Recent News

  • India poised to take Chennai Test, Australia down 6 wickets

    The fuelling of the second stage of the Indian rocket that would sling seven satellites into space has been completed and it is expected to lift off around 6 pm Monday, an official of the Indian space agency said.

    President Pranab Mukherjee is slated to witness the launch of the first of the 10 space missions planned by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) in 2013.

    The 44.4-metre tall Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle-C20 (PSLV-C20) rocket, with a lift-off weight of 229.7 tonnes, will sling into orbit seven satellites - one Indo-French and six foreign satellites.

    The seven satellites together weigh 668.5 kg. The entire flight sequence - lift-off to the ejection of the seventh satellite at an altitude of 794 km above the earth - will take around 22 minutes.

    The successful launch of the satellites will take ISRO's tally of launching foreign satellites to 35. ISRO started putting into space third-party satellites for a fee in 1999 on its PSLV-C2 rocket.

    Since then India has been successful in launching medium-weight satellites for overseas agencies. Initially ISRO started carrying third-party satellite atop PSLC rockets as co-passengers of its own remote sensing/earth observation satellites.

    Later in 2007, ISRO launched an Italian satellite Agile as a standalone luggage for a fee.

    India began its space journey in 1975 with the launch of Aryabhatta using a Russian rocket and till date, it has completed 100 missions.

    On Monday, the PSLV-C20 rocket will carry the 407-kg Indo-French satellite SARAL (Satellite with ARGOS and ALTIKA) as the primary luggage and six other satellites as piggy-back.

    The SARAL will study the sea surface heights and the data generated will be shared by both the countries.

    According to ISRO, the SARAL satellite is the first under the Indian mini-satellite bus-series 2 configured for 400 kg satellites.

    The Indian space agency states this satellite frame is envisaged to be the workhorse for different types of operational missions in the coming years.

    The other six satellites the PSLV-C20 would carry are two Canadian satellite NEOSSat (Near Earth Object Space Surveillance Satellite), the world's first space telescope designed by Canadian Space Agency (CSA), and Sapphire satellite built by MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates (MDA), BRITE and UniBRITE (both Austria), STRaND-1 (Britain) and AAUSAT (Denmark).

    The STRaND-1 (Surrey Training, Research, and Nanosatellite Demonstrator) is the world's first 'smart phone satellite' carrying Google Nexus One phone running on Android operating system.

    The 6.5 kg satellite is a Britain mission, jointly developed by the University of Surrey's Surrey Space Centre (SSC) and Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL).

    The phone will run several applications, including collection of data and take pictures of the earth with its camera.

    Once all the satellites' own operating systems have been checked out, key system functions will be transferred to the phone's components to take control and operate the satellite, said SSTL on its website.

    According to the CPA, the satellite NEOSSat will detect and track asteroids and satellites circling the globe every 100 minutes and scanning space near the Sun to pinpoint otherwise almost invisible asteroids.

    The satellite will also be useful in tracking resident space objects, including space debris.

    On the other hand, Sapphire will look for resident space objects that include functioning satellites and space debris circling between 6,000 km and 40,000 km above the earth.

  • Nokia launches cheaper Windows Lumia smartphone

    Nokia is launching a cheaper model in its Lumia smartphone range, powered by Microsoft's Windows phone software, as it tries to regain dominance in emerging markets like China.

    The Finnish cellphone maker, which until recently was the world's largest maker of phones, says the new Lumia 520 will start at (euro) 139, or about $183, before phone-company subsidies. By contrast, Apple's two-year-old iPhone 4 costs $450 before subsidies.

    Nokia says it will start selling the phone soon in Asia, Europe, Latin America and Africa. It also says T-Mobile USA will sell it, but did not say when.

    At an event in Barcelona on Monday, Nokia CEO Stephen Elop says the company believes the phone ``delivers the best performance of any smartphone at this price point.''

  • India poised to take Chennai Test, Australia down 6 wickets

    India's spin trio of Ravichandran Ashwin, Harbhajan Singh and Ravindra Jadeja took full advantage of a crumbling pitch as the hosts inched closer towards a comprehensive victory by reducing Australia to 128 for five on the fourth day of the first Test, here today.

    At tea, Australia required another 64 runs to avoid the ignominy of an innings defeat and their captain Michael Clarke (31 batting) is waging a lone battle with little support from the other end.

    Harbhajan, Jadeja and Ashwin exploited the deteriorating conditions as they polished the Australian top-half in the post-lunch session as India looked to go for the kill. While Harbhajan and Ashwin got two wickets each, Jadeja had one.

    Starting the post-lunch session at 34 for one, the Aussie batsmen found it difficult to play a surviving game on a pitch where there were enough footmarks on both sides for the spinners to trouble the batsmen.

    Whenever the delivery landed on the rough, there was vicious turn on offer and also the variable bounce made life even more difficult.

    Ed Cowan (32), who was trying to graft his way having played 97 balls, was finally adjudged leg before when an Ashwin delivery straightened after pitching and the left-hander wasn't entirely committed to the front foot.

    Although the batsman didn't look too happy, television replays suggested that the ball would have hit middle stump.

    Phillip Hughes's nightmare ended in three balls as he got a delivery from Jadeja that nastily jumped onto him after hitting one of the spots. The ball ballooned off his gloves and Sehwag took the easiest of catches at slip.