Throughout the last 20 years of inhabiting human life in space, the International Space Station has been orbiting earth as a symbol of possibility, exploration, potential, science, engineering, and working together
One event, other than the disastrous COVID-19 Pandemic, that has made the year 2020 noteworthy, is that this year marked the completion of 20 years of inhabitation by human beings of space on board the International Space Station (ISS) that had been placed in low Earth orbit. The first component of ISS was launched in 1998 and November 2, 2000 was the date on which first lot of human beings inhabited this platform. Since then, the space station has been occupied continuously by astronauts from across the world. As per NASA, during the past two decades, the space station has supported numerous discoveries, scientific publications, unique opportunities and historic breakthroughs. This issue of SP’s Aviation carries a detailed report by Ayushee Chaudhary on the two decades of human life in the space on board the ISS. On this momentous occasion, the magazine also carries an exclusive interview of Dr Kirt Costello from NASA who is its Chief Scientist of the International Space Station.
Another highly successful foray into the domain of space has been by SpaceX, a private sector venture, marked by the recent launch of the Falcon 9 on the SXM-7 mission, marking the company’s 25th mission. Ayushee Chaudhary has a report on this successful mission in this issue of SP’s Aviation. Closer home, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) recorded another success on December 17 this year by launching and inserting into orbit its 42nd communication satellite designated as CMS-01. This successful mission was undertaken with the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle C-50, an extremely reliable workhorse designed and developed by ISRO. A report on this, by Air Marshal B.K. Pandey (Retd), has also been included in this issue of the magazine. Around the time that ISRO successfully launched its communication satellite, China recorded a major success in the domain of space exploration when its Chang’e 5 robotic probe landed back with fresh samples of rock and debris from the Moon, the first in more than 40 years. A report on this journey of Chang’e 5 by Ayushee Chaudhary figures in this issue of the magazine.
In the domain of Business Aviation, despite the COVID-19 global pandemic, on December 8, 2020, in a virtual rollout, Dassault Aviation of France unveiled its latest product – the newest and most advanced ultra wide-body Falcon 6X. This issue has a report on the rollout of the aircraft.
In an article in this issue of SP’s Aviation, Group Captain Rajesh K. Bali (Retd) highlights the apathy of the Airport Economic Regulatory Authority’ (AERA) towards the Business and General Aviation segment of the Indian civil aviation industry. The author is of the view that AERA has already lost its relevance to small aircraft operators and this issue needs to be addressed urgently.
Year 2020 also marked 50 years of India’s victory in the 1971 war against Pakistan and the creation of Bangladesh. Indian Air Force had played a vital role in this comprehensive victory by the Indian Armed Forces. In this issue, we have a report on the role played by the IAF in the 1971 war with some images from that period.
All this and more in SP’s Aviation final issue of 2020. Welcome aboard and we wish you many happy landings!