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Current Affairs for UPSC IAS Exam – 14 August 2021 | Legacy IAS Academy

Contents

  1. All about ISRO’s GSLV-F10 failure: EOS-03 Mission
  2. Vehicle-scrappage policy and circular economy
  3. FEMBoSA – 2021 Annual Meeting
  4. Open Acreage Licensing Programme
  5. Britain imposes sanctions on Belarus

All about ISRO’s GSLV-F10 failure: EOS-03 Mission

Context:

The launch of earth observation satellite EOS-03, aboard the Indian Space Research Organisation ’s (Isro) heavy launch vehicle GSLV-F10 was unsuccessful as the third stage of the engine did not ignite.

The performance of the first and second stages was normal. However, the Cryogenic Upper Stage ignition did not happen due to technical anomaly.

Relevance:

GS-III: Science and Technology (Space Technology, Advancements in Space technology), Prelims

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV)
  2. About GSLV launch vehicles
  3. About GSLV and PSLV – Differences and Similarities
  4. About Propellants used in our Rockets
  5. What is a Geostationary Orbit, and what the other types of Orbits?

About Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV)

  • Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) is an expendable launch system operated by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
  • GSLV was used in fourteen launches from 2001 to 2021, with more launches planned.
  • The Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) project was initiated in 1990 with the objective of acquiring an Indian launch capability for geosynchronous satellites.
  • GSLV uses major components that are already proven in the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) launch vehicles in the form of solid rocket boosters and the liquid-fueled Vikas engine.
  • Due to the thrust required for injecting the satellite in a geostationary transfer orbit (GTO) the third stage was to be powered by a LOX/LH2 Cryogenic engine – and the Indian cryogenic engine which was built for this purpose at the Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre uses liquid hydrogen (LH2) and liquid oxygen (LOX).

About GSLV launch vehicles

  • GSLV Mark III is a three-stage medium-lift launch vehicle developed by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
  • GSLV MK III is designed to carry the 4-ton weight of satellites into Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO), or about 10 tons to Low Earth Orbit (LEO), which is about twice the capacity of GSLV Mk II, and more than thrice the capacity of ISRO’s old workhorse PSLV.
  • The GSLV-F10 was a three-stage engine rocket, with
    • the first being solid fuel and the four strap-on motors by liquid fuel;
    • the second being liquid fuel engine;
    • the and third being a cryogenic engine.

About Acquiring the Cryogenic Engine

ISRO, during the 1990s, planned to acquire booster technology from the Russian Space Organization, Glavkosmos. But, since the United States opposed this technology transfer and imposed sections against the ISRO in 1992, Glavkosmos halted the transfer but agreed to sell some hardware. As a result, India developed its own technology and research capability.

About GSLV and PSLV – Differences and Similarities

  • GSLV (Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle) and PSLV (Polar satellite launch vehicle) both are satellite- launch vehicles (rockets) developed by ISRO.
  • India joined a group of six nations on 1994, and successfully demonstrated the placement of 800- kg remote sensing satellite, IRS-P2 using PSLV.
  • PSLV earned its title ‘the Workhorse of ISRO’ when it consistently delivered the IRS series of satellites.
  • GSLV presented the Indian Space Program with its most demanding test. It was developed when India felt the need for a heavy lift booster, in the early 1980s (as PSLV was inadequate to place heavy payloads in geosynchronous orbit).
  • PSLV is the third generation launch vehicle of India and the first Indian launch vehicle which is equipped with liquid stages. GSLV, on the other hand, is the fourth generation launch vehicle and is a three-stage vehicle with four liquid strap-ons.
  • PSLV is designed mainly to deliver the earth observation or remote sensing satellites, whereas, GSLV has been designed for launching communication satellites. GSLV delivers satellites into a higher elliptical orbit, Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO) and Geosynchronous Earth Orbit (GEO).
  • PSLV can carry satellites up to a total weight of 2000 kgs into space and reach up to an altitude of 600-900 km. GSLV can carry weight up to 5000 kgs and reach up to 36,000 km.

About Propellants used in our Rockets

  • A propellant is a chemical mixture burned to produce thrust in rockets and consists of a fuel and an oxidizer.
  • Fuel is a substance that burns when combined with oxygen-producing gas for propulsion.
  • An oxidizer is an agent that releases oxygen for combination with a fuel. The ratio of oxidizer to fuel is called the mixture ratio.
  • Propellants are classified according to their state – liquid, solid, or hybrid.
  • Liquid Propellants: In a liquid propellant rocket, the fuel and oxidizer are stored in separate tanks and are fed through a system of pipes, valves, and turbopumps to a combustion chamber where they are combined and burned to produce thrust.
    • Liquid propellants used in rockets can be classified into three types: petroleum, cryogens, and hypergolic.
  • Cryogenic propellants are liquefied gases stored at very low temperatures, most frequently liquid hydrogen (LH2) as the fuel and liquid oxygen (LO2 or LOX) as the oxidizer. Hydrogen remains liquid at temperatures of -253 oC (-423 oF) and oxygen remains in a liquid state at temperatures of -183 oC (-297 oF).
  • Solid propellant: These are the simplest of all rocket designs. They consist of a casing, usually steel, filled with a mixture of solid compounds (fuel and oxidizer) that burn at a rapid rate, expelling hot gases from a nozzle to produce thrust. When ignited, a solid propellant burns from the center out towards the sides of the casing.

What is a Geostationary Orbit, and what the other types of Orbits?

Geostationary orbit

  • A geostationary orbit, often referred to as a GEO orbit, circles the Earth above the equator from west to east at a height of 36 000 km. As it follows the Earth’s rotation, which takes 23 hours 56 minutes and 4 seconds, satellites in a GEO orbit appear to be ‘stationary’ over a fixed position. Their speed is about 3 km per second.
  • As satellites in geostationary orbit continuously cover a large portion of the Earth, this makes it an ideal orbit for telecommunications or for monitoring continent-wide weather patterns and environmental conditions. It also decreases costs as ground stations do not need to track the satellite. A constellation of three equally spaced satellites can provide full coverage of the Earth, except for the polar regions.

Geostationary transfer orbit

  • This is an elliptical Earth orbit used to transfer a spacecraft from a low altitude orbit or flight trajectory to geostationary orbit. The apogee is at 36,000 km. When a spacecraft reaches this point, its apogee kick motor is fired to inject it into geostationary orbit.

Low Earth orbits

  • A low Earth orbit is normally at an altitude of less than 1000 km and could be as low as 160 km above the Earth. Satellites in this circular orbit travel at a speed of around 7.8 km per second. At this speed, a satellite takes approximately 90 minutes to circle the Earth.
  • In general, these orbits are used for remote sensing, military purposes and for human spaceflight as they offer close proximity to the Earth’s surface for imaging and the short orbital periods allow for rapid revisits. The International Space Station is in low Earth orbit.

Medium low Earth orbit

  • This orbit takes place at an altitude of around 1000 km and is particularly suited for constellations of satellites mainly used for telecommunications. A satellite in this orbit travels at approximately 7.3 km per second.

Polar orbits

  • As the name suggests, polar orbits pass over the Earth’s polar regions from north to south. The orbital track of the satellite does not have to cross the poles exactly for an orbit to be called polar, an orbit which passes within 20 to 30 degrees of the poles is still classed as a polar orbit.
  • These orbits mainly take place at low altitudes of between 200 to 1000 km. Satellites in polar orbit look down on the Earth’s entire surface and can pass over the North and South Poles several times a day.
  • Polar orbits are used for reconnaissance and Earth observation. If a satellite is in polar orbit at an altitude of 800 km, it will be travelling at a speed of approximately 7.5 km per second.

Sun synchronous orbits

  • These are polar orbits which are synchronous with the Sun. A satellite in a sun synchronous orbit would usually be at an altitude of between 600 to 800 km. Generally, these orbits are used for Earth observation, solar study, weather forecasting and reconnaissance, as ground observation is improved if the surface is always illuminated by the Sun at the same angle when viewed from the satellite.

Click Here to read more about Earth Observation Satellites EOS-03

-Source: Indian Express


Vehicle-scrappage policy and circular economy

Context:

Recently, the Prime Minister launched the National Vehicle Scrappage Policy on August 13, 2021.

Relevance:

GS-III: Environment and Ecology (Environmental Pollution and Degradation, Conservation of the Environment, Government Policies and Interventions), GS-III: Indian Economy (Macroeconomics)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About the National Vehicle Scrappage Policy
  2. Benefits of the National Vehicle Scrappage Policy policy
  3. What is Circular economy?

About the National Vehicle Scrappage Policy

  • The National Vehicle Scrappage Policy is also dubbed as “voluntary vehicle-fleet modernisation programme” and aims to modernise India’s “vehicular population”.
  • It also seeks to remove unfit vehicles from roads in an environment-friendly and scientific manner.
  • It is in line with India’s goal for 21st century to achieve a clean, congestion-free and convenient mobility.
  • It seeks to create a viable circular economy and bring value for all stakeholders.
  • Under the policy, vehicles will be scientifically tested through authorised and automated centres before it is finally scrapped.
  • As a disincentive, increased re-registration fees would be applicable for vehicles 15 years or older from the initial date registration.
  • Which vehicles are to be scrapped?
  • Commercial vehicles with age of 15 years and personal vehicles with age of 20 years old have been marked for scrapping irrespective of whether they run on diesel or petrol. These vehicles would be scrapped if they fail an automated fitness test following which these will be deregistered.

Benefits of the National Vehicle Scrappage Policy policy

  • Policy has several economic and environmental benefits. It will play a big role in modernising and phasing out the old polluting vehicles in an environment friendly manner.
  • This policy of modernity in mobility will reduce the burden of travel and transportation.
  • It will also promote self-reliance of India in the auto sector and metal sector.
  • According to the Union Road Transport and Highways Minister, currently, India has 10 million cars without valid fitness parameters that adds to pollution and fuel costs. Thus, replacement of old vehicles will positively benefit environment.
  • It will generate about 50000 generate direct and indirect employment.
  • It will lead to creation of more scrap yards in the country and effective recovery of waste from old vehicles.
  • In the new fitness centers, 35 thousand people will get employment and an investment of Rs 10,000 crores will be pumped in.
  • This will boost sales of heavy and medium commercial vehicles that had been in the contraction zone as a result of economic slowdown triggered by the bankruptcy of IL&FS (Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services) and Covid-19 pandemic.
  • The government treasury is expected to get around Rs 30,000 to 40,000 crores of money through Goods and Services Tax (GST) from this policy.

Prices of auto components would fall substantially with the recycling of metal and plastic parts.

Benefits to those who are recycling

  • Old vehicles will be tested at authorized Automated Fitness Center and will not be scrapped merely on the basis of age. The state governments may be advised to offer a road-tax rebate of up to 25% for personal vehicles and up to 15% for commercial vehicles to provide incentive to owners of old vehicles to scrap old and unfit vehicles.
  • Vehicle manufacturers will also give a discount of 5% to people who will produce the ‘Scrapping Certificate’ and registration fees will be waived off on the purchase of a new vehicle.

What is Circular economy?

  • A circular economy is an economic system that tackles global challenges like climate change, biodiversity loss, waste, and pollution.
  • Most linear economy businesses take a natural resource and turn it into a product which is ultimately destined to become waste because of the way it has been designed and made. This process is often summarised by “take, make, waste”.
  • By contrast, a circular economy employs reuse, sharing, repair, refurbishment, remanufacturing and recycling to create a closed-loop system, minimising the use of resource inputs and the creation of waste, pollution and carbon emissions.

-Source: The Hindu


FEMBoSA – 2021 Annual Meeting

Context:

Chief Election Commissioner of India and current Chairman of Forum of the Election Management Bodies of South-Asia (FEMBoSA) inaugurated the 11th Annual meeting of the FEMBoSA for the year 2021.

Relevance:

GS-II: International Relations (Foreign Policies affecting India’s Interests, Important International Groupings, India and its neighbors)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. What is FEMBoSA?
  2. Objectives and Activities of FEMBoSA
  3. Key Points of the FEMBoSA inauguration 2021

What is FEMBoSA?

  • Forum of the Election Management Bodies of South Asia (FEMBoSA) was established at the 3rd Conference of Heads of Election Management Bodies (EMBs) of SAARC Countries in 2012.
  • The forum aims to increase mutual cooperation in respect to the common interests of the SAARC’s EMBs.
  • The Forum has eight Member Election Management Bodies from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.
  • The Election Commission of India was the latest Chair of the Forum (now Bhutan).

Objectives and Activities of FEMBoSA

Objectives of FEMBOSA

  • Promote contact among the Election Management Bodies of SAARC countries.
  • Facilitate appropriate exchange of experience and expertise among members.
  • Share experiences with a view to learning from each other
  • Foster efficiency and effectiveness in conducting free, fair, transparent and participative election.

Significant activities under FEMBoSA

  • Member organizations celebrate National Voter’s Day in a calendar year in their respective countries.
  • Initiative of establishing South Asia Institute for Democracy and Electoral Studies (SAIDES) in Nepal.
  • In order to increase knowledge related to elections, take initiatives to include voter education in the school-level textbooks of their respective countries.
  • Implementation of recommendations of South Asian Disabilities Organizations for the inclusion of disabled people in the electoral system and the creation of suitable election environment.

Key Points of the FEMBoSA inauguration 2021

  • FEMBoSA meeting was held under the theme of ‘Use of Technology in Elections’.
  • During the meeting it was noted that, FEMBoSA represents a very large part of democratic world. it is an active regional cooperation association of Election Management Bodies.
  • India highlighted the importance of technological advancements and its impact on election management. Technology is extensively used to make elections more participative, accessible and transparent.
  • It was also highlighted that ECI looks forward to strengthen its interaction with FEMBoSA member EMBs in order to promote activities of Forum in accordance with its objectives.

-Source: PIB


Open Acreage Licensing Programme

Context:

Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas launches Open Acreage Licensing Programme Bid Round-VI which offers the potential investors freedom to carve out blocks of their choice through submission of Expression of Interest (EoI).

Relevance:

GS-III: Industry and Infrastructure (Industrial Policy, Infrastructure, Government Policies and Interventions)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Open Acreage Licensing Programme (OALP)
  2. About Hydrocarbon Exploration & Licensing Policy (HELP)

Open Acreage Licensing Programme (OALP)

  • The Hydrocarbon Exploration and Licensing Policy (HELP) replacing the erstwhile New Exploration Licensing Policy (NELP) was approved in March 2016 and the Open Acreage Licensing Policy (OALP) along with the National Data Repository (NDR) were launched in June 2017 as the key drivers to accelerate the Exploration and Production (E&P) activities in India.
  • Under OALP, companies are allowed to carve out areas they want to explore oil and gas in.
  • Companies can put in an expression of interest (EOI) for any area throughout the year but such interests are accumulated thrice in a year. The areas sought are then offered for bidding.
  • This policy is different from the past where the government identified areas and offered them for bidding.
  • The successful roll-out of the HELP regime, followed by OALP Bid Rounds, has led to an increase in exploration acreages in India.
  • OALP has helped in removing red-tapism and brought in a quantum jump in the Exploration & Production sector.

About Hydrocarbon Exploration & Licensing Policy (HELP)

  • The Hydrocarbon Exploration & Licensing Policy (HELP), which adopts the Revenue Sharing Contract model, is a giant step towards improving the ‘Ease of Doing Business’ in the Indian Exploration and Production (E&P) sector.
  • It comes with attractive and liberal terms like reduced royalty rates, no Oil Cess, marketing and pricing freedom, round the year bidding, freedom to investors for carving out blocks of their interest, a single license to cover both conventional and unconventional hydrocarbon resources, exploration permission during the entire contract period, and an easy, transparent and swift bidding and awarding process.
  • Bid Round-IV onwards, bidding rounds are being carried out under the further liberalized policy terms, which focused on production maximization with higher weightage to Committed Work Programme in Category I basin and no revenue share bids required for less explored Category II & III basins.
  • Category-I basins have established reserves and fields that are already producing while Category-II basins are ones that have contingent resources pending commercial production. Category-III basins are ones that have prospective resources awaiting discovery.

-Source: PIB


Britain imposes sanctions on Belarus

Context:

Britain imposed sanctions on Belarus’s potash and petroleum product exports in an attempt to put pressure on President Alexander Lukashenko, who swiftly retorted that London should “choke on” the new measures.

Relevance:

Prelims, GS-II: International Relations, GS-I: Geography (Maps)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. The Story behind the sanctions on Belarus
  2. About Belarus

The Story behind the sanctions on Belarus

  • The President of Belarus Lukashenko took office in 1994 after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 and he has been in power for 26 years, keeping much of the economy in state hands, and using censorship and police crackdowns against opponents. He is often described as Europe’s “last dictator”, he has tried to preserve elements of Soviet communism.
  • In 2020, after Lukashenko was announced as the winner in elections, protests broke out in the capital, Minsk which was met with a violent security crackdown, in response to which the EU and the United States (US) imposed several rounds of financial sanctions against Belarus in 2020.
  • In May 2021, Belarus forcibly diverted a passenger jet and scrambled a warplane to arrest an opposition journalist in an act denounced by Western powers as “state piracy” (an act of piracy where the state is involved).

About Belarus

  • Belarus is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe, bordered by Russia to the east and northeast, Ukraine to the south, Poland to the west, and Lithuania and Latvia to the northwest.
  • Minsk is the capital and largest city of Belarus.
  • Belarus declared independence in 1991 and in 1994, Alexander Lukashenko was elected as Belarus’s first president in the country’s first and only free election post-independence, serving as president ever since.
  • Lukashenko continued a number of Soviet-era policies, such as state ownership of large sections of the economy, and his government is widely considered to be authoritarian.
  • Belarus is a developing country ranking very high in the Human Development Index.
  • It has been a member of the United Nations since its founding and a member of the CIS, the CSTO, the EAEU, and the Non-Aligned Movement.
  • It has shown no aspirations for joining the European Union but nevertheless maintains a bilateral relationship with the Union, and likewise participates in two EU projects: the Eastern Partnership and the Baku Initiative.

-Source: Indian Express

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