GS Paper I- History and Geography of the World and Society.

SpaceX Launches Falcon Heavy, World’s Most Powerful Rocket.


  • The world’s most powerful rocket, SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy, roared into space through clear blue skies in its debut test flight on 6th February, 2018 from a Florida launch site where moon missions once began, in another milestone for billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk’s private rocket service.
  • The 23-story-tall jumbo rocket, carrying a cherry red Tesla Roadster from the assembly line of Musk’s electric car company as a mock payload, thundered off its launchpad in billowing clouds of steam and rocket exhaust at 3:45 pm (2045 GMT) from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, USA.

Highlights Of The Development-

  • The centre booster rocket, which SpaceX had predicted was less likely to be salvaged, slammed into the Atlantic at about 300 miles per hour (483 kph), destroying two of its thrusters and showering the deck of the nearby drone landing vessel.
  • While the Falcon Heavy’s initial performance appeared, by all accounts, to have been near flawless, it remained to be seen whether the upper stage of the vehicle and its payload would survive a six-hour “cruise” phase to high Earth orbit through the planet’s radiation belts.
  • The launch, so powerful that it shook the walls of the press trailer at the complex, was conducted from the same site used by NASA’s towering Saturn 5 rockets to carry Apollo missions to the moon more than 40 years ago. SpaceX has said it aspires to send missions to Mars in the coming years.
  • The successful liftoff was a key turning point for Musk’s privately owned Space Exploration Technologies, which stands to gain a new edge over the handful of rivals vying for lucrative contracts with NASA, satellite companies and the US military.
  • Falcon Heavy is designed to place up to 70 tons into standard low-Earth orbit at a cost of $90 million per launch. That is twice the lift capacity of the biggest existing rocket in the US’s space fleet – the Delta 4 Heavy of rival United Launch Alliance (ULA), a partnership of Lockheed Martin Corp and Boeing Co – for about a fourth the cost.
  • The demonstration flight put the Heavy into the annals of spaceflight as the world’s most powerful rocket in operation, with more lift capacity than any space vehicle to fly since NASA’s Saturn 5, which was retired in 1973, or the Soviet-era Energia, which flew its last mission in 1988.
  • Propelled by 27 rocket engines, the Heavy packs more than five million pounds of thrust at launch, roughly three times the force of the Falcon 9 booster rocket that until now has been the workhorse of the SpaceX fleet. The new rocket is essentially constructed from three Falcon 9s bolted together side by side.

Sources- The Wire.

GS Paper II- International Relations.

PM Modi Lays Foundation Stone For First Hindu Temple In Abu Dhabi.


  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 11th February, 2018 officially launched the foundation stone-laying ceremony for the first Hindu temple in the capital of the UAE, home to over three million people of Indian origin.
  • Modi witnessed the groundbreaking ceremony which was live-streamed to the Dubai Opera House where the prime minister was interacting with the Indian community.
  • He thanked Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan on behalf of 125 crore Indians for the construction of the grand temple.


Highlights Of The Development-

  • Temple Committee members had presented the temple literature to Modi and Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan on 10th evening evening in Abu Dhabi.
  • This is the first stone temple to be built in Abu Dhabi off Dubai-Abu Dhabi highway.
  • Modi is visiting the United Arab Emirates for the second time after his 2015 trip to the country.
  • The first Hindu temple in Abu Dhabi will come up on 55,000 square metres of land.
  • The temple will be hand-carved by Indian temple artisans and assembled in the UAE. It will be completed by 2020, and open to people of all religious backgrounds.
  • It will be the first traditional Hindu stone temple in the Middle East, said a spokesperson from the BAPS.
  • Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS), is a socio-spiritual Hindu organisation set up in 1907 that runs more than 1,100 temples and cultural compounds around the world.
  • The temple will incorporate all aspects and features of a traditional Hindu temple as part of a fully functional, social, cultural and spiritual complex.
  • It will replicate the BAPS temple in New Delhi and the one under construction in New Jersey.

Sources- HT.


GS Paper III- Bio-Diversity.

First-Ever Pelican Festival Held At Atapaka Bird Sanctuary On 4th Feb, 2018.


  • Andhra Pradesh State government has held the first-of-its kind, one-day Pelican Festival at the Atapaka Bird Sanctuary on Kolleru, one of the largest freshwater lakes in the country, on Feb 4, 2018.   
  • Officials made elaborate arrangements to attract tourists for the ‘Pakshula Panduga’ at Atapaka village, located on the borders of the Krishna and the West Godavari districts. The district administrations, AP Tourism and the Forest Department officials made the arrangements.


Highlights Of The Development-

  • According to the Krishna District Collector B Lakshmikantham, over 5,000 pelican birds from various countries reach Kolleru lake every year during winter by travelling over 3500 km. They would make it a tradition to celebrate this Pelican Festival during the months of December and January. In future, Atapaka village will be developed as a major tourist attraction, said Lakshmikantham.
  • He further said that the festival was being organised in a big scale and film artistes, noted singers and other celebrities would take part in cultural programmes organised on the occasion. Film star Daggubati Venkatesh, singers Vandemataram Srinivas, Dhanunjay, Geetha Madhuri, Usha and other famous artistes would be performing in those, he said.
  • The Atapaka Bird Sanctuary was decorated on the occasion. Students visited the festival and learned many interesting facts about the birds and their lives. Apart from this, various competitions were also conducted for the visitors.

Sources- The New Indian Express.