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

Taiwan Launches First Homegrown Remote-Sensing Satellite From US Air Base.

Background-

  • Taiwan has launched Formosat-5, the first homegrown observation satellite, from an air base in the US, the island nation’s National Space Organisation (NSO) announced on 25th August, 2017.
  • The octagonal satellite – 2 metres high and 1.2 metres in diameter – cost some 3 billion Taiwanese dollars ($100 million) and made contact with a station in Norway at 4.13 a.m.

 

Highlights Of The Development–

  • The satellite is equipped with Complementary Metal-oxide-semiconductor sensors to observe the Earth. Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen called the launch a great leap that demonstrates Taiwan’s technological progress.
  • Originally known as “Republic of China Satellite” (ROCSAT), but renamed “Formosat” in 2004, the program has seen a series of missions launched to fulfil a number of scientific and technological objectives. The TRW-built ROCSAT-1/Formosat-1 was launched in January 1999, and carried a payload of three instruments to conduct ocean imaging, experimental space communications and solar-terrestrial physics research. Next came the Astrium-built ROCSAT-2/Formosat-2, launched in May 2004, which focused on regional remote sensing applications, including natural disaster relief, agricultural and urban planning strategy and environmental monitoring. This satellite continued to return data for more than 12 years, before being decommissioned in 2016. More recently, the Orbital Sciences Corp.-built ROCSAT-3/Formosat-3—also known as the Constellation Observing System for Meteorology, Ionosphere and Climate (COSMIC)—rose from Earth in April 2006, laden with six microsatellites for a range of tasks, including weather forecasting, ionosopheric, climate and gravity research.
  • Formosat-5 has been under development by the National Space Organisation (NSPO) of Taiwan since 2005. Unlike its predecessors, it has been wholly designed, built and integrated by NSPO. The program passed Preliminary Design Review in December 2010, then entered its Assembly, Integration and Test phase. Sailing through its Critical Design Review in January 2013, the final integration of the satellite was completed in March 2015. Formosat-5 was then put through a grueling series of thermal vacuum chamber runs and end-to-end systems tests.
  • Against this backdrop of progress, the mission had met with much delay. NSPO had bid for a launch provider in October 2008 and in mid-2010 SpaceX was selected, with an expectation that Formosat-5 would ride atop a Falcon 1e booster. However, the 1e—an upgraded version of SpaceX’s first-generation Falcon 1—was later canceled and the payload shifted onto the larger and more powerful Falcon 9. Hardware delays pushed the mission into the 2014-2015 timeframe, allowing an opportunity for SpaceX to co-manifest another payload alongside the relatively lightweight Formosat-5. That payload eventually found another berth aboard an Indian launcher, leaving Formosat-5 to fly alone.

Sources- AmericaSpace.

 

GS Paper II- Governance.

Kenya Imposes World’s Toughest Law Against Plastic Bags.

Background

  • Kenyans producing, selling or even using plastic bags will risk imprisonment of up to four years or fines of $40,000 from 28th August, 2017, as the world’s toughest law aimed at reducing plastic pollution came into effect.
  • The East African nation joins more than 40 other countries that have banned, partly banned or taxed single-use plastic bags, including China, France, Rwanda and Italy.
  • Many bags drift into the ocean, strangling turtles, suffocating seabirds and filling the stomachs of dolphins and whales with waste until they die of starvation.

 

Highlights Of The Development-

  • Plastic bags, which El-Habr, an expert on marine litter working with the U.N. Environment Programme in Kenya, said take between 500 to 1,000 years to break down, also enter the human food chain through fish and other animals.
  • In Nairobi’s slaughterhouses, some cows destined for human consumption had 20 bags removed from their stomachs.
  • Kenya’s law allows police to go after anyone even carrying a plastic bag. But Judy Wakhungu, Kenya’s environment minister, said enforcement would initially be directed at manufacturers and suppliers.
  • It took Kenya three attempts over 10 years to finally pass the ban, and not everyone is a fan.
  • Samuel Matonda, spokesman for the Kenya Association of Manufacturers, said it would cost 60,000 jobs and force 176 manufacturers to close. Kenya is a major exporter of plastic bags to the region.
  • Big Kenyan supermarket chains like France’s Carrefour and Nakumatt have already started offering customers cloth bags as alternatives.

Sources- North State Journal.

GS Paper III- Economic Development.

Odisha Gets Rs 466 CR Investment For Seafood Park Units.

Background

  • The Odisha government announced on 29th August, 2017 that the state has received proposals worth Rs 466 crore for setting up processing units at Seafood Park in Deras, which will process 90,860 million tonnes per annum (MTPA) sea food and generate over 7,000 jobs.
  • Land has already been allotted to 20 firms for setting up of processing units at the park.
  • The seafood park is being developed by Odisha Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation (IDCO) with an investment of Rs 134 crore.

Key Points Of The Development-

  • Companies including Falcon Marine Exports, Magnum Seafoods, Utkal Exports and Vizag-based Coastal Corporation, Falcon Marine Exports have already committed investments for setting up units at the seafood park in Odisha.
  • Spread over 152 acres of land, the project has been approved under the Mega Food park scheme of the Food Processing ministry and will comprise 41 processing units.
  • The project will have infrastructure and access to common facilities like devices for cold storage, pre-processing and post-processing facilities, ice plant, packaging, polythene unit and a research and development facility.
  • Meanwhile, Odisha government has set up a target of reaching Rs 20,000 crore seafood exports annually in the next five years from the present level of Rs 2,500 crore.
  • India exported 11,34,948 tonne of seafood worth USD 5.78 billion in 2016-17 against 9,45,892 tonne and USD 4.69 billion in the year-ago period, with USA and South East Asia continuing to be the major importers.
  • During 2016-17, the total exports of marine products from Odisha stood at 47,204.97 tonne, valued at Rs 2,508.31 crore.
  • The major markets for seafood from Odisha include South East Asia (39 per cent) followed by USA (28 per cent), EU (11 per cent) and Japan (9 per cent) in terms of volume.
  • In terms of value, USA with 35 per cent stands ahead of South East Asia (30 per cent) followed by EU (11 per cent), Japan (10 per cent) and the Middle East (3 per cent).
  • Some of the major marine products exported from Odisha to countries like Japan, China, the US, UK, UAE, Indonesia and Hong Kong include frozen shrimps, frozen pompret, ribbon fish among others.

Sources- Business-Standard.