Tag Archives: India

India opens its own Human Space Flight Center

The new colonial movement: India’s space agency ISRO today cut the ribbon in opening its new Human Space Flight Center, the facility that will supervise the designing and construction of their Gaganyaan manned mission, scheduled to launch by December 2021.

The Ganganyaan project head, R. Hutton, is the man whom ISRO’s boss, K. Sivan, gave an opportunity to speak at the most recent Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) launch. He had been director of that program, and has now been promoted to head Gaganyaan.

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India’s PSLV rocket successfully launches military satellite

The new colonial movement: India today successfully launched a military reconnaissance satellite using a new configuration of its PSLV rocket.

The launch was broadcast live here and is still on-going as I write.

Thursday’s launch, the forty-sixth overall for the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), marks the maiden flight of the rocket’s new PSLV-DL configuration. Filling a gap in payload capacity between two of the rocket’s existing configuration, the PSLV-DL will help reduce the cost of India’s access to space. Its first payload consists of a demonstration satellite built around the rocket’s upper stage, testing this concept for future applications, and a military spacecraft with an imaging payload.

During the speeches after the launch, the head of ISRO, K. Sivan, did several things of note. First, he introduced the launch’s mission director and explained that this was his last PSLV launch, as he is leaving the program to take over important aspects of their manned program, dubbed Gaganyaan. Then he let this man speak, giving him a big platform that suggests he is definitely a rising star in their program. Unfortunately, I was not able to catch his name. We shall see him again, however, for sure.

Sivan also noted that the deadline for that first manned mission is December 2021. He also outlined the next few missions, including Chandrayaan-2 to the Moon.

The 2019 launch standings:

2 China
1 SpaceX
1 Japan
1 ULA
1 India

The U.S. and China are tied 2-2 in the national rankings.

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Chandrayaan-2 launch now scheduled for mid-April

The new colonial movement: India’s Chandrayaan-2 lander/rover mission to the south pole region of the Moon has now been re-scheduled for mid-April.

The launch date had to be pushed from the initially scheduled January-February window, as a few related tests could not be completed by the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro). Isro chairman K Sivan told the media on Friday that the next available slot is during March-April, and the launch could take place by mid-April. However, if this window is passed, the prestigious mission will have to be pushed again to June.

The article also suggests that they have made some changes to the mission’s flight plan.

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India delays launch of Chandrayaan-2

India announced today that it is delaying the January 3, 2019 launch of its second lunar mission, the lander/rover Chandrayaan-2.

They have not announced a new launch date. Nor did they explain the cause of the delay. My suspicion is that K. Sivan, the head of their space agency ISRO, was not happy about some engineering issue, and demanded a review.

Unlike most such administrators, Sivan is an actual engineer who helped design and build India’s two rockets, the PSLV and GSLV. Last year, after the failure of one Indian satellite already in orbit, he recalled another Indian satellite from French Guiana only weeks before launch, had it brought back to India for a careful inspection to make sure it did not have the same problem. The move saved the satellite.

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India’s 2019 space plans

The new colonial movement: In outlining India’s plans for space in 2019, the head of India’s space agency ISRO revealed that they are going to try to complete fourteen launches, more than one per month and a pace that would double that nation’s previous annual record.

For the last two years ISRO has been making this same prediction. They failed to come close in either year. I suspect however that in 2019 they will have better luck.

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India’s government approves manned space program

The new colonial movement: India’s government yesterday approved the proposed manned space program put forth by ISRO, that nation’s space agency.

The Union Cabinet on Friday approved the Gaganyaan Programme with demonstration of Indian Human Spaceflight capability to low earth orbit for a mission duration ranging from one orbital period to a maximum of seven days. A human rated Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III (GSLV MK-III) will be used to carry the orbital module which have the necessary provisions for sustaining a 3 member crew for the duration of the mission. Reportedly, India plans to call its astronauts “Vyomnauts”.

The total fund requirement for the programme is Rs 10,000 crore and will include the cost of technology development, flight hardware realization and essential infrastructure elements. So far, ISRO has spent Rs 173 crore in developing critical technologies needed for the for human space flight. Two unmanned flights and one manned flight will be undertaken as part of this programme.

The approval includes a deadline for the first manned mission of 40 months from today, or April 2022. This is an extremely tight schedule. I would not be surprised if they fail to meet it.

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India aims for 24 launches in 2019

The new colonial movement: India has set a goal of two launches per month in 2019, a rate that would more than triple its previous high of seven.

Though the article does not specify, I suspect that a large percentage of these launches will be suborbital test flights. Nonetheless, this goal is ambitious, and indicates a serious commitment to advancing their space effort.

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Today’s launch update

This post will change throughout the day. At the moment, India has successfully finished out the year with its seventh launch, placing an Indian military satellite into orbit with its GSLV rocket.

Seven launches matches India’s previous high from two years ago, but it is also far below their predicted 12 launches. I have a hunch next year will see that jump in launches, especially now that they have now successfully launched their GSLV rocket multiple times.

Meanwhile, Blue Origin is now targeting December 21, in two days, for its suborbital flight of New Shepard, while SpaceX decided to hold off on a launch today of an Air Force GPS satellite while it analyzes more closely the technical issue that scrubbed yesterday’s launch.

An Arianespace Soyuz rocket is set to launch a French military satellite from French Guiana very shortly, while a ULA Delta-4 Heavy is on track for the launch of a National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) spy satellite later today. I will provide updates later today.

UPDATE: Arianespace has successfully launched the French military satellite, using a Soyuz rocket. This was the eleventh launch for Arianespace this year, and its third Soyuz launch. Some might assign these Soyuz launches to Russia, but I consider them European launches because the business comes from Arianespace.

UPDATE: The ULA’s launch today was scrubbed due to the detection of a fuel leak. No word on when they will try again.

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Successful launch tonight for India’s PSLV rocket

The new colonial movement: India’s PSLV rocket successfully placed 31 satellites into orbit, including an Indian Landsat-type satellite plus 30 commercial smallsats.

This ties India with Japan at six launches for the year. With one more launch scheduled for this year, they should end up ahead of Japan.

The leaders in the 2018 launch race remain unchanged.

33 China
18 SpaceX
11 Russia
9 Europe (Arianespace)
8 ULA

At 95 total successful launches so far this year, 2018 now matches the total from 1993, the last time the global aerospace industry accomplished that many. That year, China and Japan had one launch each, Europe seven, with the rest by Russia and the U.S. Now the wealth is much more widely spread, and has a strong potential to grow significantly in the next few years.

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India wants international instruments for its Venus mission

The new colonial movement: India has requested science instruments proposals from the international community for its planned Venus orbiter, set to launch in 2023.

ISRO has already selected 12 instruments, proposed by Indian scientists, including cameras and chemical analyzers to study the atmosphere. Now, it’s hoping other scientists will join. “Planetary exploration should be all about global partnerships,” says Kailasavadivoo Sivan, a rocket scientist and ISRO’s chair. (The deadline for submitting proposals is 20 December.)

For me, the big news with this article is that it is the very first I have seen that actually spells out Sivan’s first name. Since he became head of ISRO in January 2018, he has only been listed as “K. Sivan” in every single article, even those describing his background when he was appointed. Now that I have learned what a tongue-twister that first name is, I can understand why they abbreviate it.

On a more serious note, this article indicates the growing maturity of India’s space effort. They not only are planning a mission to Venus, they will fly missions to the Moon in January and Mars in 2022, and intend to launch their first manned mission in that same time period.

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India to attempt four more launches in 2018

The new colonial movement: In outlining the success of yesterday’s GSLV launch, the head of India’s space agency noted that they will attempt to complete four more launches before the end of the year.

Following the missions, Mr Sivan said, in January next, ISRO would launch the Chandrayaan-II mission (lunar lander) which will be the first operational mission of the GSLV-Mk III-vehicle.

Addressing reporters after the successful launch of the second developmental flight GSLV-MkIII-D2 carrying communication satellite GSAT-29, he said, “we have to achieve 10 missions before January.”

“That is six satellite missions as well as four launch vehicle missions. Definitely, the task in front of us is very huge,” he said.

According to him, after Wednesday’s flight, the heaviest launcher of India has completed its development flights and is entering into the operational group of launchers of ISRO, that is along with the PSLV (polar satellite launch vehicle) and GSLV.

Four launches in six weeks would require a launch every week and a half. IF ISRO can do this, they will demonstrate the ability to launch almost weekly, a capability that would place them close to becoming a world power in space.

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India’s GSLV-Mark 3 rocket successfully launches communications satellite

The new colonial movement: India today successfully launched a new Indian communications satellite on the third launch of its larger GSLV-Mark 3 rocket.

The Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mk.III, or GSLV Mk.III, is India’s newest and most powerful rocket. After making a suborbital demonstration launch in late 2014, the rocket made its first orbital mission last June when it deployed the GSAT-19 spacecraft.

Wednesday’s launch was designated D2, indicating that it was the rocket’s second developmental launch, however like last year’s flight its payload – GSAT-29 – is a fully operational satellite.

I have embedded a video of the launch below the fold. The launch occurs at about 25 minutes in.

With this success, the fifth launch this year by India, that country will be able to move forward on the January launch by the GSLV of its Chandrayaan-2 lunar mission.

The leaders in the 2018 launch race remains unchanged:

31 China
17 SpaceX
10 Russia
8 ULA
8 Europe (Arianespace)

China continues to lead the U.S. in the national rankings, 31 to 28.
» Read more

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India completes test landing for its Chandrayaan-2 lunar lander

The new colonial movement: Using a scaled-down prototype to compensate for the Earth’s heavier gravity, India’s space agency ISRO has successfully completed a soft landing test of Chandrayaan-2’s lunar lander, dubbed Vikram.

Chandrayaan-2 is scheduled for a January launch, and besides the orbiter and Vikram lander, it will also carry a rover.

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Multiple launches today

Two launches today:

  • ULA’s last Delta 2 rocket launches ICESat-2 icecap tracking satellite for NASA
  • Indian’s PSLV rocket launches two British satellites

More details about ICESat-2 can be found here.

The PSLV launch raises India’s 2018 launch total to 4, tying Japan. The leaders in the 2018 launch standings:

24 China
16 SpaceX
8 Russia
7 ULA
5 Europe (Arianespace)

The U.S. and China are once again tied at 24 each.

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India unveils spacesuit for Gaganyaam manned mission

The new colonial movement: India’s space agency ISRO this week unveiled the spacesuit it is designing for the Gaganyaam manned mission scheduled for 2022.

The new space-suit mentioned above has been developed by ISRO at its Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre over the last two years. ISRO showcased the space suit for the Gaganyaan crew at the Bengaluru Space Expo for the first time ever. As per reports, ISRO has developed two of such space suits to date and will also develop a third one prior to the testing of the manned mission in 2022. The space suit comes with a capacity of one oxygen cylinder that claims to hold enough oxygen for 60 minutes.

This suit is not being built for spacewalks, but as a backup should the spacecraft itself develop a leak.

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India teams up with France to prep for its first manned mission

The new colonial movement: India has signed a cooperative deal with France to provide them help in preparing for its first manned mission in 2022, now dubbed Gaganyaan by India’s press.

Following the signing of agreements between the two parties on Thursday, the agencies “will be combining their expertise in the fields of space medicine, astronaut health monitoring, life support, radiation protection, space debris protection and personal hygiene systems.”

The announcement was made by CNES [France’s space agency] president Jean-Yves Le Gall during the inaugural of Bengaluru Space Expo-2018 where he was the chief guest. It is being organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry along with ISRO and Antrix, the agency’s commercial arm, from September 6 to 8.

The two countries will also work together on other space research.

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India’s manned flight schedule revealed

The new colonial movement: K. Sivan, the head of India’s space agency ISRO, announced yesterday the planned flight program that will lead up to that nation’s first manned spaceflight in 2022.

The Indian Space Research Organisation will conduct two flights of unmanned space capsules about 30 months and 36 months from now in preparation for the country’s first manned space mission by 2022, space agency officials announced on Tuesday.

The manned space capsule will be designed for a five-to-seven day mission about 300km to 400km above the Earth, officials said, adding that Isro has for over a decade been developing key technologies for human space flight.

Isro has designed a three-person space capsule but how many astronauts will be sent in the first mission has not been decided yet, they said. Only Russia, the US and China have until now sent astronauts into space aboard their own spacecraft.

This entire program hinges on the repeated successful use of India’s most powerful rocket, the GSLV Mark 3, which has only flown once so far. Two more launches are scheduled through January, including one that will take India’s first lunar lander to the Moon.

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India’s prime minister: manned mission by 2022

The new colonial movement: Facing an election next year, India’s prime minister Narendra Modi produced his own Kennedy-like space speech today, announcing a plan to launch a manned Indian mission by 2022.

Wearing a flowing saffron turban, the Hindu nationalist leader also announced the plan to take the “Indian tricolor to space” in a manned mission that would make India the fourth nation to launch one, after the United States, Russia and China. “India is proud of our scientists, who are excelling in their research and are at the forefront of innovation,” Modi said from the ramparts of the Mughal-era Red Fort in Delhi to a crowd numbering in the tens of thousands.

“In the year 2022 or, if possible, before, India will unfurl the tricolor in space.”

He also announced a healthcare initiative that has been dubbed “Modicare.” He was elected in a landslide to replace the socialist policies of the leftwing Congress Party. He is now beginning to act like the U.S.’s establishment Republican Party, who love to mouth conservative values but advocate leftist programs to win re-election.

The question is whether the Indian people will be more like Americans of the 20th century, buying into these government programs proposed by a fake-conservative, or whether they will be more like an increasing number of Americans today, sick of too much government. I suspect the former, which will bode ill for India’s future.

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ISRO schedules Chandrayaan-2 launch for January 3rd

The new colonial movement: ISRO has now scheduled the launch of the lunar rover/lander Chandrayaan-2 on its most powerful rocket for January 3, 2019.

An increase in the spacecraft’s weight forced the space agency to switch launch rockets and use India’s most powerful rocket, the GSLV Mark 3.

The 3,890-kg Chandrayaan-2, which will be launched onboard the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) Mk-3, will orbit around the moon and study its lunar conditions to collect data on its topography, mineralogy and exosphere.

A lander with rover which will separate from the spacecraft will orbit the moon, and then gradually descend on the lunar surface at a designated spot. The rover’s instruments will observe and study the lunar surface.

The lander has been named “Vikram” as a tribute to the pioneer of India’s space programme and former ISRO chairman (1963-71), Vikram Sarabhai, Sivan said.

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ISRO head: Recall of India satellite prevented a failure

K. Sivan, the chairman of ISRO, India’s space agency, revealed today that the decision to recall GSAT-11 in April just as it arrived in French Guiana for a May Ariane 5 launch prevented a major failure.

They had decided to recall it because two previous satellites had failed, using almost identical equipment. As he notes,

GSAT-11 had the same set of power system configuration that two older satellites had. RISAT-1 died prematurely and GSAT-6A lost communication contact soon after launch on March 29 because of suspected power system failure, harnesses etc… We had just sent GSAT-11 [to Guiana] and no one was sure if the same issue was there in GSAT-11,” he said.

Checks found that the provision or “margin” for the deployment of the solar panel was much smaller than was required. “Had it gone in that configuration, the panel [which generates power for the 15-year life] would not have deployed in space. The satellite would have been a failure.”

Because the recall cost money and delayed the launch significantly, it required the ability to look at the engineering honestly and not let politics interfere. Sivan and his managers did that, which speaks well for future space engineering from ISRO.

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Chandrayaan-2 delayed again, until January 2019

The new colonial movement: ISRO, India’s space agency, has revealed that the launch of its lunar rover/lander Chandrayaan-2 has been delayed from October to Janaury 2019.

Dr M Annadurai, Director of U R Rao Satellite Centre confirmed to NDTV that the launch date for Chandryaan-2 “is slipping to 2019” from the initially planned launch in October this year.

Dr Annadurai said that India’s moon mission now aims to land in February and the rocket launch will take place in January next year.

Moreover, since the weight of the Chandrayaan-2 satellite has increased, Dr Annadurai said that now instead of GSLV MK-II, GSLV MK-III will be used. Geo-synchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle MK-III (GSLV MK-III), also called the ‘The Bahubali’, is India’s heaviest rocket that weighs nearly 640 tons and will be used to hoist the Chandrayaan-2 satellite from India’s rocket port at Sriharikota.

It appears that in building the spacecraft they have not been able to keep its weight low enough, and have been forced to switch launch vehicles, with this switch causing the delay.

The article also provides a tidbit of information about the GLSV MK-III rocket, that they have an real name for it, Bahubali. If so, they should use it. It sells much better than GLSV MK-III.

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India tests upgraded rocket engine

The new colonial movement: India’s space agency ISRO has successfully tested an upgraded version of the Vikas rocket engine it uses in its PSLV and GSLV rockets.

The test was conducted on Sunday, and validated the performance adequacy of Vikas Engine to be used in the upcoming second developmental flight of GSLV Mk-III

Vikas Engine, a workhorse liquid rocket engine designed by the Indian Space Research Organsiation (ISRO), powers the second stage of Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) of India. It also powers the second stage and the fourth strap of Geosynchronous Launch Vehicle (GSLV) and the twin-engine core liquid stage (L110) of GSLV Mk-III.

Essentially India here is doing what SpaceX did with its Merlin engine. Rather than start over with a new engine, they are upgrading it, a process that is faster and less expensive. And as they do it, they remain operational and competitive in the launch market, with as many as five launches now scheduled before the end of 2018.

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India tests launch abort system for its own manned capsule

India on July 5 successfully tested its own launch abort system for use on its own manned capsule.

The test was over in 259 seconds, during which the crew escape system along with crew module soared skyward, reached an altitude of nearly 2.7 km, swerved over the Bay of Bengal and floated back to Earth under its parachutes about 2.9 km from Sriharikota.

A video showing excerpts of the test can be viewed here.

India has not yet fully committed to building a manned capsule, but they have been moving forward on testing for several years now, and I expect them to make a commitment within the next year. In fact, I think it likely that India will be the fourth nation, after Russia, the U.S., and China, to launch its own astronauts into space on its own spacecraft.

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India clears GSAT-11 for launch

After pulling GSAT-11 back to India just prior to launch to make sure all was well, ISRO has now approved its launch.

Isro chairman K Sivan said, “All the tests on Gsat-11 at Bengaluru’s ISRO Satellite Centre (ISAC) are over. We have found no anomaly. We are in the process of discussion with Arianespace to fix the next launch date for our satellite.” Earlier, the Isro chief had told TOI that all tests would be completed by May 17.

Isro had postponed the launch of Gsat-11 initially planned on May 25 from the European spaceport as it did not want to take chances with its heaviest satellite especially after the signal failure episode with Gsat-6A. Communication satellite Gsat-6A, which was successfully launched from Sriharikota on March 29, went out of control during the third orbit-raising manoeuvre in space when the signal with the satellite got abruptly snapped because of suspected power failure. The space agency since then has been trying to restore the communication link with Gsat-6A though it knows its exact location through the satellite-tracking system.

Sivan is trained first as an engineer, so he took an engineer’s approach here, not a manager’s. Very wise. This bodes well for India’s space agency as long as he is in charge.

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Serious fire at ISRO facility

An extensive fire at one of India’s main satellite testing facilities caused extension damage yesterday.

Top sources at SAC said the fire has caused serious damage to the “antenna test facility” as some specialised equipment have been damaged. The hi-tech “antenna test facility” of Isro is of paramount importance as antennas are the most crucial communication component in satellites. Moreover, the testing is also critical to space operations and requires very expensive and hi-tech equipment.

A top official said, “Space programmes are expensive but the silver line is that no satellite payload was damaged in the fire inside the antenna test facility.”

While an inquest will be held to probe what caused the fire, the fire service department said that it could be due to a short circuit. However, the SAC sources say, “The police will probe the cause of the fire. The facility has a strong protocol to battle fire caused due to short circuits. That is why the probe will cover the possibility of foul play and even sabotage.”

This is a serious. Space facilities and their operations have to be far strongly protected against fire than ordinary facilities due to the presence of volatile fuels. For a space facility to experience such an extensive fire suggests either someone was getting very sloppy, or (as suggested above) there was sabotage.

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India recalls communications satellite, postponing launch indefinitely

India’s space agency ISRO yesterday recalled its largest ever communications satellite, GSAT-11, from French Guiana, where it was being prepared for a May Ariane 5 launch, citing a need to check the satellite’s systems.

Though no specific reason was given for the recall, which will postpone the satellite’s launch indefinitely, it likely is related to the March failure in orbit of India’s GSAT-6A satellite.

ISRO lost communication contact with its GSAT-6A communication satellite soon after it was put into orbit on March 29.

ISRO suspects the failure of the power systems in the satellite for the loss of communication link. “The satellites are powered by solar panels that charge the onboard batteries. The batteries are fully charged when the satellite is loaded on to the rocket. Even if there is a problem with the solar panel, then the battery power should have kicked in. Here the entire power system of the satellite seems to have failed,” one space expert told IANS earlier.

According to experts, the power system could have failed due to some short circuiting or arcing resulting in what is known in the space terminology ‘loss of lock’ or loss of contact with the ground station.

The head of ISRO is a well-trained engineer who has worked in the trenches. I suspect he decided the problems with GSAT-6A demanded a more detailed systems check on GSAT-11 prior to launch. And even if it wasn’t his specific decision, the willingness to make such a decision I think indicates a great deal of maturity in the present culture at ISRO. It might be embarrassing to make such a recall, but it is far better to do so beforehand than after an unrecoverable failure in space. That they are willing to face this embarrassment to avoid a future failure is something laudable.

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Asian rivers produce almost all the world’s ocean pollution

A new study has found that 95% of all ocean pollution comes from only 10 rivers worldwide, and of those 8 are in Asia.

Dr Schmidt pooled data from dozens of research articles and calculated the amount in rivers was linked to the ‘mismanagement of plastic waste in their watersheds.’ He said: ‘The 10 top-ranked rivers transport 88-95 per cent of the global load into the sea.’

The study follows a recent report that pointed the finger at China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam for spewing out most of the plastic waste that enters the seas. The Yangtze has been estimated in previous research to dump some 727 million pounds of plastic into the sea each year. The Ganges River in India is responsible for even more – about 1.2 billion pounds. A combination of the Xi, Dong and Zhujiang Rivers (233 million lbs per year) in China as well as four Indonesian rivers: the Brantas (85 million lbs annually), Solo (71 million pounds per year), Serayu (37 million lbs per year) and Progo (28 million lbs per year), are all large contributors.

The article also notes this:

More than half of the plastic waste that flows into the oceans comes from just five countries: China, Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam and Sri Lanka. The only industrialized western country on the list of top 20 plastic polluters is the United States at No. 20.

The U.S. and Europe are not mismanaging their collected waste, so the plastic trash coming from those countries is due to litter, researchers said.

While China is responsible for 2.4 million tons of plastic that makes its way into the ocean, nearly 28 percent of the world total, the United States contributes just 77,000 tons, which is less than one percent, according to the study published in the journal Science.

So, the next time you see a wild-eyed leftwing environmentalist trying to blame western civilization, capitalism, and the U.S. for the world’s pollution, please remember this study. It is the free nations of the world that have nimbly reacted well to the problems of pollution, not communist dictatorships like China or Vietnam.

I should add that the record of democracies here is not perfect by far. The rivers of India are a big contributor to this pollution. That country needs to deal with this problem also.

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India’s PSLV successfully launches GPS satellite

India’s PSLV rocket tonight successfully launched a replacement GPS satellite for its navigational system, replacing the satellite lost on a PSLV launch last year.

The leaders in the 2018 launch standings:

11 China
7 SpaceX
3 Japan
3 Russia
3 ULA
3 Europe
3 India

It surely is getting crowded near the bottom. It is also interesting that nations like India and Japan are still running neck and neck with Russia and Europe. Just last year their total launches didn’t match Europe’s, and was just a touch over half of Russia’s.

Update: News articles today say that, according to the head of ISRO, India is aiming for another 9 launches in 2018, for a total of 12, a new record for that country, while Russia’s space chief says they will complete 30 launches before the end of the year. I think India’s prediction is accurate, while Russia’s is hogwash.

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India’s GSLV rocket successfully launches military communications satellite

India today successfully launched a military communications satellite using the Mark II version of its large GSLV rocket, the rocket’s fourth successful launch in a row.

Using a combination of liquid and solid-fuelled stages, the GSLV was designed to place communications satellites into geosynchronous transfer orbits. To this end, GSLV has increased performance over the smaller Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), from which it is derived.

GSLV’s first stage consists of a solid-fuelled core, with four radially-mounted liquid-fuelled strap-ons. The strap-ons are part of the first stage, and do not separate from the core. GSLV’s second stage, which is closely related to PSLV’s second stage, burns hypergolic liquid propellants, while the rocket’s third stage uses cryogenic fuel.

…The Mark II, which has a stretched third stage with an Indian engine, first flew in April 2010 but its new engine failed to ignite. The first successful Mk.II launch took place in January 2014. India also has a GSLV Mk.III. However, this is a completely new rocket that reached orbit for the first time last year. Excluding the Mk.III, Thursday’s launch was GSLV’s twelfth flight. In its previous eleven launches, GSLV has recorded six successes, four failures and one partial failure….GSLV’s current run of four consecutive successful launches is the longest that the rocket has achieved.

The leaders in the 2018 launch standings:

8 China
5 SpaceX
3 Japan
3 ULA
3 Russia
2 Europe
2 India

Both Russia and China have scheduled launches for today, with SpaceX having a launch scheduled for tomorrow, so expect these standings to be updated a lot in the next 24 hours.

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