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India to launch five British satellites on July 10

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Chennai: An Indian rocket is readying for its heaviest mission on July 10 to put into orbit five British satellites alltogether weighing around 1,440 kg from the space port in Sriharikota, the Indian space agency said Saturday.

According to the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) its Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) is scheduled to carry aloft five foreign satellites on July 10.

The four stage/engine PSLV rocket in XL variant is expected to blast off at around 10 p.m. from the Sriharikota space centre in Andhra Pradesh around 80 km from here. The 62.5 hours countdown will start on July 8 at around 7.30 a.m.

Of the five, three are identical DMC3 optical earth observation satellites weighing 447 kg. These will be put into a 647 km sun-synchronous orbit.

Of the other two satellites, CBNT-1 weighs 91 kg and is also an optical earth observation technology demonstration microsatellite, while the De-OrbitSail weighs 7 kg. This is an experimental nano satellite for demonstration of large thin membrane sail and drag deorbiting.

The three DMC3 and the CBNT-1 satellites are built by Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd.
The De-OrbitSail is built by Surrey Space Centre.

According to ISRO, accommodating the three DMC3 satellites each with a height of about three metres within the existing payload fairing or the heat shield of the PSLV was a challenge. Thus, a circular L-adaptor and a triangular Multiple Satellite Adapter-Version 2 (MSA-V2), were newly designed and realised by ISRO for this specific purpose.

France’s SPOT 7 satellite weighing 714 kg was the heaviest single foreign satellite carried by a PSLV rocket till now. It was launched on June 30, 2014..

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Massive fire burns records at Patna’s Secretariat, RJD cries foul

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A massive fire broke out at the state Secretariat here, resulting in the destruction of files, records and documents of the Bihar Rural Development Department, even as the opposition RJD on Tuesday smelt a conspiracy to “destroy evidence of scams during the NDA rule”.

According to fire official, the blaze broke out around 11.30 pm on Monday on the ground floor and gradually spread to the first floor of the building. The fire was eventually doused on Tuesday after almost 15 hours.

“The fire broke out on the ground floor. As the Secretariat has its own fire brigade, fire tenders were pressed into service to douse it. However, the fire was intense and we had to sent one dozen more fire tenders to the spot. They continued with firefighting till around 1.30 pm on Tuesday,” said a spokesperson for the Patna fire service.

“The firefighters faced huge difficulties due to intensity of the fire. In the absence of access, dousing of the flames on the second floor was extremely challenging for them. No loss of human life was reported but we believe damage to properties and important documents of the Bihar government,” he added.

Meanwhile, Rashtriya Janata Dal cried foul. Party spokesman Chitranjan Gagan claimed that “it is a criminal conspiracy to destroy official documents and records”.

“The fire did not break out but someone intentionally lit the fire to prevent unearthing of scams in the future.”

“The leaders of NDA allies Janata Dal-United and BJP have realised that their government will not return to power in Bihar. They are now gripped by fear that scams done during the NDA rule will be inquired into when the RJD returns to power in Bihar. Hence, they have destroyed evidence by lighting the fire in the Secretariat building,” Gagan said.

He claimed that the NDA government led by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar was involved in over 60 scams, including the Srijan scam in Bhagalpur.

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