Mr R Madhavan takes charge as HAL CMD

R Madhavan has taken charge as the Chairman and Managing Director of Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. Till now, Mr Suvarnu Raju was the CMD. Prior to this, Mr Madhavan was heading the Accessories Division of HAL at Lucknow as an Executive Director. “Maintaining the numero uno position of HAL in aerospace industry while delivering world-class products and services through increased indigenisation would be my key focus areas,” Madhavan said. The emphasis would be to build on the core competence of the company and emerge as the preferred supplier in the aerospace industry, he added. Born in 1962, Madhavan is a Mechanical Engineer from NIT, Raipur and a Post Graduate in M. Tech. from IIT Madras. He had joined HAL as a management trainee in July 1982 and has a comprehensive management and engineering experience. His diverse skill sets in varied fields like production, quality, customer services and management helped him hold key positions within the organisation. Madhavan spearheaded the successful absorption of technology for the production of Su-30 airframe and engine accessories from raw material phase at HAL’s Accessories Division, Lucknow. He has contributed to `Make in India’ drive by developing MSME vendors for aerospace manufacturing. His focus areas would also include design and development, order book position and product mix which meets the customer requirements.


A SpiceJet take-off powered by a blend of bio-jet and ATF

India takes first step towards using bio fuel to fly aircraftIts environmental advantages are well-known. Airlines across the world have used it to power their flights and, on August 27, India too took tentative steps in this field when SpiceJet operated a Bombardier Q-400 aircraft powered by a blend of bio-jet and aviation turbine fuel (ATF) on a 40-minute flight between Dehradun and Delhi. Virgin Atlantic was among the first airlines to use biofuel in 2008 when it used a fuel derived from a mixture of Brazilian babassu nuts and coconuts on its Boeing 747 aircraft to fly between Heathrow and Amsterdam. In 2016, KLM Cityhoppers’ E190, flying from Oslo to Amsterdam, were powered by biofuel produced from camelina plant oil. In the same year, Cathay Pacific operated the longest biofuel flight at that time when taking delivery of its first Airbus A-350-900 aircraft. And earlier this year, Qantas operated the world’s first dedicated biofuel flight between the US and Australia. The 15-hour trans-Pacific flight was operated with blended biofuel, saving 18,000 kg in carbon emissions.

Many advantages to biofuels

The advantages of using biofuel are many. These fuels are environmentally friendly. Further, airlines are also looking at them to cut down on the high ATF costs. Says the Sustainable Aviation Fuel Users Group (SAFUG), “Sustainable biofuels may offer a solution to this problem since their production can be spread worldwide, and across a number of different crops, thereby reducing airlines’ exposure to the fuel cost volatility that comes with having a single energy source.” Japan Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Lufthansa, Cathay Pacific and South African Airways are among the 28 airlines that are part of the Grouping. Further, biofuels can also provide economic benefits to parts of the world that have large amounts of land that is either unviable or marginal for food crops, but is suitable for growing second-generation biofuel crops. Biofuel that can be used as jet-fuel can be prepared using animal fat, vegetable oil and agricultural waste. The SpiceJet flight used jatropha plant sourced from nearly 500 farmer families in Chhattisgarh for fuelling its flight. The blending was done by CSIR-Indian Institute of Petroleum.


Indian Air Force successfully carries first-ever mid-air refuelling of fighter aircraft Tejas

Dry run of mid-air refuelling of Tejas fighter jet by an Indian Air Force aircraft was successfully conducted, a defence source said. The test conducted involved a dry linkup, meaning no fuel was actually transferred between Indian Air Force Il-78 tanker and Tejas fighter jet through its air-to-air refuelling probe, the source told PTI here. Nine more tests will be held which would also include wet tests where the actual transfer of fuel takes place from the tanker to the fighter, the source added. India’s indigenously built light combat aircraft Tejas, the smallest and lightest multi-role supersonic fighter aircraft in its class, had commenced operations from the Sulur Air Force Station in Tamil Nadu on July 2, two years after its induction into the Indian Air Force. The fighter jet, part of the ‘Flying Daggers’ of the 45 Squadron, was formally operationalised at a ceremony attended by Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief (Southern Air Command) RKS Bhadauria. Designed by the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) and manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), the single-engine, tailless aircraft would cater to the diverse needs of the Indian Air Force (IAF) and the Indian Navy. The Southern Air Command based in Kerala capital Thiruvananthapuram has been entrusted with the responsibility of integrating the fighter aircraft, equipped with a satellite-aided Inertial Navigation System, in the Air Force’s concept of operations. The aircraft has a digital computer-based attack system and autopilot mode. It can fire air-to-air missiles, carry bombs and precision guided ammunition.



India’s PSLV rocket successfully puts into orbit two UK Satellites NovaSAR, s1-4

The total lift-off weight of the two satellites was 889 kg. NovaSAR weighing 445 kg is an S-Band Synthetic Aperture Radar satellite intended for forest mapping, land use and ice cover monitoring, flood and disaster monitoring. S1-4 weighing 444 kg is a high-resolution Optical Earth Observation Satellite, used for surveying resources, environment monitoring, urban management and for disaster monitoring. After the successful launch, ISRO Chairman  Dr K Sivan said: “The PSLV rocket preciously placed two of our customer satellites in 583 km orbit. The success will give added energy for industry to make PSLV.” At 10.08 p.m. the four staged/engine PSLV-CA rocket, standing 44.4 metres tall and weighing 230.4 tonnes, blasted off from the first launch pad. With the fierce orange flame at its tail lighting up the night skies here, the rocket slowly gained speed and went up and up enthralling the people at the rocketport while the rocket’s engine noise like a rolling thunder adding to the thrill. Just under 18 minutes into the flight, the rocket slung NovaSAR and S1-4 into the orbit. Answering a question raised in the Rajya Sabha, the Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office, Jitendra Singh, said in August: “In the last four years more than 200 foreign customer satellites have been launched. Considering the future launch demand for increased number of nano and small satellites, there are plans to increase the number of PSLV launches and also develop dedicated small launcher to cater to this high market demand.” According to him, as on August 9, 237 foreign satellites belonging to international customers from 29 countries have been successfully launched using PSLV.With the successful launch of two British satellites, the total number of foreign satellites launched by India goes up to 239. “We have an order book of Rs 980 crore, with Rs 500-600 crore contracts in pipeline for launch services in this fiscal (2018-19) and next fiscal (2019-2020),” S. Rakesh, Chairman-cum-Managing Director, Antrix Corp, said in a recent interaction with IANS. India on 16 September successfully put into orbit two British earth observation satellites, NovaSAR and S1-4, in copybook style. Two satellites aboard the Indian rocket - Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle(PSLV) – belonged to Surrey Satellite Technologies Ltd (SSTL), UK. The satellites were put into sun-synchronous orbit under a commercial arrangement with Antrix Corp Ltd, the commercial arm of the Indian Space Research Organisation(ISRO), the Indian space agency.



ISRO to fund research in twelve cities

Indian  Space Research Organisation (ISRO) will soon look for innovative ideas from around the country by facilitating research in various cities. A total of 12 centres — six Space Tech Incubation Centres and six Regional Academic Centres for Space — will be set up across the country. Each of the incubation centres and regional academic centres will be granted Rs 2 crore from ISRO. Apart from it, six academic chairs will also be set up in varsities. The first such incubation centre in National Institute of Technology (NIT), Agartala, was remotely inaugurated by Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb, during the first edition of Spacetronics, organised by India Electronics and Semiconductor Association, in Bengaluru. Other ISRO incubation centres will come up in Trichy, Jalandhar, Bhubaneshwar, Nagpur, and Indore. All the incubation centres will be established at NITs in these cities, ISRO Chairman Dr K Sivan said. “ISRO will fund the institutions to establish the required facilities in these incubation centres. We don’t want to go to places where research is already being carried out,” he said. The Regional Academic Centre for Space will come up in Jaipur, Patna, Kanyakumari, Varanasi, Kurukshetra, and Guwahati, he said.
“We are very clear that across India there millions of individuals with talent. So, we have decided to expand horizontally,” he said.  While incubation centres will work on products, regional academic centres will work on projects. ISRO will give ideas and based on the efficiency of their innovation, they will be absorbed by ISRO, he said. First of the academic chairs by ISRO — Prof Satish Dhawan Chair — will be instituted at University of Jammu and will be inaugurated on October 11, Dr K Sivan added.

‘Tripura engineers ready to work for 1/3 salary back home’

Engineers from Tripura working in Bengaluru and earning a salary of Rs 1.5 lakh per month are ready to work for `50,000 back in their home state, Tripura CM Mr Biplab Kumar Deb said. “There are 12,000 engineers from Tripura working in Bengaluru. I am making a website to compile the engineers, who will be invited to come back to Tripura and work for its development,” he said.


ISRO’s GSAT-29 launch in October

Satellite will help propel PM’s Digital India programme; it will work to provide Internet access to villagers across the country The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) which has embarked on an ambitious plan to have a rocket launch every second week from now on will launch the GSAT-29 next month. The launch of the GSAT-29 satellite will propel Prime Minister Mr Narendra Modi’s Digital India programme. One of the targets of the mission is to ensure that Village Resource Centres (VRC) in rural areas can successfully bridge the digital divide. According to the space agency GSAT-29 is configured around ISRO’s Enhanced I-3K Bus and will be the payload for second developmental flight of GSLV MK3. It carries Ka x Ku multi-beam and optical communication payloads for the first time. The GSAT-29 which is classified as a high throughput satellite will be launched on board the GSLV MK3-D2. The October launch of the GSLV MK3 is the second one involving ISRO’s heaviest launch vehicle. Last year, the first developmental flight of GSLV MK3 was carried out when the GSLV MK3-D1 successfully launched the GSAT-19 satellite. Apart from the buzz surrounding the GSAT-29’s launch as it is part of the Digital India mission, the October launch would also be watched closely as the GSLV MK3 is the rocket which has been earmarked for the Human Space Mission or the Gaganyaan. Gaganyaan aims to send a three-member crew to space for a period of five to seven days by 2022. The spacecraft will be placed in a low earth orbit of 300-400 km. ISRO has lined up a series missions involving the GSLV MK3 before the Gaganyaan mission becomes a reality as the launcher has to be Human rated for the mission. After the GSAT-29, another launch is planned involving a PSLV during which 30 commercial satellites would be launched. ISRO has said that it will have a very busy second half for 2018 starting with the successful launch of two foreign satellites on September 16.


Bengaluru to get Boeing’s second-largest electronics, avionics facility

Global aerospace major Boeing is setting up an electronics manufacturing and avionics Assembly facility in this tech hub at an investment of Rs 11.52 billion, said. “We have allotted 36 acres of land for Boeing India to set up the facility in the state-run Aerospace Park at Devanahalli near the airport in north Bengaluru,” a senior official of the state Industry Department told IANS here. Boeing India President Mr Pratyush Kumar met state Chief Minister Mr H.D. Kumaraswamy at the state secretariat to discuss the project. “As part of Boeing’s Engineering and Technology Centre in India, the facility will create about 2,600 direct jobs when set up and commissioned,” said the official. Though the US-based aircraft maker’s investment proposal was cleared by the previous Congress government in December 2017, approvals and formalities got delayed due to the state Assembly elections and formation of the new coalition government by the Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) and the Congress in May. The facility will be Boeing’s second-largest after its engineering and technology centre at Seattle in Washington district on the US west coast. “The state cabinet approved the Boeing’s proposal early this month for land allotment and other statutory clearances,” added the official. Boeing’s India arm plans to commence the project work in the next three months and complete first phase by 2019. Karnataka Udyog Mitra Managing Director Mr B.K. Shivakumar had told IANS earlier that Boeing would also be making aircraft components and subsystems at the new facility for civil and military versions. The aerospace behemoth has presence in this tech hub with a global research and development centre since a decade.


Domestic aviation traffic saw 17% growth in August

Domestic aviation traffic registered a growth of 17% in the month of August, with airlines ferrying a total of 11.3 million passengers as opposed to 9.6 million same time last year, according to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation’s monthly data. Gurgaon-based budget carrier SpiceJet was at the top in terms of two key parameters — seat occupancy and punctuality. The airline saw an average of 93.6% seats on its planes being sold. It was followed by GoAir (84.6%), IndiGo (82.8%), Air India (82.3%) and Jet Airways (82.0%). It also saw an on-time performance (OTP) of 87.4%, implying that as many flights departed and arrived as per schedule. IndiGo and Go Air shared the second place with an OTP of 87.2%, followed by Vistara (83.6%), Jet Airways (82.6%) and Air India (75.3%). Market leader IndiGo cornered 41.9% of the domestic market share. Jet Airways has a market share of 13.8%, Air India 12.7%, SpiceJet 12.4% and Go Air 8.9%.


India’s Mars Orbiter Mission completes four years in orbit: ISRO

India’s maiden interplanetary mission — the Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) — has completed four years orbiting the red planet, according to ISRO. The mission, launched by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on November 5, 2013, successfully placed itself into Martian orbit on September 24, 2014 in its first attempt.  Although the designed mission life of MOM was six months, the satellite has continued to beam back science data from Mars for the past four years.  “It’s been 4 years since I am around! Thank you for your love and support,” the ISRO’s Mars Orbiter twitter handle said.  The tweet included an image taken by the orbiter of Olympus Mons — the largest known volcano of the solar system.  MOM is built with full autonomy to take care of itself for long periods without any ground intervention. The spacecraft came out of communication ‘blackout’ during this period.  MOM is the only Martian artificial satellite which could image the full disc of Mars in one view frame and also image the far side of the Martian moon Deimos. The Mars Colour Camera has acquired over 980 images so far. The mission has also helped scientists successfully prepare a global atlas of Mars.


ISRO Likely To Launch Chandrayaan-2 On January 3 Next Year

Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Chairman Dr K Sivan has said that India’s second lunar mission, Chandrayaan-2 is likely to be launched on January 3, 2019. Chandrayaan-2 will be the first mission in the world going near the South Pole. After the successful launch of PSLV C-42 into orbit, Dr K Sivan talked about the upcoming launches scheduled over the next few months. He said, “Chandrayaan-2 is planned for a window from January 3 to February 16, 2019, that we are targeting. It can happen anytime during that window. But we are aiming for the beginning of the window, January 3.” Talking about the successful launch of the NovaSAR and S1-4 earth observation satellites of UK, Dr K Sivan said, “Today I am extremely happy to announce that PSLV-C42 carrying two customer satellites NovaSAR and S1-4 placed them precisely in orbit. Within the next six months, 10 satellite missions and eight launch vehicle missions would be launched – one every two weeks.” Reacting on ISRO scientist Nambi Narayanan who was granted compensation by the Supreme Court after being arrested in an alleged spying case, Dr K Sivan said, “ISRO isn’t in the picture. The case is only against Kerala government. When it was decided that he (Nambi Narayan) is wrongly arrested, he returned to ISRO.” The Supreme Court on September 14 granted compensation of Rs. 50 lakh to Mr Narayanan, who was arrested in an alleged spy scandal in 1994. The apex court had observed that the arrest of Mr Narayanan was “needless” and “unnecessary”. A three-judge bench of the top court, headed by Chief Justice of India Mr Dipak Misra, had also announced setting up of a committee which would be headed by retired Supreme Court judge DK Jain to investigate the role of Kerala police officials in the arrest of Mr Narayanan. The ISRO successfully launched PSLV C-42 into orbit carrying two international satellites — Nova SAR and S1-4 from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota. The two earth observation satellites have been developed by Surrey Satellite Technologies Limited (SSTL), the United Kingdom under a commercial arrangement with Antrix Corporation Limited, Department of Space. Both the British satellites that weigh around 889 kilograms, were launched into a 583 km Sun Synchronous Orbit. NovaSAR is an S-Band Synthetic Aperture Radar satellite intended for forest mapping, land use, ice cover monitoring, flood and disaster monitoring. S1-4 is a high-resolution Optical Earth Observation Satellite, used for surveying resources, environment monitoring, urban management and for disaster monitoring.