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Apple introduces iPad 2 (Technology)
03-03-11  Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple, has launched another gizmo - iPad2 - the second generation model of its highly successful iPad.

The iPad is an innovative device that can be used for web-browsing, emailing, watching pictures and videos, reading ebooks, enjoying music etc.

According to the company, this latest gizmo is 15% lighter and 33% thinner much faster than the original iPad. It has 9.7" LED backlit LCD screen and is runs on a new dual-core A5 processor.

The iPad 2 delivers an impressive battery life of up to 10 hours.

It has two cameras - 1 front and 1 rear.

"With more than 15 million iPads sold, iPad has defined an entirely new category of mobile devices," said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. "While others have been scrambling to copy the first generation iPad, we’re launching iPad 2, which moves the bar far ahead of the competition and will likely cause them to go back to the drawing boards yet again."

iPad 2 has been launched by Apple in the US yesterday and is expected to be available in the country by 11 March. By 25 March the company hopes to make it available across Europe and Australia.

Apple's landmark products - iPod, iPhone and iPad - have played an instrumental role in redefining the expectations of people in the portable gadget arena.
Ramakrishnan shares Nobel Prize for Chemistry for 2009 with 2 others (Technology)
07-10-09  Venkatraman Ramakrishnan a scientist of Indian Origin shares the Nobel Prize for Chemistry for 2009 with Thomas A. Seitz, US and Ada E. Yonath, Israel.

This year's Nobel Prize for chemistry was annouced by the Royal Swedish Academy of Science on 7 Oct 2009. It has been awarded to the three for their studies of the structure and function of the ribsome.

Venkatraman Ramakrishnan, Thomas A. Steitz and Ada E. Yonath showed what the ribosome looks like and how it functions at the atomic level. All three have used a method called X-ray crystallography to map the position for each and every one of the hundreds of thousands of atoms that make up the ribosome.

The three Laureates have all generated 3D models that show how different antibiotics bind to the ribosome. These models are now used by scientists in order to develop new antibiotics, directly assisting the saving of lives and decreasing humanity's suffering.

Venkatraman Ramakrishnan now a US citizen was born in 1952 in Chidambaram, Tamil Nadu, India. He earned his Ph.D. in Physics in 1976 from Ohio University, USA. He is presently working as a senior scientist and group leader at Structural Studies Division, MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, UK.
ISRO's PSLV-C14 successfully launches Oceansat-2 and 6 nano satellites into orbit (Technology)
24-09-09  ISRO - Indian Space Research Organization - has successfully launched Oceansat-2 and 6 other nano satellites into space on 23 Sept 2009.

The satellites were sent into space aboard a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle - PSLV-C14. The PSLV-C14 lifted off from Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota with its payload of 960 kg Oceansat-2 and other nano satellites at 11:51 am Indian Time.

Oceansat-2, was the first satellite to be injected into orbit at 1081 seconds after lift-off at an altitude of 728 km. About 45 seconds later, four of the six nano satellites were separated in sequence. The initial signals indicate normal health of the satellites.

PSLV-C14 mission carried six nano satellites - Cubesat 1, 2, 3 and 4 as well as Rubin 9.1 and 9.2 - as auxiliary payloads along with Oceansat - 2. The weight of these nano satellites was in 2-8 kg range. Oceansat - 2 and the six auxiliary payloads were placed in a polar Sun Synchronous Orbit inclined at an angle of 98.28 degree to the equator.

Oceansat-2 is the sixteenth remote sensing satellite of India. The state-of-the-art Oceansat-2 carries three payloads and has the shape of a cuboid with two solar panels projecting from its sides.

An eight band Ocean Colour Monitor (OCM) payload carried by Oceansat-2 images a swath (strip of land or ocean) of 1420 km width with a resolution of 360 metre and works in the Visible and Near Infrared region of the electromagnetic spectrum. The Ku-band Scatterometer with a 1 metre diameter antenna rotating at 20 rpm, works at a frequency of 13.515 GHz.

The Scatterometer covers a swath of 1400 km and operates continuously. ROSA is a GPS Receiver for atmospheric sounding by radio occultation built by Italian Space Agency (ASI).
ISRO has lost radio contact with Chandrayaan (Technology)
29-08-09  Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has lost contact with Chandrayaan-I, its first lunar mission.

ISRO has said that radio contact with Chandrayaan-I was abruptly lost at 01:30 am (Indian Time) earlytoday morning (29 August 2009). Data was received at Deep Space Network at Byalalu near Bangalore during its previous orbit upto 00:25 am.

ISRO is carrying out a detailed review of the telemetry data received from the spacecraft and health of the spacecraft subsystems is being analysed.

Chandrayaan-I, India's first moon-mission, was launched from Satish Dhawan Space Center at Sriharikota on 22 October 2008. The spacecraft has completed 312 days in orbit and made more than 3400 orbits around Earth's natural satellite.

During this period it has collected an sent large volumes of data from the sophisticated equipment it had on board, including the Terrain Mapping Camera, Hyper-spectral Imager, Moon Mineralogy Mapper etc., meeting most of the scientific objectives of the mission.
Discovery lifts-of from Kennedy Space Center for 13-day mission to International Space Station (Technology)
29-08-09  Space shuttle Discovery has lifted-off from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, USA on its 13-day mission - STS-128 - to the International Space Station. The shuttle has a crew of seven astronauts and a host of experiments and equipment on board.

Discovery completed a flawless ascent into orbit Friday night to begin a two-day chase of the International Space Station. It lifted-off at 11:59 p.m. EDT (9:29 Indian Time) from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. It is expected to rendezvous and dock with the station on Sunday.

Astronaut Nicole Stott will trade places with station resident Tim Kopra who had gone into space last month aboard Endeavour.

Equipment and science racks for the orbiting laboratory are riding secured tightly inside Discovery's payload bay inside the Leonardo cargo module.

The module will be lifted out of Discovery and locked onto the station so the crew can transfer the gear efficiently. Among the equipment on its way to the space station is also a treadmill named after comedian Stephen Colbert.
Lift-off of Discovery on STS-128 deferred until Friday 28-Aug-2009 (Technology)
26-08-09  The launch of Discovery for Mission STS-128 to the International Space Station has been deferred to the wee hours of 28th August 2009.

Earlier the original launch scheduled for 25 Aug 2009 was aborted and rescheduled for 26 August due to poor weather conditions. The targetted lift-off for Wednesday was also put-off after a problem was reported with the fill and drain valve inside the space shuttle's aft compartment.

NASA has informed that it is now targetting the next launch attempt for Discovery for Friday morning 12:22am EDT (9:52 am Indian time).

The mission management team chairman Mike Moses has informed that engineers will evaluate the valve that developed problems during the tanking operations on Tuesday evening. He said that the detailed test data would be examined before Discovery's fuel tank is loaded with fuel ahead of Friday morning's launch attempt.

STS-128 is the 128th space shuttle flight, the 30th to the station, the 37th for Discovery and the fourth in 2009. Six flights to the station remain after STS-128 before the shuttles retire in 2010.
Space Shuttle Discovery ready to lift-off on STS-128. (Technology)
24-08-09  Space shuttle Discovery is all set to lift off on STS-128 to deliver supply module Leonardo to the International Space Station (ISS). Discovery will also take a new crew member Nicole Stott to ISS.

STS-128 mission will be commanded by veteran astronaut Rick "C. J." Sturckow.

Discovery's flight will deliver supplies and equipment to the International Space Station. Inside the shuttle’s cargo bay is the Leonardo Multi-Purpose Logistics Module (MPLM), a pressurized "moving van" that will be temporarily installed to the station.

The module will deliver science and storage racks, a freezer to store research samples, a new sleeping compartment and the COLBERT treadmill. The Colbert Treadmill is an exercise device named after comedian Stephan Colbert.

The 13-day mission will include three spacewalks to replace experiments outside the European Space Agency’s Columbus laboratory, and install a new ammonia storage tank and return the used one. Ammonia is used to move excess heat from inside the station to the radiators located outside.

Nicole Stott will replace Tim Kopra at the ISS. Tim Kopra had gone to the Station aboard STS-127.
Blackberry Curve 8250 offered in India by Airtel (Technology)
06-08-09  Research In Motion (RIM) has released its new Blackberry Curve 8520 smartphone.

The latest handset from Blackberry will be availble in India through Airtel from 7 August. The company has announced a price tag of Rs.15,990 for the handset and tarif rates ranging from 249 to 1099 on different postpaid and prepaid plans.

RIM has said that other telecom service providers are also expected to launch the Curve 8520 soon.

Some of Key features of the BlackBerry Curve 8520 smartphone include...
  • Full-QWERTY keyboard and touch-sensitive optical trackpad for reliable, responsive typing and navigation
  • 256MB Flash memory and a 512Mhz next generation processor for enhanced performance
  • Premium phone features including voice activated dialing, and Bluetooth (2.0) support for hands-free use with headsets, car kits, stereo headsets and other Bluetooth peripherals
  • 2 MP digital camera with zoom and video recording
  • Advanced media player for music, pictures and videos, with dedicated media keys and a 3.5 mm stereo headset jack, etc
Click here to see the features of the phone at RIM's website.
Total Solar Eclipse on 22nd July to start in India (Technology)
19-07-09  A total solar eclipse is scheduled on 22 July 2009 from 6:21am Indian Time to 9:49am Indian Time. The event will be visible from within a narrow corridor as it traverses across half the globle on Wednesday.

A partial eclipse will be visible across a much broader path.

The path of the moon's umbral shadow will begin in India and cross through Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar, China. After leaving mainland Asia, the path will traverse through Japan's Ryukyu islands and curve south east through the Pacific Ocean.

The map below shows the path that the total eclipse will traverse as it passes through India.


The maximum duration of the total eclipse on 22 July 2009 is expected to last for 6 minutes and 36 seconds. The total eclipse will start at on the west coast of India at 6:21 am (Indian Time) and is expected to cross over into China by 6:35am (Indian Time). The total eclipse will be completed by 9:49am (Indian Time) over the Pacific Ocean.
Minor damage to Atlantis' shield during lift-off - renedezvous with Hubble today (Technology)
13-05-09  Atlantis is expected to rendezvous with the Hubble Space Telescope Wednesday 7.41 am EDT (5.11 pm Indian Time).

Meanwhile, the crew of space shuttle Atlantis has completed a planned survey of the shuttle heat shielding. A few dings were noted in tiles that experts will continue to analyze.

Flight Director Tony Ceccacci said that upon an initial look, damage found during the inspection appeared to be minor and likely not a concern, but he said experts would analyze it as is normal to be certain the shuttle’s heat shielding is in good shape.

The damage included small dings along an area of about 21 inches spanning four of the shuttle’s thermal tiles located on the starboard side of the spacecraft where the wing blends into the forward fuselage.

The orbiter had lift-off for STS-125 from Kennedy Space Center's Launch Pad 39A on 11 May 2009 for 11 day mission to service Hubble Space Telescope.

During the mission, astronauts will use for the first time more than 100 new tools developed to install and replace components, some of which designers never intended astronauts to fix on orbit.
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