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ISRO aims for World Record, Plans for 83 launches in a single rocket

Indian space agency ISRO is aiming for a world record by putting into orbit 83 satellites -- two Indian and 81 foreign -- on a single rocket in early 2017.
●    Antrix Corporation is the commercial arm of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
●    He said all the 83 satellites will be put in a single orbit and hence there will not be any switching off and on of the rocket.
●    The major challenge for the proposed mission is to hold the rocket in the same orbit till all the satellites are ejected.
●    ISRO will use its Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle XL (PSLV-XL) rocket variant for the record launch.
●    For ISRO, launch of multiple satellites at one go is not a new thing as it has done it several times in the past. 

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China kick starts microsatellites

Tiangong-2, the experimental space lab of China, on 23 October 2016 successfully launched a micro-satellite, Banxing-2. 
●    The micro-satellite is roughly the size of a desktop printer.
●    At present, Tiangong-2 is orbiting the Earth with two astronauts on board.
●    Its mission is to take photographs of Tiangong-2 and the Shenzhou 11 spacecraft, which docked with the lab on 19 October 2016.
●    The satellite, which the media has nicknamed "Selfie Stick", also has an infrared camera that is temperature - sensitive.
●    With three solar panels, the satellite can also generate enough power to adjust its orbit to shoot pictures of the lab and spacecraft.
●    The Shenzhou-11 spacecraft carried two astronauts into space on the 17 October 2016. It docked with Tiangong-2 two days later.
●    In 2008, its predecessor, Banxing-1, did the same work for Shenzhou 7.

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Planet Nine may be adding Wobble to the Solar System

Planet Nine — the undiscovered planet at the edge of the solar system — may be responsible for the unusual tilt of the Sun, according to a new study.
●    The large and distant planet that was predicted to exist in January this year may be adding a wobble to the solar system, giving the appearance that the Sun is tilted slightly, researchers said.
●    All of the planets orbit in a flat plane with respect to the Sun, roughly within a couple degrees of each other. 
●    This planet is about 10 times the size of Earth with an orbit that is about 20 times farther from the Sun.
●    Planet Nine, based on their calculations, appears to orbit at about 30 degrees off from the other planets’ orbital plane.

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NASA Probe Spots Possible Clouds on Pluto

NASA's New Horizons space probe has spotted possible clouds hovering over Pluto, indicating that the weather on the icy dwarf planet is more complex than thought.
●    Pluto's complex and layered atmosphere is hazy and appears to be mostly free of clouds, but the team has spied a handful of potential clouds in images.
●    While Pluto shows many kinds of activity, one surface process apparently missing is landslides. 
●    Hubble Space Telescope data suggests that 2014 MU69, a small Kuiper Belt object (KBO) about 1.6 billion kilometres beyond Pluto, is as red, if not redder, than Pluto.
●    The data confirms that on New Year's Day 2019, New Horizons will be looking at one of the ancient building blocks of the planets.
●    The New Horizons spacecraft is currently 5.5 billion kilometres from Earth and about 540 million kilometres beyond Pluto, speeding away from the sun at about 14 km every second.

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Orbital ATK's Antares Rocket Launched for the first time after '14 Blast

Orbital ATK on Monday launched its Antares rocket en route to the International Space Station for the first time since a massive explosion after liftoff two years ago.
●    The new Antares 230 rocket propelled an unmanned cargo capsule, called Cygnus, toward the orbiting outpost carrying 5,100 pounds (2,300 kilograms) of supplies, food and science experiments.
●    The first and second stage portion of the rocket separated about five minutes after the launch as planned, and the Cygnus cargo ship reached orbit shortly after, according to a live broadcast of the launch on NASA television.
●    It is scheduled to berth at the space station early on Sunday, October 23.
●    After the Cygnus is unloaded, astronauts will repack it with trash from the space station. 
●    The spaceship will unlatch from the ISS in a month and burn up on re-entry into Earth's atmosphere.
●    The previous Antares rocket exploded in a fireball on October 28, 2014 just seconds after liftoff, destroying the cargo capsule and damaging the launch pad.

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ISRO Plans to set up Telescope on Moon

Taking India’s space astronomy research a step forward, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has planned to set up a telescope on moon.
●    This telescope can have lot of advantages as there were no atmosphere or atmospheric effects associated with it.
●    At present, the organisation is exploring various possibilities of operating this scientific observation capability analogous to the one in Handley in West Virginia, US, remotely controlled at Bengaluru. 
●    In September last, ISRO launched Astrosat, the country’s first astronomical satellites with two telescopes.
●    Throwing more light on the GSLV Mark III, Kiran Kumar said the agency was gearing up for its launch later this year so that four-tonne satellites can be put up on the orbit. 
●    GSLV-Mark II had the capacity to launch 2.25 tons of satellites.
●    Private operators like SpaceX were posing a great challenge to government space agencies globally and ISRO realised that it can’t survive despite significant achievements unless it continued to innovate.

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China Launches Manned Mission to Experimental Manned Mission

On Sunday China moved a step closer to establish its permanent space station by 2022 as it launched a spacecraft carrying two astronauts, in its longest-ever manned space mission, who would later join its second experimental space lab orbiting the Earth.
●    Chinese astronauts Jing Haipeng, 50, and Chen Dong, 37, were blasted off into space by Shenzhou-11 (heavenly vessel) spacecraft at 7:30 am local time (5 am IST) from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre near the Gobi Desert in northern China. 
●    The Shenzhou-11 was put into orbit by a Long March-2F carrier rocket.
●    It will dock with orbiting space lab Tiangong-2 in two days and the astronauts will stay in the lab for 30 days, Wu Ping, Deputy Director of China's manned space engineering office said.
●    Hours before the lift-off, the two astronauts appeared in good spirits and answered several questions.


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Andhra, ISRO to Jointly Encourage Student Startups

Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu announced the decision to establish incubation centres in all the universities in Andhra Pradesh to undertake research based on space technologies following an understanding reached with the top scientists of Indian Space Research Organisation.
●    Disclosing this at the valedictory of World Space Week celebrations after talks with ISRO Chairman A.S. Kiran Kumar, Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SHAR) Director P. Kunhikrishnan and Vice-Chancellors of various universities,said they were the first to involve students in a big way to take up research to ensure inclusive development.
●    Mr. Naidu also announced the constitution of a committee comprising experts from various universities and ISRO in ensuring proper use of remote sensing and other data in conceiving innovative ideas into startups and subsequently commercial ventures.
●    The Chief Minister expressed satisfaction over enthusiasm shown by the students of Andhra University in photographing 5,000-odd toilets opened during Krishna Pushkarams for monitoring the cleanliness on real-time basis and said the government would sanction Rs.25 lakh initially for forming a startup at AU to monitor cleanliness at all public toilets.
●    Underlining the need for the students to innovate through out-of-the-box ideas, he said the time had come to use technologies to find out solutions to various problems faced by the people.
●    Mr. Naidu said the State was in the forefront of using technologies for e-governance and fixing responsibility at various levels for hassle-free administration.

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OSIRIS-REx Thrusters tested

The US space agency has successfully maneuvered its spacecraft on way to asteroid Bennu, fine-tuning its trajectory to reach it and bring back samples from a potentially dangerous asteroid that could collide with the Earth. 
●    The Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) spacecraft is on a journey that could revolutionise our understanding of the early solar system.
●    The OSIRIS-REx spacecraft fired its Trajectory Correction Maneuver (TCM) thrusters for the first time last weekend in order to adjust its trajectory on the outbound journey. 
●    The $800 million mission’s main goal is to collect a small sample of rocks and surface soil from Bennu that finds a place in NASA’s list of Potentially Hazardous Asteroids. 
●    Asteroids like Bennu are remnants from the formation of our solar system more than 4.5 billion years ago. 
●    Scientists suspect that asteroids may have been a source of the water and organic molecules for the early Earth and other planetary bodies.

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Hubble Space Telescope detects Great Balls of Fire

NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope in the first week of October 2016 detected Great Balls of Fire.
●    These super hot blobs of gas, each twice as big as the planet Mars, were being ejected near a dying star.
●    These plasma balls are moving so fast through space that it would take only 30 minutes for them to travel from Earth to the moon. 
●    The observations suggest that these balls of fire have been appearing every 8.5 years for at least the last four centuries.
●    The gas balls were observed near a red giant called V Hydrae that is about 1200 light-years away from Earth.
●    If scientists can discover where these balls come from, it could also explain other weird shapes seen in the cloud of gas around dying stars, some of which have been difficult for scientists to explain.
●    The Hubble Space Telescope is a space telescope that was launched into low Earth orbit in 1990. It remains in operation. It could last until 2030–2040.

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