It was indeed a moment of great glory for our motherland when India successfully launched its heaviest nuclear-capable missile, Agni-5, across a distance of 5,000 kilometres, thus paving the way to rub shoulders with other nuclear-powered nations, the elite club of five countries – the U.S of A, Britain, France, Russia, and China. Now Indiais capable of launching inter-continental ballistic missiles across comparable distances.
The team at the Defense Research and Development Organization that made this possible should be congratulated for adding yet another feather in the nation’s cap. The success of this launch, however, does not mean that India is China’s rival, since cordial diplomatic ties between the two nations must be maintained. But I feel that the launch of Agni-5 gives India a much-needed boost and a feeling of equality with these nations.
There are always two sides to the progressive development of a nation- the positive and the negative – well, on the negative side, the launch of this missile can fuel a cold war among third world nations, which I hope it wont. The situation will turn sinister if the missile somehow ends up in the hands of terrorists. The sane and sagacious leaders of the nuclear league should remember the massacre that followed after atom bombs were dropped in Hiroshimaand Nagasaki. If an incident like that happens again, then all life on earth may be wiped out.
But let’s not be morbid; instead let us envision the bright future of the nation. Let me share with you another success story which took place recently at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh, 90 km away from Chennai. It was the launch of PSLV C – 19 carrying India’s first indigenous radar imaging satellite RISAT-1 (RADAR IMAGING SATELLITE 1).
The radar imaging remote sensing satellite can take pictures during day, night and under all weather conditions. The data relating to soil moisture will help farmers, while updates on forest cover, glaciers, ocean and water levels will help in disaster management. With the help of the satellite, they can also predict the kharif season effectively.
Till date India had optical remote sensing satellites that could take pictures only during the day. Now India is at par with the US, Canada, Japan, Germany and Israel, as they too posess this technology. As the proverb rightfully says that behind every successful man or nation, there is the strength of a woman. The Director of the RISAT-1 Project is a woman. She is a 52 year old charming lady by the name of N Valarmathi, who joined ISRO in 1984. In 2001, she was entrusted with the task of developing an indigenous radar imaging satellite. She was assisted by a team of 50 people. According to her, this project is one hundred percent Indian. Only Indian companies had supplied the components.
Let me state some basic facts about its features:
- The spacecraft weighs about 1,858 kg.
- Its orbit altitude is 536 km.
- Its orbit inclination is 97.552deg.
- It can orbit 14 times per day.
- Its image resolution is 1m-50m.
- It runs on solar power and its mission duration is for 5 years.
These recent launches are truly great achievements for India. I would like to share yet another success story with you. This time it is to do with India’s largest and busiest network – The Railways. The next time you plug your mobile charger into a socket on a train, it might be powered by solar energy!
With two solar-powered coaches on the Pathankot- Jogindernagar narrow gauge line set to complete a successful trial run of a year in July 2012, a proposal has been mooted for the experiment to be extended to all coaches on narrow gauge trains in the Northern Railways. The roofs of the coaches are equipped with 18 solar panels per coach. The fans, lights and electrical points for charging mobiles or laptops on these coaches run on solar energy.
According to the reports stated by the officials, apart from a weekly wipe, the solar panels require no maintenance, and it saves a lot of electricity. Officials say that once the panels are fully charged, they can function smoothly for three days even if there is no sunlight as there is a back-up battery. What has helped during the trial run is the relatively mild weather on the Jalandhar- Pathankot route, due to which the trains need no air-conditioning.
At the same time, falling mud and stones in hilly areas can damage the panels. But the officials had stated in their report that the solar panels have been fixed in such a manner that travel over long distances doesn’t dislodge them. The total cost of developing such a coach is around 4 lakhs. However, this expense will be worth it if we consider the bigger picture a few years down the line.
Tags: agni 5 missile, atom bombs hiroshima nagasaki, development india, hiroshima nagasaki, India, nuclear missile india, progression india, radar imaging satellites, railways solar energy, solar energy, solar panels rail cars, third world nations