space junk is hard to regulate and even harder to clean up. Here’s an overview of existing space junk laws and some proposals for addressing the problems with debris in space.
    By Glenn Harlan Reynolds
    Published in the July 2009 issue.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    (Illustration by John Hendrix)


    Close calls in orbit happen all the time—scientists estimate that launch vehicles and other objects come within striking distance of one other over 1000 times a day. So when tracking reports on Feb. 10, 2009, predicted that Iridium 33, a 12-foot-long, 1200-pound communications satellite, and a 1-ton Russian military sat, Kosmos 2251, would pass within less than half a mile of each other, no one was alarmed. It wasn’t the closest call predicted for that day, or even the closest pass for any of the 66 Iridium satellites that coming week. But at the time of the predicted approach, Iridium 33 fell silent.

    The two satellites had collided 500 miles above Siberia at 26,000 mph, generating a debris cloud that spread around the Earth in just a few hours. The junk was in the orbital path of the Hubble Space Telescope and just 250 miles higher than the orbit of the International Space Station.

    It was the first time two satellites were known to have collided, which is remarkable considering there are about 3000 of them circling the Earth. And orbiting with the sats are an estimated 16,000 other man-made objects, mostly junk. Depending on the height of orbit—the higher the debris, the longer it takes to decay—fragments may linger in space for centuries.

    If enough debris accumulates, we risk setting off a chain reaction called the Kessler syndrome, in which satellite fragments damage other satellites, producing more debris and so on, until low Earth orbit (LEO) is so cluttered that satellite use and space travel become impossible. With LEO getting messier by the day, the February collision raises a thorny legal question: Who is responsible for damages caused by collisions in space?

    Contrary to widespread opinion, outer space is not a lawless region. In fact, it’s governed by international law—and, in the case of U.S. spacecraft, or the U.S. parts of the International Space Station, by American law. Damage to and by spacecraft is covered by the 1972 Convention on International Liability for Damage Caused by Space Objects. Under that treaty, liability for damage caused to people or property on the ground is “absolute”—meaning that the country that launched the spacecraft is liable for damages even if there was no negligence. The same is true if a space object strikes an aircraft. If you operate a spacecraft, you must realize it can do damage wherever it crashes. Expecting people on the ground to be on guard against crashing satellites is asking a bit much.

    When it comes to sats in space, however, things aren’t so straightforward. When one spacecraft collides with another, there’s only liability if the spacecraft operator is negligent. But what constitutes negligence in this context is not clear. Operating a spacecraft in a way that poses a foreseeable risk to others probably qualifies, but in this case the Russian satellite was described as defunct, meaning that it had either broken down or run out of maneuvering fuel. There are many such satellites in orbit, and although good practice calls for their operators to either deorbit them or boost them into harmless parking orbits, this is not always possible. There are no standards in place that require space operators to ensure that satellites don’t remain in high-traffic orbits at the end of their lives, so it would be hard to argue that failure to do so constitutes negligence.

    One way to prevent space collisions is better traffic control. Right now, satellite operators don’t have precise orbital parameters for satellites that might pose a risk of collision. Only a few countries—chiefly the United States, and to some degree Russia and China, as well as Europe—have access to precise tracking data, and that information is kept secret lest it reveal details about the sophisticated instrumentation used to gather it. Military planners have long talked about the need for “space situational awareness,” and the military tracks satellites for its own purposes, but the increasingly crowded nature of near-Earth orbits, plus the threat posed by collision debris, has led many to argue that we need similar tracking capability for the civilian sector. The cheap way to do this is to make some of the military data public; the expensive way would be to build a separate civilian system.

    Planners in the U.S. and other militaries have good reason to want to keep adversaries guessing about their surveillance capabilities. But they also have good reason not to want to see space filled with debris that is as deadly to their own satellites as it is to civilian craft. The European Space Agency is working on a plan to track 1000 satellites in order to prevent collisions, and all nations that send craft to space should ensure that initial orbits are carefully chosen with an eye toward reduced risk of collision.

    But even if these good practices don’t come to pass, there’s another way to deal with space junk: Clean it up. Specialized spacecraft are designed to rendezvous with intact, nonoperational satellites and take them back to Earth or place them in safer orbits. Cleaning up fragments is much harder. Even small debris traveling at tremendous velocities can wreck a spacecraft, but it’s impossible to rendezvous with a paint speck or a lug nut. Some have proposed incinerating debris with lasers, or capturing it with big blobs of orbiting aerogel. But these and other solutions are expensive and may produce more debris from collisions.

    Complicating an already complex situation is the fact that debris fragments are often from unidentifiable sources, and who should be responsible for getting rid of the mess is a gray area. Some scholars, including me, have proposed that countries be taxed for debris cleanup based on the amount of material left in orbit, but such proposals remain purely academic.

    Unfortunately, current space law doesn’t allow for the best possible space-junk solution: salvage. Under the 1967 Outer Space Treaty, nations retain “jurisdiction and control” over their spacecraft even when they are inoperable—so a salvage company wouldn’t be able to take title or claim an award for recovering a defunct craft, as is done on Earth. A space salvage law might even help commercial space efforts by providing yet another moneymaking option; governments, or insurance companies, could pay private operators a bounty for eliminating space junk. Though space lawyers have been arguing for years that the proliferation of space junk makes some sort of salvage law necessary, and despite the obvious commercial benefits, there has been little progress.

    What’s clear is that space is getting crowded, and the problem urgently needs attention from all spacefaring nations, lest we find ourselves earthbound under a shroud of orbiting trash.

    Glenn Harlan Reynolds, a PM contributing editor, teaches space law at the University of Tennessee.

    International Space Law ? Regulating Space Junk In Orbit - Popular Mechanics
     
  17. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2009
    Messages:
    22,757
    Likes Received:
    13,977
  18. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2009
    Messages:
    22,757
    Likes Received:
    13,977
    India In Outer Space - Emerging Concerns By Rizwana Abbasi

    India In Outer Space -
    Emerging Concerns

    By Rizwana Abbasi

    29 January, 2008
    Countercurrents.org

    Today India is surging ahead to bolster its image as a powerhouse of advanced Space technology. It is all the more surprising that it was only in the late 1960s that India embarked on its Space Programme on a rather modest scale by establishing the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). It was instrumental in staging the first of its low capability projects in the initial stages.

    Earlier experiments and investments opened up opportunities for testing the Satellite Launch Vehicle (SLV-3), which proved successful. From then on India began to advance by leaps and bounds. It soon started testing a range of SLVs which followed the Augmented Satellite Launch Vehicle (ASLVs), the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) and the more powerful Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV). The modernisation of such duel use technologies enhanced Indian capabilities in space and profoundly influenced the South Asian strategic balance. From the 1980s, India jumped into Ballistic Missile superiority by developing its Integrated Guided Missile Programme (IGMDP), which followed the Satellite programme, anti-tank, surface to air, Prithvi and Agni Missiles.

    The success of these developments allowed India to achieve rapid superiority in its advanced Satellite Programme. Building upon the success of the Aryabhatta, Bhaskara and Rohini satellites, India started to build high capability satellites, notably the Indian National Satellite (INSAT). The dual purpose INSAT system at present has ten satellites in operation: INSAT-2E, INSAT-3A, INSAT-3B, INSAT-3C, INSAT-3E, KALPANA-1, GSAT-2 and EDUSAT, INSAT-4A and INSAT-4B. The dual purpose GSLV launches INSAT satellites. The INSAT system is a joint venture by the Department of Space (DOS), Department of Telecommunications (DOT), India Meteorological Department (IMD), All India Radio (AIR) and Doordarshan, the public television broadcaster in India. It is undeniably one of the largest domestic communication satellite systems in the Asia Pacific Region.

    The year 2007 has proved to be another significant milestone for the Indian Space Programme. It has brought a significant lead for India, which launched the PLSV-C7 and PSLV-C8 on 10 January and 23 April 2007 respectively. The PSLV-C7 established the Indian capability to launch satellites and bring them back to earth successfully. This venture introduced a new era in launch vehicle and satellite technology development which was an undoubted success and an essential step towards Indian manned space flight. It enhanced Indian capabilities to its global satellite launch business. India has joined the elite club of nations by deploying space exploration resources for commercial use. The PSLV-C8 carried an Italian satellite (AGILE) into a low earth orbit. The GSLV-F04 was launched successfully on 2 September 2007 carrying INSAT-4CR into the desired orbit. It is the largest satellite launched by an Indian launcher so far. The launch of GSLV Mk III is already scheduled for 2008-9. An Israeli military intelligence satellite, TechSAR, will be sent into orbit by an Indian rocket, the PSLV, in coming months: after this India could boost its intelligence gathering capability extensively. Above all, India is going to launch its first unmanned lunar mission Chandrayaan-I in April 2008, and Chandrayaan-II in 2011-12. In these developments India received help from the US, Russia, Israel and Europe.

    Furthermore, India intends to build a constellation of seven satellites, the Indian regional Navigation Satellite system, a NAVSTAR system which will start functioning by 2012. This project will navigate telecommunication, transport, disaster areas and public safety networks along with other regional activities. Such technology plays an increasingly crucial military role, not only in the development of missiles, but in providing sophisticated intelligence, communications and navigation. Moreover, such is the nature of these projects that these satellites will keep the entire region under the watch of India.

    India has frequently asserted that its space program is focused largely on the scientific and commercial uses of space. Undeniably, it will provide India with high quality military satellite intelligence. In technical terms, the civilian and military satellite systems are scarcely different one from the other. Orbital imagers and communications satellites are examples of dual-use technologies. According to a US Congressional Research Service report, “the distinction between military and civilian launches is arbitrary to a certain extent, since any satellite can be used for either sector. For example, communication satellites can carry either military or civilian traffic, and navigation satellites are used by both the military and civilian communities.” Indeed both during war and peace, satellites prove supremely useful as non-aggressive, non-invasive tools to monitor enemy troop movements, military manoeuvres, airbases and air strength. Space systems could be a powerful equalizer in the hands of a militarily inferior power. Such systems have the capacity to increase the accuracy of weapons and improve the control over force manoeuvres. It enables India to monitor all volatile regions, their defence developments, military build-ups, and the manoeuvres of their troops.

    Indian investment in space technology forms part of its ambitions to become a major regional power. Recent developments in this regard have enabled India to penetrate a global rather than a regional market where it intends to counter the US, China, Russia and European satellites in space. India certainly intends to eclipse Pakistan, but it is in direct competition with China which has already stepped into space technology in a big way. The Chinese missile launch on 11 January 2007 was a warning sign for not only India but also rest of the world, and particularly the US. India is certainly going to take further measures to counter the growing Chinese ambitions in outer space as its economic fortunes are set to attain higher dividends. As the Indian Space Technology scientist / spokesperson Nair of ISRO stated, “the Chinese have declared their space plans and in that process it is not right for India to be lagging behind.” Indian officials have gone further by saying that while the anti-satellite weapon system is not new (the US and Russia have both shot down objects in space) it is a paradigm shift in India’s strategic security concerns. India is pursuing three US objectives in space: control, vulnerability and inevitability.

    The Indian militarization of outer space will certainly raise questions and concerns for Pakistan. Through its planned Military Surveillance and Reconnaissance system India would be able to undermine Pakistan’s deterrence and could threaten Pakistan’s defences. Understandably, Pakistan has taken such developments seriously in its account by offering an agreement on keeping South Asia free of ABM system and a bilateral agreement on non-use of outer space for military purposes. However, India has not shown any positive response to the aforementioned proposals. The Indian pursuit of the arms race in outer space destabilises the strategic balance in the South Asian region, which will propel neighbouring states to boost and explore their own technological capacities. India proclaims its belief in a minimum nuclear deterrence but as Indian ambitions develop along the lines suggested above such a strategy is no longer credible.

    The Chinese / Indian power play in space and with regard to weapons in orbit threatens to turn space into a new sphere of military rivalry and a race toward the application of advanced technologies. The US is the sole power with the authority to undertake the requisite efforts to ban the placement of weapons in space for military purposes and establish a new form of international co-operation in outer space either by regulating the behaviour of nation states or by introducing a new treaty. The US should also take the initiative in introducing the verification measures aimed at preventing the development, testing and deployment of outer space combat assets. The prevention of an arms race in outer space is necessary to save the world from an unspeakable disaster.

    The writer is a PhD student at University of Leicester, UK
    [email protected]
     
  19. SATISH

    SATISH DFI Technocrat Stars and Ambassadors

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2009
    Messages:
    2,029
    Likes Received:
    270
    Sr my only concern is Thorium reactors use liquid sodium as coolant and we might move away from PHWR so will we still have stocks of tritium?
     
  20. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2009
    Messages:
    22,757
    Likes Received:
    13,977
    as the demand grows we will manufacture more
     

Share This Page