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ISRO moves ahead in development of 2,000 kN thrust semi-cryogenic engine

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Chennai, May 6 (IANS) The Indian space agency on Monday said it has successfully achieved the ignition of a semi-cryo preburner, a major milestone in the development of semi-cryogenic propulsion systems.

According to the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), it is developing a 2,000 kN thrust semi-cryogenic engine working on a liquid oxygen (LOX)-kerosene propellant combination for enhancing the payload/carrying capability of LVM3 rocket and for future launch vehicles.

The Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre (LPSC) is the lead centre for the development of semi-cryogenic propulsion systems with the support of other launch vehicle centres of the ISRO.

The assembly and testing of the propulsion modules were done at the ISRO Propulsion Complex (IPRC), Mahendragiri.

As part of the engine development, a pre-burner ignition test article, which is a full complement of the engine power head system excluding the turbo-pumps, was realised.

The ISRO said the first ignition trial was conducted successfully on May 2, at the semi-cryo integrated engine test facility (SIET) at IPRC. The facility was dedicated to the nation recently by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

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Smooth and sustained ignition of the preburner is demonstrated which is vital for starting the semi-cryogenic engine, the ISRO said. Semi-cryogenic engine ignition is achieved using a start fuel ampule which uses a combination of triethyle alumnide and triethyle boron developed by the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre(VSSC) and used for the first time in ISRO in the 2,000 kN semi-cryogenic engine.

The ignition process is one of the most critical parts in the development of liquid rocket engine systems. The Indian space agency said the successful ignition of the semi-cryo pre burner, will be followed by development tests on the engine powerhead test article and fully integrated engine.

The development of a semi-cryo stage with 120 tons of propellant loading is also under progress.

–IANS

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Children most vulnerable to thirdhand smoke: Experts

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New Delhi, May 30 (IANS) Children are most vulnerable to third-hand smoke pollutants that settle indoors when tobacco is smoked, said health experts on Thursday, ahead of World No Tobacco Day.

World No Tobacco Day is observed every year on May 31 to raise awareness about the health risks of using tobacco.

Thirdhand smoke contains more than 250 residual chemicals including nicotine and cancer-causing substances such as formaldehyde, and naphthalene. It builds up on surfaces over time and can get embedded in clothing, furniture, drapes, bedding, and carpets.

“Children are most vulnerable to thirdhand smoke because they tend to touch surfaces, and often their mouths, resulting in skin exposure and ingestion of these residues,” Lancelot Mark Pinto, from P. D. Hinduja Hospital & MRC, Mumbai, told IANS.

“The only way to prevent such exposure is by completely banning indoor smoking, and insisting on keeping a radius outside buildings and homes smoke-free,” added Lancelot, Consultant Pulmonologist and Epidemiologist at Hinduja.

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Thirdhand smoke is a hidden danger, lingering in furniture, walls, and clothing long after a cigarette is extinguished. The residue can remain for weeks, months, or even years.

“Vulnerable groups include infants, children, and those with respiratory conditions, as they are more likely to come into contact with these contaminated surfaces and inhale harmful residues,” Ishan Capoor, pulmonologist and respiratory medicine, Narayana Health City, Bengaluru, told IANS.

“This exposure can lead to respiratory issues, developmental problems, and an increased risk of cancer,” he added.

To prevent third-hand smoke exposure, ensure that smoking is strictly prohibited indoors and in vehicles. Regularly clean surfaces and fabrics, and encourage smokers to quit or at least to smoke outside and away from others. Awareness and proactive measures are essential to protect the health of those most at risk.”

In addition to children, Srinath Bharadwaj, Medical Oncologist at Apollo Cancer Centre, Jubilee Hills, Hyderabad, told IANS that it may also harm pets in the house.

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“Our furry friends usually groom by licking their fur. If that fur is coated with smoke residue, they ingest carcinogens and toxins on top of the ones their lungs take in,” he said.

The experts called on businesses, communities, and individuals to take action to help prevent thirdhand smoke exposure by not allowing smoking indoors. Smoking in front of an open window does not prevent thirdhand smoke exposure.

“The best way is to quit smoking and stay safe and keep your family safe,” they noted.

–IANS

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Agnibaan rocket launch a momentous occasion for India's space sector: PM Modi

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New Delhi, May 30 (IANS) Calling the Agnibaan rocket mission, by IIT Madras startup Agnikul a remarkable feat, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said it is a “momentous occasion for India’s space sector”.

Powered by liquid oxygen/kerosene, Agnibaan is a two-stage rocket that can carry up to 300 kg to a height of 700 km.

“A remarkable feat which will make the entire nation proud!” PM Modi said in a post on social media platform X.com.

“The successful launch of Agnibaan rocket powered by the world’s first single-piece 3D printed, semi-cryogenic engine is a momentous occasion for India’s space sector”.

The launch is also “a testament to the remarkable ingenuity of our Yuva Shakti”, PM Modi said.

The Prime Minister also extended “best wishes to the Agnikul Cosmos team for their future endeavours”.

The indigenously designed and manufactured Agnibaan-SOrTeD (SubOrbital Technological Demonstrator) lifted off from India’s first privately developed launchpad called ‘Dhanush’ at 7.15 a.m. today.

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The launch pad, established by Agnikul at Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh, is located inside ISRO’s rocket port in Sriharikota.

The maiden test flight from the private rocket maker will demonstrate the in-house and homegrown technologies, gather crucial flight data, and ensure the optimal functioning of systems for its orbital launch vehicle the ‘Agnibaan’ by the end of 2025.

–IANS

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India set to woo more global players to establish GCCs over next 3-5 years: Nasscom

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Bengaluru, May 30 (IANS) Access to digitally-skilled talent, the drive to adopt new technologies and the imperative to make greater customer impact are driving the growth of the Global Capability Centre (GCC) ecosystem in the country, a Nasscom report said on Thursday.

India has over 1,580 GCCs with an addition of multiple GCCs every quarter, as companies navigate the complexities of today’s business environment.

According to the report by Nasscom, in collaboration with KPMG in India, the growth trajectory over the next two to three years is expected to continue with the growing number of global players across sectors establishing deep capabilities, building technology centres and transformation hubs.

The report underscored how navigating regulations is a key concern for GCCs, with over 55 per cent of leaders emphasising its importance for smooth operations.

“As GCCs continue their growth trajectory, moving up the maturity curve, with factors such as blurring geographic borders, and technology disruptions, these centres are constantly scanning the dynamic risk landscape and adapting to successfully navigate through,” said Srikanth Srinivasan, Vice President at Nasscom.

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However, this rapid growth and scale of GCCs has also brought to the forefront some challenges that need to be addressed as organisations continue to evolve.

The report identified four considerations for GCCs as they move up the value chain. These include talent management, strategic emerging technology adoption, navigating regulations, and de-layering the concentration concerns.

“India as a nation, is gearing up to attract many more global players to establish and scale their GCCs over the next 3-5 years,” said Shalini Pillay, India Leader – Global Capability Centre, KPMG in India.

There is a growing demand for high-value digital skills in areas such as automation architecture, cloud development, AI/machine learning, data science, etc.

Given the competitive talent market, availability, attraction and retention of niche talent, “building a pipeline of readily deployable talent with the new emerging skills, finding and nurturing, talent equipped for global leadership positions and cost arbitrage have emerged as key challenging factors facing GCCs in India,” the findings showed.

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–IANS

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NASA, Boeing gives green signal to Starliner's 1st astronaut launch on June 1

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New Delhi, May 30 (IANS) After several delays, NASA, and Boeing on Thursday gave a green signal to Starliner’s maiden flight that will carry humans to space.

The spacecraft, aiming to carry NASA astronauts Butch Wilmore and Indian-Origin Sunita Williams to the space station, is expected to fly on June 1 aboard United Launch Alliance’s Atlas V rocket from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.

“NASA and Boeing teams polled “go” to proceed with plans to launch the agency’s Boeing Crew Flight Test to the International Space Station at 12.25 p.m. EDT Saturday, June 1,” the company said in a statement.

The mission officials have “verified launch readiness, including all systems, facilities, and teams supporting the test flight”, it added.

This comes after the historic launch planned on May 7 which was scrubbed two hours before liftoff due to a valve issue on the upper stage of the Atlas V rocket. Since then the mission slipped to May 10, and later May 21, and May 25 due to a helium leak.

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Meanwhile, the company also noted a “backup launch opportunity on June 2, June 5, and June 6”.

NASA astronauts Wilmore and Williams returned to Kennedy from Houston on May 28. They will remain in quarantine at the Neil A. Armstrong Operations and Checkout Building until Saturday’s launch, Boeing said.

The Crew Flight Test will send the astronauts to the International Space Station for about a week before returning to Earth aboard the reusable crew capsule.

The Starliner mission aims to carry astronauts and cargo for future NASA missions to low Earth orbit, and beyond.

–IANS

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India Ratings upgrades Adani Green Energy to IND AA-, outlook stable amid robust growth

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New Delhi, May 30 (IANS) India Ratings and Research (Ind-Ra) on Thursday upgraded Adani Green Energy Limited’s (AGEL) long-term issuer rating to ‘IND AA-’ from ‘IND A+’, saying the company’s outlook is stable.

Among the key rating drivers are AGEL being the largest renewable developer in India with sound operating parameters of operational assets and healthy free cash flow to equity, along with promoter infusion covering equity commitments.

The upgrade factors in the continued strong operational asset performance include “strong execution scale-up”, with annual capacity additions likely to be 4GW-5GW annually over the medium term from the earlier 2.5-3.5GW.

Other factors for the upgrade include healthy counterparty diversification and a reduction in receivables, leading to an increase in the (cash flow from operations-interest)/EBITDA conversion compared to historical levels.

According to the rating agency, the upgrade also reflects AGEL’s change in policy with respect to the leveraging of the holding company, as the company has now earmarked funds towards the repayment of $750 million hold-co bond.

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“In addition, the upgrade factors in the creation of a platform within AGEL with Total Energies SE, which allows for part asset monetisation while retaining consolidation benefits, the equity infusion by the promoters through warrants of which 25 per cent has already been received, and the continued ability of the company to tie up both debt and raise equity to ensure fully funded under-construction portfolio,” according to analysts.

Earlier this month, AGEL reported 30 per cent EBITDA growth at Rs 7,222 crore in FY24, as the renewable energy (RE) major revised its target for 2030 to 50 gigawatt (GW) from 45 GW.

The robust growth in revenue, EBITDA and cash profit was driven by capacity addition of over 2.8 GW over the last year, representing 15 per cent of the country’s total renewable energy capacity addition.

According to analysts, the upgrade in ratings also reflects Ind-Ra’s expectation of favourable operational to under-construction book ratio, given the operational capacity of nearly 10.9 GW, and an increase in annual capacity addition targets to 5 GW and the “amortising structure of the debt as against bulleted structures earlier, which ensure amortisation of debt, leading to 15 per cent tail life for the projects, thus lowering the refinance and tail risks”.

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The above factors have jointly contributed to a moderation in the leverage to more reasonable levels of 5.5-6.5 times from the historically high levels of 9 times, said the note.

–IANS

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