Challakere to be ISRO’s astronaut training hub
India’s world class facility for training astronauts will come up at Challakere, Karnataka, a shrubby, arid and oilseeds town on the Bengaluru-Pune NH4 in Chitradurga district of Karnataka.
- The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has proposed a ₹ 2,700-crore master plan to create top infrastructure that will house its young Human Space Flight Centre (HSFC).
- The Institute of Aerospace Medicine of the Air Force has been roped in for their selection and basic and final training in Bengaluru.
About Gaganyaan Mission –
- Gaganyaan is the ₹10,000-crore Indian human space flight scheduled for 2022.
- It is designed to have 3-7 crew members spend 3-7 days in space in a 400-km orbit.
- GSLV Mk III, also called the LVM-3 (Launch Vehicle Mark-3) the three-stage heavy lift launch vehicle, will be used to launch Gaganyaan as it has the necessary payload capability.
- Under the Gaganyaan schedule, three flights will be sent in orbit. Of the three, there will be two unmanned flights and one human spaceflight.
NAL wants government push for Saras take off
The government needs to be the “launch customer” to make Saras Mk2 commercially viable, the National Aerospace Laboratory (NAL), which has developed the first indigenous light transport aircraft, told the Parliamentary Standing committee on Science and Technology.
- The 19-seater aircraft, developed with a target cost of Rs 50 crore, is at least 20-25% lower in cost than other aircraft in the similar category.
- The first prototype of Saras Mk2 flew in 2004.
- The NAL has been pitching Saras Mk-2 for the government’s UDAN (Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik), since it has the capacity to operate in “ill-equipped”, “semi-prepared” and “unpaved airstrips”.
About Saras Mk-2 –
- It is the first Indian multi-purpose civilian aircraft in the light transport aircraft category as designed by the National Aerospace Laboratories.
- In collaboration with the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, NAL is developing Sarak Mk-2, a 19 seater version of the airliner.
- NAL has completed basic training for pre-production standard and aims for certification in 4 years to produce first aircraft in following one-and-a-half year.
- The aircraft can be used for coastal surveillance as well as training young cadets on transport flying.
About NAL –
- National Aerospace Laboratories is India’s first largest aerospace firm.
- It was established by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research at Delhi in 1959 and its headquarters was later moved to Bangalore in 1960.
- The firm closely operates with HAL, DRDO and ISRO and has the prime responsibility of developing civilian aircraft in India.
Army to sign MoU for 7.5 lakh AK-203 assault rifles
The Army is likely to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the procurement of over 7.5 lakh AK-203 assault rifles, which are to be manufactured locally by an India-Russia Joint Venture ( JV).
- About 1 lakh rifles will come directly from Russia and the remaining will be manufactured by the JV in India.
- The rifles will be manufactured by the Indo-Russian Rifles Private Limited (IRRPL) at Korwa in Uttar Pradesh. The facility is being set up by the Ordnance Factories Board from the Indian side, and Rosoboron Exports and Kalashnikov on the Russian side.
Science outreach programme
The Union Government, during the 107th Indian Science Congress has proposed the implementation of scientific social responsibility (SSR).
What is proposed?
Under the programme, researchers who are working on a science project funded by any of the Ministries under the Central government will have to undertake activities to popularise science and make it more accessible to the public.
Constitutional provisions –
Article 51-A i.e. the Fundamental Duties recommends “To develop scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of inquiry and reform”.
India faces a year of tough trade talks
After walking out of negotiations on the 16-nation Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) free trade agreement, the government said it would renegotiate its existing Free Trade Agreements (FTA) and redouble its efforts to conclude other trade negotiations.
About Free Trade Agreements –
- A Free Trade Agreement is an agreement between countries to reduce or eliminate barriers to trade.
- Trade barriers include tariff barriers like taxes and non-tariff barriers like regulatory laws.
- A Free Trade Agreement or FTA is an agreement between two or more countries where the countries agree on certain obligations that affect trade in goods and services, and protections for investors and intellectual property rights, among other topics.
About RCEP –
- The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is a trade deal that is currently under negotiation among 16 countries — the 10 member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), and the six countries with which the ASEAN bloc has free trade agreements (FTA).
- The ASEAN, which includes Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam, has FTAs with India, Australia, China, South Korea, Japan and New Zealand.
Prelims facts –
Camp Simba is a US military base in Kenya, which was recently attacked by the Al-Shabaab terrorists.