An important step towards enhancing space technology

Space technology is a significant aspect of a society’s development. It has greatly benefitted us in various fields such as education, research, communication, management of natural disasters and overall, in improving the quality of human life. With economical progress, India has been striving towards executing such space missions which not only aid the national development but establish our position in the international space exploration movement that has been rapidly expanding.

Another such progress was made recently when the Indian Space Association or ISpa was launched. It aims to privatize the space sector by allowing private firms to collaborate with the government for achieving the objective of self-reliant space technology as well as providing India with a lead role as the global space hub. Policies to achieve the same would be framed in consultation with the stakeholders.

Who are the members?

Larson & Toubro, OneWeb, Mapmyindia, Bharti Airtel, Ananth Technology Ltd and the like constitute the founding members. Other key members are Centum Electronics, Maxar India, Godrej and many more. These members will work in line with the shared vision of the government and coordinate with the shareholders.

The association’s Director-General is Lt Gen Anil Bhatt (Retd) who also served as the Director-General of Military Operations previously. Mr. Rahul Vatts who is the Director and Chief Regulatory Officer of Bharti Airtel will serve as the association’s Vice Chairman. The association’s first appointed chairman is Mr. Jayant Patil, Director of Defence and Space technologies, L&T-NxT.

What is it based on?

According to the government, four pillars comprise the shared idea of promoting this space reform.

  • Innovation freedom in the private sector– The government wishes to encourage private sector participation in the development of strategies that would shape the future of India in the space sector. Drafting legislation, engaging in research to develop efficient and high-quality devices that cater to the needs of clients across the globe so that India can become a major manufacturer of space-related equipment are some of the aspects which would be handled in a much better manner if many firms work mutually.
  • Government’s enabling role– The government would play an important role in the creation of an environment that is optimal for coordination and cooperation between the members and shareholders. Experts from the government would not only share their ideas but also promote much-needed innovation while keeping national interests at the forefront.
  • Preparing youth for the future- With extensive research and innovation emerges a brilliant opportunity to develop academia which would make the youth enthusiastic to learn more about the industry and contribute towards its expansion. Young minds would get a chance to explore more career options in this field which would enhance India’s global performance.
  • Using the space sector as a developmental source- This reform would aid India’s progress in multiple aspects such as better resource management, interplanetary explosion, more successful space missions, better weather forecasting, country’s imaging and mapping.

Overall, the launch of the Indian Space Association is a very positive step to benefit various sections of society, ranging from entrepreneurs to youth. It has the potential to transform India into a global leader of the space sector backed by expert interventions from the government and various agencies. Pushing for policies and legislations to enhance India’s growth in terms of critical technology would bring in employment and better wages.

The participation of national and international agencies would bring in more innovation and cooperation. It has the strength to make India a preferred destination for future international investments and which can transform it into a commercial hub. It would also assist in easing the workload of ISRO which has been at the center of India’s space hub developments.

A Brief Introduction to Stars

Stars are something we all know and see, glittering in the night sky above. Most people, however are content to just admire their beauty. These stars have their own fascinating physics and chemistry behind them. There are a lot of fascinating information which not many people are aware of. This article will attempt to give some basic information about stars to facilitate a greater interest in them.

What exactly are stars and how are they ‘born’

Stars are luminous spheroidal celestial objects made up of plasma. They are held together by their own gravity. They may be found singularly or in groups known as constellations. Stars are born in star nurseries called nebula. Nebula are nothings but clouds of gas and dust. Star formation begins due to instability in the gravity within molecular clouds. This gravitational instability soon causes the nebula cloud / clouds to collapse under its own gravitational force. The density of the region also increases. The gravitational energy gets converted into heat which causes a rise in temperature. After a certain period, the collapsed nebula cloud reaches the hydrostatic equilibrium condition. Hydrostatic equilibrium is the condition where and external force (like gravity) of an object either fluid or plastic in nature gets balanced by a pressure-gradient force. This gives rise to a protostar, which then evolves into a star.

Stars are comprised of gases, mainly hydrogen and helium. The structure of a star comprises of its core where various nuclear reactions take place, a conduction zone which carries energy outwards from the core, a convection zone which transfers gases of extremely high temperatures to the surface, and the surface of the star. The heat generated by these nuclear reactions is what makes the stars shine.

The types of stars

Red Giants

Red giants are stars which have run out of hydrogen from their core. As an alternative way, they start to use hydrogen present outside the core, which causes it to swell and puff up. After the hydrogen totally gets over, it starts burning up other gases which may cause it to grow into yellow or blue supergiants and hypergiants.

Betelguese, a red giant seen from a telescope
Betelguese, a red giant seen from a telescope

White Dwarfs

White Dwarfs are dying stars. They are formed from stars which has used up all of its available gas. It then collapses to form a small planet-sized star with only a white-hot and extremely dense core.

Sirius B, a white dwarf seen from a telescope
Sirius B, a white dwarf seen from a telescope

Neutron Stars

If a star roughly 5 times or more the size of our sun dies, it does not become a white dwarf. Instead, it undergoes a supernova explosion. Supernova explosions are very bright and powerful enough that it could be seen with the naked eye even on Earth despite the star being 168, 000 light years away (SN 1987A). The intense force of the gravity produced in the collapse causes the protons and electrons to merge forming a star made purely of neutrons, giving these stars the name ‘neutron stars’. However more massively sized stars, roughly 8 times the sun, instead collapse to form not neutron stars, but black holes, a region of space with gravity so extremely powerful that even light cannot escape it.  

Illustration of neutron star
Illustration of neutron star
Image of a black hole courtesy NASA
Image of a black hole courtesy NASA