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Aug 2017 | No Comment

Former ISRO chairman UR Rao dies

Eminent space scientist and former Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) chairman Udupi Ramachandra Rao passed away. He was 85.

He was suffering from age related ailments and breathed his last at his residence in the city. Rao is survived by his wife, a son and a daughter, ISRO officials said. Born in Adamaru area of Karnataka’s Udupi district, Rao was involved in all ISRO missions till date in one capacity or the other. He is credited for contributions to the development of space technology in India and its extensive application to communications and remote sensing of natural resources.

Rao served as the chairman of ISRO for 10 years from 1984-1994. The eminent scientist, who was conferred a Padma Vibhushan earlier this year, was part of the Aryabhatta and Mars Orbiter Missions. He was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 1976.

He also initiated the development of the Geo Stationary Launch Vehicle (GSLV) and the development of cryogenic technology in 1991. He has published over 350 scientific and technical papers covering cosmic rays, interplanetary physics, high energy astronomy, space applications, satellite and rocket technology and authored many books.Rao also became the first Indian space scientist to be inducted into the prestigious ‘Satellite Hall of Fame’ in Washington DC on March 19, 2013, and the ‘IAF Hall of Fame’ in Mexico’s Guadalajara. www.hindustantimes.com

PCI Geomatics releases GXL 2017

PCI Geomatics has announced the release of GXL 2017, the latest version of its highperformance, scalable processing system for large-scale geo-image production. It continues to add to existing operational management, custom job-chaining, and fully automated production and reporting in secure, open, virtual and direct receiving stations (VRS/DRS), or cloud environments. pcigeomatics.com

Odisha govt, India asks depts to provide data to OSRAC

The Odisha government , India has asked all its departments to use data being provided by the Odisha Space Application Center (ORSAC) in project monitoring and service delivery system.

The direction in this regard was issued by Chief Secretary A P Padhi while reviewing activities of the ORSAC here. He said the ORSAC had made the way for space based surveillance and monitoring through generation of remote sensing geo-coordinated data in the sectors like forest, agriculture, mining, land records, water resources, urban property assessment and natural resources. Padhi also directed the ORSAC to complete remote sensing based property tax assessment of Bhubaneswar and Puri municipal areas within three months.

During previous years ORSAC successfully developed the GPS tracking system of mineral carrying vehicles. As of now, 3,700 trucks are under its direct surveillance from the point of loading to the destination. Similarly, the Center developed remote sensing and GIS technology data base on actual irrigated area and cultivated area. The Center has showed the way for web based remote sensing crop cutting experiment in the year 2017, www.business-standard.com

Taiwan RS satellite launch scheduled

Taiwan’s National Space Organization (NSPO) under the government-sponsored National Applied Research Laboratories (NARLabs) on July 19 transported FormoSat-5, a self-designed remote sensing satellite, to Vandenberg Air Force Base in California for launch on August 25, 2017 by US-based SpaceX on a commission basis using its Falcon 9 rocket, according to NSPO.

FormoSat-5 is the first satellite completely designed domestically, with NSPO directing the design through cooperation with the Instrument Technology Research Center under NARLabs, National Central University and private enterprises mainly including Aerospace Industrial Development. With a weight of 450kg, FormoSat-5 is equipped with a domestically developed and made high-resolution optical remote sensing instrument which can capture images on a panchromatic spectral band at a resolution level of (12,000 pixels) two meters and four color spectral bands each at (6,000 pixels) four meters. In addition, FormoSat-5 carries an advanced ionosphere probe as a scientific payload to establish space weather models, observe changes in plasma turbulence, and study possible abnormal phenomena in the ionosphere before earthquakes. www.digitimes.com

India mulls aerial mapping for controlling floods

Appearing to have learnt lessons from the natural disasters that struck the State, including the nightmarish 2015 deluge in Chennai, the Tamil Nadu government has proposed to employ unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to map water courses and river basins to chalk out a comprehensive flood control mechanism. The government has earmarked Rs7.01 crore for unmanned vehicle aerial photogrammetry for topographical mapping of waterbodies, particularly rivers and their courses, to find flood-causing factors and initiate rectification measures.

Explaining the project, K Satyagopal, Commissioner for Revenue Administration and Relief Commissioner, said that mapping would be done on the entire river basins to find out the points that caused floods during monsoon.“The unmanned vehicle aerial photogrammetry will help find out factors that trigger floods, to map drain canals to flush out water, link canals to divert water so that the damage could be minimised,” he told Express. www.newindianexpress.com

Planet ground station caught in Canadian regulatory limbo

As Planet prepares to complete its initial constellation of remote sensing satellites, a ground station it built in northern Canada to communicate with those spacecraft remains offline because of delays in receiving a government license there. The problem Planet has faced winning approval for its ground station, industry representatives argue, is a sign of outdated remote sensing regulations in Canada that could deter other companies from operating in the country.

Planet completed the ground station at Inuvik, in the Northwest Territories, early this year. The company said the latitude of the site, 68 degrees north, coupled with a fiber optic link to the town and a lack of radiofrequency interference in the area, made the location ideal as a major ground station to collect images from its constellation of cubesats. http://spacenews.com

NRSC in India establishes new outreach facility in Hyderabad

National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC) established a new Outreach Facility at Jeedimetla Campus in Hyderabad to cater to the ever growing requirements of capacity building in Space-based applications. This facility caters to several activities like Training and Capacity Building, Information Kiosks, Content Generation, Outsourcing and Mass Communication, which could be conducted in parallel.

The facility, in its form, has large number of thin client systems connected to database servers and Bhuvan Geoportal for massive content preparation. In addition, user has access to satellite data and various applications software for meeting specific requirements of NRSC.

Indian space scientist Yash Pal dies at 90

Indian space scientist and academician Yash Pal died in Noida, Uttar Pradesh. The 90-year-old had been unwell from a while, and breathed his last on Monday. Pal was well-known for his work on cosmic rays and his show on Doordarshan titled “Turning Point”. He received the Padma Vibhushan in 2013 and various other awards throughout his career.

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