ISRO chief on a mission to cut expenses on launches: Times Quest

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The Department of Space (DoS) is anticipating an increase in financial outlay in next month’s Budget, even as its new Secretary K. Sivan said the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) was working to reduce the cost of its satellite and launch vehicle missions. Speaking to The Hindu, Dr. Sivan, who formally took charge on January 22 as DoS Secretary and ISRO Chairman, said the space body was trying to lower the cost of satellites by using miniaturized avionics, advanced electronics and the recently tested EPS — electric propulsion system — among others.   Launch vehicles…

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North Korea missile developers hit by US sanctions – Times Quest

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The US has placed sanctions on two North Korean officials it says have led the development of nuclear missiles. The US treasury named the two men as Kim Jong-sik and Ri Pyong-chol, and said both were “key leaders” of North Korea’s ballistic missile programme. The UN Security Council imposed new sanctions on North Korea on Friday in response to ballistic missile tests. North Korea said the move was “an act of war” and tantamount to a total economic blockade. The new US sanctions will block any transactions by the two men carried…

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Obama warns against irresponsible social media use- Times Quest

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Former US President Barack Obama has warned against the irresponsible use of social media, in a rare interview since stepping down in January. He warned that such actions were distorting people’s understanding of complex issues, and spreading misinformation. “All of us in leadership have to find ways in which we can recreate a common space on the internet,” he said. Mr Obama was quizzed by Prince Harry on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme. Obama on the extremes of social media The former president expressed concern about a future where facts…

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IAF Wants Brimstone & ASRAAM On Its Hawk Trainers

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Times Quest | Defense Updates Air Force is exploring the possibility of slinging six Brimstone and a pair of ASRAAMs on its over 120 Hawk jet trainers. Senior MBDA officials tell Livefist that the IAF is engaged in detailed discussions on a potential program that the company says will be a low-cost/time that involves modifications that can be conducted on site with kits in a ‘matter of days’. Arming India’s Hawks has been a notion tossed about by the IAF for years now, but so far the proposition has fundamentally…

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Google Announces 4 New Indian Startups for Fresh ‘Launchpad Accelerator’ Batch

Google on Friday announced the four shortlisted Indian startups for its hands-on mentorship programme ‘Launchpad Accelerator’. With this batch, a total of 30 Indian startups have so far joined the class. The shortlisted startups – BabyChakra, m.Paani, NIRAMAI and SocialCops – will join a group of startups shortlisted from all over the world at the Google Developers’ Launchpad Space in San Francisco in the US. Class 5 of the mentorship will kick off on January 29 and will include two weeks of all-expenses paid training, as part of the the full six-month programme.…

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World AIDS Day: Apple Says It Has Raised Over $160 Million via Sales of (RED) Products

On Thursday, the eve of World AIDS Day, Apple announced that through its participation in the (RED) initiative, the company had till date raised over $160 million (approximately Rs. 1,032 crores) for the Global Fund, an international organisation that raises funds to prevent and treat HIV and AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria. Apple said that over $30 million (approximately Rs. 194 crores) of that amount had been raised from the sale of (RED) branded company products in the last 12 months alone. “Apple celebrates a record year of giving with over $30…

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Indian Army Scouts 60 All-Indian Surveillance Drones

Could this be the first true foot in the door for Indian-built military drones? The Indian Army has opened what will hopefully result in a proper contest — for 60 Indian developed and built short range surveillance drones kitted for military airborne surveillance. The prospective competition, Livefist learns, is likely the Army’s recognition that the last five years has thrown up a profusion of private sector Indian firms that have proven the ability to build drone platforms for military missions, and have proven to be substantially cheaper than comparable systems…

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