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October 26, 2008, 11:27 am
Filed under: satellite | Tags: , , , , , , , ,


The Japanese scientists are trying to build a lift that will take passengers 62,000 miles or 99,779 km straight into space. The lift carriages will be powered by the same technology that is used to power their bullet trains to enable them to move up and down would move up and down 22,000 mile-long cables.

The cables are a challenge, they need to be light weight and extremely strong, an answer likely to be found in carbon nano tubes.

Professor Yoshio Aoki, a director of Japan’s Space Elevator Association, professor of precision machinery engineering, Nihon University, Japan, said “The cables would need to be 180 times stronger than steel. It would also need to four times stronger than the strongest carbon nanotube fibre ever produced. Carbon nanotubes are good conductors of electricity, so we are thinking of having a second cable to provide power all along the route.”

Shuichi Ono, chairman of the Japan Space Elevator Association stated that the space ride would be just like travelling abroad and would be available to everyone. With Japans commitment to fund this project swift reactions have come in from other organizations like NASA who claim to have their own space lift projects under way.

An international conference is to be held in Japan in November, aiming to draw up a detailed timetable for the machine’s production. The top end of the lift will be connected to a docked space station, scientists hope that the space ladders carriages would also haul solar-powered generators that could power homes and businesses back on Earth.

The space lift can also be used to remove barrels of nuclear waste by dumping them into space, which I do not think is a good idea, but it would be very interesting to take a ride on a lift that goes to space!


CHANDRAYAAN-1: India’s first mission to the Moon
October 16, 2008, 12:12 pm
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Chandrayaan I, India’s spacecraft which is to take off for the moon, is on its way to SHAR, ie, Sriharikota Range, to be integrated with PSLV-C11. The 50-hour countdown to the launch of Chandrayaan will start on the night of October 19

At Sriharikota, Chandrayaan will be put through its paces on the ground. Indian Satellite Research Organisation (Isro) scientists will check how its solar panels will deploy. It will also undergo electrical and mechanical tests. Chandrayaan had earlier undergone preliminary thermal and vibration tests at Isro Satellite Centre (ISAC) in Bangalore.

For security threats arising from Naxalites and other possible extremist attacks, the exact location of Chandrayaan is being kept under wraps even as it is being provided tightest possible security, according to sources in Isro. Chandrayaan is expected to reach SHAR in a day or two.

The upgraded version of PSLV, PSLV-C11, which has a lift-off weight of 316 tonnes, will be used to inject the 1,304-kg mass spacecraft into a 240 x 24,000 km orbit.

The main objective of Chandrayaan-I is investigation of the distribution of various minerals and chemical elements and high-resolution three-dimensional mapping of the entire lunar surface. ISRO’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) will launch Chandrayaan-I into a 240 km x 24,000 km earth orbit. Subsequently, the spacecraft’s own propulsion system will be used to place it in a 100-km polar orbit around the moon.

M Annadurai, project chief, Chandrayaan, had said earlier: “This will be the first step towards our manned mission to the moon.”

The remote sensing satellite will weigh 1,304 kg (590 kg initial orbit mass and 504 kg dry mass) and carry high-resolution remote sensing equipment for visible, near infrared, soft and hard X-ray frequencies. Over its expected lifetime of two years, it will survey the lunar surface and produce a map of its chemical characteristics and three-dimensional topography.

The project, expected to cost Rs 386 crore, will study the surface of the moon using light. Many other countries are also looking at the possibility of mining the abundant mineral resources on the moon