Splainer

Friday, August 13 2021


Dive In

We just want to officially confirm that the #Tokyo2020 medals are not edible!

That was the response of the official Tokyo Olympics handle when a Japanese leader bit down on a gold medal. This happened at a ceremony honouring softball star Miu Goto—where Nagoya mayor Takashi Kawamura got a little carried away. He was widely attacked for being unhygienic and disrespectful—and has since apologized. And yes, the games organisers will be giving Goto a new, unbitten gold medal.

Big Story

Editor’s note: A couple of important reminders. One: We will be happily celebrating I-Day on Sunday which means we will not be publishing splainer on Monday, August 16. We will see you back on Tuesday morning. Happy Independence Day everybody!  Two: ICYMI, this week’s edition of our podcast ‘Press Decode’ is out! The splainer team talks about the harder truths behind India’s Olympic fairytales and Baba Ramdev’s dreams of establishing a palm oil empire. Check it out over at Spotify, the IVM website or Apple Podcasts

 

ISRO’s failed satellite launch

The TLDR: On Thursday, something went terribly wrong as the Indian Space Research Organization tried to launch a state-of-the-art satellite. The reason: a huge technical glitch in the third and final stage of the mission. Here’s a quick look at why the launch failed—and why it matters. 

 

The mission explained

The launch took place at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota at 05.43 am. The GSLV-F10 rocket was supposed to carry an earth observation satellite EOS-03 and place it in orbit. The satellite is one of the country’s most sophisticated Earth imaging satellites and it successful deployment would have offered important benefits:

 

“Reports said that the advanced imaging satellite had been described as a ‘game changer’ for India with its high resolution cameras allowing constant, real-time monitoring of the Indian landmass and the oceans. Among the key areas where it could have proved its utility is defence, enabling ‘special attention to the country’s borders for security reasons.’’’

 

The satellite would also allow early monitoring of natural disasters such as floods and cyclones. 

 

The plan: The rocket would lift off and place the satellite in something called a geosynchronous transfer orbit (GTO)—a highly elliptical intermediate path around Earth. The satellite would then use its own propulsion system to make its way to a final geostationary orbit. The launch was scheduled for Thursday morning—but went totally awry four minutes and 55 seconds after liftoff.

 

What went wrong

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In today’s edition

Headlines That Matter

  • A dreadful wildfire in Siberia
  • Twitter vs Congress: A growing jhagda
  • Zoom focusses on kids
  • A new species of jellyfish!

 

Weekend Advisory

  • A quest to find the quietest places on Earth
  • The female gaze—what women see when we see men
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