Thursday, May 26, 2016

Hillary and the Sonia Way

It's rather ironic that the US, which prides itself on being the world's most advanced democracy, has fallen prey to the Sonia way of doing things behind a Purdah, in the form of Hillary Clinton:

Both of these ladies have indictments in their future. It's just a matter of time. Even Robin Raphel had the same problem, and she's likewise facing prosecution over divulging state secrets. Talk about a Trifecta.

A criminal indictment against Hillary could completely derail her presidential campaign, and effectively hand the presidential race over to Donald Trump.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Quick notes: Chabahar agreement, Defence report card...

  • Imperialist China: India had to stave China off to sign Chabahar agreement with Iran. Japan is said to be contemplating developing the port and an industrial complex in the free trade zone.

  • Modi's defence report card: From about 1.8% of GDP in the UPA's last two Budgets, defence allocations declined to 1.73% in Modi's first two Budgets; and just 1.65% of GDP this year.

  • Fearless warriors: That day a lone Gurkha took out 30 Taliban using every weapon within reach

  • While there is no pill for every ill, there is an ill following every pill: Western science went terribly wrong in treating this universe as a separate non-living entity where man has a right to exploit nature for his benefit... When we teach physiology in medical school, we never stress the inherent capacity of the human body to correct itself without outside help. It is only in an unlikely event that an outside help (doctor) gets to help the system.

  • Bye-Bye: El NiƱo 2015-16 May Finally Have Fizzled

  • Sanskrit origins of Error Correcting Codes:

  • The spiritual core:

Monday, May 23, 2016

Reusable Spaceflight Technology and India's Path to the Future

UPDATE: More video footage, including from an onboard camera during launch:

ISRO has put up some nice images of its RLV-TD test flight:

Believe it or not, the test vehicle has been located after splashdown at sea, according to project director Dr Sivan:
ISRO official K. Sivan said that the shuttle had survived the flight.
"We have located the place where the vehicle is floating. The landing was soft and the vehicle did not break," Sivan told the AFP news agency.
I don't know if they're going to re-use the original flight article for the further tests, but the project is already plumbing the depths of cheapness, with a total cost so far of Rs.95 Crores (just over $14M USD) - and that includes the cost of constructing the building where RLV-TD was fabricated.

UPDATE: Looks like the vehicle won't be recovered

Next month in June, India will be testing a scramjet engine (Supersonic Combustion Ramjet, designed to operate at hypersonic speeds in the thin upper atmosphere). It will be launched on a sounding rocket, and then activated as it picks up speed on the way down. Once that basic validation test has been completed, that scramjet engine will later eventually be mounted on the RLV-TD winged vehicle for its scramjet propulsion test (SPEX - the Scramjet Propulsion Experiment). Before that SPEX test occurs, 2 other tests must first occur. The RLV-TD will be fitted with landing gear and dropped from a transport plane to prove that it can land on a runway (LEX - the Landing Experiment). Next, RLV-TD will be fitted with a conventional turbojet engine and will take off from the runway, perform flight maneuvers and then return to land on the runway (REX - the Return flight Experiment). It is after LEX and REX have been done, that SPEX will go ahead: the RLV-TD will take off from a runway using a regular turbojet, then accelerate towards the upper atmosphere, and activate its scramjet engine to accelerate to hypersonic speed, before finally coming back down and landing on the runway like an ordinary aircraft.

ISRO's goal in doing these experiments, is to develop and build a reusable launch vehicle that can provide low-cost access to space. This vehicle itself is likely to have a progressive path - it will start out as a shuttle-style spaceplane that would be mounted on top of a large Solid Rocket Booster like the S-200 which is used in the GSLV Mark-III. This would enable the spaceplane - about 6 times larger than RLV-TD - to be launched to space, carrying satellites, and then later even astronauts after being man-rated. Eventually, that non-reusable solid rocket booster would be replaced with kerosene-burning rocket engines and/or a scramjet-powered flight stage.

Additionally, Dr Sivan has mentioned various cost-cutting ideas being looked at to make ISRO more competitive on launch costs in the near-medium term, due to the emergence of SpaceX as a powerful new competitor in the launch market:

Sunday, May 22, 2016

RLV Launched - ISRO Declares Test Successful

India’s Reusable Launch Vehicle-Technology Demonstrator (RLV-TD), Successfully Flight Tested

Today, May 23, 2016 ISRO successfully flight tested India’s first winged body aerospace vehicle operating in hypersonic flight regime.   
In this experimental mission, the HS9 solid rocket booster carrying RLV-TD lifted off from the First Launch Pad at Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota at 07:00hr IST.  After a successful flight of 91.1second, HS9 burn out occurred, following which both HS9 and RLV-TD mounted on its top coasted to a height of about 56 km. At that height, RLV-TD separated from HS9 booster and further ascended to a height of about 65km. 
From that peak altitude of 65 km, RLV-TD began its descent followed by atmospheric re-entry at around Mach 5 (five times the speed of sound). The vehicle’s Navigation, Guidance and Control system accurately steered the vehicle during this phase for safe descent. After successfully surviving a high temperatures of re-entry with the help of its Thermal Protection System (TPS), RLV-TD successfully glided down to the defined landing spot over Bay of Bengal, at a distance of about 450km from Sriharikota, thereby fulfilling its mission objectives. The vehicle was successfully tracked during its flight from ground stations at Sriharikota and a shipborne terminal. Total flight duration from launch to landing of this mission of the delta winged RLV-TD, lasted for about 770seconds.
In this flight, critical technologies such as autonomous navigation, guidance & control, reusable thermal protection system and re-entry mission management have been successfully validated.
ISRO acknowledge the support of Indian coast guard and National Institute of Ocean technology (NIOT) for the mid sea wind measurement and shipborne telemetry respectively in this mission.

The RLV-TD was launched at 7AM IST, and ISRO declared the test to be a success 20 minutes later, after the vehicle landed in the sea along the intended flight path:

Kerbal Space Program is a popular videogame with a large fan community, and is a great educational tool for kids and aspiring armchair rocket scientists who wish to dabble in spaceflight without leaving the safety of their bedrooms:

Saturday, May 21, 2016

RLV-TD Being Prepped for Launch

Here are a couple more video features from NDTV on the upcoming RLV-TD launch set for May 23 at about 9AM IST:

Unfortunately, this test vehicle will be ditched in the ocean, so this is the last you're likely to see of this particular vehicle. Fortunately, a twin has been built which will be re-used again and again for the further test flight experiments.

Monday, May 16, 2016

national IPR policy has been approved by union cabinet

yours truly (rajeev) is one of the authors of the policy :-)

sent from samsung galaxy note3 neo, so please excuse brevity

ISRO Prepares to Test a Winged Space Shuttle

ISRO is getting ready to test RLV-TD, its own prototype testbed for a reusable winged launch vehicle, which will happen in the coming week:

As we know, reusability is considered a key means of achieving cost-savings, since ISRO currently throws away each and every rocket it launches. The upcoming RLV-TD test is meant to pave the way for a larger winged launch vehicle, which may take 10 years to develop.