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

World’s Longest Glass-Bottomed Bridge Opens In China.

Background-

  • An epic glass-bottomed suspension bridge has opened in China measuring a whopping 1,601ft across a ravine.
  • The longest of its kind in the world, the 6.5-foot-wide walkway hangs 755 feet above the ground – roughly the height of a 66-storey building.
  • It connects two cliffs in the Hongyagu Scenic Area in Hebei province.
  • The spectacular tourist attraction, which opened on Christmas Eve (24th December, 2017) and is paved with 1,077 glass panels.
  • The whole bridge weighs 70 tonnes.

Highlights Of The Development–

  • The most thrilling – or terrifying – feature of the bridge must be its “swaying sensation”.
  • The bridge is designed to hold 3,000 people, only 600 people are allowed to cross the transparent glass walkway at any one time. To raise the excitement levels even further, the bridge is designed to sway when tourists walk across it.
  • Hebei Bailu Group, the company that built the bridge, told that they hoped the swinging motion could entertain the visitors because they take in the breath-taking scenery.
  • It is said the Hongyagu bridge could support a maximum of 2,000 people.
  • Previously, the world’s longest glass bridge measured 1,410 feet long and is situated in the Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon in Hunan Province, southern China.
  • Last year, the glass-bottomed bridge in Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon was forced to shut just 13 days after it opened due to an overwhelming number of tourists.
  • Thousands of people had flocked to stand on the 984-foot-high structure every day, causing safety concerns.
  • In 2015, a group of Chinese tourists were terrified on the side of a 3,540-foot-high cliff in Henan, central China, after part of the glass bottom on a new transparent walkway shattered.

Sources- The Sun.

GS Paper II- Governance.

Mumbai Gets Its First AC Local Train.

Background

  • In a Christmas gift to Mumbaikars, the country’s first air-conditioned (AC) suburban train commenced its services on 25th December, 2017, thus realising the long-awaited dream of lakhs of commuters.
  • The train, operated by the Western Railway (WR), began its journey at 10.32 am from the Borivili station to Churchgate in South Mumbai.
  • The commuters, excited at the launch of the AC local which is expected to bring them respite during the scorching summer, captured the historic moments as the train reached the Churchgate station at 11.16 am.

Highlights Of The Development-

  • This AC local is being run through a prototype coach and Railways will invite feedback from commuters and incorporate it in our next fleet of coaches.
  • Built in Chennai at a cost of Rs. 54 crore, the 12-car rake of the AC local arrived in Mumbai on April 4, 2016. Initially, it was meant to be run on the Central Railway (CR) corridor. However, later it was decided to run it first on the WR corridor.
  • Subsequently, the WR conducted about 65 trial runs of the train before starting its services for the public on 25th. According to WR Chief Public Relations Officer Ravinder Bhakar, the last successful technical run of the train, running on broad gauge, was conducted on 24th December, 2017.
  • Initially, the AC local will operate only on the Churchgate-Borivili section. The train will make six trips daily (12 services per day) and from January 1 next year (2018), it will run from Churchgate to Virar.
  • The train will not operate on Saturdays and Sundays as it requires maintenance. The 12 services of the AC train will replace the existing 12 non-AC services.

Sources- The Hindu Business Line.

GS Paper III- Technology.

ISRO To Launch 31 Satellites In Single Mission In January 2018.

Background

  • India will launch 31 satellites, including the earth observation spacecraft Cartosat on January 10, 2018 from its spaceport at Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh.
  • ISRO scientists have tentatively scheduled the rocket launch at 9.30 a.m. to carry Cartosat and other satellites, including 28 from the US and five other countries in a single mission, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Director Devi Prasad Karnik told.
  • The first space mission in 2018 onboard the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C40) comes four months after a similar rocket failed to deliver the country’s eighth navigation satellite in the earth’s lower orbit on August 31, 2017.

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Highlights Of The Development-

  • The sixth Cartosat in 2A series and other satellites are being integrated with the rocket at the spaceport. Karnik said that the mission launch board will decide the rocket’s lift-off time for the reverse countdown two days ahead.
  • The mission’s payload will also include one each nano and micro satellite from India, besides Cartosat-2. As an observational satellite, Cartosat will beam high-quality images for cartographic, urban and rural applications, coastal land use and regulation and utility management like road network monitoring.
  • The previous satellite in the Cartosat-2 series was launched on February 15, 2017 from the spaceport on the east coast, about 90km northeast of Chennai.

Sources- The Indian Express.