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Science & Technology Current
science & Technology Current November 2nd week 2014
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science & Technology Current November 2nd week 2014

 1. China launches two BeiDou-3 navigation satellites.

The satellites were put into orbit by a Long March rocket which blasted off from the Xichang launch centre in Sichuan province on Sunday evening. The launch was scheduled for July but was postponed after two other satellite launches failed.

China plans within three years to have launched more than 30 Beidou-3 satellites to establish a global positioning system similar to GPS developed by the United States, Russia’s GLONASS system and the European Union’s Galileo network. The current Beidou system, consisting of more than 20 satellites, covers only China and the surrounding regions.

It needs additional, more advanced satellites to carry out tasks such as guiding Chinese warships to their naval base at Djibouti in East Africa, among other military and commercial operations. “When the service goes global in 2020, Beidou as a fundamental infrastructure in space will provide important coordinates of time or space and become a pillar of national security,” said Yang Changfeng, the chief designer of the Beidou system, in a statement posted on the project’s website on Monday.

2. Scientists discover universe’s most ancient spiral galaxy.

The most ancient spiral galaxy discovered to date is revealing its secrets to a team of astronomers at Swinburne University of Technology and The Australian National University (ANU), part of the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence in All Sky Astrophysics in 3-D (ASTRO 3-D).


The galaxy, known as A1689B11, existed 11 billion years in the past, just 2.6 billion years after the Big Bang, when the universe was only one fifth of its present age. It is thus the most ancient spiral galaxy discovered so far.

The researchers used a powerful technique that combines gravitational lensing with the cutting-edge instrument the Near-infrared Integral Field Spectrograph (NIFS) on the Gemini North telescope in Hawai`i to verify the vintage and spiral nature of this galaxy. NIFS is Australia`s first Gemini instrument that was designed and built by the late Peter McGregor at The ANU.

Gravitational lenses are nature`s largest telescopes, created by massive clusters composed of thousands of galaxies and dark matter. The cluster bends and magnifies the light of galaxies behind it in a manner similar to an ordinary lens, but on a much larger scale.

3. Long-Range Cruise Missile ‘Nirbhay’ Test-Fired.

India`s most sophisticated long-range subsonic cruise missile `Nirbhay` was test fired from the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur on Tuesday.This test fire will continue for another three days while the final test will be done on November 9.

"The indigenously-designed and developed missile with a strike range of 1,000 km was test launched from a specially-designed launcher at 10.30 a.m. earlier today from the launch complex-3 of the ITR, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO)," sources said.

Nirbhay missile, with a turbo-fan engine, is guided by a highly advanced inertial navigation system. Capable of carrying 24 kinds of war weapons, the missile is able to target multiple places simultaneously."After the missile achieves a designated altitude and velocity, the booster motor is separated and the torfan engine automatically switches on taking over further propulsion," the DRDO sources added.

Mid-way in its flight, the missiles wings open up by the commands generated by the sophisticated on board computer for stabilising the flight path. The missile is tracked with the help of ground based radars and its health parameters are monitored by indigenous telemetry stations by team of professionals from DRDOs ITR and LRDE (Electronics & Radar Development Establishment).

The maiden test flight of Nirbhay was held on March 12, 2013 that had to be terminated mid way for safety reasons due to malfunction of a component, sources said. However, the second launch was on October 17, 2014 which was successful.



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