Facts in News


    Facts in News


    Recently, Russia’s space agency Roscosmos has detached Pirs from the International Space Station (ISS) and will attach a larger module called Nauka in its place.

    • Nauka, meaning “science” in Russian, is the biggest space laboratory Russia has launched to date.
    • It will primarily serve as the country’s main research facility on the space station.
    • It was launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on 21st July using a Proton rocket.
      • The Proton rocket is the most powerful in Russia’s space inventory so far.
    • It is 42 feet long and weighs 20 tonnes and was supposed to be launched as early as 2007.
      • However, due to a range of technical issues, the launch kept getting postponed.
    • It is carrying an oxygen generator, a spare bed, another toilet and a robotic cargo crane built by the European Space Agency (ESA).
    • On the ISS, Nauka will be attached to the critical Zvezda module.
      • This module provides all of the space station’s life support systems and serves as the structural and functional centre of the Russian Orbital Segment (ROS).
    • Pirs
      • The module that exited the Zvezda was called Pirs, meaning “pier” in Russian.
      • It is a considerably smaller structure that was only used as a docking port for Russian spacecraft and as a door for cosmonauts to go out on spacewalks. 
      • It was pulled away from the ISS using a Progress MS-16/77P cargo ship, which had remained docked to the module since February.
      • Both Pirs and its cargo ship will get burned up as they enter the Earth’s atmosphere and are expected to fall harmlessly into the Pacific Ocean.

    (Image Courtesy: RSW)

    Kandla Becomes First Green SEZ

    Recently, Kandla Special Economic Zone (KASEZ) has been awarded the Indian Green Building Council (IGBC) Platinum Rating.

    • It makes KASEZ the First Green SEZ to achieve the IGBC Green Cities Platinum Rating for Existing Cities.
      • The efforts of the KASEZ team were noted especially the fact that this was accomplished in the Bhuj region where water conservation and afforestation are critical interventions.
    • This was a major achievement and is part of activities envisaged under the Green SEZs Mission as part of celebrations marking India@75-Azadi ka Amrut Mahotsav.
      • Government is working towards ensuring environmentally sustainable development through a series of measures and efforts that encompass many Ministries.
    • Special Economic Zone
      • It is an area in a country that is subject to different economic regulations than other regions within the same country.
      • The economic regulations of SEZs tend to be conducive to and attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).
    • IGBC Platinum Rating
      • It is awarded for ‘Green master planning, policy initiatives and implementation of green infrastructure’ by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII)’s Indian Green Building Council (IGBC).
      • The recognition is set to pave the way for all the other SEZs in the country to emulate the green initiative and efforts of Kandla SEZ.
    • Confederation of Indian Industry
      • It is a non-government, not-for-profit, industry-led and industry-managed organization, with over 9000 members from the private as well as public sectors.
      • It aims to create and sustain an environment conducive to the development of India.
      • As India marches towards its 75th year of Independence in 2022, CII has chosen the theme for 2021-22 as Building India for a New World: Competitiveness, Growth, Sustainability, Technology.
    • Indian Green Building Council
      • It is a part of the CII and was formed in 2001.
      • Vision: To enable a sustainable built environment for all and facilitate India to be one of the global leaders in the sustainable built environment by 2025.
      • It offers a wide array of services which include developing new green building rating programmes, certification services and green building training programmes.
      • It is committee-based, member-driven and consensus-focused and organises Green Building Congress, its annual flagship event on green buildings.

    (Image Courtesy: IB)

    Agar Wood

    Recently, the Tripura government has taken all-out initiatives to encourage farmers for commercial cultivation of agar.

    • Scientific Name: Aquilaria malaccensis
    • It is native to North East India and the distribution ranges from the foothills of the Himalayas to Papua New Guinea.
    • It is a natural incense and a product of religious and cultural significance and is also known as the ‘Wood of the Gods’.
    • It is an economically important and fast-growing evergreen tree species.
    • It is listed as critically endangered on the IUCN Red List and is listed on Appendix II of CITES.
    • It is the most expensive raw material in the world.
      • The fragrant Agarwood is formed due to complex biotic, abiotic and stress-induced resin on the Aquilaria trees.
      • In the formation of oils, the wood of the tree must first become infected with mold named Phialophora Parasitica.
      • Prior to the infection, the healthy wood was pale, odourless and relatively light in colour.
      • However, as the infection progresses, the tree starts producing a dark aromatic resin which is called aloes in response to the attack of the external forces, which results in a very dense, dark, resin-embedded wood.
      • This fragrant dark resinous wood, Agarwood is used in incense, perfume and small carvings.
    • It is said that the state capital of Tripura, Agartala has derived its name from Agarwood.
    • Tripura Agarwood Policy 2021
      • Aims
        • To promote Agar tree, its plantation, sustainable harvesting and industry based on it and by ensuring Ease of Doing Business and by providing proper market linkages.
        • To double agarwood plantation by the year 2025.
      • In Tripura, it has a huge potential of creating an Economic Revolution.
        • Due to adaptability of the land and low input for management and growth, intercropping adaptation could make Agar a preferred cash crop in Tripura.
      • The policy attempts to make Rs. 20 billion industry in the next 5 years.

    (Image Courtesy: FPS)

    Exercise Indra

    • 12th Edition of Indo-Russia joint military Exercise INDRA 2021 will be held at Volgograd, Russia from 01 to 13 August 2021. 
      • The INDRA series of exercises began in 2003 and the First joint Tri-Services Exercise was conducted in 2017.
    • The exercise will entail the conduct of counter-terror operations under the United Nations mandate by a joint force against international terror groups.
    • It will strengthen mutual confidence and interoperability between the Indian and Russian Armies and enable sharing of best practices between the contingents of both countries.
    • The exercise will be yet another milestone in strengthening security cooperation and will serve to reinforce the longstanding bond of friendship between India and Russia.

    Exercise Cutlass Express 2021

    • Indian Naval Ship (INS) Talwar is participating in Exercise Cutlass Express 2021 along the East Coast of Africa.
    • It aims to improve combined maritime law enforcement capacity and increase interoperability between the regional navies. 
    • The exercise is an annual maritime exercise conducted to promote national and regional maritime security in East Africa and the Western Indian Ocean.
    • The 2021 edition of the exercise involves the participation of 12 Eastern African countries, US, UK, India and various international organisations, like the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Interpol, European Union Naval Force (EUNAVFOR), Critical Maritime Routes Indian Ocean (CRIMARIO) and EUCAP Somalia.

    The Indian Space Research Organisation’s(ISROs) merchandise programme .

    • The Indian Space Research Organisation’s customised space-themed merchandise programme in partnership with industry has taken off with multiple companies on board.
    • Key Features 
      • A person will be able to purchase authorised products connected to ISROs missions and work, such as scale models, T-shirts, mugs, space-themed educational games, science toys, and more.
      • The initiative came from ISRO after many companies interested in creating customised articles and handicrafts approached it for themes.
      • According to the terms and conditions, the party (registered companies) shall avoid using the ISRO identifier, imagery, etc. on products such as doormats, slippers, or any such items, which affect the reputation/ image of the organisation.
      • The rates for the merchandise shall be reasonable in line with market conditions, as there is no brand value charged by ISRO to the party.
    • Significance 
      • This brand promotion exercise can play a ”game-changing” role in creating awareness and kindling interest of students, children and the public, in the domain of space science & technology, and propagating its achievements.