Indian Space Program: News & Discussions

Gautam

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Replacement for RISAT 1??? (C band vs X band)
RISAT-2 was launched before RISAT-1 with a mission life of 10 years. So I thought this would be its replacement. Wiki says RISAT-1 has been declared non-operational. So we just have the RISAT-2BR1 operational now ? Or does the RISAT-2 still have some life left ?
 

vingensys

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RISAT-2 was launched before RISAT-1 with a mission life of 10 years. So I thought this would be its replacement. Wiki says RISAT-1 has been declared non-operational. So we just have the RISAT-2BR1 operational now ? Or does the RISAT-2 still have some life left ?
We should be having RISAT 2B(PSLV C46 / 22 MAY 19), 2BR1(PSLV C48 / 11 DEC 19) now operational. Risat 2, i couldn't find much about it. But given 10 year declared lifetime, and given the history of past satellites overshooting the expected lifetime, it may still be active.


Regarding RISAT 1, wasn't that the satelite that we lost around surgical strike 1 ( fragmentation event as reported by NORAD) and caused the whole ruckus during asat discussion at NSF
 
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Gautam

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Another piece of the PSLV rocket caught by fishermen today. Brahmos Corp. does a lot of contract manufacturing for ISRO :

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Its a part of the POSM booster on the PSLV :
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1576842977418.png
 
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Gautam

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Isro’s 2020 target: Sun mission, Gaganyaan test-flight, mini-PSLV test and 10 sat launches

Surendra Singh | TNN | Dec 23, 2019, 6:58 IST

NEW DELHI: Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) will aim to touch new heights in 2020 as it is planning to launch around a dozen key satellite missions, high-profile interplanetary mission Aditya (sun) and first unmanned test-flight of the Gaganyaan mission carrying a humanoid.

Talking to TOI, Isro chairman K Sivan said, “We are targeting to launch over 10 satellite missions next year. They will include advanced communication satellites GISAT-1 and GSAT-12R and earth observation satellites RISAT-2BR2 and Microsat (for surveillance). We are also targeting to launch Aditya L1 (sun) mission by mid-2020 and the first unmanned test-flight of Gaganyaan in December.”

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The Aditya L1 mission will be the country’s first solar mission that will help scientists study solar corona. The ISRO chief said, “A PSLV will be used to carry the spacecraft and the work on the satellite is currently going on.” The 400kg-class satellite, which will carry six scientific payloads, will be inserted in a halo orbit around the Lagrangian point 1 (L1), which is 1.5 million km from the Earth, so that there is a major advantage of continuously viewing the Sun without any eclipse.

On two other significant missions, Sivan told TOI, “The test-flight of reusable launch vehicle (RLV) and the first development flight of newly-developed Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV or mini-PSLV) are likely to be launched by early next year.”

The RLV technology will help the space agency reuse first and second stages of a rocket so that it can reuse them to cut cost and carry heavier payloads. The first rocket stage will be recovered on a vertical landing spot on the sea like Elon Musk-promoted American company Space X has been doing it with its Falcon rocket. For recovering the second stage, Isro is developing a winged body like a space shuttle. This shuttle will be attached as a second stage in a rocket. It will carry the top portion of the rocket comprising a satellite to space. Once it injects the satellite in its orbit, the shuttle will glide back to the Earth and land on an airstrip

The SSLV project is actually a vehicle-on-demand that has been developed keeping in mind the half-a-billion-dollar small satellite market. SSLV weighs just 110 tonnes, which is 1/10th the mass of a PSLV. It can be assembled in just 3-5 days as compared to 40 days for a PSLV and can carry a payload of up to 500kg to the low earth orbit, making it ideal for launching small satellites.

At the end of the year, Isro will try to launch the first test-flight of the Rs 10,000cr Gaganyaan mission. A modified GSLV MKIII will carry a humanoid (a robot with human features) to space and scientists will monitor the activities of the humanoid in order to prepare for the manned mission later. The first test-flight will be followed by a second unmanned mission in July 2021 and finally the human spaceflight mission in December 2021 in which three Indian astronauts or Gagannauts will be sent to space for 5-7 days for performing various space experiments in space. The three Gagannauts, enclosed in a crew module mated to a service module in space, will finally be brought back to the Earth after a week in space.

Isro’s 2020 target: Sun mission, Gaganyaan test-flight, mini-PSLV test and 10 sat launches | India News - Times of India
 
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Gautam

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GSLV F10/GISAT-1 : Spacecraft GISAT-1 has arrived at SDSC SHAR on 23 December, launch aiming for late January 2020.

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GISAT-1 sat :

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According to regional media report GISAT-1 has been delivered to SDSC SHAR Sriharikota from URSC, Bangalore on 23 December 2019. GSLV F10 is being integrated in SSAB (Solid Stage Assembly Building) and launch is targeting late January 2020 from Second Launch Pad.

Source : షార్‌కు చేరుకున్న గీశాట్‌ ఉపగ్రహం - EENADU
 

vingensys

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GSLV F10/GISAT-1 : Spacecraft GISAT-1 has arrived at SDSC SHAR on 23 December, launch aiming for late January 2020.

View attachment 12185
GISAT-1 sat :

View attachment 12186

According to regional media report GISAT-1 has been delivered to SDSC SHAR Sriharikota from URSC, Bangalore on 23 December 2019. GSLV F10 is being integrated in SSAB (Solid Stage Assembly Building) and launch is targeting late January 2020 from Second Launch Pad.

Source : షార్‌కు చేరుకున్న గీశాట్‌ ఉపగ్రహం - EENADU
Does SSAB have space to integrate full vehicle? IIRC wasn't SSAB for gs1 and boosters ? And vehicle had to be shifted to vab for further process. If so isn't gslv f10 already in vab?

Read with this the cartosat launch was held recently from SLP, so VAB was occupied till then. Any chance we could see the utilisation of SVAB? (I know it's remote, as it isn't inaugrated yet)
 

Gautam

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Does SSAB have space to integrate full vehicle? IIRC wasn't SSAB for gs1 and boosters ? And vehicle had to be shifted to vab for further process. If so isn't gslv f10 already in vab?

Read with this the cartosat launch was held recently from SLP, so VAB was occupied till then. Any chance we could see the utilisation of SVAB? (I know it's remote, as it isn't inaugrated yet)
The launch of GISAT-1 is expected to happen in late January. We still should have about a full month left to launch, so why was the satellite sent to SDSC this early ? Usually satellites arrive a week or so ahead of the launch, this is too early.

Maybe they expect the integration process to take longer than usual. Integration process of a vehicle begins only after all components/stages have arrived and is a highly systematic and tightly scheduled process. It has to be for safety's sake. Even in case of mishaps the process is well developed to allow very quick fix(remember CY-2 launch scrub). So if the satellite is already at SDSC it maybe because the integration is expected to take longer than usual or the launch will be ahead of schedule. Launching ahead of schedule has never happened before.

SVAB has not been inaugurated. But the construction is complete. Maybe this will be a trial run of the SVAB. We will know more when the assembly pics start coming out.
 

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VSSC launches sounding rocket

Special Correspondent
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, December 27, 2019 00:58 IST
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To study changes in sky during eclipse

A Rohini (RH) 200 sounding rocket shot off from Thumba at 9.30 a.m., when the partial solar eclipse — as viewed from Thiruvananthapuram — was at its maximum.

The Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) used the sounding rocket mission to study changes in the earth’s upper atmosphere during the eclipse. VSSC has scheduled a second RH 200 flight at exactly the same time on Friday also.

Sounding rockets have been lifting off from Thumba since the 1960s as part of the efforts to keep tabs on the upper atmospheric regions using rocket-borne instrumentation.

Danger zone

The district administration had declared the near-shore waters extending nine kilometres (five nautical miles) off the Thiruvananthapuram coast from Valiyathura to Pallithura as a potential danger zone during the launch on both days.

VSSC launches sounding rocket
 

Gautam

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@Ashwin @BMD @randomradio @_Anonymous_ @Sathya et al....
Check this out :

Astronomers Discover Mysterious Gas Ring Around Distant Galaxy

By Stephanie Mlot 01.03.2020 :: 8:35AM EST

The large red circle marks the neutral Hydrogen ring discovered with the GMRT; the other two red blobs show the distribution of neutral hydrogen around two other galaxies in the vicinity. (Photo Credit: National Center for Radio Astrophysics)

A mysterious ring of hydrogen gas has been discovered around a distant galaxy.

Astronomers at the National Center for Radio Astrophysics (NCRA) in India spotted the anomaly using the Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (GMRT).

Boasting a diameter about four times that of our Milky Way, the ring is “much bigger” than the galaxy it surrounds—AGC 203001, some 260 million lightyears from us.

“There is only one other such known system with such a large neutral hydrogen ring,” according to lead study author Omkar Bait (who did not reveal its location).

Neutral hydrogen emits radio waves along a 21-centimeter wavelength. This radiation, the NCRA explained, allows astronomers to map the amount and distribution of gas in our Milky Way and beyond.

Large reservoirs of neutral hydrogen are typically found in systems that are actively forming new stars. And while AGC 203001 shows no such signs, it is known to hoard hydrogen.

The unusual nature of this galaxy inspired astronomers at the Pune center to use the GMRT for high-resolution radio observations—in hopes of locating where the gas is distributed.

Their results, published recently in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, suggest the neutral hydrogen has formed a large off-center ring, extending way beyond the optical extent of the galaxy.

More puzzling is the complete lack of starlight associated with the hydrogen ring—even upon closer investigation using the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope (CFHT) in Hawaii.

“The origin and formation of such rings is still a matter of debate among astrophysicists,” Yogesh Wadadekar, a professor at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research in Pune, said in a statement.

There is no clear answer—yet—as to what may cause these large, starless hoops of hydrogen. Scientists once chalked it up to inter-galactic collisions. But those generally come with a remote incandescent body like the Sun.

Encouraged by their discovery, the NCRA team is now conducting a large survey to map the neutral hydrogen around several more galaxies similar to AGC 203001.

Astronomers Discover Mysterious Gas Ring Around Distant Galaxy - Geek.com
 
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Gautam

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Why is everything called NETRA ?

Isro signs pact with astrophysics institute to set up optical telescopes

Surendra Singh | TNN | Jan 5, 2020, 3:17 IST
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NEW DELHI: Indian Space Research Organisation has inked a pact with Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA) to pave the way for collaboration in establishing optical telescope facilities under Project ‘NETRA’ for tracking space objects. The agency has also tied up with NIT-Karnataka to set up a regional academic centre for space to promote research in space technology.

Under the Rs 400-crore NETRA’ project, an early warning system is being set up in space to detect debris and other hazards that could pose a danger to Indian space assets like satellites and experimental platforms. Like other space powers, NETRA will give the country its own capability in space situational awareness.

A memorandum of understanding (MoU) between Isro and IIA for space cooperation in space situational awareness and astrophysics was signed by Isro scientific secretary R Umamaheswaran and IIA director Annapurni Subramaniam at the Isro headquartes in Bengaluru on January 2. The MoU will boost tie-up between Isro and IIA in setting up optical telescope facilities for space-object tracking, studies related to space weather, asteroids and other near earth objects, an Isro statement said.

In another development, Isro has set up a regional academic centre for space at the National Institute of Technology (NIT-K) at Surathkal in Karnataka’s southwest Dakshina Kannada district. Under the agreeement signed at Surathkal on Friday , the centre will conduct joint research and development in space technology applications to meet the needs of space programmes.

Isro will provide Rs 2 crore grant annually to NIT for R&D projects and promotional activities through the year. A joint policy and management committee will guide the centre in optimal utilisation of the research potential, infrastructure, expertise and experience of the space agency and the autonomous institute. Students of BTech and MTech will be involved in one-year short-term research projects and 2-4-year-long-term projects in advance space programmes. Intellectual property rights generated in projects will be jointly owned by Isro and NIT.

Isro signs pact with astrophysics institute to set up optical telescopes | India News - Times of India
 

Gautam

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Bit old news. We are investing in Galileo ? Since when ? @BMD @vingensys you guys have anything more on this ?

EU SNUB: India to join European satellite project Galileo which Britain is LOCKED OUT OF

INDIA is ready to pump more than £170 million (€200million) into the EU’s Galileo satellite system, which Britain is likely to locked out of despite having invested more than £1 billion, as well as developing much of its technology.

By Ciaran McGrath
PUBLISHED: 08:01, Sat, Apr 27, 2019 | UPDATED: 08:47, Sat, Apr 27, 2019
1578237065198.png

Narendra Modi's India is set to invest in Galileo (Image: GETTY)

However, no decision has been taken about whether India will have access to the Public Resource Signal (PRS), an encrypted service for public authorities for “security sensitive use”. A report on the Indian news website the Business Standard suggested the country’s Government was ready to invest €200million. It quoted a “European Commission official” as saying: “The Indian government is expected to take a final decision on its equity contribution for the project by June.”

The official said it was not yet clear whether India would be able to access the PRS.

Officials said it was not clear if India would have access to the Public Resource Signal (PRS), which was vital for certain commercial applications.

The official added: "Once, it is sorted out, a decision will be conveyed at the earliest.”

A European Commission spokeswoman did not dispute the accuracy of the report, but told Express.co.uk it was important to distinguish between two things.

1578237137520.png

A Galileo satellite is launched on an Ariane rocket (Image: GETTY)

She said: “First, it is possible for third countries to access the Public Regulated Service signal ('user segment'), subject to certain preconditions.

“It is for the Council to decide whether the conditions to do so are met at the end of the negotiating process. The Council adopted negotiating mandates with US and Norway in July 2016.

She added: “Second, there are security-related restrictions for third countries when it comes to accessing information related to the evolution of Galileo, and in particular, procurement.

“Third countries (and their companies) cannot participate in the development of security sensitive matters, such as the manufacturing of PRS-security modules.

1578237186124.png

India is set to pump £170 million into the EU's Galileo project (Image: GETTY)

“Those rules do not prevent a third country from using the encrypted signal of Galileo, provided that the relevant agreements between the EU and the third country are in place as stated above.”

Dr Stuart Eves, an independent consultant who was previously Lead Mission Concepts Engineer for Surrey Satellite Technology Limited, told Express.co.uk he would "not be greatly surprised" if India had decided to invest in Galileo.

He added: "The UK's departure from the Galileo programme creates a hole that this engagement with India may be designed to fill.

"The Indians have a regional navigation system based on GEO satellites called IRNSS.

"Historically there was proposed Chinese involvement in Galileo, but they were subsequently excluded."

The bitter row over Britain’s contribution to Galileo has been raging for more than a year.

In March 2018, the Commission confirmed the UK was likely to excluded from some aspects of the project, especially relating to PRS.

In August, UK Prime Minister Theresa May announced the Government was to spend £92 million on a feasibility study to consider the development of a British rival system.

1578237270029.png

Galileo is a major talking point in the Brexit debate (Image: GETTY)

Speaking to the BBC, UK Space Agency boss Graham Turnock said: “If we want to build our own system now we’d benefit from a lot of learning and we have a simpler project to deliver because it would not be a project that is being managed by 28 separate member states.

“There’s no reason why we shouldn’t do.

“It’s perfectly within our capability on the basis of the initial analysis we have made.”

Andrew Stroomer, business development director with Airbus Defence and Space, told Express.co.uk in October: “We would like Galileo to continue with the participation of the UK.

“But if you look at Galileo, the UK has contributed some of the most complicated parts of that.

“We don’t do everything – but we do enough to show we are capable of building such a system for the UK. From an industry point of view, we have the capability."

Just before the end of the year, Mrs May said the UK would no longer be seeking to reclaim the €1.4billion (£1.2billion) spent so far on the project, prompting the resignation of Science Minister Sam Gyimah.

Meanwhile India signalled its interest in the space sector in November by launching a rocket carrying 31 hi-tech satellites, prompted UK critics to ask why Britain STILL pays the country almost £100million a year in emergency foreign aid.

EU SNUB: India to join European satellite project Galileo which Britain is LOCKED OUT OF
 

vingensys

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Bit old news. We are investing in Galileo ? Since when ? @BMD @vingensys you guys have anything more on this ?

EU SNUB: India to join European satellite project Galileo which Britain is LOCKED OUT OF

INDIA is ready to pump more than £170 million (€200million) into the EU’s Galileo satellite system, which Britain is likely to locked out of despite having invested more than £1 billion, as well as developing much of its technology.

By Ciaran McGrath
PUBLISHED: 08:01, Sat, Apr 27, 2019 | UPDATED: 08:47, Sat, Apr 27, 2019
View attachment 12720
Narendra Modi's India is set to invest in Galileo (Image: GETTY)

However, no decision has been taken about whether India will have access to the Public Resource Signal (PRS), an encrypted service for public authorities for “security sensitive use”. A report on the Indian news website the Business Standard suggested the country’s Government was ready to invest €200million. It quoted a “European Commission official” as saying: “The Indian government is expected to take a final decision on its equity contribution for the project by June.”

The official said it was not yet clear whether India would be able to access the PRS.

Officials said it was not clear if India would have access to the Public Resource Signal (PRS), which was vital for certain commercial applications.

The official added: "Once, it is sorted out, a decision will be conveyed at the earliest.”

A European Commission spokeswoman did not dispute the accuracy of the report, but told Express.co.uk it was important to distinguish between two things.

View attachment 12721
A Galileo satellite is launched on an Ariane rocket (Image: GETTY)

She said: “First, it is possible for third countries to access the Public Regulated Service signal ('user segment'), subject to certain preconditions.

“It is for the Council to decide whether the conditions to do so are met at the end of the negotiating process. The Council adopted negotiating mandates with US and Norway in July 2016.

She added: “Second, there are security-related restrictions for third countries when it comes to accessing information related to the evolution of Galileo, and in particular, procurement.

“Third countries (and their companies) cannot participate in the development of security sensitive matters, such as the manufacturing of PRS-security modules.

View attachment 12722
India is set to pump £170 million into the EU's Galileo project (Image: GETTY)

“Those rules do not prevent a third country from using the encrypted signal of Galileo, provided that the relevant agreements between the EU and the third country are in place as stated above.”

Dr Stuart Eves, an independent consultant who was previously Lead Mission Concepts Engineer for Surrey Satellite Technology Limited, told Express.co.uk he would "not be greatly surprised" if India had decided to invest in Galileo.

He added: "The UK's departure from the Galileo programme creates a hole that this engagement with India may be designed to fill.

"The Indians have a regional navigation system based on GEO satellites called IRNSS.

"Historically there was proposed Chinese involvement in Galileo, but they were subsequently excluded."

The bitter row over Britain’s contribution to Galileo has been raging for more than a year.

In March 2018, the Commission confirmed the UK was likely to excluded from some aspects of the project, especially relating to PRS.

In August, UK Prime Minister Theresa May announced the Government was to spend £92 million on a feasibility study to consider the development of a British rival system.

View attachment 12723
Galileo is a major talking point in the Brexit debate (Image: GETTY)

Speaking to the BBC, UK Space Agency boss Graham Turnock said: “If we want to build our own system now we’d benefit from a lot of learning and we have a simpler project to deliver because it would not be a project that is being managed by 28 separate member states.

“There’s no reason why we shouldn’t do.

“It’s perfectly within our capability on the basis of the initial analysis we have made.”

Andrew Stroomer, business development director with Airbus Defence and Space, told Express.co.uk in October: “We would like Galileo to continue with the participation of the UK.

“But if you look at Galileo, the UK has contributed some of the most complicated parts of that.

“We don’t do everything – but we do enough to show we are capable of building such a system for the UK. From an industry point of view, we have the capability."

Just before the end of the year, Mrs May said the UK would no longer be seeking to reclaim the €1.4billion (£1.2billion) spent so far on the project, prompting the resignation of Science Minister Sam Gyimah.

Meanwhile India signalled its interest in the space sector in November by launching a rocket carrying 31 hi-tech satellites, prompted UK critics to ask why Britain STILL pays the country almost £100million a year in emergency foreign aid.

EU SNUB: India to join European satellite project Galileo which Britain is LOCKED OUT OF
This is entirely new information for me. Kudos to you sir for digging this up.

But I'm baffled with this. I can't figure out the imp question WHY? & WHY GALILEO?
 

Gautam

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This is entirely new information for me. Kudos to you sir for digging this up.

But I'm baffled with this. I can't figure out the imp question WHY? & WHY GALILEO?
Well this is just speculation on my part. The Americans, I believe, are developing a global GNSS system by linking together a lot of Geo-positioning systems together. The US' GPS, Japan's QZSS, India's IRNSS et al. A civillian variant already exists but the Americans want to make it for military use. That way one user can use signals from another's satellites for military positioning and targeting. That also makes it very difficult any type of ASAT weapon against military satellites. I don't know if Galileo is a part of the system, it probably is.

The EU, on the other hand wants to make sure the US doesn't have a monopoly in GPS systems. Thus are developing the Galileo and positioning it as a competitor to the US GPS in the civilian market. Of course any such venture is expensive, thus the EU wanted China to be a part of it initially. But that isn't possible anymore given the recent history with China. So who is left ? India.

Of course the article in the media says UK is being kept out, don't know much about it but I reckon the Brexit has something to do with it. If UK is really out as the article suggests, then the funding needs would be greater allowing India to increase equities in the venture.
 
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vingensys

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Well this is just speculation on my part. The Americans, I believe, are developing a global GNSS system by linking together a lot of Geo-positioning systems together. The US' GPS, Japan's QZSS, India's IRNSS et al. A civillian variant already exists but the Americans want to make it for military use. That way one user can use signals from another's satellites for military positioning and targeting. That also makes it very difficult any type of ASAT weapon against military satellites. I don't know if Galileo is a part of the system, it probably is.

The EU, on the other hand wants to make sure the US doesn't have a monopoly in GPS systems. Thus are developing the Galileo and positioning it as a competitor to the US GPS in the civilian market. Of course any such venture is expensive, thus the EU wanted China to be a part of it initially. But that isn't possible anymore given the recent history with China. So who is left ? India.

Of course the article in the media says UK is being kept out, don't know much about it but I reckon the Brexit has something to do with it. If UK is really out as the article suggests, then the funding needs would be greater allowing India to increase equities in the venture.
Yes, i had read those report of clubbing various sat-nav systems with gps. Good idea and should considerably reduce the probability of jamming the signals.

Now, if Galileo is part of that system, then we are already tapped in to that ecosystem with a common receiver. So finer resolution of Galileo adds to the overall reliability and quality of the system but I wonder how much would that change the dynamics of the combination of gps, Galileo and various regional sat nav systems.

If Galileo isn't linked in the common sat nav system, and we are being part of the, let me call it GPS+ system then what additional benefit does GALILEO add? I doubt from quality of signals but yes a good measure in redundancy. Even though if at all this happens to be the case where both GPS and Galileo are disjoint, as suggested by you the independence is pretty important. I missed that part in my thought process.
 

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New type of solar magnetic explosions discovered

By PTI, Washington
Dec 18 2019, 22:07pm IST

Solar wind (Reuters Photo)

Researchers, including those from the Indian Institute of Astrophysics: Bangalore and the Indian Institute of Technology (BHU) Varanasi, have observed a magnetic explosion on the scorching upper reaches of the Sun's atmosphere -- the likes of which have never been seen before.

Using NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, the researchers found a prominence -- a large loop of material launched by an eruption on the solar surface -- which started falling back to the surface of the Sun.

However, their study published in the Astrophysical Journal noted that before the loop could make it, the prominence ran into a snarl of magnetic field lines, sparking an explosion.

The researchers said the observation confirms a decade-old theory and may help scientists understand a key mystery about the Sun’s atmosphere.

"This was the first observation of an external driver of magnetic re connection," said study co-author Abhishek Srivastava, a solar scientist at Indian Institute of Technology (BHU), in Varanasi.

According to the scientists, the findings may help better predict space weather, and may also lead to breakthroughs in the controlled fusion and lab plasma experiments.

"This could be very useful for understanding other systems. For example, Earth’s and planetary magnetospheres, other magnetized plasma sources, including experiments at laboratory scales where plasma is highly diffusive and very hard to control," Srivastava said.

The study noted that this new explosion-driven type — called forced re connection — had never been seen directly, thought it was first theorized 15 years ago.

It said spontaneous re connection happened in regions on the Sun with just the right conditions — such as having a thin sheet of ionized gas, or plasma, that only weakly conducts electric current.

But based on the new findings, the researchers said, the new type -- forced re-connection -- can happen in a wider range of places, such as in plasma that has even lower resistance to conducting an electric current.

However, the study said, it can only occur if there is some type of eruption to trigger it which can squeeze the plasma and magnetic fields, causing them to reconnect.

While the Sun’s magnetic field lines are invisible, they have an effect on the soup of ultra-hot charged particles known as plasma surrounding it.

With this observation, the scientists could directly see the forced re connection event for the first time in the Sun’s uppermost atmospheric layer, the corona.

The researchers said a prominence in the corona could be seen falling back into the sun's atmosphere in a series of images taken over an hour.

En route, they said, the prominence ran into a snarl of magnetic field lines, causing them to reconnect in a distinct X shape.

According to the study, the new observation offers one explanation for how the corona is millions of degrees hotter than lower atmospheric layers -- a mystery that has led solar scientists for decades to search for what mechanism is driving that heat.

When the scientists observed multiple ultraviolet radiations stemming from the solar event, they could estimate the temperature of the plasma during and following the re-connection event.

Their calculations showed that the prominence, which was fairly cool relative to the blistering corona, gained heat after the event.

Based on these estimates, the researchers suggested that forced re-connection might be one way the corona is heated locally.

They said while spontaneous re-connection can also heat the plasma, forced re-connection seemed to be a much more effective heater -- raising the temperature of the plasma quicker, higher, and in a more controlled manner.

The study added that while a prominence was the driver behind the re-connection event in the current study, other solar eruptions like flares and coronal mass ejections could also cause forced re-connection.

It said the bursts of solar radiation can damage satellites around Earth, and added that understanding the forced re-connection phenomenon can help space weather modellers better predict when disruptive high-energy charged particles might come speeding at Earth.

New type of solar magnetic explosions discovered