Today's Headlines

Today's Headlines - 31 July 2023

ISRO PSLV-C56 mission successful

GS Paper - 3 (Space Technology)

India space agency, ISRO, on 30 July 2023 successfully launched its proven PSLV rocket carrying seven Singaporean satellites from Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota. After lift-off, the primary satellite got separated and it was followed by six other co-passenger satellites, which were deployed into the intended orbits sequentially.

The primary payload

  • The primary payload carried by ISRO's trusted workhorse Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle is the DS-SAR Radar Imaging Earth Observation satellite, which has been developed under a partnership between DSTA (representing the Government of Singapore) and ST Engineering, Singapore.
  • The 360-kg satellite, upon deployment at an altitude of 535 km into a Near-equatorial Orbit (NEO), would be used to support the satellite imagery requirements of various agencies within the Government of Singapore.
  • ST Engineering would use the satellite for multi-modal and higher responsiveness imagery and geospatial services for their commercial customers.
  • The satellite carries a Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) payload developed by Israel Aerospace Industries.
  • The payload allows DS-SAR to provide for all-weather day-and-night coverage and it is capable of imaging at 1-metre resolution.

The co-passenger satellites are:

  • VELOX-AM, a 23 kg technology demonstration microsatellite
  • ARCADE Atmospheric Coupling and Dynamics Explorer (ARCADE), an experimental satellite
  • SCOOB-II, a 3U nanosatellite flying a technology demonstrator payload
  • NULloN by NuSpace, an advanced 3U nanosatellite enabling seamless Internet of Things connectivity in both urban and remote locations
  • Galassia-2, a 3U nanosatellite that would be orbiting at low earth orbit
  • ORB-12 STRIDER, a satellite developed under an international collaboration.

About Launch Vehicle

  • This mission is the 58th flight of PSLV and using the 17th vehicle with Core Alone Configuration.
  • Core Alone version of the rocket means the vehicle would not use solid strap-on motors on its sides in the first stage as compared to other variants like PSLV-XL, QL, and DL which use six, four, or two boosters, respectively.
  • PSLV has earned its title as the 'Workhorse of ISRO' through consistently delivering various satellites into low earth orbits.
  • This is the second campaign to be undertaken by ISRO after the much-awaited Chandrayaan-3 mission which was launched on 14 July 2023 from the second launch pad, at Satish Dhawan Space Centre.


India targets $300 billion worth bioeconomy

GS Paper - 3 (Economy)

Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Science and Technology and Minister of State (Independent Charge) Earth Sciences Jitendra Singh said India has a target of $300 billion in bioeconomy by 2030.

More about Bioeconomy

  • Bioeconomy is the productionutilization, and conservation of biological resources, including related knowledgesciencetechnology, and innovation, to provide informationproductsprocesses, and services across all economic sectors.
  • The Indian biotech industry is aligned around five major segments -- BioPharmaBioAgricultureBioIndustrialBio-energy and a combined segment of BioServices comprising of BioIT, CROs, and Research Services. Bioeconomy is seen as a means to address societal challenges.
  • For example, the use of bio-mass or renewable resources in energy production processes, use of green chemicals and materialsbiofertilizers, and waste reduction may impact and have a cascading effect on carbon footprint, food and nutrition, health, energy independence, and environmental sustainability.
  • New innovative solutions are expected from the biotech Industry, research institutes, and growing biotech startup ecosystem.
  • The number of biotech Startups in the country has increased from 50 to over 5,300 in the last 10 years, because of the growing enabling ecosystem and prioritization provided by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
  • The minister had also launched a special Biotech Ignition Grant call for the northeast Region (BIG-NER) and announced financial support of up to Rs 50 Lakhs each to 25 startups and entrepreneurs from North East Region to develop biotech solutions.


International Tiger Day

GS Paper - 3 (Environment)

29 July is celebrated world over as the International Tiger Day in a bid to raise awareness on various issues surrounding tiger conservation. It was first instituted in 2010 at the Tiger Summit in St Petersburg, Russia when the 13 tiger range countries came together to create Tx2, the global goal to double the number of wild tigers by the year 2022. Last year, the designated date for achieving the goals of Tx2, however, saw uneven progress. As per the World Wildlife Fund, while countries in Southeast Asia struggled to control population decline, others, like India, fared much better.

How Project Tiger came about

  • Project Tiger was launched by the Central government on 1 April 1973, in a bid to promote conservation of the tiger.
  • The programme came at a time when India’s tiger population was rapidly dwindling. According to reports, while there were 40,000 tigers in the country at the time of the Independence (in 1947), they were soon reduced to below 2,000 by 1970 due to widespread hunting and habitat destrcutions.
  • Concerns around the issue intensified when in 1970, the International Union for Conservation of Nature declared the tiger as an endangered species.
  • Two years later, the Indian government conducted its own tiger census and found that there were only 1,800 of them left in the country.
  • To tackle the problem of hunting and poaching of not just tigers but also other animals and birds, then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi promulgated the Wildlife Protection Act in 1972.
  • A year later, after a task force urged the government to create a chain of reserves dedicated to tiger preservation, Indira unveiled Project Tiger.

What is Project Tiger?

  • Launched at the Jim Corbett National Park, the programme was initially started in nine tiger reserves of different States such as AssamBiharKarnatakaMadhya PradeshMaharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal, covering over 14,000 sq km.
  • Notably, Project Tiger didn’t just focus on the conservation of the big cats. It also ensured the preservation of their natural habitat as tigers are at the top of the food chain.

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