Breaking News: Russian ISS Module Experiences Air Leak, NASA Confirms Crew Safety

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NASA wants to assure everyone that there is no need to panic. During a recent press briefing, Joel Mantalbano, NASA’s International Space Station (ISS) Program Manager, addressed the issue of a leak in the Russian module of the space station. He mentioned that the leak is located at the aft end of the module, where the Progress spacecraft from Russia dock. Mantalbano emphasized that this leak does not pose any immediate threat to the crew or the operations of the spacecraft. However, NASA is working closely with their Russian counterparts to determine the next steps in resolving the issue.


It’s important to note that this leak will not affect the upcoming Crew-8 mission, which is scheduled to launch soon. The mission is set to take off on Friday, courtesy of NASA. Mantalbano also mentioned that the leak started to increase in volume about a week before the launch of a Progress resupply vessel to the space station. This is not the first time that leaks in this part of the Russian module have occurred, and repairs have been made in the past.In recent months, the ISS has experienced multiple leaks from Russian hardware. 


In December 2022, a Soyuz spacecraft began venting coolant into space, leading to the cancellation of a scheduled Russian spacewalk. To address the situation, the Russian space agency sent an empty replacement Soyuz spacecraft, called MS-23, and brought the leaky spacecraft back to Earth for analysis. As a result, three astronauts had to spend 12 months on the ISS instead of the planned six. NASA astronaut Frank Rubio even set a new American record for the longest continuous spaceflight, spending 371 days on the lab due to the leak and delays in sending a replacement.

In February 2023, a Russian cargo spacecraft named Progress 82 experienced an ammonia leak while connected to the space station. Seven months later, another leak occurred in the Russian Nauka Multipurpose Laboratory Module. It has been noted by experts that the conflict between Russia and Ukraine has had a negative impact on the collaboration in space between Russia and its global partners. Following the invasion, Russia has expressed its intention to build its own space station in low Earth orbit and eventually depart from the ISS by 2028.

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SpaceX Successfully Deploys Starlink Satellites on Leap Day

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In a remarkable Leap Day launch, SpaceX successfully sent another group of Starlink internet satellites into orbit from Florida’s Space Coast. The Falcon 9 rocket, carrying 23 Starlink satellites, took off from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station at 10:30 a.m. EST. This mission, known as Starlink 6-40, was initiated after the postponement of the company’s first astronaut launch of the year.


Earlier today, SpaceX swiftly transitioned into launch operations for Starlink 6-40, following the cancellation of their plans to send four astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) for NASA’s Crew-8 mission. Originally scheduled for a midnight launch on Friday, Crew-8 was rescheduled due to concerns about rough offshore weather that could impact launch abort scenarios. The new launch window is set for Saturday night.

Today’s Starlink launch was particularly significant as it marked the 11th flight for the Falcon 9 first stage involved. This stage has previously played a crucial role in launching five Starlink missions, four commercial satellite flights, and an uncrewed NASA cargo run to the ISS. 


After a successful liftoff, the booster returned to Earth, landing on the drone ship Just Read The Instructions in the sea. It will now be transported back to port for future use. SpaceX’s commitment to launching Starlink satellites is part of their ambitious plan to establish a vast megaconstellation in low Earth orbit (LEO), enabling global, high-speed internet access directly from space. With aspirations of deploying up to 42,000 satellites in LEO, the company is steadily progressing towards its goal. Just a few days ago, on February 25, SpaceX launched its most recent Starlink mission.The satellites deployed during today’s mission were SpaceX’s Starlink Version 2 Mini satellites. Each launch brings us closer to a future where reliable internet connectivity is available to everyone, no matter where they are on the planet.

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First Images Sent by IM-1 Lander Shows Earth Gleaming like a Precious Jewel

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The Intuitive Machines spacecraft, part of NASA’s CLPS initiative and launched by SpaceX, has captured breathtaking images of Earth from space during its inaugural journey to the Moon.

These stunning pictures were taken as the Nova-C lander, also known as Odysseus, separated from the second stage of the SpaceX rocket. The mission aims to achieve the first US lunar touchdown in over 50 years and is a significant step towards NASA’s goal of returning astronauts to the moon.

The Intuitive Machines spacecraft, affectionately named Odysseus, took off from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral atop a Falcon 9 rocket. If all goes according to plan, the Nova-C lander will touch down on the moon’s surface on February 22, carrying experiments for both NASA and commercial customers as part of a $118 million contract with SpaceX.

During its IM-1 flight, the spacecraft is equipped with six NASA payloads designed to gather valuable data about the lunar environment. This information will be crucial for NASA’s future missions to the moon, as they plan to send astronauts back to our celestial neighbor in the coming years.

If successful, this mission will mark the first controlled descent to the lunar surface by a US spacecraft since the final Apollo mission in 1972. It will also be a significant milestone for the private space industry, as it represents the first journey to the moon under NASA’s Artemis program.

As the United States races against China to return astronauts to the moon, this achievement will showcase the country’s commitment to exploring and understanding Earth’s natural satellite. The Intuitive Machines spacecraft has truly captured the beauty of our planet from space, reminding us of the wonders that lie beyond our atmosphere.

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Breaking Boundaries: Pratt & Whitney Unveils Game-Changing Digital Capability Centre in Bengaluru

Pratt & Whitney has recently unveiled its India Digital Capability Center (IDCC) in Bengaluru to expedite innovation and drive digital and business transformation across its global operations. The facility in Bengaluru will foster collaborations with other RTX businesses in India, such as Collins Aerospace and RTX Enterprise Services. With a vision of having 300 employees by 2027, Pratt & Whitney’s IDCC in Bengaluru will focus on digital technology advancements to support the company’s transformation efforts. Rahul Dharni, the Vice President and Global Chief Information Officer of Pratt & Whitney, expressed his excitement about the expansion and the opportunity to tap into India’s talented aviation and technology workforce. 


Ashmita Sethi, the President and Country Head of Pratt & Whitney India, further emphasized the company’s commitment by highlighting the significant investments made in engineering and supply chain operation centers, as well as in the IDCC. Pratt & Whitney has been actively investing in the Bengaluru region, including partnerships with prestigious institutes like the Indian Institute of Science and the Indian Engineering Centre. As part of the larger RTX corporation, which operates through multiple divisions, Pratt & Whitney alone employs over 5,000 professionals in India, further solidifying its presence and contribution to the country’s aerospace ecosystem.

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IIT Kanpur’s Hypervelocity Expansion Tunnel Test Facility Bolsters India’s Scientific Advancements​

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The Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur (IITK) has achieved a significant milestone by successfully establishing and testing India’s first Hypervelocity Expansion Tunnel Test Facility. This accomplishment places India among a select group of countries with advanced hypersonic testing capabilities. Named S2 and affectionately called ‘Jigarthanda’, this 24-meter-long facility is located at IIT Kanpur’s Hypersonic Experimental Aerodynamics Laboratory (HEAL) within the Department of Aerospace Engineering. Over a span of three years, the S2 was meticulously designed and developed with the support and funding from the Aeronautical Research and Development Board (ARDB), the Department of Science and Technology (DST), and IIT Kanpur.

The S2 facility is capable of generating flight speeds ranging from 3 to 10 km/s, effectively simulating the hypersonic conditions experienced during atmospheric entry of vehicles, asteroid entry, scramjet flights, and ballistic missiles. This makes it an invaluable test facility for ongoing missions of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), including Gaganyaan, Reusable Launch Vehicle (RLV), and hypersonic cruise missiles.

Professor S. Ganesh, the Director of IIT Kanpur, expressed his pride in the successful establishment of S2, stating that it is a historic milestone for both the institute and India’s scientific capabilities. He commended Professor Mohammed Ibrahim Sugarno and his team for their exceptional work in designing and fabricating this state-of-the-art hypersonic research infrastructure. Professor Sugarno, an Associate Professor in the Department of Aerospace Engineering and Centre for Lasers & Photonics at IIT Kanpur, highlighted the immense challenges faced during the construction of S2, which required a deep understanding of physics and precision engineering.

The establishment of the S2 facility marks a significant advancement for India’s space and defense organizations, providing them with domestic hypersonic testing capabilities for critical projects and missions. This achievement showcases the expertise and dedication of the Indian scientific community in pushing the boundaries of technological innovation.

The development of the ‘free piston driver’ system, which involves propelling a piston at high pressure through a compression tube at speeds of 150-200 m/s and bringing it to a controlled stop, was the most critical and challenging aspect of this project. However, our team’s expertise allowed us to overcome this obstacle successfully. We take great pride in having designed, constructed, and tested this unique facility, which solidifies India’s position in the esteemed global hypersonic research community,” he stated.

Professor Tarun Gupta, the Dean of Research and Development at IIT Kanpur, emphasized that S2 showcases the institute’s research excellence and establishes it as a leader in innovative research, paving the way for groundbreaking advancements in aerospace technology. He expressed his gratitude for the crucial support received from ARDB and DST.

Professor G. M. Kamath, the Head of the Department of Aerospace Engineering at IIT Kanpur, highlighted that S2 expands the institute’s research horizons, inspiring a new generation of aerospace enthusiasts and fostering innovation and exploration in this exciting field. By being the first in India to develop such a facility, they have set a new benchmark for hypervelocity research not only in India but also globally.

S2 is a remarkable achievement for IIT Kanpur and a significant boost to India’s space and defense sectors. With the availability of advanced hypervelocity testing capabilities within the country, India is now better positioned to develop cutting-edge hypersonic technologies and systems.

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India’s 1st Private Astronaut Training Facility: What You Need to Know

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India’s upcoming facility, situated on a 4-acre land in Navi Mumbai, will allocate 1.5 acres for an advanced training center. The proposed facility aims to provide specialized training, incorporating various modules such as hypoxia chambers, space suit acclimatization, G-Force exposure, and spacecraft ingress/egress simulations. Moreover, it will include an on-site analog habitat for extended and hyper-realistic mission simulations, promoting advancements in aerospace education.

The aspiring astronaut program is designed as a month-long course, while commercial astronaut training will span a more comprehensive duration. On the other hand, government astronaut training will cover an even longer period.

The startup has already formed a partnership with the US astronaut training facility, Nastar Centre. While more than 5,000 candidates from Asia apply for training in the US and Europe each year, only a limited number, typically 10-15, secure spots. Astroborne aims to bridge this gap by offering training opportunities to approximately 700 candidates annually. The trainers at Astroborne will undergo training and certification from Nastar, ensuring top-notch instruction in astronaut training.

Headquartered in Bengaluru, Karnataka, Astroborne Space & Defence Technologies was established in 2022. The company specializes in aerospace, defense, commercial spaceflight, astronaut training, space crew modules, spacesuits, and space colonization. It is led by CEO and co-founder, Akshat Mohite. Additionally, Astroborne is registered with IN-SPACe (Indian National Space Promotion and Authorization Centre), the space regulator and promoter.

Astroborne is currently in the process of developing Airawat, India’s next-generation six-seater commercial space module. Specifically designed for suborbital space tourism missions, Airawat can reach altitudes of up to 400km. This groundbreaking module enables cost-effective manned commercial spaceflight, ushering in a new era of accessible outer space exploration.

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India Holds Successful Mock Drills of High-Speed Expendable “ABHYAS”

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The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) successfully conducted four flight trials of the High-speed Expendable Aerial Target (HEAT) ‘ABHYAS’ at the Integrated Test Range in Chandipur, Odisha. These trials, which took place from January 30 to February 2, validated various parameters including endurance, speed, manoeuvrability, altitude, and range. Compared to imported equivalents, ‘ABHYAS’ is cost-effective and requires minimal logistics.

The Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE) of DRDO designed the flights to provide a realistic threat scenario for practicing weapon systems. The autopilot, developed indigenously by ADE, enables autonomous flying. The trials utilized a single booster designed by the Advanced Systems Laboratory in Hyderabad, which provided reduced launch acceleration. The objectives, such as safe booster release, launcher clearance, and achieving the required end-of-launch velocity, were successfully accomplished.

‘ABHYAS’ is equipped with a radar cross-section, visual and Infrared augmentation system, and a laptop-based Ground Control System. This system facilitates aircraft integration, pre-flight checks, data recording during the flight, replay after the flight, and post-flight analysis. The manufacturing units of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and Larsen & Toubro (L&T) Defence were involved in the realization of the recently tested systems.

With its export potential for friendly countries, ‘ABHYAS’ is now ready for production.

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