Back to Mumbai

I went through quite a series of unfortunate events the past couple of weeks which put me off wanting to update anyone about anything. The latest of which has me in bed with a sprain in the back with a very slow recovery.

The only good news has been that I’m back with D and the kid after a separation of 7 months.

In the period while D was away, I expected to be more involved in stuff I was interested in. But, I went through a deep dive asking myself what I really knew about things I prided myself on knowing. The answer came back as not much. So began a process again of narrowing focus and looking at things I wanted to take deep dives in and things that just infatuated me at that moment.

I think back now on the 7 months as lost months where I lost an opportunity to know things better than I already had. Now, the focus is on the kid and I’ve put aside my own interests. Focussing on work and home and more on home than work.

October 20, 2017 Mumbai

Bringing Rithika Home

After a long wait of about 8 months, Dhanya and Rithika joined Pradeep in Mumbai. Dhanya’s parents joined her on this journey. It was Rithika’s first air flight. She disliked the extension seat belt and slept through most of her flight. We also celebrated my thirty first birthday on this trip.

The trip also had Rithika’s first visit to a beach – Chavakad near Guruvayoor. She totally enjoyed the wind and did not like leaving the place. This was a day before the chorunnu in Guruvayoor.

Becoming a Father

I’m in Palakkad right now. I became a father to a baby girl on April 25, 2017. The experience has been overwhelming. Both the mother and daughter are doing fine. 

I’m back in Palakkad again after a few days here at the end of April for my daughter’s 28th day ceremony. We’ve named her Rithika.

B/o Dhanya

On April 25, 2017, Dhanya and Pradeep became proud parents of a baby girl. The delivery was done at the Thangam Hospital of PRC in Palakkad at 5 PM. We had the 28th day celebration of the baby at Praseedha, Palakkad.

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Pradeep, Dhanya and B/o Dhanya

The hospital refers to the child as B/o Dhanya (Baby of Dhanya).

The South Asia Satellite

The ISRO will launch the GSLV tomorrow carrying the South Asian Satellite on board. ISRO calls it the GSAT-9. It will carry Indian transponders that will be used by India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Sri Lanka and the Maldives. The Wire has a short video describing the significance of the launch and some prior history.

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GSAT-9 seen with the two halves of the payload fairing of the GSLV-F09. Image Credit: ISRO

I think this launch will be important for India for two things. One is to prove, further, the reliability of the GSLV as a launch vehicle capable of regularly delivering communication satellites into orbit. This improves with each launch. As this reliability improves, it brings in business in communication satellite launches as well as reduces India’s dependence on foreign launch vehicles. The second is to improve availability of transponders for users on the ground. Indian transponders can thence be leased and commercialized after meeting India’s requirements.

It would be interesting to see if the use of the transponders by some of our neighboring countries provides them with sufficiently good experience that they will continue using Indian transponders or even ask for multiple transponders. This would make it important again to improve the reliability of the GSLV and the GSLV Mk-III to put enough communication satellites into orbit to service these future requirements. Could then India wean off South East Asian countries from American and European transponders to Indian ones?

Interestingly, this satellite also carries with it an electric propulsion experiment. This satellite is expected to stay in orbit for 12 years. Communication satellites usually  last around 10 years. They have to carry as much fuel for what is known as station keeping. The satellites begin to drift from orbit like kites that we fly. We tug at the kite to keep it at one place and prevent it from drifting too far away. The satellite has no strings attached and hence the satellite will have to use fuel on-board to reach its orbit as well as to stay there.

Using electric propulsion completely for doing station keeping would reduce the amount of fuel the satellite would have to carry. This means we can add more transponders which in turn would mean fewer satellites could meet the requirements. But, this is an experiment and hence ISRO is still carrying the fuel it normally would had the electric propulsion system had not been there. I am also delighted to hear that the GSAT-20 mission flying next year will also carry an electric propulsion system on board. The lessons we learn from the experiment on the GSAT-9 would be incorporated.