ISRO, Satellite, CNES - General awareness questions on current affairs

1)   Where is the world's third largest hypersonic wind tunnel?

a. Thrissur
b. Trichi
c. Thiruvananthapuram
d. Travancore
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Thiruvananthapuram

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) created history by commissioning the world’s third largest hypersonic wind tunnel at the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) in Thiruvananthapuram.

A wind tunnel is used to study the effects of air flowing past a solid object - in ISRO’s case, space vehicles.

With the space agency lining up big missions like the ‘Reusable Launch Vehicle’ (RLV), ‘Two Stage to Orbit’ (TSTO) rockets, air breathing propulsion systems, and the human space flight programme for the future, the aero-thermodynamic modelling of these in a hypersonic environment is vital for optimal designs.

These facilities, indigenously designed, developed and ‘Made in India’ with the support of Indian industries, are the third largest in terms of size and simulation capability in the world.

A few critical technologies, which are under embargo, have been jointly developed by Isro and industries for realisation of these facilities.

There is no replacement for wind tunnel testing for aerodynamic characterisation.

2)   ESA is collaborating with which space agency in space missions?

c. China Space Agency
d. SpaceX
Answer  Explanation 


While the European Space Agency (ESA)'s Gaia satellite mission is on its multi-dimensional space probe, mapping a billion stars in the Milky Way Galaxy, ESA's Senior Scientific Advisor Mark McCaughrean reveals ESA's plan for further collaboration with Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) in space missions.

On ISRO's historic launch of 104 satellites at one go, he says it's the precision in placing satellites and cost reduction.

ESA is planning 15 space missions including Bepe Colombo to Mercury in 2018 and JUICE to Jupiter in 2022.

Earlier, ESA had collaborated with ISRO on Chandrayaan-1 mission to Moon.

In its space mission, ESA has collaborative efforts with 22 countries including the US, Russia, China, India and Japan.

It is expected to increase with the commercial launches.

ON ESA's plan for 15 space missions, the Bepe Colombo will be the first probe to Mercury in 2018.

It is a joint mission between ESA and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and the Sun's enormous gravity poses a challenge to place the spacecraft into a stable orbit around Mercury.

Then, the ambitious Jupiter Icy moons Explorer (JUICE) to Jupiter in 2022.

The explorer will spend at least three years making detailed observations of the giant gaseous planet Jupiter and three of its largest moons–Ganymede, Callisto and Europa.

The ice crust is much deeper and there may be forms of life in these moons.

Missions to Neptune and Uranus haven't been planned yet as it would take about 20 to 30 years to reach there, he said.

To probe the possibility of life on other planets, humans have begun space exploration since the first human spaceflight of Russia in 1961 and now plans are afoot by NASA and SpaceX to colonise Mars to help humanity establish a permanent colony in Mars in the next 50 to 100 years.

On ESA's human space flight to Mars, he said it could be after 10 to 20 years. Now it plans robotic exploration to Mars with NASA.

ESA Gaia & Other Missions: Know More

  • It ambitious space mission to scan a six-dimensional map of our Milky Way galaxy of about one billion stars, which is about one percent of the Galactic stellar population.
  • ESA is also preparing for Euclid mission to observe billions of galaxies, to map and measure dark matter and dark energy which constitutes roughly about 80 percent of the mass of the Universe.
  • Studies on dark matter reveal that the universe today is expanding faster than in the past.
  • Such expansion is possible only if the universe contained enough energy to overcome gravity.
  • ESA has a program to build a gravitational wave detector by 2030, it's the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA) mission to observe and measure gravitational waves directly by using laser interferometry.

3)   ISRO will launch India's second mission to moon called _________

a. Chandrayaan 2
b. Chandrayaan 3
c. Chandrayaan 4
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Chandrayaan 2

Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is planning to deploy a rover on the lunar surface in the Chandrayaan-2 mission.

The Chandrayaan-2, India’s second mission to the Moon, is a totally indigenous mission comprising of an Orbiter, Lander and Rover.

After reaching the 100 km lunar orbit, the Lander housing the Rover will separate from the Orbiter.

After a controlled descent, the Lander will soft land on the lunar surface at a specified site and deploy a Rover.

4)   China has launched a global CO2 monitoring satellite called _______.

a. LamSat
b. TanSat
c. ResourceSat
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 


On 22nd Dec 2016, China launched a global carbon dioxide monitoring satellite to understand climate change.

This is after it lifted nearly a week-long red alert for the worst smog that engulfed about 40 cities in the country.

The 620-kg satellite TanSat was put into orbit by Long March-2D rocket from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre in northwest China's Gobi Desert on 22nd Dec morning.

This was the 243rd mission of the Long March series rockets.

Besides TanSat, the rocket also carried a high-resolution micro-nano satellite and two spectrum micro-nano satellites for agricultural and forestry monitoring.

China is the third country after Japan and the US to monitor greenhouse gases through its own satellite.

The satellite was sent into a sun synchronous orbit about 700 kms above the earth and will monitor the concentration, distribution and flow of CO2)in the atmosphere.

The satellite will help understanding climate change and provide China's policy makers with independent data.

On a three-year mission, TanSat will thoroughly examine global carbon dioxide levels every 16 days, accurate to at least 4 ppm (parts per million), the report said.

The new satellite will enable China to obtain emissions data first-hand and share it with researchers worldwide, Yin said.

The satellite can trace the sources of greenhouse gases and help evaluate whether countries are fulfilling their commitments.

This will impact climate change, carbon reduction and in negotiations with a bigger say on carbon trading.

Beijing lifted the red alert for air pollution as cold air dispersed the smog that has affected the city since Dec 17 which drew strong criticism from public as it disrupted the normal life.

Since December 17 emergency measures such as even-odd car restrictions will end and classes will resume at schools, official media reports said.

China's CO2 emissions are to peak around 2030, with emissions per unit of GDP cut by 60 per cent of 2005 levels by the same date.


  • TanSat, Tan being the Chinese word for Carbon, is China’s first mission dedicated to Carbon Dioxide detection.
  • It has a payload of two instruments to track the atmospheric CO2 concentration and variability.
  • Funded by the Ministry of Science and Technology, the TanSat project was initiated in January 2011.
  • The 500-Kilogram TanSat spacecraft has the main objective of measuring the atmospheric column-averaged CO2 dry air mole fraction with a precision better than four parts per million.

5)   ISRO has signed an agreement with a consortium of 6 companies led by whom?

a. Alpha Design Technologies Pvt. Ltd
b. Newtech Solutions
c. Vinyas Technologies
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Alpha Design Technologies Pvt. Ltd

The Indian Space Research Organisation in Dec 2016 signed an agreement with a consortium of six companies to deliver India's first industry-built satellite by late 2017.

Agreement was signed between Director of ISRO Satellite Centre and consortium led Alpha Design Technologies Pvt. Ltd.

This marks the first time ISRO has outsourced the construction of an entire satellite.

ISAC assembles satellites for communication, remote sensing and navigation.

Agreement includes assembly, integration and testing (AIT) of two spare navigation satellites in a row in around 18 months.

The consortium is led by Alpha Design Technologies Pvt. Ltd, a defence manufacturing contractor and 6 companies namely Newtech Solutions, Aidin Technologies and DCX Cables of Bengaluru, Vinyas Technologies of Mysuru and Avantel Systems of Hyderabad.

The development work will start around January 2017 and the first satellite will be out in around late 2017.

The outsourcing of the manufacture of 2 navigation satellites will provide India a chance to be a market leader in space technology.

ISRO also aims to facilitate greater participation of Indian industries.

For this purpose, it has already passed on 300 technologies to industries in various fields- electronics, speciality polymer chemicals and materials, electro-optical instruments etc.

6)   China has launched a new weather satellite on 10th Dec 2016. What is it called?

a. Fengyun-4
b. Shengyun-4
c. Tengyun-4
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Fengyun-4

China has launched new weather satellite Fengyun-4 marking an upgrade of its meteorological satellites in geostationary orbit.

The Fengyun-4 satellite is the first of China's second-generation weather satellites in geostationary orbit to have been launched.

It is also the country's first quantitative remote-sensing satellite in highest orbit.

Launched Xichang Satellite Launch Centre in southwest China's Sichuan Province on Dec 10, 2016, it was taken into orbit by a Long March-3B carrier rocket, state run Xinhua news agency.

About Fengyun-4

  • One of China’s 15 weather satellites.
  • 242nd mission of Long March series of rockets.
  • For high time, spatial and spectral resolution observations of the atmosphere, clouds and space environment of China and surrounding regions.
  • Aims at significantly improving capabilities of weather and climate forecasts.
  • The China Meteorological Administration is the primary user of the satellite.

7)   Which aerospace company has announced the first private mission to moon from India?

a. TeamIndus
b. Team Sutlej
c. TeamBramhaputra
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: TeamIndus

Bengaluru based private aerospace company TeamIndus has announced it will send a spacecraft to the moon on Dec 28, 2017 abroad an ISRO rocket. The mission’s aim is to land this spacecraft on the moon.

It needs to travel at least 5000m and the beam high resolution video, data and images back to earth

In 2008, the Chandrayaan 1 became the first India space mission to send a spacecraft that circled the moon.

Except for the launch vehicle, all the technology powering the rover and the lander is developed in-house by Team Indus.

The company has high profile investors like Ratan Tata (Chairman Emeritus of the TATA Group) Sachin and Binny Bansal (Flipkart) and Nandan Nilekani (co-founder of Infosys Ltd)

It is staffed by a 100 member team of engineers, space enthusiasts, former Air Force pilots and ex ISRO employees

It is one of the 4 international teams and the only one from India to run the Google LunarXPrize a, USD 30 million or INR 200 crore competition to encourage private companies to launch space missions

Two US based companies Moon Express and Synergy Moon and Israeli company SPACE 1L have announced agreements with space launch vehicle companies like SpaceX

Other than technical requirements, prize rules also require the companies to be 90 percent privately funded.


India’s first mission to the moon.
Launched from SDSC, SHAR, Sriharikota
Date of launch: Oct 22, 2008
Spacecraft carried 11 scientific instruments built in: India, US, UK, Germany, Sweden, Bulgaria
Weight: 1380 kg (Mass at lift off)
Onboard power: 700 Watts
Mission Life: 2 years

Scientific Payloads from India:

1. Terrain Mapping Camera (TMC)
2. Hyper Spectral Imager (HySI)
3. Lunar Laser Ranging Instrument (LLRI)
4. High Energy X - ray Spectrometer (HEX)
5. Moon Impact Probe(MIP)

Scientific Payloads from abroad:

1. Chandrayaan-I X-ray Spectrometer (CIXS)
2. Near Infrared Spectrometer (SIR - 2)
3. Sub keV Atom Reflecting Analyser (SARA)
4. Miniature Synthetic Aperture Radar (Mini SAR)
5. Moon Mineralogy Mapper (M3)
6. Radiation Dose Monitor (RADOM)

8)   China on 22nd Nov 2016 launched the Tianlian I-04 satellite. What is this satellite known for?

a. Providing data relay services for country’s medium and low earth orbiting resources satellite
b. Real time communication between ground and spacecraft
c. Both of the above
d. Neither of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Both of the above

China on 22nd Nov 2016 successfully launched the Tianlian I-04 satellite from Niching Satellite Launch Centre in Sichuan province of Southwest China. Data satellite was launched on the Long March 3C carrier rocket.

The launch of Tianlian I-04 marks the 241st mission of the China Long March series of rockets.

This satellite was developed by China Academy of Space Technology/CAST under the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation.

It will join its three predecessors to attain global network operation

It is based on the DFH-3 or Dongfangghon-3 platform, a medium capacity telecommunications satellite designed and developed by CAST.

The network aims at data relay, measurement and control services for China’s manned spacecraft , space and lab stations .

It will offer data relay services for China’s medium and low earth orbiting resources satellites

It will also provide measurement and control support for spacecraft launches

Know All About Tianlian I satellites

  • Tianlian-I-01 was launched in April 2008- it is currently positioned at 77 degree E
  • Second satellite Tianlian I-02 was launched in July 2011
  • With the launch of Tianlian I-03 in July 2012, the country managed full global coverage for tracking and data relay system
  • These satellites provide real time communication between ground and spacecraft
  • China’s first experimental satellite was launched in 1984
  • It has sent more than 100 spacecrafts in recent decades. This includes 20 BeiDou navigation satellites
  • China has also launched its first lunar probe Chang’e-1

9)   China has launched a pulsar test satellite in NW China. What is it called?

a. VPNAV-1
b. XPNAV-1
c. DPNAV-1
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 


China on 10th Nov 2016 has launched a pulsar test satellite XPNAV-1 from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre in NW China

  • Satellite was carried by Long March 11 rocket
  • It was the 239th flight mission by a Long March carrier rocket
  • The satellite and rocket were designed by academies affiliated with China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp
  • The x-ray pulsar navigation satellite weighs more than 200 kg
  • It operates in a Sun synchronous orbit and will conduct in-orbit experiments using pulsar detectors to showcase new technology
  • When it is in orbit, the satellite will undergo tests on detector functions and space environment adaptability
  • The periodic x-ray signals emitted from pulsars will be used to determine the location of the spacecraft within deep space
  • The pulsar navigation will reduce the reliance of the spacecraft on ground based navigation methods and is expected to lead to autonomous spacecraft navigation within the future

10)   Which former ISRO Chairman was inducted into the 2016 IAF Hall of Fame?

a. UR Rao
b. AR Rao
c. BR Rao
d. NR Rao
Answer  Explanation 


Former Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) chairman Udupi Ramachandra Rao,well known as U. R. Rao, was inducted into the 2016 IAF Hall of Fame on 30 Sept 2016 by the International Aeronautical Federation (IAF).

  • Rao became the first Indian to be inducted into IAF Hall of Fame.
  • Currently he is the Chairman of the Governing Council of the Physical Research Laboratory at Ahmedabad and chancellor of IIST at Thiruvananthapuram
  • He was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 1976
    He was also inducted into the International Astronautical Federation in Paris becoming the first Indian to do so. He is also the first from the nation to be inducted into the Satellite Hall of Fame at Washington
  • IAF was founded in 1951 and has over 300 members from 66 countries across the globe
  • The hall of game honours personalities in the field of astronomy and science

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