India successfully fires heaviest launch vehicle

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) successfully launched its heaviest launch vehicle, GSLV MkIII-D1, and placed the country’s heaviest satellite till date, GSAT-19, into a precise orbit.

  • This was the first orbital mission of GSLV MkIII which was mainly intended to evaluate the vehicle performance including that of its fully indigenous cryogenic upper stage during the flight.
  • Weighing 3136 kg at lift-off, GSAT-19 is the heaviest satellite launched.


  • GSKV-Mk III  is capable of launching four-tonne satellites in the Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO).
  • The rocket is also capable of placing up to eight tonnes in a Low Earth Orbit (LEO), enough to carry a manned module.
  • GSLV-Mk III is a three-stage vehicle with two solid motor strap-ons (S200), a liquid propellant core stage (L110) and a cryogenic stage (C-25).
  • It is the first fully functional rocket to be tested with a cryogenic engine.


  • GSAT-19 satellite developed to help improve telecommunication and broadcasting areas.gsat 19
  • GSAT-19 satellite with a lift-off mass of 3136 kg.
  • It carries Ka/Ku-band high throughput communication transponders and Geostationary Radiation Spectrometer (GRASP) payload to monitor and study the nature of charged particles and the influence of space radiation on satellites and their electronic components.

Tejas Successfully Test Fires Beyond Visual Range Missile

Tejas, the Light Combat Aircraft successfully demonstrated an Air-to-Air Beyond Visual Range (BVR) missile firing capability by releasing Derby Air-to-Air BVR missile in RADAR guided mode.

Key Fact

  • The objective of the test was to assess the Derby integration with aircraft systems on-board Tejas including the aircraft avionics, fire-control radar, launchers and Missile Weapon Delivery System and to verify its performance.
  • test was conducted on a Manoeuvrable Aerial Target at the Interim Test Range (ITR), Chandipur.
  • The Derby firing is a major step towards clearing BVR capabilities on LCA aircraft for Final Operational Configuration.

What is BVR?

Targeting an object beyond the visual range of the pilot. The pilot actually see the target, on radar or by other artificial means. Beyond-visual-range missile (BVR) is an air-to-air missile (BVRAAM) that is capable of engaging at ranges of 20 nmi (37 km) or beyond. This range has been achieved using dual pulse rocket motors or booster rocket motor and ramjet sustainer motor.


  • Derby (Alto) is a beyond visual range (BVR) air-to-air missile (AAM).
  • It is developed by Israeli defence company Rafael Advanced Defense Systems to meet the combat needs of the armed forces.
  • It is integrated onto a variety of fighter aircraft such as F-5, F-16 Fighting Falcon, Gripen E and Mirage
  • Capable of engaging aerial threats from short ranges and near-beyond visual range.
  • Powered by a rocket motor, the Derby missile has a speed of Mach 4 and can hit targets at a range of up to 50km.

Tejas Aircraft

An indigenous fighter aircraft jointly developed by Aeronautical Development Agency and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited. It is the smallest lightweight, multi-role, single-engine tactical fighter aircraft in the world and is being developed in single-seat fighter and twin seat trainer variants for the Indian Air Force and Indian Navy.

Source : Pib

GS III : Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology

Nod for GM mustard

Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC), India’s apex regulator for genetically modified seeds cleared GM mustard for environmental release and use in farmer fields. If it get final nod from Environment Ministery GM mustard would be the first transgenic food crop.

What is Gm Mustard? 

DMH (Dhara Mustard Hybrid)-11 is genetically modified variety of mustard developed by Centre for Genetic Manipulation of Crop Plants at Delhi University. It was Government sponsored project. Mustard is one of India’s most important winter crops sown between mid-October and late November.

Favourable Arguments

  • Yields about 30% more than a traditional.
  • Need to raise domestic crop yields and cut dependence on imports.

Arguments Against

  • Can affect honeybees directly and indirectly through effecting flowering and pollen production.
  • It will force farmers to use only select brands of agro-chemicals because it use external gene that makes the plant resistant to herbicide.
  • May adversely affect environment, human and animal health.

Source : The Hindu

GS III : Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life

Lunar palace on earth

Chinese students will live in a laboratory simulating a lunar-like environment for up to 200 days as China prepares for its long-term goal of putting humans on the moon.  The project seeks to help the country prepare lunar explorers for longer stays on the surface.

Key Facts

  • Research university Beihang entered the 160-square-metre (1,720-square-foot) cabin dubbed the “Yuegong-1”, or Lunar Palace.
  • The volunteers will live in the sealed lab to simulate a long-term, self-contained space mission with no input from the outside world.
  • Two men and two women entered the lab for an initial stay of 60 days.
  • They will then be relieved by another group of four, who will stay 200 days, before returning for an additional 105.
  • Experimental crops and vegetables grown with the help of food and waste byproducts.
  • Human waste will be treated with a bio-fermentation process.
  • The “Lunar Palace” has two plant cultivation modules and a living cabin: 42 square metres containing four bed cubicles, a common room, a bathroom, a waste-treatment room and a room for raising animals.
  • The Lunar Palace is the world’s third bioregenerative life-support base, and the first developed in China.

Source : The Hindu

GS III : Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights

Artificial bone marrow could make transplants safer

Scientists, led by an Indian-origin researcher, have developed artificial bone tissues that could provide new bone marrow for patients needing transplants and make the procedure much safer.

Bone marrow

  • Bone marrow is the flexible tissue in the interior of bones.
  • In humans, red blood cells are produced by cores of bone marrow in the heads of long bones in a process known as hematopoiesis.
  • Bone marrow transplants can be conducted to treat severe diseases of the bone marrow, including certain forms of cancer such as leukemia.

About Research

  • Bone marrow transplants are used to treat patients with bone marrow disease.
  • Developed bone tissues with functional bone marrow that can be filled with donor cells and implanted under the skin of mice.
  • The structures matured into bone tissues that have a working blood vessel network and a bone marrow inside that supplies new blood cells.
  • Donor cells survived for at least six months and supplied the mice with new blood cells.

Importance of Artificial Bone Marrow

Before a transplant, a patient is first given doses of radiation to kill off any existing stem cells in the patient’s bone marrow. Pre-treatment is meant to improve success of the transplant by clearing up space in the marrow. It will allow donor cells to survive and grow without competition from the patient’s own cells. This treatment often comes with harmful side effects, such as nausea, fatigue, loss of fertility and others. To address these issues, researchers developed a bone-like implant that gives donor cells their own space to live and grow without competition, eliminating the need to wipe out the host’s pre-existing cells.

Source : The Hindu

GS III : Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life

GSLV Successfully Launches South Asia Satellite

India’s Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV-F09) successfully launched the 2230 kg South |Asia Satellite (GSAT-9) into its planned Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO).

Key Fact

  • Data from GSAT-9 will be shared with Nepal, Bhutan, Maldives, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
  • It was also offered to Pakistan, which turned it down and India is also working with Afghanistan but a deal has still not be ironed out.
  • At least one transponder of this satellite will be available to the participating countries, which will help them connect with each other.
  • The satellite also has the capability to provide secure hot lines among the participating nations in addition since the region is highly prone to earthquakes, cyclones, floods, tsunamis.
  • The South Asia Satellite is India’s plan to counter China’s growing influence on its neighbours.

About the satellite

  • South Asia Satellite is a geosynchronous communications and meteorology satellite
  • The 2230-kg satellite’s main structure is cuboid in shape, built around a central cylinder with a mission life of more than 12 years.
  • The South Asia Satellite is now orbiting the Earth with a perigee (nearest point to Earth) of 169 km and an apogee (farthest point to Earth) of 36,105 km with an orbital inclination of 20.65 deg with respect to the equator.

About GSLV-F09

  • This is the fourth consecutive success achieved by GSLV carrying indigenously developed Cryogenic Upper Stage.
  • 49 metres tall and weighing around 450 ton, the GSLV is a three stage rocket.
  • The first stage is fired with solid fuel, the second with liquid fuel and the third is the cryogenic engine. 

Source : The Hindu

GS III : Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology

BrahMos missile achieves rare feat

Army carried out a successful test of the advanced BrahMos Block III Land Attack Cruise Missile (LACM) in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

About testing

  • This is the second consecutive test of the missile in two days an operational configuration carried by the Army’s South Western Command-based 1 strike corps.
  • This is the fifth consecutive time when the Block-III version of BrahMos LACM has been successfully launched and hit the land-based target in top-attack mode.
  • Testing was conducted for precise capabilities of BrahMos missile for quick sea access and denial in the event of a conflict.
  • This is not achieved by any other weapon system of its genre.
  • Tests were carried out in full operational land-to-land configurations from Mobile Autonomous Launchers (MAL) at full-range.

BrahMos Missile

  • BrahMos is a product of joint collaboration between India and Russia
  • It is capable of being launched from land, sea, sub-sea and air against surface and sea-based targets.
  • Currently range of the supersonic missile is capped at 290 km.
  • India’s entry into the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) the range has been extended to 450 km and the plan is to increase it to 600km.
  • It can be laumched from Ship, submarine, aircraft (under testing), and land-based mobile launchers.
  • It has a two-stage propulsion system, with a solid-propellant rocket for initial acceleration and a liquid-fuelled ramjet for second.

Source : The Hindu

GS III : Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology

3D-printed cartilage to treat osteoarthritis

Researchers have successfully generated cartilage tissue using a 3D bioprinter, an advance that could lead to new treatments for osteoarthritis.

3D bioprinting

  • Bioprinted tissue can be used to repair cartilage damage or to treat osteoarthritis in which joint cartilage degenerates and breaks down.
  • The team used cartilage cells harvested from patients who underwent knee surgery, and these cells were then manipulated in a laboratory, causing them to rejuvenate and revert into pluripotent stem cells cells that have the potential to develop into many different types of cells.
  • Stem cells were then expanded and encapsulated in a composition of nanofibrillated cellulose and printed into a structure using a 3D bioprinter.
  • The stem cells were treated with growth factors that caused them to differentiate correctly.

What is osteoarthritis ?

The wearing down of the protective tissue at the ends of bones (cartilage) occurs gradually and worsens over time. Joint pain in the hands, neck, lower back, knees or hips is the most common symptom.

Source : The Hindu
GS II : Developments and their applications and effects in everyday life

SAARC satellite launch on May 5

South Asia Satellite, which India has built for use by countries of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) will be launched on May 5. It is an important step by India to enhance co-operation with the entire South Asia. Pakistan is not a part of the mission. Other seven members of SAARC participate in the mission.

About the satellite

  • The 2,230-kg satellite was built by the Indian Space Research Organisation and has 12 Ku-band transponders.
  • The GSAT-09 offers a full range of applications and services in telecommunication and broadcasting: Television, Direct-to-Home (DTH), Very Small Aperture Terminals (VSATs), Tele-education, Telemedicine and Disaster Management Support.
  • The GSLV-F09 is about 50 metre tall and is the 11th flight of the GSLV.
  • It is cuboid in shape and built around a central cylinder.
  • It has a mission life of over 12 years.
  • It will be launched on the Geostationary Launch Vehicle Mk-II.


Natural resources mapping, telemedicine, education, deeper IT connectivity or fostering people-to-people contact,  Television, Direct-to-Home (DTH), Very Small Aperture Terminals (VSATs), Tele-education, Telemedicine and Disaster Management Support.


  • South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) is the regional intergovernmental organization and geopolitical union of nations in South Asia.
  • Its member states include Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
  • SAARC comprises 3% of the world’s area, 21% of the world’s population and 3.8% (US$ 2.9 trillion) of the global economy.
  • Its secretariat is based in Kathmandu, Nepal.
  • States with observer status include Australia, China, the European Union, Iran, Japan, Mauritius, Myanmar, South Korea and the United States.

Source : The Hindu, SAARC

GS III : Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.

Intellectual property rights awareness campaign in schools

National Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Policy, which was approved by the Union Cabinet on 12th May 2016 is a significant move forward to encourage creativity and stimulate innovation in the country.
Cell for IPR Promotion and Management (CIPAM)in collaboration with the International Trademark Association (INTA) kicked off the IPR Awareness campaign for schools across the country in New Delhi at Kendriya Vidyalaya.

About policy

  • Focus areas is children in schools, as it is essential to nurture creativity and the ability to innovate from a young age.
  • A streamlined system is being worked out to conduct over 3500 awareness programmes in schools, universities and the industry across the country including Tier 1, Tier 2, Tier 3 cities as well as rural areas along with translating the content to various regional languages for a wider reach.
  • Programme was an hour long interactive session with a presentation delivered by the INTA Working Group which included various games and activities to keep the kids engaged.
  • Along with the presentation, posters on different IPs were put up and mementos including a brochure on IP designed for kids was given to all students in attendance of the session.

Source : Pib

GS III :  Issues relating to intellectual property rights.