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‘’Paper 4-GS-III, Topic: Development of Science & Technology – India successfully fires heaviest launch vehicle

GSLV MkIII places heaviest satellite GSAT-19 into orbit

    What you need to know:

  • India leapfrogged into a select group of nations having their own indigenous cryogenic engine technology, when the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) successfully launched its heaviest launch vehicle, GSLV MkIIID1, and placed the country’s heaviest satellite till date, GSAT-19, into a precise orbit.
  • The GSAT-19, a communication satellite, expected to enhance India’s communication infrastructure, was placed into a Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO), 16 minutes after launch, with a perigee (closest point to Earth) 170 km and apogee (farthest point from Earth) 35,975 km. It will take about two to three weeks to be placed in its intended orbit.
  • The satellite weighs 3,136 kg. This successful launch will enable India to launch 4- tonne class satellites from India. These were earlier launched from launch pads abroad.

   Russian design:

  • ISRO has been trying to master development of an indigenous cryogenic for decades and has used indigenous cryogenic engines on earlier GSLV flights but modelled mainly on Russian design.

   Business opportunities:

  • The GSAT-19 carries a Ka/Kuband high throughput communication transponders. It also carries a Geostationary Radiation Spectrometer (GRASP) payload to monitor and study the nature of charged particles and the influence of space radiation on satellites and their electronic components, according to ISRO.

   More in the pipeline:

  • Two launches are coming up, which will however, happen from Ariane in French Guiana. The first one scheduled for June 28, will be the GSAT 18, a 3.3 tonne satellite, and the second one will be a 5.8 tonne satellite.

    Source: Economic Times

‘’Paper 3-GS-II, Topic: Issues and services relating to Health – IMD to give malaria, chikungunya alerts

15-day advance warning linked to rain

    What is important to know:

  • The India Meteorological Department (IMD) is working on a forecasting system to give 15-day warnings on the likelihood of a malaria or chikungunya outbreak, over different regions.
  • IMD Director-General K.J. Ramesh said such a service was part of a larger initiative by the department to provide custom, weather-related information to cope with challenges of a global warming and its associated impact of weather.
  • Extreme rainfall events were on the rise, said Mr. Ramesh and this could also mean more instances of humid conditions and waterlogging that could precipitate vectorborne disease outbreaks.
  • We have teamed up with the Medical Council of India and the Red Cross Society,” Mr. Ramesh told The Hindu, “and are customising our dynamical model (that simulates weather and forecasts, using supercomputers) for generating this information.

    Increased variation:

  • Speaking on the sidelines of a function marking World Environment Day, Mr. Ramesh said average Indian temperatures had risen 0.86 C since 1901.
  • But the average annual rainfall (about 120 cm) hadn’t changed much.
  • This rain was now being distributed over fewer days.
  • Also places that were once relatively drier are wetter and more humid [engendering conditions for water-logging and mosquito breeding] and our attempt is to give advance warnings to better prepare for outbreaks,” he added.
  • The IMD’s National Climate Centre in Pune, traditionally tasked with forecasting the monsoon and documenting monsoon-related statistics, was being reorganised to provide such climate services.
  • IMD is the primary agency responsible for meteorological observations, weather forecasting and seismology in India. It functions under the Union Ministry of Earth Sciences of the Government of India. It headquartered in New Delhi and operates hundreds of observation stations across India.
  • IMD will release five-day and 15-day forecasts of heat-waves, cold waves and disease outbreaks.

    Source: The Hindu

 

‘’Paper 2-GS-I, Topic: Important geographical features & effects of Flaura & Fauna – India’s biodiversity riches jump up by 499 species

Himalayas, Northeast and Western Ghats yield the most

    Brief:

  • On World Environment Day, India has 499 reasons to cheer: 313 species of animal and 186 of plants have been discovered from various areas of the country last year.
  • Animal Discoveries 2016, New Species and Records, brought out by the Zoological Survey of India on Monday, and Plant Discoveries 2016, by the Botanical Survey of India, bring the glad tidings.

   Wide variety:

  • Of the new animal species, 258 are invertebrates and 55 vertebrates. As many as 97 species of insects, 27 of fish, 12 species of amphibians, 10 of Platyhelminthes, nine of Crustacea and six of reptiles have been discovered and described by the scientists.
  • There are 61 species of moths and butterflies (order Lepidoptera) and 38 of beetles (Coloeptera). ZSI Director Kailash Chandra said most of the new species were from the four biological hotspots of the country — the Himalayas, the Northeast, the Western Ghats and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
  • Animal Discoveries 2016 says that for the first time, the number of animal species in the country, including protozoa, has crossed one lakh — 1,00,693 is the exact count. Till last year, India was home to 97,514 species of animals.

   Updated list:

  • A lot of species in different groups have been updated during the past one year. India is one of the 17 megadiversity countries and it has about 6.42 per cent of the global fauna,” Mr. Chandra said.
  • Plant Discoveries 2016 says that along with 186 new species, scientists have discovered seven new genera, four subspecies and nine new varieties from India, taking the number to 206. The publication lists 113 new records from India.
  • The geographical distribution of the new plant species reveals that most discoveries were made in the Western Ghats (17%), followed by the Eastern Himalayas (15%), the Western Himalayas (13%), the Eastern Ghats (12%) and the west coast (8%).

    Source: Times of India