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India's GSLV-D5 with indigenous cryogenic engine to be launched on Sunday

India's Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle, which will flight test the indigenous cryogenic upper stage again after a failure nearly three years ago, is slated to lift off on Sunday from the Sriharikota spaceport with the aim of injecting the 1982 kg communication satellite GSAT-14 into a geosynchronous transfer orbit.

ISRO begins countdown for launch of GSLV-D5
India's Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV-D5), which will flight test the indigenous cryogenic upper stage (CUS) again after a failure nearly three years ago, is slated to lift off this afternoon from the Sriharikota spaceport in Andhra Pradesh with the aim of injecting the 1982 kg communication satellite GSAT-14 into a geosynchronous transfer orbit (GTO).
 
The cryogenic engine, developed after 20 years of work by scientists and engineers of ISRO on this complex technology, is crucial for putting communication satellites heavier than two tonnes into GTO.
 
The 29-hour countdown began at 1118 hours yesterday and the launch is scheduled at 1618 hours today.
 
Preparations for GSLV-D5 Second Stage (GS2) propellant filling operation commenced at 1148 hours yesterday and completed in about six hours,  Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) sources said.
 
Propellant filling operations of GSLV-D5 strap-ons began yesterday and were completed this morning. Preparations for propellant filling operations of the cryogenic stage were in progress, they said.
 
The Mission Readiness Review (MRR) team and the Launch Authorisation Board (LAB) had, on December 28,  cleared the GSLV-D5/GSAT-14 launch.  
The vehicle was moved from the vehicle assembly building to the umbilical tower (the launch pad) that morning.
 
The launch was earlier scheduled for August 19 but was called off on that day due to a technical probem.
 
A press release from ISRO on that date had said the launch was called off because a leak was observed in the UH25 fuel system of the liquid second stage during the pre-launch pressurisation phase on the vehicle, just two hours before the scheduled lift-off.
 
This will be the eighth flight of GSLV and its fourth developmental flight.  
 
The first flight test of the indigenous CUS on GSLV-D3 had ended up as a failure on April 15, 2010 when it deviated from its path and splashed into the sea.
 
GSLV-D3 would have put the 2200 kg GSAT-4, an experimental advanced technology communication satellite that carried communication and navigation payloads, into GTO.
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On December 25, 2010, India's space programme suffered yet another setback when the launch of GSLV-FO6, meant to place its heaviest communication satellite GSAT-5P in orbit, failed when the rocket exploded within a minute after lift-off from Sriharikota.
 
Less than a minute after lift-off, the launch vehicle developed a snag in its first stage and, as scientists at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) watched in disbelief, exploded into flames.
 
The launch vehicle was meant to inject the 2310 kg GSAT-5P into GTO.
 
On May 12 last year, ISRO successfully conducted the acceptance test of the indigenous cryogenic engine for the GSLV-D5 flight for 200 seconds. The test was conducted at the Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre (LPSC) test facilities at Mahendragiri. The performance of the engine was as predicted, an ISRO press release had said at that time.
 
ISRO sources said that, after reaching GTO, GSAT-14 will use its own propulsion system to reach its geostationary orbital home and will be stationed at 74º East longitude. GSAT-14 will help provide many satellite-based communication services to the country including tele-education and telemedicine. 
 
The mission will be launched from the second launch pad at the Satish Dhawan  Space  Centre at Sriharikota (SDSC SHAR). The flight duration of GSLV-D5 is 17 min 8 sec.
 
The 49.13 metre GSLV-D5 will have a lift-off mass of 414.75 tonnes and a lift-off thrust of 6773 kilo Newton. It will target an orbit with perigee of 180 ± 5 km and apogee of 35975 ± 675 km with an inclination of 19.3 ± 0.1 deg.
 
According to ISRO, GSLV is a three-stage launch vehicle with solid, liquid and cryogenic stages. It is designed to inject 2 Ton class of communication satellites into GTO. The four liquid L40 strap-ons as well as the second stage of GSLV use storable liquid propellants. 
 
GSLV-D5 vehicle is configured with its first and second stages similar to the ones flown during earlier GSLV missions. The third stage is the indigenous cryogenic stage. The metallic payload fairing with a diameter of 3.4 metre is adopted for GSLV-D5.
 
ISRO sources explained that a cryogenic rocket stage is more efficient and provides more thrust for every kilogram of propellant it burns compared to solid and earth-storable liquid propellant rocket stages. Specific impulse (a measure of the efficiency) achievable with cryogenic propellants (liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen) is much higher compared to earth storable liquid and solid propellants, giving it a substantial payload advantage. 
 
However, cryogenic stage is technically a very complex system compared to solid or earth-storable liquid propellant stages due to its use of propellants at extremely low temperatures and the associated thermal and structural problems. 
 
According to them, oxygen liquefies at  –183 deg C and hydrogen at –253 deg C. The propellants, at these low temperatures, are to be pumped using turbo pumps running at around 40,000 rpm. It also entails complex ground support systems like propellant storage and filling systems, cryo engine and stage test facilities, transportation and handling of cryo fluids and related safety aspects.
 
ISRO’s Cryogenic Upper Stage Project (CUSP) envisaged the design and development of the indigenous Cryogenic Upper Stage to replace the stage procured from Russia and used in GSLV flights. The main engine and two smaller steering engines of CUS together develop a nominal thrust of 73.55 kN in vacuum. 
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During the flight, CUS fires for a nominal duration of 720 seconds. Liquid oxygen (LOX) and liquid hydrogen (LH2) from the respective tanks are fed by individual booster pumps to the main turbopump to ensure a high flow rate of propellants into the combustion chamber. Thrust control and mixture ratio control are achieved by two independent regulators. Two gimbaled steering engines provide for control of the stage during its thrusting phase.
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The sources said that, based on its performance during the earlier missions, end-to-end design of GSLV as well as indigenous cryogenic stage systems have been re-examined and some new features introduced. In addition, indigenisation  of many critical systems has been accomplished, they said.
 
GSAT-14 is the 23rd geostationary communication satellite of India built by ISRO.  Four of GSAT-14’s predecessors were launched by GSLV during 2001, 2003, 2004 and 2007, respectively. After its commissioning, GSAT-14 will join the group of India’s nine operational geostationary satellites.
 
The main objectives of GSAT-14 mission are to augment the in-orbit capacity  of extended C and Ku-band transponders and to provide a platform for new experiments.
 
Some of the new experiments that will be flown on GSAT-14 are: Fiber Optic Gyro, Active Pixel Sun Sensor, Ka band beacon propagation studies and  Thermal control coating experiments.
 
GSAT-14 will be positioned at 74 deg East longitude and co-located with  INSAT-3C, INSAT-4CR and KALPANA-1 satellites. The 12 communication transponders onboard GSAT-14 will further augment the capacity in the INSAT/GSAT system, ISRO added.
 
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Infosys appoints B G Srinivas, U B Pravin Rao as Presidents

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IT services major Infosys has appointed Mr. B. G. Srinivas and Mr. U. B. Pravin Rao as Presidents of the Company, reporting to Mr. S. D. Shibulal, Chief Executive Officer & Managing Director.
 
These appointments are effective immediately, a press release from the company said here yesterday.
 
It said the business portfolios will be realigned under the two Presidents. In addition, Mr. Srinivas will focus on global markets and Mr. Rao will focus on global delivery and service innovation.
 
According to the release, Financial Services, Insurance, Manufacturing, Engineering Services, Energy & Communications, Infosys Public Services, Infosys Lodestone, Strategic Global Sourcing, Marketing and Alliances will report to Mr. Srinivas.
 
Retail, Consumer Packaged Goods and Logistics, Life Sciences, Resources & Utilities, Services, Growth Markets, Cloud & Mobility, Quality & Productivity and Infosys Leadership Institute will report to Mr. Rao.
 
The release said that, in view of these changes, the Executive Council, as a forum, will cease to exist with effect from April 1, 2014.
 
“These changes will further enhance our focus on deepening client relationships, increasing market share, creating service differentiation through innovation and agility in execution," Mr Shibulal said.
 
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India's navigation system GAGAN certified for RNP0.1 operations

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The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), India has provisionally certified the country's ambitious Satellite Based Augmentation System (SBAS) programme –  GPS Aided Geo Augmented Navigation (GAGAN) system – to RNP0.1 (Required Navigation Performance, 0.1 Nautical Mile) service level.
 
The certification, done on December 30, 2013, will enable aircraft fitted with SBAS equipment to use GAGAN signal in space for en route navigation and non-precision approaches without vertical guidance over Indian air space.
 
India is the fourth country to offer safety of life, space-based satellite navigation services to the aviation sector in the world.
 
The availability of GAGAN Signal in space will bridge the gap between European Union’s EGNOS and Japan’s MSAS coverage areas, thereby offering seamless navigation to the aviation industry, a press release from Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said.
 
The GAGAN System, jointly developed by ISRO and Airports Authority of India (AAI), is a giant leap forward in the development of Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) services in India and will pave the way for more growth and enhancement in the days to come, it said.
 
The GAGAN System is poised to achieve APV1/1.5 level of certification in the near future to offer precision approach services over the Indian land mass. 
 
The GAGAN signal is being broadcast through two Geostationary Earth Orbit (GEO) satellites – GSAT8 and GSAT10 – covering the whole Indian Flight Information Region (FIR) and beyond. An on-orbit spare GAGAN transponder will be flown on GSAT-15, the release added.
 
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Yeddyurappa returns to BJP, merges his KJP with it

File photo of former Karnataka Chief Minister B. S. Yeddyurappa.
File photo of former Karnataka Chief Minister B. S. Yeddyurappa.
Thirteen months after he snapped his four-decade-old link with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in a bitter and emotional parting of ways, former Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa returned to the BJP and merged his Karnataka Janata Paksha (KJP) with it here today.
 
The announcement by Mr Yeddyurappa, 70, came after a delegation of Karnataka BJP leaders met him here today and formally invited him back to the party.
 
"We have decided to merge KJP with BJP," he told journalists, with senior BJP leader Ananth Kumar, once seen as his bitter rival, and state BJP chief Prahlad Joshi by his side.
 
Sources in the two parties said the formalities of the merger would be completed within three or four days.
 
Mr Yeddyurappa is perceived to be close to Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and his return to the party was widely expected after the latter was named by the BJP as its Prime Ministerial candidate for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
 
Mr Yeddyurappa belongs to the influential Lingayat community and had led the BJP to its first victory in a southern state when he formed the government in Karnataka six years ago.
 
"I whole-heartedly welcome Yeddyurappa to BJP, and together, from tomorrow itself we will travel the entire state and rebuild the confidence among the workers of both the parties," Mr Joshi said.
 
Efforts to bring the two parties together had gathered pace after they suffered a defeat in the May 8 Assembly elections, which saw the Congress return to power.
 
Mr Yeddyurappa, who was Chief Minister for 38 months, had been asked by the BJP leadership to quit afer he was indicted by the state Lokayukta in an alleged mining scam.
 
He claimed he had been assured that he would be made the Chief Minister again after he got relief from the court in the mining scam case and that the party leadership did not honour their promise. 
 
"They deceived me," he said on November 30, 2012 when he quit the party finally.
 
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ISRO says does not have any project on manned mission to Moon

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The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) today denied it had any project for a manned mission to Moon.
 
In a statement, ISRO clarified that it had entered into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Institute of Aerospace Medicine (IAM), Indian Air Force, Bangalore in March 2009 to carry out basic research and studies on human physiological and psychological requirements for human space flight crew.
 
The MoU also covers augmenting and updating existing facilities at IAM to cater to ISRO’s Human Space Flight Programme as a pre-project research & development activity.
 
"ISRO currently does not have any project on 'Man to Moon'. The scope of the MOU between ISRO and IAM does not envisage recruitment of crew for ISRO," the statement added.
 
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GMR to divest 40% shareholding in Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen International Airport

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Infrastructure major GMR Group today said it had agreed to divest its 40 per cent equity stake in the Istanbul Sabiha Istanbul Gökçen (ISG) International Airport to Malaysian Airports Holding Berhard (MAHB) for an amount of € 225 million  (approximately Rs 1910 crore).
 
A press release from the company said it had signed a definitive agreement with MAHB in this regard, subject to certain adjustments.
 
Definitive agreements have been signed subsequent to the exercise of Right of First Refusal by MAHB under the existing shareholders agreement of ISG, on 23 December 2013, it said.
 
"The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions including the approval of the relevant government authorities and the project lenders to ISG," it said.
 
This is the second major divestment of overseas assets by the GMR Group in less than nine months. Earlier in March 2013, the Group had successfully divested its stakes in GMR Energy (Singapore) Pte Ltd.  
 
The divestment of these two assets is estimated to release around Rs. 3,500 crores of capital, simultaneously reducing an estimated Rs. 5,000 crores of debt, the release said.
 
“This transaction is yet another evidence of GMR Group’s ability to implement appropriate strategy to face the challenges of changing times," GMR Group Chairman G M Rao said.
 
"We at GMR Group continue to focus on creating liquidity and enhance value by effective portfolio management under our ALAR (Asset Light Asset Right) strategy. The efforts of the group taken in recent times shall strengthen our balance sheet," he said.
 
Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen International Airport is located on the Anatolian side of Istanbul and is one of the world’s fastest-growing airports. The airport currently hosts more than 58 different carriers covering over 125 destinations. 
 
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The consortium of Limak Holding, GMR Group and MAHB was selected as the preferred bidder for upgrading and maintaining the airport in July 2007.  
 
The airport’s new terminal was completed in a record time and was commissioned in October 2009, 12 months ahead of schedule.
 
LGM Tourism undertakes the operation of non-aero services at the airport such as hotel, food & beverages, and lounge. GMR’s equity investment at ISG is around  € 71.6 million.   
 
Rothschild (India) Private Limited and White & Case LLP acted as Financial Advisors and Legal Counsels respectively to GMR Group, the release added.
 
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South Western Railway releases list of victims of train fire

The scene near Satya Sai Prasanthi Nilayam in Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh, where 26 people were killed when a fire broke out in a coach of the Bangalore-Nanded Express on December 28, 2013.
The scene near Satya Sai Prasanthi Nilayam in Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh, where 26 people were killed when a fire broke out in a coach of the Bangalore-Nanded Express on December 28, 2013.
The South Western Railway (SWR) today said the bodies of 19 of those killed in a fire in a 3-tier AC coach of the 16594 Bangalore City-Nanded Express, shortly after it left the Satya Sai Prasanthi Nilayam station in Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh early yesterday, had been identified so far.
 
All the bodies had been charred beyond recognition and had been brought to a hospital here for DNA profiling to help in the identification process. By this evening, most of the identified bodies had been handed over to relatives, SWR officials said.
 
Nine other passengers are listed as feared dead or missing, while four suffered grievous injuries. Three passengers were discharged after first aid. 
 
As many as 33 passengers travelling by the ill-fated coach managed to escape unhurt, a press release from SWR said.
 
The following is the list of passengers who died in the mishap and whose bodies have been identified:
 
1. Ishwar Nagre (Male)
2. Anirudh N Kulkarni (Male)
3. Lalitha (Female)
4. Basavaraju (Male)
5. Sarvamanala (Female)
6. Padmini (Female)
7. Anil Kumar (Male)
8. Jui George (Female)
9. Kandoba Kulkarni (Male)
10. Premalatha (Female)
11. Bheemiaiah (Male)
12. Sudha (Female)
13. Leela (Female)
14.
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Ramanandam (Male)
15. Krishnamurthy (Male)
16. Subhash Reddy (Male)
17. Champalal Rathi (Male)
18. Sreenivas B (Male)
19. Sreelatha (Female)
 
List of passengers with grievous injuries:
 
1. Vjaya Ramamurthy (Female)
2. Natesh (Male)
3. Tanushree (Female)
4. Prof. Narahari Rao (Male)
 
List of passengers discharged after treatment:
 
1. Vijitha (Female)
2. Tanuja (Female)
3. Dalwinder (Male)
 
Passengers who are safe:
 
1. Sanjeev Kolur (Male)
2. Srikanth (Male)
3. R Ramamurthy (Male)
4. Nagesh Rao (Male)
5. Anupama (Female)
6. Sharanabasava (Male)
7. Sharana Basava PH (Male)
8. Shreeya (Female)
9. Parul Singh (Female)
10. R Anil (Male)
11. R Amith (Male)
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12. Sunitha (Female)
13. Chirag (Male)
14. Sakshi (Female)
15. Nagamani (Female)
16. K Oron (Male)
17. Veeresh Patil (Male)
18. Dheeraj Kumar (Male)
19. Basanagowda (Male)
20. Hanumegowda (Male)
21. Oron (Female)
22. L. Oron (Male)
23. R Prabhakaran (Male)
24. Akshaya Perar (Male)
25. Chandru Perar (Male)
26. Vishalakshi (Female)
27. Vaishnavi Rao (Female)
28. Veena Rao (Female)
29. Amaresh N Makal (Male)
30. M B Patil (Male)
31. Manjunath Patil (Male)
32. Vivek (Male)
33. Umesh (Male)
 
Passengers feared dead or missing:
 
1. Kavitha Nagre (Female)
2. N Kishore Kumar (Male)
3. Rddha Krishna R A (Male)
4. Dr. Asra (Male)
5. Balbir Kaur (Female)
6. Aman Preet Kaur (Female)
7. Ibrahim Rahi (male)
8. Rahul (Male)
9. Pratap Vinay (Male)
 
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India to launch GSLV-D5 on Jan 5 with communication satellite GSAT-14 on board

India will launch its Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV-D5) from the Sriharikota spaceport in Andhra Pradesh on January 5 with the aim of injecting the 1982 kg communication satellite GSAT-14 into a geosynchronous transfer orbit.

GSLV-D5 at the Second Launch Pad at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota on December 28, 2013.
GSLV-D5 at the Second Launch Pad at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota on December 28, 2013.
India will launch its Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV-D5) from the Sriharikota spaceport in Andhra Pradesh on January 5 with the aim of injecting the 1982 kg communication satellite GSAT-14 into a geosynchronous transfer orbit (GTO).
 
Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) sources said the Mission Readiness Review (MRR) team and the Launch Authorisation Board (LAB) had  cleared the GSLV-D5/GSAT 14 launch at 16:18 hrs (IST) on January 5.
 
The vehicle was moved from the vehicle assembly building to the umbilical tower (the launch pad) this morning, they said.
 
The 29-hour countdown to the launch is set to commence on January 4 at around 1100 hours, they said.
 
The launch was earlier scheduled for August 19 but was called off on that day due to a technical probem.
 
A press release from ISRO on that date had said the launch was called off because a leak was observed in the UH25 fuel system of the liquid second stage during the pre-launch pressurisation phase on the vehicle, just two hours before the scheduled lift-off.
 
This will be the eighth flight of GSLV and its fourth developmental flight.
 
During this flight, the indigenously developed Cryogenic Upper Stage (CUS) will be flight tested for the second time. 
 
The first flight test of the indigenous CUS on GSLV-D3 had ended up as a failure on April 15, 2010 when it deviated from its path and splashed into the sea.
 
GSLV-D3 would have put the 2200 kg GSAT-4, an experimental advanced technology communication satellite that carried communication and navigation payloads, into GTO.
 
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The cryogenic engine, developed after 20 years of work by scientists and engineers of ISRO on this complex technology, is crucial for putting communication satellites heavier than two tonnes into GTO.
 
On May 12 last year, ISRO successfully conducted the acceptance test of the indigenous cryogenic engine for the GSLV-D5 flight for 200 seconds. The test was conducted at the Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre (LPSC) test facilities at Mahendragiri. The performance of the engine was as predicted, an ISRO press release had said at that time.
 
ISRO sources said that, after reaching GTO, GSAT-14 will use its own propulsion system to reach its geostationary orbital home and will be stationed at 74º East longitude. GSAT-14 will help provide many satellite-based communication services to the country including tele-education and telemedicine. 
 
The mission will be launched from the second launch pad at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota (SDSC SHAR). The flight duration of GSLV-D5 is 
17 min 8 sec.
 
The 49.13 metre GSLV-D5 will have a lift-off mass of 414.75 tonnes and a lift-off thrust of 6773 kilo Newton. It will target an orbit with perigee of 180 ± 5 km and apogee of 35975 ± 675 km with an inclination of 19.3 ± 0.1 deg.
 
According to ISRO, GSLV is a three-stage launch vehicle with solid, liquid and cryogenic stages. It is designed to inject 2 Ton class of communication satellites into GTO. The four liquid L40 strap-ons as well as the second stage of GSLV use storable liquid propellants. 
 
GSLV-D5 vehicle is configured with its first and second stages similar to the ones flown during earlier GSLV missions. The third stage is the indigenous cryogenic stage. The metallic payload fairing with a diameter of 3.4 metre is adopted for GSLV-D5.
 
ISRO sources explained that a cryogenic rocket stage is more efficient and provides more thrust for every kilogram of propellant it burns compared to solid and earth-storable liquid propellant rocket stages. Specific impulse (a measure of the efficiency) achievable with cryogenic propellants (liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen) is much higher compared to earth storable liquid and solid propellants, giving it a substantial payload advantage. 
 
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However, cryogenic stage is technically a very complex system compared to solid or earth-storable liquid propellant stages due to its use of propellants at extremely low temperatures and the associated thermal and structural problems. 
 
According to them, oxygen liquefies at  –183 deg C and hydrogen at –253 deg C. The propellants, at these low temperatures, are to be pumped using turbo pumps running at around 40,000 rpm. It also entails complex ground support systems like propellant storage and filling systems, cryo engine and stage 
test facilities, transportation and handling of cryo fluids and related safety aspects.
 
ISRO’s Cryogenic Upper Stage Project (CUSP) envisaged the design and development of the indigenous Cryogenic Upper Stage to replace the stage procured from Russia and used in GSLV flights. The main engine and two smaller steering engines of CUS together develop a nominal thrust of 73.55 kN in vacuum. 
 
During the flight, CUS fires for a nominal duration of 720 seconds. Liquid oxygen (LOX) and liquid hydrogen (LH2) from the respective tanks are fed by individual booster pumps to the main turbopump to ensure a high flow rate of propellants into the combustion chamber. Thrust control and mixture ratio control are 
achieved by two independent regulators. Two gimbaled steering engines provide for control of the stage during its thrusting phase.
 
The sources said that, based on its performance during the earlier missions, end-to-end design of GSLV as well as indigenous cryogenic stage systems have been re-examined and some new features introduced. In addition, indigenisation of many critical systems has been accomplished, they said.
 
GSAT-14 is the 23rd geostationary communication satellite of India built by ISRO.  Four of GSAT-14’s predecessors were launched by GSLV during 2001, 2003, 2004 and 2007, respectively. After its commissioning, GSAT-14 will join the group of India’s nine operational geostationary satellites.
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The main objectives of GSAT-14 mission are to augment the in-orbit capacity of extended C and Ku-band transponders and to provide a platform for new experiments.
 
Some of the new experiments that will be flown on GSAT-14 are: Fiber Optic Gyro, Active Pixel Sun Sensor, Ka band beacon propagation studies and Thermal control coating experiments.
 
GSAT-14 will be positioned at 74 deg East longitude and co-located with INSAT-3C, INSAT-4CR and KALPANA-1 satellites. The 12 communication transponders onboard GSAT-14 will further augment the capacity in the INSAT/
GSAT system, ISRO added.
 
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26 killed as Nanded-Bangalore Express catches fire in Andhra Pradesh

As many as 26 passengers were killed and eight others suffered injuries when a major fire broke out in an air-conditioned coach of the 16594 Bangalore-Nanded Express shortly after it left the Satya Sai Prasanthi Nilayam station in Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh early on Saturday, official sources said.

26 killed, several injured as Bangalore-Nanded Express coach catches fire
As many as 26 passengers were killed and eight others suffered injuries when a major fire broke out in an air-conditioned coach of the 16594 Bangalore-Nanded Express shortly after it left the Satya Sai Prasanthi Nilayam station in Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh early today, official sources said.
 
Three of the injured persons were discharged after first aid while the other five were admitted to nearby hospitals for treatment, they said.
 
They said those killed in the mishap included 24 adults and two children. All the bodies were charred beyond recognition and were, therefore, sent to the Victoria Hospital in Bangalore for DNA profiling to help in the identiication process.
 
The Railway authorities were also trying to contact passengers by calling up the numbers given in their reservation requests.
 
A total of 65 passengers were said to be travelling in the ill-fated coach.
 
The train had left Bangalore at 2245 hours last night and had left Satya Sai Prasanathi Nilayam station when a fire broke out in a 3-Tier coach (B1) around 0335 hours today.
 
Fire tenders from Satya Sai Prasanthi Nilayam reached the spot and helped to put out the flames. A medical relief van reached the scene by 0445 hours, railway officials said. 
 
Senior railway and district administration officials, including police, had also rushed to the spot.
 
Most of the passengers were asleep when the fire broke out, the sources said. Many of them managed to escape after pulling the emergency chain and jumping out of the coach.
 
The Railways have ordered a probe into the incident to establish the cause of the fire.
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Railways Minister Mallikarjun Kharge, who was in Gulbarga, Karnataka, announced an ex-gratia payment of Rs 5 lakhs to the next-of-kin of those killed in the mishap, Rs 1 lakh for the seriously injured and Rs 50,000 to those who suffered minor injuries.
 
Mr Kharge said the Railways would bear the full cost of the medical treatment of the injured passengers.
 
The Commissioner of Railway Safety, Southern Circle, Ministry of Civil Aviation will conduct a statutory inquiry into the accident.
 
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh expressed shock and grief at the loss of lives in the incident and directed the Railwas and State Government authorities to extend all possible help to the victims in the rescue and relief operations.
 
Dr Singh called up Mr Kharge to enquire about the action being taken for rescue and relief work at the accident site, official sources said.
 
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23 killed as Nanded-Bangalore Express catches fire in Andhra Pradesh

As many as 23 passengers were killed and eight others suffered injuries when a major fire broke out in an air-conditioned coach of the 16594 Bangalore-Nanded Express shortly after it left the Satya Sai Prasanthi Nilayam station in Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh early on Saturday, official sources said.

23 killed, several injured as a coach of Bangalore-Nanded Express catches fire
As many as 23 passengers were killed and eight others suffered injuries when a major fire broke out in an air-conditioned coach of the 16594 Bangalore-Nanded Express shortly after it left the Satya Sai Prasanthi Nilayam station in Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh early today, official sources said.
 
Three of the injured persons were discharged after first aid while the other five were admitted to nearby hospitals for treatment, they said.
 
The train had left Bangalore at 2245 hours last night and had left Satya Sai Prasanathi Nilayam station when a fire broke out in a 3-Tier coach (B1) around 0335 hours today.
 
Fire tenders from Satya Sai Prasanthi Nilayam reached the spot and helped to put out the flames. A medical relief van reached the scene by 0445 hours, railway officials said. 
 
Senior railway and district administration officials, including police, had also rushed to the spot.
 
There were about 57 passengers in the coach, and most of them were asleep when the fire broke out, the sources said. Many of them managed to escape after pulling the emergency chain and jumping off the coach.
 
Many of the bodies were said to have been charred beyond recognition and the railway authorities were making arrangements for DNA tests to be conducted on them to identify them.
 
The Railways have ordered a probe into the incident to establish the cause of the fire.
 
Railways Minister Mallikarjun Kharge, who was in Gulbarga, Karnataka, announced an ex-gratia payment of Rs 5 lakhs to the next-of-kin of those killed in the mishap.
 
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh expressed shock and grief at the loss of lives in the incident and directed the Railways and State Government authorities to extend all possible help to the victims in the rescue and relief operations.
 
Dr Singh called up Mr Kharge to enquire about the action being taken for rescue
 
and relief work at the accident site, official sources said.
 
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Renowned Kannada poet Shivarudrappa passes away at 87

G S Shivarudrappa
G S Shivarudrappa
Well-known Kannada poet, writer and researcher G S Shivarudrappa passed away at his residence here this morning after a brief illness. He was 87.
 
Shivarudrappa had been awarded the title of "Rashtrakavi" (national poet) by the Karnataka government on November 1, 2006 for his lasting contribution to Kannada poetry.
 
He was the third poet to be thus honoured after his mentor Kuvempu and Majeswara Govinda Pai.
 
Born on February 7, 1926, Shivarudrappa took his B.A. and M.A. degrees from the University of Mysore.
 
He taught Kannada at the Maharaja College of Mysore and later at Osmania University in Hyderabad and Bangalore University. He was a student and follower of Kuvempu, who was a strong infuence on his work and his life. In 1965, he secured a doctorate for his thesis written under the guidance of Kuvempu.
 
He was chosen for the Central Sahitya Akademi Award in 1984 and won several other awards and honours during his distinguished career. He presided over the Akhil Bharatiya Kannada Sahitya Sammelana held in Davanagare in 1992.
 
He retired as the Director of Bangalore University's Kannada Study Centre in 1986. He served as the pesident of the Karnataka Sahitya Academy during 1987-90.
 
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V Balakrishnan quits Infosys, Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw inducted on Board

V. Balakrishnan
V. Balakrishnan
Mr V Balakrishnan has resigned from the Board of IT services major Infosys Litd and from the services of the company with effect from December 31.
 
Mr Balakrishnan was, for long, the Chief Financial Officer of the company and also in-charge of Infosys BPO, Lodestone, the Switzerland-based IT company that Infosys acquired, Finance, India Business Unit and Global Immigration.
 
"The Board places on record deep sense of appreciation of the services rendered by Mr. V. Balakrishnan," a press release from Infosys said.
 
Mr. N. R. Narayana Murthy, Executive Chairman said, “Bala has been an early adopter and a keen anchor-builder of Infosys. It is difficult to imagine Infosys without Bala’s passion, commitment, and intellect. The Board and every Infoscion thank Bala for his wonderful contribution and wish him great success in his future endeavors.”
 
Mr. S. D. Shibulal, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director said, “Bala during his two decades of association with Infosys, has played a pivotal role in building the finance function and has been a key driver behind all of our achievements in areas of investor relations and corporate governance. Over the last few years, he has also provided leadership to BPO, Finacle, India Business Unit, Global Immigration and most recently, to Lodestone. I would like to wish him the very best in all his future endeavors.”
 
“I have enjoyed every moment of my stint at Infosys and it was a great learning experience. While my heart will always be with Infosys my mind wants to do something beyond Infosys. I thank all my colleagues who supported and encouraged me during my career at Infosys. I wish Infosys all the very best in its future endeavors," Mr Balakrishnan said.
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Meanwhile, the company has inducted Mr U B Pravin Rao, currently a Member of the Executive Council and Global Head-Retail, Consumer Packaged Goods, Logistics and Life Sciences, as a Whole-time Director
 
Mr. Rao also serves as a Member of the Board of Infosys Lodestone. Mr. Rao is also the Director of the Infosys Leadership Institute (ILI).
 
Mr. Rao holds a degree in electrical engineering from Bangalore University, India.
 
Mr. Narayana Murthy said, “I am very happy that Pravin will be joining the Board. I have worked with Pravin closely and have benefited immensely from his wisdom. My congratulations to him.”
 
The company also inducted Biocon Limited Chairman and Managing Director Kiran Mazumdar-Shah as an independent member of the Board.
 
“Kiran is a well-recognized and respected corporate leader. She will bring immense value to the board. I am honored to welcome her to our Board," Mr Narayana Murthy said.
 
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LCA Tejas gets initial operational clearance for induction into IAF

India rolls out self-made light fighter aircraft-Tejas
Defence Minister A K Antony today handed over the Release to Service Certificate of the country’s indigenous light combat aircraft (LCA), Tejas, to the Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal N A K Browne, at a function in Bangalore.
 
The Initial Operational Clearance (IOC)-II of Tejas marks the fruition of a long and difficult journey of three decades of efforts to make a fighter aircraft of international standards.
 
The LCA is designed to ultimately  replace the MiG 21 fleet of the Indian Air Force (IAF). The timing of IOC- II for LCA coincides with the iconic MiG 21 FL fighter flying into  IAF’s history just a week ago.
 
A visibly happy Mr Antony said that, during the last three years, the capabilities of the aircraft had been improved significantly. 
 
“In recognition of the enhanced capabilities, IAF has decided to grant the aircraft a higher status, namely, the Initial Operational Clearance for induction into the service," he said.
 
The Minister said he had had his share of anxieties regarding the future of LCA when he had taken over as the Defence Minister in 2006.
 
"But today we are putting behind the moments of self –doubt, frustrations and setbacks which we as a nation have gone through in the last 30 years," he said.
 
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“The improvements to the aircraft have enhanced the flight envelope of the aircraft and also weapon delivery capability of the aircraft.  The performance at Iron Fist, Jaisalmer and the recent missile firing at Goa are examples of such improvements.  
 
"The reliability of the aircraft and serviceability has also been enhanced.  The number of flights nearing 500 within this year provides an indication of this. Operating at  IAF bases namely, Jamnagar, Jaisalmer, Uttarlai, Gwaliar, Goa, Leh, Pathankot demonstrate the aircraft capability to operate from Air Force bases. There have also been occasions when the same aircraft has flown thrice on the same day, indicating the operational reliability of this home-bred fighter aircraft ," he said.
 
Mr Antony said military aviation in the country had got a major boost with the  approval of several new programmes. Some of these programmes include Mk2 variants of Navy and Air Force; Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft; Unmanned Air Systems; Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft and Medium Transport Aircraft, he said.
 
Describing the attainment of IOC as an important milestone in the long journey towards indigenization through self-reliance, Mr Antony said the public and private sector must work in tandem to develop and produce world-class military systems of the highest quality.
 
Air Chief Marshal Browne said it was a proud day for the nation and for the IAF since the grant of IOC acknowledged the capabilities of the aircraft and paved the way for the inductio of LCA Mk 1 into operational service.
 
He said the progress of such a challenging experimental project without any accident or major incident was unprecedented in the history of aviation.
 
On a personal note, ACM Browne said that, as he prepares to hang up his uniform at the end of this month, he would have gone home as a disappointed person if the IOC of the LCA had not been achieved.
 
The event was attended, among others, by the Scientific Adviser to the Defence Minister, Mr Avinash Chander, Secretary Defence Production G C Pati, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited Chairman R K Tyagi, Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) Programme Director P S Subramanyam and Centre for Military Airworthiness and Certification (CEMILAC) chief K Tamil Mani.
 
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Tejas is the smallest, light weight, single engine, single seat, supersonic, multirole combat aircraft and is one of the best in its class in the world.  
 
The quadruplex digital fly-by-wire flight control system ensures acceptable handling qualities while ensuring adequate safety throughout the flight envelope, an official press release said.
 
The advanced glass cockpit open architecture system complements piloting.  Four variants of Tejas aircraft (Combat variant, Trainer and Naval variants) are being developed for land and carrier borne operations.
 
The  Initial Operational Clearance-1 (IOC-I) for Tejas was achieved on January 10, 2011.
 
In IOC-I, the aircraft had a few limitations in terms of combat performance, turnaround time and its weaponisation which had to be refined and improved. n addition to this, wake penetration trials, all weather clearances were planned beyond IOC-1.
 
Since IOC-I, Tejas has accomplished significant milestones. Till date, more than 2450 sorties have been completed to achieve the flight test goals towards IOC-2.  
 
According to the release, the salient features which have been achieved in IOC-2 include safe flying up to high angle of attack as mandated by the users. 
 
This has considerably enhanced the combat performance of the aircraft. The Flight control system evaluation has also been completed. The time for initial built-in test has been reduced considerably which enables faster turn around and enhanced operational readiness of aircraft. The brake system has been improved significantly in terms of energy absorption capability during landing, thus ensuring prompt turn-around of the aircraft. Significant improvement in cockpit ergonomics and lighting system has been accomplished for improved night flying. In-flight re-light capability was demonstrated to ensure enhanced safety and reliability of the aircraft. 
 
Avionics and wepon system of the aircraft have been revamped for effective mission superiority. Helmet Mounted Display Sight (HMDS) has been fully integrated in Tejas and R73E missile firing has been successfully demonstrated using HMDS, the release said.
 
Multi Mode Weapon multirole capability of Tejas was demonstrated during its participation in Iron Fist. Air to Ground mission and Air to Air missions were demonstrated by dropping Laser Guided Bombs and R73E firing in single pass. Laser Guided Bomb firing has been achieved for IOC-2 to user’s satisfaction, it said.
 
The IOC-2 will enable the Air Force to carry out air superiority and offensive air support missions, forward air field operations, all weather multi role operations, electronic counter measures and night flying operations.
 
LCA Tejas is capable of flying non- stop to destinations over 1700 km away (Ferry Range). It`s Radius of Action is upto 500 km depending upon the nature and duration of actual combat.
 
LCA is powered by the F404/IN20- a well proven turbofan engine, designed and manufactured by General Electric Aircraft Engines, USA.
 
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Poduction facilities have been set up at HAL and the aircraft delivery is expected to commence from 2014.  
 
“We have plans to initially produce eight aircraft per year. Further plans are afoot to enhance the production rate to 16 aircraft per year in consultation with IAF and the Ministry of Defence," Dr Tyagi said.
 
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India's Mars Orbiter carries out first Trajectory Correction Manoeuvre

India's Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) spacecraft, Mangalyaan, which is now on a 300-day journey to the Red Planet, successfully carried out its first Trajectory Correction Manoeuvre (TCM) at 0630 hours today by firing its 22 Newton thrusters for 40.5 seconds.
 
The spacecraft, which is now at a distance of about 2.9 million kilometres away from Earth, was earlier rotated from its nominal orientation to the orientation required for the first TCM.
 
The MOM then commanded the thrusters on board to attain the necessary incremental velocity, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) sources said.
 
After the firing, MOM rolled back to an optimal orientation which ensures continuous communication with Earth, uninterrupted power generation and proper solar heating.
 
Since MOM is about 2.9 million km away from Earth, the amount of time required for the signal to go and come back is about 20 seconds. Hence the entire operation was managed by the on-board computer, they said.
 
The thrusters help to fine tune the trajectory for achieving the right conditions for Mars capture. They will precisely steer the MOM to Mars during the four TCMs planned. They will eliminate the minor deviations in the trajectory before they have a chance to become too large.
 
The second of these crucial manoeuvres is scheduled for April, the third in August and the fourth and last in early September next year.
 
On December 4, Mangalyaan had traversed beyond the sphere of influence (SOI) of Earth, extending about  9,25,000 km.
 
MOM is communicating with the ground stations using S-Band radio waves. MOM has a near omni coverage Low Gain Antenna system, a Medium Gain Antenna with a beam width of +/- 40 degrees, and a High Gain Antenna with a beam width of +/- 2 degrees.
 
Earlier, on December 2, Mangalyaan had crossed the distance of the Moon's orbit to become the farthest object sent into space by India.
 
On December 1, ISRO scientists had fired the 440 Newton liquid engine on board Mangalyaan to propel it into Mars Transfer Trajectory and India into inter-planetary space for the very first time.
 
This was the last of six planned midnight manoeuvres aimed at helping the spacecraft attain the escape velocity needed to break free from the Earth's gravitational pull and begin the second stage of its historic 300-day journey to Mars.
 
After the successful completion of the Trans Mars Injection (TMI) operations, the Medium Gain Antenna of the Mars Orbiter Spacecraft was powered for long distance communication.
 
During the TMI operations, the liquid engine burn time was 1328.89 sec and the imparted incremental velocity was 647.96 m/sec.
 
On November 27, Mangalyaan had entered its final orbit around Earth after passing its final pedigree.
 
On November 16, ISRO had successfully completed the fifth orbit raising manoeuvre of the spacecraft.
 
Earlier, on November 12, ISRO had completed a supplementary orbit raising manoeuvre on the spacecraft to overcome a minor hiccup that had occurred the previous day. In that manoeuvre, the apogee was increased from 78276 km to 118642 km.
 
The supplementary manoeuvre became necessary after ISRO was not able to raise the spacecraft's orbit to the required 100,000 km in the fourth orbit raising manoeuvre, though it said the satellite was "in normal health".
 
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Instead of flying directly to Mars, the spacecraft had orbited Earth for nearly a month to work up the velocity needed as it was first navigated to a hyperbolic departure trajectory and is now made to traverse an interplanetary cruise before reaching the intended orbit around Mars.
 
The Mars Orbiter, India's first interplanetary spacecraft, was launched into an elliptical earth orbit with a perigee of 248.4 km and an apogee of 23,550 km, inclined at an angle of 19.27 deg to the equator, by India's Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle in its 25th flight (PSLV-C25) at 1438 hours on November 5. The achieved orbit was very close to the intended one. 
 
The TMI completed on December 1 will enable the spacecraft to travel to the vicinity of Mars by September 2014.
 
At that time, the liquid engine will be fired again to slow down the spacecraft to enable it to be captured by Martian gravity into an orbit around it.
 
The spacecraft is being continuously monitored from the Spacecraft Control Centre at ISRO Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC) in Bangalore with support from Indian Deep Space Network (IDSN) antennae at Byalalu, it added.
 
The Mars Orbiter Mission has attracted international attention, especially for its low price tag of Rs 450 crore, which is much lower than the cost of similar missions by other countries, such as NASA's Maven launched recently.
 
NASA and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) of the United States are providing communications and navigation support to the ISRO mission with their Deep Space Network facilities.
 
ISRO sources said that one of the main objectives of the mission to Mars is to develop the technologies required for design, planning, management and operations of an interplanetary mission. 
 
The technical objectives include design and realisation of a Mars orbiter with a capability to survive and perform Earth bound manoeuvres, cruise phase of 300 days, Mars orbit insertion / capture, and on-orbit phase around Mars.
 
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They also include deep space communication, navigation, mission planning and management and incorporation of autonomous features to handle contingency situations.
 
The scientific objectives of the mission include exploration of Mars surface features, morphology, mineralogy and Martian atmosphere by indigenous scientific instruments.
 
If successful, the mission will make India one of the few space powers to have explored the Red Planet after Russia, the United States and Europe.
 
The orbiter craft is carrying five payloads, including Lyman Alpha Photometer (LAP), Methane Sensor for Mars (MSM), Martian Exospheric Neutral Composition Explorer (MENCA), Mars Colour Camera (MCC) and TIR Imaging Spectrometer (TIS).
 
The objectives of these payloads are exploration of Mars surface features, morphology, mineralogy and the Martian atmosphere.
 
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Srikantadatta Wadiyar, scion of Mysore royal family, passes away

Srikantadatta Wadiyar
Srikantadatta Wadiyar
Srikantadatta Narasimharaja Wadiyar, the scion of the erstwhile royal family of Mysore and a former Member of the Lok Sabha, passed away here this afternoon after suffering a cardiac arrest.
 
He was 60. He is survived by hs wife Pramoda Devi.
 
Wadiyar, who was feeling fine in the morning and had gone about his normal routine, complained of uneasiness around noon and decided to rest. When the family realised that his condition was not improving, they rushed him to the Vikram Hospital here.
 
Sources at the hospital said Wadiyar was brought to the hospital in an unconscious state and they tried for more than an hour to revive him, before declaring him dead around 3.30 pm.
 
Born on February 20, 1953, Wadiyar was the only son of Jayachamaraja Wadiyar and Tripura Sundaramani Avaru. He was educated at the Mahaaja College and Shada Vilas Law College and had an M.A. in Political Science and an LL.B. degree.
 
He was elected to the 8th Lok Sabha in 1984 on a Congress ticket and was re-elected to the 9th Lok Sabha in 1989, the 11th in 1996 and the 13th in 1999.
 
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He had a variety of interests and had trained to play the piano. He was associated with various social and educational institutions. He headed several of the family's business enterprises.
 
Wadiyar became the head of the dynasty on the death of his father in September 1974, but by then the Central government had abolished the privy purse and other princely priveleges and use of royal titles.
 
Wadiyar also represented Mysore University in cricket and was captain of the team. 
 
Just ten days ago, on December 1, he had been elected as President of the Karnataka State Cricket Association.
 
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India's Mars Orbiter spacecraft traverses beyond Earth's sphere of influence

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India's Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) spacecraft, Mangalyaan, which is now on a 300-day journey to the Red Planet, traversed beyond the sphere of influence (SOI) of Earth, extending about 9,25,000 km, at around 0114 hours IST today.
 
A post on the mission's Facebook page explained that the Sun is much more massive than any of the planets and its gravity dominates the solar system.
 
The planetary gravity is stronger than that of the sun only very near to the planets, it said. This region around the planet is referred to as the Sphere of Influence (SOI) of that planet.
 
The SOI of Earth is 9.25 lakh km and orbits of the Moon and all the artificial satellites of earth fall inside this sphere, it added.
 
Earlier, on December 2, Mangalyaan had crossed the distance of the Moon's orbit to become the farthest object sent into space by India.
 
On December 1, scientists of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) had fired the 440 Newton liquid engine on board Mangalyaan to propel it into Mars Transfer Trajectory and India into inter-planetary space for the very first time.
 
This was the last of six planned midnight manoeuvers aimed at helping the spacecraft attain the escape velocity needed to break free from the Earth's gravitational pull and begin the second stage of its historic 300-day journey to Mars.
 
After the successful completion of the Trans Mars Injection (TMI) operations, the Medium Gain Antenna of the Mars Orbiter Spacecraft was powered for long distance communication.
 
During the TMI operations, the liquid engine burn time was 1328.89 sec and the imparted incremental velocity was 647.96 m/sec.
 
On November 27, Mangalyaan had entered its final orbit around Earth after passing its final perigree.
 
On November 16, ISRO had successfully completed the fifth orbit raising manoeuver of the spacecraft.
 
Earlier, on November 12, ISRO had completed a supplementary orbit raising manoeuver on the spacecraft to overcome a minor hiccup that had occurred the previous day. In that manoeuver, the apogee was increased from 78276 km to 118642 km.
 
The supplementary manoeuver became necessary after ISRO was not able to raise the spacecraft's orbit to the required 100,000 km in the fourth orbit raising manoeuver, though it said the satellite was "in normal health".
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Instead of flying directly to Mars, the spacecraft had orbited Earth for nearly a month to work up the velocity needed as it was first navigated to a hyperbolic departure trajectory and is now made to traverse an interplanetary cruise before reaching the intended orbit around Mars.
 
The Mars Orbiter, India's first interplanetary spacecraft, was launched into an elliptical earth orbit with a perigee of 248.4 km and an apogee of 23,550 km, inclined at an angle of 19.27 deg to the equator, by India's Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle in its 25th flight (PSLV-C25) at 1438 hours on November 5. The achieved orbit was very close to the intended one. 
 
The TMI completed on December 1 will enable the spacecraft to travel to the vicinity of Mars by September 2014.
 
At that time, the liquid engine will be fired again to slow down the spacecraft to enable it to be captured by Martian gravity into an orbit around it.
 
An ISRO press release said that, since its launch, all systems onboard the Mars Orbiter spacecraft are performing normally.
 
The spacecraft is being continuously monitored from the Spacecraft Control Centre at ISRO Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC) in Bangalore with support from Indian Deep Space Network (IDSN) antennae at Byalalu, it added.
 
The Mars Orbiter Mission has attracted international attention, especially for its low price tag of Rs 450 crore, which is much lower than the cost of similar missions by other countries, such as NASA's Maven launched recently.
 
NASA and the Jet Propulsion Labaratory (JPL) of the United States are providing communications and navigation support to the ISRO mission with their Deep Space Network facilities.
 
ISRO sources said that one of the main objectives of the mission to Mars is to develop the technologies required for design, planning, management and operations of an interplanetary mission. 
 
The technical objectives include design and realisation of a Mars orbiter with a capability to survive and perform Earth bound manoeuvers, cruise phase of 300 days, Mars orbit insertion / capture, and on-orbit phase around Mars.
 
They also include deep space communication, navigation, mission planning and management and incorporation of autonomous features to handle contingency situations.
 
The scientific objectives of the mission include exploration of Mars surface features, morphology, mineralogy and Martian atmosphere by indigenous scientific instruments.
 
If successful, the mission will make India one of the few space powers to have explored the Red Planet after Russia, the United States and Europe.
 
The orbiter craft is carrying five payloads, including Lyman Alpha Photometer (LAP), Methane Sensor for Mars (MSM), Martian Exospheric Neutral Composition Explorer (MENCA), Mars Colour Camera (MCC) and TIR Imaging Spectrometer (TIS).
 
The objectives of these payloads are exploration of Mars surface features, morphology, mineralogy and the Martian atmosphere.
 
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PM dedicates GAIL's Dabhol-Bangalore gas pipeline to nation

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Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today dedicated to the nation public sector GAIL (India) Limited's 1000 km natural gas pipeline from Dabhol in Maharashtra to Bangalore in Karnataka.
 
The dedication was made during the inaugural ceremony of the 8th Asia Gas Partnership Summit (AGPS) here in the presence of Union Minister for Petroleum & Natural Gas M. Veerappa Moily and Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas Panabaaka Lakshmi. 
 
The pipeline, which has connected South India to the national gas grid for the first time, has been constructed an investment of Rs 4500 crore with a design capacity of 16 MMSCMD of natural gas which can produce 3,000 MW of clean energy. 
 
The pipeline passes through Belgaum, Dharwad, Gadag, Bellary, Devanagere, Chitradurga, Tumkur, Ramanagaram, Bangalore Rural and Bangalore Urban districts.
 
It traverses through 18 National Highways, 382 other road crossings, 20 railway crossings, 83 cased crossings, 11 major river crossings and 276 water body crossings including Asia’s largest river crossing in rocky terrain at Ghatprabha.
 
The construction operations which continued round the clock for 19 months involved pipeline laying in some of the world’s steepest slopes of 60 to 70 degrees and sharp elevations of upto 700 metres in a 3.5 km stretch.
 
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Mangalyaan becomes farthest object sent into space by India

India's Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) spacecraft, Mangalyaan, crossed the distance of the Moon's orbit on Monday morning, becoming the farthest object sent into space by India, the Indian Space Research Organisation said.

An illustration of the Trans Mars Injecton completed successfully by ISRO scientists on the Mars Orbiter Mission spacecraft, on December 1, 2013. Image: ISRO
An illustration of the Trans Mars Injecton completed successfully by ISRO scientists on the Mars Orbiter Mission spacecraft, on December 1, 2013. Image: ISRO
India's Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) spacecraft, Mangalyaan, crossed the distance of the Moon's orbit this morning, becoming the farthest object sent into space by India, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said.
 
According to sources, the spacecraft crossed the lunar orbit around 7.20 am IST and became the farthest Indian object from Earth.
 
Earlier, scientists of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) had, in the early hours of yesterday, fired the 440 Newton liquid engine on board Mangalyaan to propel it into Mars Transfer Trajectory and India into inter-planetary space for the very first time.
 
This was the last of six planned midnight manoeuvers aimed at helping the spacecraft attain the escape velocity needed to break free from the Earth's gravitational pull and begin the second stage of its historic 300-day journey to the Red Planet.
 
After the successful completion of the Trans Mars Injection (TMI) operations, the Medium Gain Antenna of the Mars Orbiter Spacecraft was powered for long distance communication.
 
During the TMI operations, the liquid engine burn time was 1328.89 sec and the imparted incremental velocity was 647.96 m/sec.
 
The operation operation began at 0049 hours yesterday and was completed in 23 minutes, consuming 198 kg of fuel.
 
On November 27, Mangalyaan had entered its final orbit around Earth after passing its final perigree.
 
On November 16, ISRO had successfully completed the fifth orbit raising manoeuver of the spacecraft.
 
Earlier, on November 12, ISRO had completed a supplementary orbit raising manoeuver on the spacecraft to overcome a minor hiccup that had occurred the previous day. In that manoeuver, the apogee was increased from 78276 km to 118642 km.
 
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The supplementary manoeuver became necessary after ISRO was not able to raise the spacecraft's orbit to the required 100,000 km in the fourth orbit raising manoeuver, though it said the satellite was "in normal health".
 
Instead of flying directly to Mars, the spacecraft had orbited Earth for nearly a month to work up the velocity needed as it was first navigated to a hyperbolic departure trajectory and is now made to traverse an interplanetary cruise before reaching the intended orbit around Mars.
 
The Mars Orbiter, India's first interplanetary spacecraft, was launched into an elliptical earth orbit with a perigee of 248.4 km and an apogee of 23,550 km, inclined at an angle of 19.27 deg to the equator, by India's Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle in its 25th flight (PSLV-C25) at 1438 hours on November 5. The achieved orbit was very close to the intended one. 
 
The TMI completed yesterday will enable the spacecraft to travel to the vicinity of Mars by September 2014 after a 300-day journey in deep space. 
 
At that time, the liquid engine will be fired again to slow down the spacecraft to enable it to be captured by Martian gravity into an orbit around it.
 
An ISRO press release said that, since its launch, all systems onboard the Mars Orbiter spacecraft are performing normally.
 
The spacecraft is being continuously monitored from the Spacecraft Control Centre at ISRO Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC) in Bangalore with support from Indian Deep Space Network (IDSN) antennae at Byalalu, it added.
 
The Mars Orbiter Mission has attracted international attention, especially for its low price tag of Rs 450 crore, which is much lower than the cost of similar missions by other countries, such as NASA's Maven launched recently.
 
NASA and the Jet Propulsion Labaratory (JPL) of the United States are providing communications and navigation support to the ISRO mission with their Deep Space Network facilities.
 
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ISRO sources said that one of the main objectives of the mission to Mars is to develop the technologies required for design, planning, management and operations of an interplanetary mission. 
 
The technical objectives include design and realisation of a Mars orbiter with a capability to survive and perform Earth bound manoeuvers, cruise phase of 300 days, Mars orbit insertion / capture, and on-orbit phase around Mars.
 
They also include deep space communication, navigation, mission planning and management and incorporation of autonomous features to handle contingency situations.
 
The scientific objectives of the mission include exploration of Mars surface features, morphology, mineralogy and Martian atmosphere by indigenous scientific instruments.
 
If successful, the mission will make India one of the few space powers to have explored the Red Planet after Russia, the United States and Europe.
 
The orbiter craft is carrying five payloads, including Lyman Alpha Photometer (LAP), Methane Sensor for Mars (MSM), Martian Exospheric Neutral Composition Explorer (MENCA), Mars Colour Camera (MCC) and TIR Imaging Spectrometer (TIS).
 
The objectives of these payloads are exploration of Mars surface features, morphology, mineralogy and the Martian atmosphere.
 
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SABIC opens technology centre in Bangalore

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Petrochemicals giant Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC) of Saudi Arabia today opened its state-of-the-art SABIC Technology Centre (STC) here, a cutting edge research facility.
 
The centre was formally inaugurated by Prince Saud bin Abdullah bin Thenayan Al-Saud, Chairman of SABIC and Chairman of the Royal Commission for Jubail & Yanbu.
 
Built with an investmet of $ 100 million, the facility marks a significant milestone for SABIC in India and is one of the company's 17 research centres around the world.
 
The STC, with an area of 187,000 sqm, is home to over 300 scientists from India.
 
"We are extremely proud to be here, in a city that is a world-renowned centre for technology in India. Saudi Arabia and India have a long history of deep relationships. We believe in the future of India - a rapidly developing nation where partnership and inclusive development is a priority. India is an important market for us in Asia, which is why our investment here is significant," Prince Saud said.
 
"From SABIC's perspective, the key to success here involves partnership and cooperation among governments, scientists and the business sector to promote science, technology and innovation. Today, we are joined by our valued customers and business partners to achieve long term success," he said.
 
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Mr Mohamed Al-Mady, Vice Chairman and CEO said, "SABIC as a company grounded in developing material solutions has innovation, ingenuity and collaboration at its core, helping us to achieve a deeper understanding of our customers and their business."
 
"In this centre, the scientists here are carrying out cutting-edge research into new platforms for next-generation materials across industry sectors including Construction, Clean Energy, Electrics and Electronics, Medical Devices, Transportation. Other initiatives include designing greener building materials to reduce environmental footprints and developing eco-friendly products in response to global megatrends and needs," he said.
 
Karnataka Governor Hans Raj Bhardwaj was the chief guest on the occasion. Others present included Union Minister of Minority Affairs K Rahman Khan and Minister of State for Chemicals & Fertilisers Srikant Kumar Jena.
 
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India's Mars Orbiter spacecraft begins final orbit around Earth

Image: ISRO
Image: ISRO
India's Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) spacecraft, Mangalyaan, entered its final orbit around Earth this morning after passing its final perigree.
 
"MOM will walk around the Earth one last time- in its last orbit over the next four days and leave for Mars on Saturday night," a brief message posted on the mission's Facebook page said today.
 
Scientists of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) had, on November 16, successfully completed the fifth orbit raisig manoeuver of the spacecraft.
 
The observed change in apogee was from 118642 km to 192874 km.
 
Earlier, on November 12, ISRO had completed a supplementary orbit raising manoeuvre on the spacecraft to overcome a minor hiccup that had occurred the previous day.
 
In that manoeuver, the apogee was increased from 78276 km to 118642 km.
 
The supplementary manoeuver became necessary after ISRO was not able to raise the spacecraft's orbit to the required 100,000 km in the fourth orbit raising manoeuver, though it said the satellite was "in normal health".
 
In all, ISRO had planned six such midnight manoeuvers aimed at helping the spacecraft attain the escape velocity needed to break free from the Earth's gravitational pull and begin the second stage of its historic 300-day journey to the Red Planet.
 
Instead of flying directly to Mars, the spacecraft is orbiting Earth for nearly a month to work up the velocity needed as it is first navigated to a hyperbolic departure trajectory and then made to traverse an interplanetary cruise before reaching the intended orbit around Mars.
 
An illustration of the six ellipses representing the various orbits of the Mars Orbiter Mission spacecraft around Earth and the outward trajectory representing the Trans-Mars Injection Manoeuver. Image: ISRO
An illustration of the six ellipses representing the various orbits of the Mars Orbiter Mission spacecraft around Earth and the outward trajectory representing the Trans-Mars Injection Manoeuver. Image: ISRO
The Mars Orbiter, India's first interplanetary spacecraft, was launched into an elliptical earth orbit with a perigee of 248.4 km and an apogee of 23,550 km, inclined at an angle of 19.27 deg to the equator, by India's Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle in its 25th flight (PSLV-C25) at 1438 hours on Noveber 5. The achieved orbit was very close to the intended one. 
 
ISRO hopes to put the spacecraft on Mars Transfer Trajectory on December 1. This will enable the spacecraft to travel to the vicinity of Mars by September 2014 after a 300-day journey in deep space. 
 
At that time, the 440 Newton Liquid Engine will be fired again to slow down the spacecraft to enable it to be captured by Martian gravity into an orbit around it.
 
The Mars Mission Orbiter has attracted international attention, especially for its low-price tag of Rs 450 crore, which is much lower than the cost of similar missions by other countries, such as NASA's Maven, scheduled to be launched next week.
 
NASA and the Jet Propulsion Labaratory (JPL) of the United States are providing communications and navigation support to the ISRO mission with their Deep Space Network facilities.
 
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ISRO sources said that one of the main objectives of the mission to Mars is to develop the technologies required for design, planning, management and operations of an interplanetary mission. 
 
The technical objectives include design and realisation of a Mars orbiter with a capability to survive and perform Earth bound manoeuvres, cruise phase of 300 days, Mars orbit insertion / capture, and on-orbit phase around Mars.
 
They also include deep space communication, navigation, mission planning and management and incorporation of autonomous features to handle contingency situations.
 
The scientific objectives of the mission include exploration of Mars surface features, morphology, mineralogy and Martian atmosphere by indigenous scientific instruments.
 
If successful, the mission will make India one of the few space powers to have explored the Red Planet after Russia, the United States and Europe.
 
The orbiter craft is carrying five payloads, including Lyman Alpha Photometer (LAP), Methane Sensor for Mars (MSM), Martian Exospheric Neutral Composition Explorer (MENCA), Mars Colour Camera (MCC) and TIR Imaging Spectrometer (TIS).
 
The objectives of these payloads are exploration of Mars surface features, morphology, mineralogy and the Martian atmosphere.
 
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ISRO carries out fifth orbit raising manoeuver on Mars Orbiter spacecraft

An illustration of the fifth orbit raising manoeuver of ISRO's Mars Orbiter Mission spacecraft carried out on November 16, 2013.
An illustration of the fifth orbit raising manoeuver of ISRO's Mars Orbiter Mission spacecraft carried out on November 16, 2013.
 
Scientists of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) today successfuly completed the fifth orbit raisig manoeuver of its Mars Orbiter spacecraft, Mangalyaan, in the early hours of today.
 
The manoeuver started at 0127 hours and had a burn time of 243.5 seconds, a brief bulletin by ISRO, posted on its website, said.
 
The observed change in apogee is from 118642 km to 192874 km," it said.
 
Earlier, on November 12, ISRO had completed a supplementary orbit raising manoeuvre on the spacecraft to overcome a minor hiccup that had occurred the previous day.
 
In that manoeuver, the apogee was increased from 78276 km to 118642 km.
 
The supplementary manoeuver became necessary after ISRO was not able to raise the spacecraft's orbit to the required 100,000 km in the fourth orbit raising manoeuver, though it said the satellite was "in normal health".
 
In the fourth orbit-raising operation on the spacecraft since it was launched on November 5, its apogee (farthest point to Earth) was raised from 71,623 km to 78,276 km by imparting an incremental velocity of  35 metres/second (as against 130 metres/second originally planned to raise apogee to about 100,000 km).
 
In all, ISRO had planned six such midnight manoeuvers aimed at helping the spacecraft attain the escape velocity needed to break free from the Earth's gravitational pull and begin the second stage of its historic 300-day journey to the Red Planet.
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Instead of flying directly to Mars, the spacecraft is orbiting Earth for nearly a month to work up the velocity needed as it is first navigated to a hyperbolic departure trajectory and then made to traverse an interplanetary cruise before reaching the intended orbit around Mars.
 
The Mars Orbiter, India's first interplanetary spacecraft, was launched into an elliptical earth orbit with a perigee of 248.4 km and an apogee of 23,550 km, inclined at an angle of 19.27 deg to the equator, by India's Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle in its 25th flight (PSLV-C25) at 1438 hours on Noveber 5. The achieved orbit was very close to the intended one. 
 
ISRO hopes to put the spacecraft on Mars Transfer Trajectory on December 1. This will enable the spacecraft to travel to the vicinity of Mars by September 2014 after a 300-day journey in deep space. 
 
At that time, the 440 Newton Liquid Engine will be fired again to slow down the spacecraft to enable it to be captured by Martian gravity into an orbit around it.
 
The Mars Mission Orbiter has attracted international attention, especially for its low-price tag of Rs 450 crore, which is much lower than the cost of similar missions by other countries, such as NASA's Maven, scheduled to be launched next week.
 
NASA and the Jet Propulsion Labaratory (JPL) of the United States are providing communications and navigation support to the ISRO mission with their Deep Space Network facilities.
 
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ISRO sources said that one of the main objectives of the mission to Mars is to develop the technologies required for design, planning, management and operations of an interplanetary mission. 
 
The technical objectives include design and realisation of a Mars orbiter with a capability to survive and perform Earth bound manoeuvres, cruise phase of 300 days, Mars orbit insertion / capture, and on-orbit phase around Mars.
 
They also include deep space communication, navigation, mission planning and management and incorporation of autonomous features to handle contingency situations.
 
The scientific objectives of the mission include exploration of Mars surface features, morphology, mineralogy and Martian atmosphere by indigenous scientific instruments.
 
If successful, the mission will make India one of the few space powers to have explored the Red Planet after Russia, the United States and Europe.
 
The orbiter craft is carrying five payloads, including Lyman Alpha Photometer (LAP), Methane Sensor for Mars (MSM), Martian Exospheric Neutral Composition Explorer (MENCA), Mars Colour Camera (MCC) and TIR Imaging Spectrometer (TIS).
 
The objectives of these payloads are exploration of Mars surface features, morphology, mineralogy and the Martian atmosphere.
 
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Three Judges appointed in Karnataka High Court

 
The President has appointed Mr Justice Bijoor Manohar, Mr Justice Hosahalli Sheshadri Kempanna, and Ms Justice Bangalore Shamachar Indrakala, Additional Judges of the High Court of Karnataka, to be Judges of that High Court.
 
An official press release said that the appointments would be with effect from the date they assume charge of their office. 
 
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ISRO conducts fourth orbit-raising manoeuver on Mars Orbiter spacecraft

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Scientists of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) conducted the fourth orbit raising manoeuver on its Mars Orbiter spacecraft, Mangalyaan, India's first inter-planetary mission, in the early hours of today.
 
In the fourth orbit-raising operation on the spacecraft since it was launched on November 5, its apogee (farthest point to Earth) was raised from 71,623 km to 78,276 km by imparting an incremental velocity of  35 metres/second (as against 130 metres/second originally planned to raise apogee to about 100,000 km).
 
"The spacecraft is in normal health. A supplementary orbit-raising operation is planned tomorrow at 0500 hrs IST to raise the apogee to nearly 1 lakh km," an ISRO press release said.
 
During the orbit-raising operations conducted since November 7, ISRO has been testing and exercising the autonomy functions progressively, that are essential for Trans-Mars Injection (TMI) and Mars Orbit Insertion (MOI).
 
During the first three orbit-raising operations, the prime and redundant chains of gyros, accelerometers, 22 Newton attitude control thrusters, attitude and orbit control electronics as well as the associated logics for their fault detection isolation, and reconfiguration have been exercised successfully, it said.
 
"The prime and redundant star sensors have been functioning satisfactorily. The primary coil of the solenoid flow control valve was used successfully for the first three orbit-raising operations," it said.
 
During the fourth orbit-raising operations held today, the redundancies built in for the propulsion system were exercised, namely, (a) energising the primary and redundant coils of the solenoid flow control valve of 440 Newton Liquid Engine and (b) logic for thrust augmentation by the attitude control thrusters, when needed. 
 
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"However, when both primary and redundant coils were energised together, as one of the planned modes, the flow to the liquid engine stopped. The thrust level augmentation logic, as expected, came in and the operation continued using the attitude control thrusters. This sequence resulted in reduction of the incremental velocity," it said.
 
While this parallel mode of operating the two coils is not possible for subsequent operations, they could be operated independently in sequence, the release added.
 
In all, the spacecraft will undergo six such midnight manoeuvers aimed at helping it attain the escape velocity needed to break free from the Earth's gravitational pull and begin the second stage of its historic 300-day journey to the Red Planet.
 
The spacecraft will orbit Earth for nearly a month to work up the velocity needed as it is first navigated to a hyperbolic departure trajectory and then made to traverse an interplanetary cruise before reaching the intended orbit around Mars.
 
The Mars Orbiter, India's first interplanetary spacecraft, was launched into an elliptical earth orbit with a perigee of 248.4 km and an apogee of 23,550 km, inclined at an angle of 19.27 deg to the equator, by India's Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle in its 25th flight (PSLV-C25) at 1438 hours on Noveber 5. The achieved orbit was very close to the intended one. 
 
ISRO hopes to put the spacecraft on Mars Transfer Trajectory on December 1. This will enable the spacecrat to travel to the vicinity of Mars by September 2014 after a 300-day journey in deep space. 
 
At that time, the 440 Newton Liquid Engine will be fired again to slow down the spacecraft to enable it to be captured by Martian gravity into an orbit around it.
 
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ISRO carries out third orbit raising manoeuver on Mars Orbiter spacecraft

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The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) said the third orbit raising manoeuvre of its Mars Orbiter spacecraft was completed successfuly in the early hours of today.
 
The manoeuver started at 0210  hours and had a burn time of 707 seconds, ISRO said in a brief statement on its website.
 
The observed change in apogee is from 40186 km to 71636 km, it added.
 
The Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) spacecraft, Mangalyaan, will undergo six such midnight manoeuvers aimed at helping it attain the escape velocity needed to break free from the Earth's gravitational pull and begin the second stage of its historic 300-day journey to the Red Planet.
 
The first was carried out in the early hours of November 7 and the second yesterday.
 
The spacecraft will orbit Earth for nearly a month to work up the velocity needed as it is first navigated to a hyperbolic departure trajectory and then made to traverse an interplanetary cruise before reaching the intended orbit around Mars.
 
The Mars Orbiter, India's first interplanetary spacecraft, was launched into an elliptical earth orbit with a perigee of 248.4 km and an apogee of 23,550 km, inclined at an angle of 19.27 deg to the equator, by India's Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle in its 25th flight (PSLV-C25) at 1438 hours on Noveber 5. The achieved orbit was very close to the intended one. 
 
Following its separation from the fourth stage of PSLV-C25 about 44 minutes after lift-off, the solar panels and the main dish shaped antenna of the spacecraft got successfully deployed. Subsequently, the other intended operations to accurately stabilise the spacecraft were also performed successfully.
 
According to ISRO, all systems onboard the spacecraft are functioning normally. 
 
Further orbit raising manoeuvers using the 440 Newton Liquid Engine are planned in the coming few days following which the spacecraft will be put on Mars Transfer Trajectory on December 1. This will enable the spacecrat to travel to the vicinity of Mars by September 2014 after a 300-day journey in deep space. 
 
At that time, the 440 Newton Liquid Engine will be fired again to slow down the spacecraft to enable it to be captured by Martian gravity into an orbit around it.
 
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P Y Rajendra Kumar appointed Director General of National Library, Kolkata

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Mr P.Y. Rajendra Kumar has been appointed as the Director General, National Library, Kolkata under the Ministry of Culture.
 
An official press release said he had been appointed to the post on contract basis for a period of three years, subjec to satisfactory performance.
 
Before moving to his current assignment, Mr Rajendra Kumar worked in various capacities in the Department of Public Libraries, Karnataka and retired as its Director. 
 
After his retirement he also worked as Consultant (Administration) at the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, Southern Regional Centre,  Bangalore. 
 
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