In its second development flight, the Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV-D2) was launched successfully from the first launch pad at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre SHAR, Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh. It will place the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) earth observation satellite EOS-07 and two co-passenger satellites — Janus-1 and AzaadiSat2 — developed by start-ups, in a 450-km circular orbit around the Earth.
GS III: Science and Technolog
Dimensions of the Article:
- What’s the aim of the launch?
What’s the aim of the launch?
- The new vehicle was developed to capture the emerging small and micro satellite commercial market, with launches offered on demand.
- The rocket can be assembled by a small team in only a few days, compared to the six months and around 600 people it takes for ISRO’s workhorse PSLV.
- Janus-1 is a technology demonstrator satellite developed by US-based Antaris, in collaboration with Indian firms XDLinks and Ananth Technologies.
- The goal is to create a standardized satellite bus, where multiple payloads can be attached like lego blocks, to allow for quick and cost-effective launches.
- The company can either handle the operations for the client or provide them access to control the platform.
- The satellite bus is the main structure of the satellite that holds the payloads, which can be used for various purposes such as earth observation, signal monitoring, and ship tracking.
- The company aims to produce satellite buses of different sizes to accommodate satellites weighing around 100 kg.
- Janus-1 weighs only 10.2 kg and is a six-unit cube satellite with five payloads, including two from Singapore and one each from Kenya, Australia, and Indonesia.
- The entire satellite was built in 10 months, which is less than half the usual time required to manufacture satellites of this size.
- AzaadiSat2 is a payload developed by 750 girl students from India and is being launched by SpaceKidzIndia. The payloads have been built to promote space awareness among children.
- AzaadiSat2 is a unique project aimed at promoting space awareness among children and helping young students achieve their dreams of becoming space scientists. The launch of the satellite will be a special moment for the students who developed the payloads, as they will witness their hard work come to life.
- The payloads include a LoRa amateur radio, a sensor to measure radiation levels in space, and sensors to monitor the health of the satellite such as temperature, reset count, and inertial data.
- The satellite has an additional feature of being expandable with a spring mechanism-based external frame that opens up once in orbit, increasing the satellite’s size by four times.
- The external frame will host a new, cheaper type of solar panel to provide energy to the satellite, addressing the challenge of small satellites to sustain for longer durations in space.
- The small size of the satellite at launch and its bigger power pack make it easier to fit in launch vehicles and saves start-ups money on launch services.
- 150 of the 750 students who developed some of the payloads will be present at the launch site in Sriharikota.
- The satellite will carry the G20 logo to space and the NCC song, celebrating 75 years of the organization.
- The satellite will also carry a “space song” about girl children and students of rural India dreaming of becoming space scientists.
What are the launch vehicles used by ISRO?
|Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV):
|Since its initial launch in 1994, PSLV has served as ISRO’s primary rocket. However, compared to those deployed in the 1990s, today’s PSLV is significantly more advanced and powerful. The PSLV is the most dependable rocket that ISRO has employed to date, with 52 of its 54 flights being successful. It is the first Indian launch vehicle to be fitted with liquid stages. It successfully launched two spacecraft that later travelled to the Moon and Mars, namely Chandrayaan-1 in 2008 and Mars Orbiter Spacecraft in 2013. There are numerous variations of the two launch vehicles that ISRO currently utilises, the PSLV and GSLV (Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle).
|Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV):
|The considerably more potent GSLV rocket is designed to lift heavier satellites farther into space. 18 missions have been completed by GSLV rockets to this point, four of them were unsuccessful. Lowering earth orbits may require satellites weighing 10,000 kg. The third stage of the GSLV Mk II is the indigenously developed Cryogenic Upper Stage (CUS), and the Mk-III variants have rendered ISRO completely self-sufficient for launching its satellites. The European Arianne launch vehicle was previously utilised to carry its heavier satellites into orbit.
|Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV):
|SSLV is designed to provide affordable launch services for satellites up to 500 kg in response to the growing demand for small and micro-satellites around the world. It is intended to launch the indigenous EOS-03 earth observation satellite into orbit.
-Source: The Hindu
What is the IT Act?
The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) recently issued orders to block 138 online betting platforms and 94 money lending apps on an “urgent” and “emergency” basis under Section 69(A) of the Information Technology Act, 2000.
GS III- Science and Technology
Dimensions of the Article:
- What is the IT Act?
- Section 69 of the IT Act
- What is the Reason for Intermediaries to Show Compliance to IT Act?
Dangers Posed by Lending Apps
- Extortion and Harassment: Over the past three years, there have been multiple police complaints of people being extorted and harassed by money-lending apps after borrowing small amounts of money at exorbitant interest rates.
- Suicides: There have been instances where people have taken their own lives after facing harassment from lending apps. For example, in December 2020, a native of Visakhapatnam died by suicide after facing harassment from such apps.
- Increase in Complaints: The number of complaints received by the Cyber Police Station in Pune regarding loan app crimes has been increasing. In 2020, there were 699 complaints and in 2021, the number increased to 928. By August 2022, 3,151 complaints had been filed.
- Hidden Apps: The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) started investigating Chinese loan-lending apps and found out that while only 94 are available on e-stores, others are operating through third-party links or websites.
What is the IT Act?
- The year 2000 saw the rise of IT Bill which it received assent of President and hence came to be the Information Technology (IT) act in which Cyber laws are contained.
- The Aim of the Act was to provide legal infrastructure for e-commerce in India.
- The Information Technology Act, 2000 also aims to provide for the legal framework so that legal sanctity is accorded to all electronic records and other activities carried out by electronic means. The Act states that unless otherwise agreed, an acceptance of contract may be expressed by electronic means of communication and the same shall have legal validity and enforceability.
- In India, the Information Technology (IT) Act, 2000, as amended from time to time, governs all activities related to the use of computer resources.
- It covers all ‘intermediaries’ who play a role in the use of computer resources and electronic records.
- The role of the intermediaries has been spelt out in separate rules framed for the purpose in 2011- The Information Technology (Intermediaries Guidelines) Rules, 2011.
Amendment to the IT Act
- The Information Technology (Amendment) Act, 2008 – An act to amend the IT Act 2000 received the assent of the President on 5th February 2009.
It dealt with various changes such as:
- Data Protection –with no specific reference to Data Protection in 2000 Act, the ITA 2008 introduced two sections addressing Data Protection, Section 43A (Compensation for failure to protect data), and Section 72A (Punishment for disclosure of information in breach of lawful contract.
- Information Preservation – Section 67C refers to the Preservation and Retention of Information by Intermediaries. According to Central Government, any intermediary who intentionally or knowingly contravenes the provisions shall be punished with an imprisonment for a term which may extend to 3 years and shall not be liable to fine.
- Section 69 gives power to issue directions for interception or monitoring or decryption of any information through any computer source.
- Section 69B authorizes to monitor and collect traffic data or information through any computer resource for Cyber security.
Section 69 of the IT Act
- It confers on the Central and State governments the power to issue directions “to intercept, monitor or decrypt any information generated, transmitted, received or stored in any computer resource”.
The grounds on which these powers may be exercised are:
- In the interest of the sovereignty or integrity of India, defence of India, the security of the state.
- Friendly relations with foreign states.
- Public order, or for preventing incitement to the commission of any cognizable offence relating to these.
- For investigating any offence.
Procedure for Blocking Apps
- Powers to Block: The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has been given the power to block access to information, similar to the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, since 2009.
- IT Rules: The powers of the MeitY are derived from the IT Act, and the procedure for blocking access to information is explained in the Information Technology (Procedure and Safeguards for Blocking for Access of Information by Public) Rules, 2009 or the IT Rules, 2009.
- Review Committees: The IT Rules include provisions for review committees, fair hearing opportunities, strict confidentiality, and record maintenance by designated officers.
- Pre-decisional Hearings: However, there have been no recorded instances of the MeitY providing individuals with pre-decisional hearings.
What have the courts said?
Landmark Ruling by Supreme Court:
- In 2015, the Supreme Court in the case “Shreya Singhal vs Union of India” struck down Section 66A of the Information Technology Act of 2000, which imposed punishment for sending offensive messages through communication services, as it violated Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution.
Debate over Section 69A:
- The plea had also challenged Section 69A of the Information Technology Rules 2009, but the Supreme Court upheld it as “constitutionally valid”.
- In July 2022, Twitter sued the MeitY in the Karnataka High Court over blocking orders that failed to give users a hearing. The Centre argued that Twitter was a foreign corporation and did not have any fundamental rights or legal remedy.
- Twitter argued that its claims under Articles 14, 19, and 21 were in relation to the rights of citizens who had Twitter accounts.
- On the most recent hearing, the Centre questioned Twitter’s standing to argue the fundamental rights of account holders and the legal relationship between Twitter and its account holders.
Other Instances of the Government Invoking Section 69A:
- Ban on 59 Chinese Apps (June 2020): Following rising tensions with China, the MeitY banned 59 apps, including TikTok, Shareit, Shein, and Clash of Kings, among others.
- Ban on 118 Apps (September 2020): On September 1, 2020, the government banned 118 apps, including the popular gaming app PUBG.
- Ban on 49 Apps (November 2020): The government banned another 49 apps in November 2020.
- Recommendation for Ban on 54 Chinese Mobile Applications (February 2022): The MHA recommended a ban on 54 Chinese mobile apps, including the popular game Garena Free Fire, due to concerns over privacy and security. The ban was invoked under Section 69A of the Information Technology Act.
-Source: Indian Express
Quick Reaction Surface-to-Air Missile (QRSAM)
Indigenous Quick Reaction Surface to Air Missile (QRSAM) being developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is set to be tested again in April 2023.
GS III: Science and Technology
Dimensions of the Article:
- About Quick Reaction Surface-to-Air Missile (QRSAM)
About Quick Reaction Surface-to-Air Missile (QRSAM)
- Quick Reaction Surface-to-Air Missile (QRSAM) is a missile developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) in association with Bharat Electronics Limited and Bharat Dynamics Limited for the Indian Army.
- As a part of a replacement program for its obsolete Osa-AK and Kvadrat missile systems, Indian Army received a go ahead to initiate a global acquisition program for quick-reaction surface-to-air missiles from the Ministry of Defence in September 2007.
- This missile is an all-weather, all-terrain surface-to-air missile equipped with electronic counter measures against jamming by aircraft radars.
- QRSAM uses solid-fuel propellant and has a range of 25–30 km.
- The QRSAM weapon ensemble consists of a fully automated command and control system.
- It also consists of two radars – Active Array Battery Surveillance Radar and Active Array Battery Multifunction Radar – with one launcher.
- Both radars have 360-degree coverage with “search on move” and “track on move” capabilities.
- The system is compact, uses a single stage solid propelled missile and has a mid-course inertial navigation system with two-way data link and terminal active seeker developed indigenously by DRDO.
-Source: The Hindu
Keoladeo National Park
The Rajasthan Government has proposed to construct a zoo inside Keoladeo National Park, a World Heritage Site popularly known as Bharatpur bird sanctuary, to display a range of wetland species.
- The purpose of this zoo, called Wetland ex-situ Conservation Establishment (WESCE), is to display a range of wetland species, including rhinos, water buffaloes, crocodiles, dolphins and exotic species.
GS III: Environment and Ecology
Dimensions of the Article:
- Purpose of WESCE
- Keoladeo National Park
Purpose of WESCE
Rejuvenation of Biodiversity
- The WESCE’s goal is to rejuvenate the biodiversity of Keoladeo National Park, enhancing its unique values recognized globally.
- The WESCE plan is part of the Rajasthan Forestry and Biodiversity Development Project (RFBDP)
- The French government’s overseas development arm, Agence Française de Développement (AFD), will fund the project up to Rs 12 crore over eight years.
Planned Facilities inside Keoladeo National Park
- Breeding and Reintroduction Centre
- A centre for locally extinct species like otters, fishing cats, blackbucks, hog deer, etc.
- Aquarium and Enclosures
- An aquarium for indigenous species such as Gangetic Dolphin, crocodiles.
- Enclosures for the display of large wetland species like Indian Rhino, Water Buffalo, Barasingha (swamp deer), etc.
Keoladeo National Park
- Location: Eastern part of Rajasthan, India
- Recognition: Designated as a Ramsar site and a UNESCO World Heritage Site
- Home to thousands of birds, especially during the winter season
- Attracts several migratory birds for breeding and wintering
- Strategically located in the Central Asian migratory flyway
- Hosts rare species such as the Siberian crane
- Fauna includes Sambar, Nilgai, wild cats, hyenas, wild boar, birds (including raptors and waterfowl), and Jackals