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United States of America
United Kingdom
United Arab Emirates

Correct Answer : Option (B) - United States of America

The Odysseus spacecraft from the United States successfully landed on the moon on Thursday (22nd Feb 2024), becoming the first American spacecraft to achieve the feat in more than 50 years.

With this, Intuitive Machines (IM) -- the commercial venture behind the Nova-C lander -- has become the first private venture to carry out a successful landing on the lunar surface.

This marks the first American soft landing on the lunar surface since the Apollo era in 1972.

Notably, this landing comes months after India's Chandrayaan-3 lander, which became the first spacecraft from the country to safely reach the lunar surface in August 2023.

India made a soft landing on the lunar South Pole with a robotic vehicle for the first time in the 21st century.

"I know this was a nail-biter, but we are on the surface, and we are transmitting," Intuitive Machines CEO Steve Altemus just announced on the webcast. "Welcome to the moon."

Although, the exact state of the lander is not yet clear, but the company has confirmed it has made contact with the moon.

The landing site of Odysseus is near Malapert A, an impact crater near the moon's south pole.

The site is "(A) relatively flat and safe region is within the heavily cratered southern highlands on the side of the Moon visible from Earth," according to NASA.

Moments before landing, the spacecraft started troubleshooting communication, after the passing of the expected landing time. But, an Intuitive Machines flight controller confirmed that the lander is "not dead yet" and they have received a "faint signal".

The US remains the only country to have put humans on the lunar surface, most recently in 1972 with the Apollo 17 mission.

The space agency said it chose this landing site for Intuitive Machines' first mission because it wanted to learn more about the lunar environment and how communications function in this area.

NASA wants to scout the lunar south pole because the space agency believes it's the best location to set up a future astronaut base..

Source : Business Standard


Correct Answer : Option (A) - NASA and JAXA

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) are planning to launch the world's first wooden satellite called the LignoSat probe into space to make space flight more sustainable.

About LignoSat

* Lignosat is a coffee mug-sized satellite which is made of magnolia wood, and is set to launch into Earth orbit by the summer of 2024.
* Wood doesn't burn or rot in the lifeless vacuum of space, but it will turn into fine ash upon re-entry into Earth's atmosphere, making it a surprisingly useful, biodegradable material for future satellites.
* After successfully testing their wood samples on the International Space Station (ISS) earlier this year, scientists believe the test is suitable for satellite launch.
* "Three wood samples were tested and showed no distortion after exposure to space," the researchers said in a statement in May. "Despite significant temperature changes in the extreme environment of outer space and exposure to intense cosmic rays and dangerous solar particles for up to 10 months, tests revealed no disintegration or deformation, such as cracking, warping, peeling or cracking of the surface."
* Scientists sent three samples of wood – magnolia, cherry or birch – to the ISS which was placed in a module and exposed in space. The researchers decided on magnolia because it is less likely to crack or break during construction

Importance of wooden satellite :

* More than 9,300 tons (8,440 metric tons) of space objects – including space junk such as defunct satellites and fragments of spent rocket stages – currently orbit Earth.
* But the shiny metals they are made of, such as lightweight titanium and aluminum, increase the overall brightness of the night sky by more than 10% across large parts of the planet, creating ambient light pollution that obscures distant space events. It becomes difficult to find out.
* Spacecraft made of metal are also expensive and pose a threat to the ISS, other spacecraft carrying humans and – if they are large enough to survive reentry – people on Earth.
* According to researchers, wooden satellites like LignoSat should theoretically be less harmful as space junk.

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

* The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is an autonomous agency of the executive branch of the United States federal government.
* Established in 1958
* Founder : Dwight D. Eisenhower
* Founded : 29 July 1958, United States
* Headquarters : Washington, D.C., United States

Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) :

* The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) is designated as the main executive organization that technically supports aerospace development and utilization for the Japanese government.
* JAXA continuously conducts activities related to aerospace sectors from basic research and development to applications.


Correct Answer : Option (D) - India

India is preparing to launch its first spy satellite developed by Tata Advanced Systems Ltd (TASL) aboard a SpaceX rocket in April. This satellite, designed for discreet information gathering, will bolster the country’s defense capabilities by providing real-time monitoring and ground control.

India’s First Domestic Spy Satellite Set for SpaceX Liftoff: Key Points

1. Eliminating Dependence on Foreign Vendors :

* Previously, Indian armed forces relied on foreign vendors for exact coordinates and timings. The indigenous spy satellite will end this dependency, ensuring sovereignty and security.

2. Ground Control Center in Bengaluru :

* A ground control center is under construction in Bengaluru, in collaboration with Satellogic, for guidance and image processing.
* Expected to be operational soon, the center will facilitate efficient utilization of the satellite’s capabilities.

3. Collaboration with Friendly Nations :

* Imagery captured by the TASL satellite will be shareable with friendly nations, enhancing regional security cooperation.

4. Complementing ISRO’s Efforts :

* While ISRO’s satellites exist for similar purposes, their coverage is limited. The TASL satellite fills this gap, particularly crucial post-border tensions with China.

5. Recent ISRO Endeavors :

* ISRO recently launched INSAT-3DS for meteorological studies, showcasing its diverse satellite capabilities.
* Despite the success, the GSLV rocket series has faced reliability challenges, earning the nickname “naughty boy.”

6. ISRO’s International Collaborations :

* ISRO’s collaboration with NASA for a Synthetic Aperture Radar satellite emphasizes its commitment to global scientific endeavors.
* However, ISRO clarifies that the satellite isn’t for surveillance purposes, but rather for Earth observation and research.


Correct Answer : Option (C) - NASA

The vast expanse of our planet’s oceans and the intricate dance of Earth’s atmosphere hold key secrets to understanding and battling climate change. In a recent groundbreaking move, NASA launched the Plankton, Aerosol, Cloud, ocean Ecosystem (PACE) mission, embarking on a crucial journey to unlock these mysteries. This ambitious project promises to revolutionize our understanding of the complex interactions between air, water, and life, providing invaluable insights into our planet’s changing climate.

PACE, launched onboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on February 8th, 2024, isn’t your typical satellite. Armed with a powerful hyperspectral ocean color instrument, it delves into the microscopic world, studying tiny marine organisms called phytoplankton. These microscopic wonders play a vital role in regulating Earth’s climate by absorbing vast amounts of carbon dioxide. By closely monitoring their distribution and health, PACE can illuminate how oceans function and respond to environmental changes.

Peering Through the AtmosphERIC Haze :

But PACE doesn’t stop at the water’s surface. It also casts its keen eye towards the sky, scrutinizing aerosols. These tiny airborne particles, ranging from dust and smoke to volcanic ash, can significantly impact both climate and air quality. By analyzing their types, distribution, and interactions with sunlight, PACE will provide deeper insights into their influence on Earth’s energy balance and climate patterns.

Collaborating for Climate Solutions :

This groundbreaking mission isn’t a solo act. PACE joins forces with a constellation of existing Earth-observing satellites, forming a powerful network monitoring our planet’s health. The collected data will be freely available to scientists worldwide, fostering international collaboration and accelerating the development of effective climate solutions.

Impact Beyond Science :

Beyond scientific advancements, PACE’s findings have the potential to positively impact society in numerous ways. It can enhance our ability to:

* Forecast harmful algal blooms : Protecting marine ecosystems and ensuring food security.
* Predict extreme weather events : Mitigating risks and safeguarding communities.
* Monitor air quality : Improving public health and environmental well-being.
* Develop sustainable practices : Ensuring a healthier planet for future generations.

Unlocking the Future :

The PACE mission marks a significant leap forward in our quest to understand and combat climate change. By peering into the hidden world of oceans and atmosphere, it’s unlocking crucial knowledge that will empower us to make informed decisions and chart a sustainable course for our planet. So, watch this space, for the secrets revealed by PACE could pave the way for a brighter future for all.

United States

Correct Answer : Option (C) - China

Chinese automaker Geely Holding Group, opens new tab said on Saturday (3rd Feb 2024) it has launched 11 low-earth orbit satellites, its second dispatch, as it expands its capacity to provide more accurate navigation for autonomous vehicles.

The satellites were launched from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in the southwestern province of Sichuan, Geely said in a statement sent to Reuters.

Geely said it expects 72 to be in orbit by 2025 and eventually plans to have a constellation of 240.

The first launch was conducted in June 2022.

In addition to providing high-precision positioning support to self-driving cars, Geely said its network will also serve other commercial functions such as connectivity to the consumer electronics sector.

The satellites have AI remote sensing functions, providing 1-5 meter (3.2-16.4 ft) clear high-resolution remote sensing imaging, the company said.

China's satellite networks are dominated by its military but the government began to allow private investment in the country's space industry in 2014. Since then, commercial companies, some backed by local governments, have rushed into the sector, with the majority focusing on making satellites and the rest attempting to build small launch vehicles including reusable rockets.

In its latest five-year plan for 2021-2025, Beijing has called for an integrated network of satellites for communications, remote sensing and navigation. China has more than 400 satellites deployed in space, including commercially owned satellites, according to state media..

Source : Reuters


Correct Answer : Option (D) - INSAT-3DS

ISRO on Saturday (27th Jan 2024) said its meteorological satellite INSAT-3DS has been flagged off to Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) SHAR at Sriharikota for the launch onboard GSLV F14.

The satellite had successfully completed satellite assembly, integration and testing activities at U R Rao Satellite Centre, Bengaluru.

The satellite is a user-funded project with the Ministry of Earth Science (MoES), configured around ISRO's I-2k bus platform with a lift-off mass of 2275 kg. Indian Industries have significantly contributed in the making of the satellite.

According to sources, the space agency is said to be aiming for a mid-February 2024 launch.

"INSAT-3DS, is an exclusive meteorological satellite realised by ISRO with the primary objective to provide continuity of services to the existing in-orbit INSAT-3D and 3DR satellites and significantly enhancing the capabilities of the INSAT system," ISRO said.

It was flagged off to SDSC-SHAR launch port in Andhra Pradesh on 25th January 2024, it said, adding that Pre-Shipment Review (PSR) was also held with the participation of members from the user community.

According to ISRO, the satellite is designed for enhanced meteorological observations and monitoring of land and ocean surfaces for weather forecasting and disaster warning, with state-of-the-art payloads: 6 channel Imager & 19 channel Sounder meteorology payloads, communication payloads viz., The Data Relay Transponder (DRT) and Satellite aided Search and Rescue (SAS&R) transponder.

The DRT instrument receives meteorological, hydrological and oceanographic data from automatic Data Collection Platforms or Automatic Weather Stations (AWS) and augments the weather forecasting capabilities.

SAS&R transponder is incorporated in the satellite to relay a distress signal or alert detection from the beacon transmitters for search and rescue services with global receive coverage..

Source : Business Standard

Virgin Galactic
Blue Origin
United Launch Alliance

Correct Answer : Option (A) - SpaceX

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifted off from Pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center (KSC) here today (18th Jan 2024) at 4:49 p.m. EST (2149 GMT), sending the Crew Dragon capsule "Freedom" skyward on Ax-3, the third mission organized by Houston company Axiom Space. The launch was originally scheduled for Wednesday (Jan. 17) but was delayed a day to allow more time for prelaunch checks.

The four-person Ax-3 is led by Michael López-Alegría, a former NASA astronaut who now serves as Axiom Space's chief astronaut. He's joined by mission pilot Walter Villadei, an Italian Air Force colonel who flew to suborbital space with Virgin Galactic last summer; Turkey's first astronaut, Alper Gezeravc?; and European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut reserve member Marcus Wandt. Gezeravc? and Wandt will serve as mission specialists.

López-Alegría is a citizen of Spain as well as the U.S., so Axiom bills Ax-3 as "the first all-European commercial astronaut mission" to the ISS.

The Falcon 9's successful liftoff and staging were followed by the return to Earth of the rocket's first stage. The booster touched down at SpaceX's Landing Zone-1 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, which is next door to KSC, a little less than eight minutes after launch as planned.

Freedom separated from the Falcon 9's second stage about 12 minutes after liftoff, beginning the capsule's roughly 36-hour orbital journey to rendezvous with the ISS.

"Walter, Alper and Marcus: Congrats, and welcome to your first flight on Dragon," SpaceX launch director Mark Soltys said to the Ax-3 crew shortly after Freedom's deployment. "Mike, on the other hand, welcome to the Dragon frequent flyer club. I imagine you'll have enough miles to qualify for platinum status after this flight."

As that note indicates, Villadei, Gezeravc? and Wandt had not flown with SpaceX before; indeed, Ax-3 is the first orbital mission for all three. López-Alegría, on the other hand, now has six spaceflights under his belt, including the Ax-1 mission to the ISS in April 2022. He is the first astronaut ever to fly on Dragon twice.

Freedom is scheduled to catch up with the space station early Saturday morning (20th Jan 2024), docking with the Harmony module at around 5:15 a.m. EST (1015 GMT). Hatch opening between Freedom and the ISS will occur not long after that, followed by an Ax-3 crew welcome ceremony with the station's entire complement.

The Ax-3 astronauts will spend about two weeks working as integrated residents of the orbital laboratory, conducting microgravity research and science. Experiments performed by the Ax-3 crew will include investigations into physics, human health and outer space medicine. Some of this research will help Axiom better understand and develop training programs for their astronauts on future flights.

Private crew mission: Axiom Space Mission 3

* Axiom Space Mission 3 marks the third private crew mission to visit the ISS, ushering in a new era of space exploration.

* The crew, composed entirely of private crew, is set to spend approximately 14 days aboard the ISS, undertaking up to 30 experiments. Their endeavours align with the ongoing activities of the seven astronauts already present on the space station.

Japan (JAXA)
India (ISRO)

Correct Answer : Option (D) - India (ISRO)

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) marked the beginning of 2024 with a significant milestone, launching its first mission of the year. On 1st January 2024, ISRO successfully lifted off the XPoSat (X-ray Polarimeter Satellite) along with 10 other satellites from the Sriharikota spaceport, using the reliable PSLV-C58 rocket.

This groundbreaking mission marks India’s foray into space-based polarisation measurements of X-ray emissions from celestial sources, with a specific focus on the enigmatic world of black holes.

Purpose of XPoSat :

The primary objective of XPoSat is to investigate the polarization of intense X-ray sources in space. Astrophysicist Dr. RC Kapoor, commenting on the launch, emphasized that XPoSat is India’s maiden X-Ray satellite designed for detecting X-rays emanating from exotic objects such as neutron stars and black holes.

ISRO’s PSLV-C58 Mission :

The PSLV-C58 Mission is pivotal in propelling the XPoSat Satellite into an eastward low inclination orbit. Following the injection of XPoSat, the PS4 stage will undergo two re-starts to reduce the orbit into a 350 km circular orbit. This adjustment aims to maintain the satellite in a 3-axis stabilized mode, facilitating Orbital Platform (OP) experiments, according to ISRO.

PSLV Orbital Experimental Module-3 (POEM-3) Experiment :

An integral part of the mission is the PSLV Orbital Experimental Module-3 (POEM-3) experiment. This experiment is poised to achieve the objectives of 10 identified payloads, provided by both ISRO and IN-SPACe (Indian National Space Promotion and Authorization Centre).

Scientific Payloads on XPoSat :

The spacecraft of XPoSat hosts two crucial scientific payloads within a low earth orbit. The first of these, POLIX (Polarimeter Instrument in X-rays), is designed to measure polarimetry parameters, including the degree and angle of polarization. This will be conducted in the medium X-ray energy range of 8-30 keV photons, originating from astronomical sources. The second payload, XSPECT (X-ray Spectroscopy and Timing), is focused on providing spectroscopic information within the energy range of 0.8-15 keV.

ISRO’s Vision for XPoSat :

ISRO’s XPoSat mission represents a pioneering effort in space-based polarisation measurements of X-ray emissions. The agency underscores the significance of XPoSat as its first dedicated scientific satellite designed to undertake research in this specialized domain. With a specific focus on exploring the polarisation of intense X-ray sources, XPoSat is expected to contribute valuable insights into our understanding of celestial objects like never before.

December 31, 2024
January 1, 2024
January 2, 2024
January 3, 2024

Correct Answer : Option (B) - January 1, 2024

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is set to kick off the year 2024 with the launch of XPoSat (X-ray Polarimeter Satellite) on Monday (January 1, 2024). It is India's first XPoSat which aims to investigate the polarization of intense X-Ray sources and study the enigmatic world of black holes.

“XPoSat is India’s first dedicated polarimetry mission to study various dynamics of bright astronomical X-ray sources in extreme conditions," the space agency said. The satellite will be launched on board the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV).

XPoSat Mission: Date, time and venue

The ISRO will launch PSLV-C58/EXPOSAT Mission at 09:10 hrs IST on Monday, January 1, 2024. The launch is planned from Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota.

All about XPoSat mission :

* ISRO's PSLV-C58 Mission will launch the XPOSAT Satellite into an eastward low inclination orbit. "After injection of XPOSAT, the PS4 stage will be re-started twice to reduce the orbit into 350 km circular orbit to maintain in 3-axis stabilized mode for Orbital Platform (OP) experiments," the space agency said.

* "The PSLV Orbital Experimental Module-3 (POEM-3) experiment will be executed meeting the objective of 10 identified payloads, supplied by ISRO and IN-SPACe," the ISRO said.

* The spacecraft of the XPoSat will carry two scientific payloads in a low earth orbit.

* "The primary payload POLIX (Polarimeter Instrument in X-rays) will measure the polarimetry parameters (degree and angle of polarization) in medium X-ray energy range of 8-30 keV photons of astronomical origin. The XSPECT (X-ray Spectroscopy and Timing) payload will give spectroscopic information in the energy range of 0.8-15 keV," ISRO said.

According to the ISRO, the objective of the mission are :

1. To measure polarisation of X-rays in the energy band 8-30keV emanating from about 50 potential cosmic sources through Thomson Scattering by POLIX payload.

2. To carry out long term spectral and temporal studies of cosmic X-ray sources in the energy band 0.8-15keV by XSPECT payload.

3. To carry out polarisation and spectroscopic measurements of X-ray emissions from cosmic sources by POLIX and XSPECT payloads respectively in the common energy band.

4. To study the distribution of magnetic field, geometric anisotropies, alignment with respect to line of sight, nature of accelerator in galactic cosmic X-Ray sources by measuring degree of polarization and its angle.

5. Structure and geometry of magnetic field of neutron stars, mechanism of X-Ray beaming and its relation with luminosity and mass of accretion rate of powered pulsars.

6. Understanding of galactic black hole binary sources.

7. To study and confirm about production of X-Rays is either from polar cap of neutron star or outer cap of pulsar magnetosphere.

8. To distinguish the synchrotron mechanism as dominant over thermal emission in Supernova remnants..

Source : Mint

Saudi Arabia

Correct Answer : Option (C) - Pakistan

* Pakistan on Wednesday (27th Dec 2023) conducted a successful flight test of indigenously developed guided multi-launch rocket system 'Fatah-II', which is capable of engaging targets with high precision up to a range of 400 kilometres, the army said.

* The 'Fatah-II' is "equipped with state-of-the-art avionics, sophisticated navigation system and unique flight trajectory," the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the media wing of the military, said in a statement.

* The weapon system is "capable of engaging targets with high precision up to a range of 400 kilometres," it said. The launch was witnessed by senior officers from tri-services and dedicated scientists and engineers, it added.

* In October end, Pakistan successfully conducted a training launch of the Ghauri Weapon System, a week after holding the flight test of the ballistic missile Ababeel Weapon System. In August 2021, Pakistan had conducted a successful test of indigenously developed Fatah-1 guided multi-launch rocket system (MLRS)..

Source : CNBC