India-New Zealand Current Affairs - 2019

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NASA launches near-space monitoring super pressure balloon from New Zealand

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has successfully launched a super pressure balloon to conduct near-space scientific investigations.

It was launched from South Island Wanaka Airport, New Zealand in the fifth attempt. Earlier four attempts to get the massive balloon airborne were thwarted by bad weather.

Key facts

  • The balloon is 532,000 cubic metres and aims to remain airborne for more than 100 days.
  • It is expected to circumnavigate the globe in the mid-latitudes of southern hemisphere once every one to three weeks, depending on wind speeds in the stratosphere.
  • Balloon’s operational float altitude is 33.5 kms and it will be visible from the ground, particularly at sunrise and sunset in the southern hemisphere’s mid-latitudes.
  • Its flight operations throughout the mission will be controlled by NASA’s balloon experts at Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility and NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility, Virginia.

Note: Long-duration balloon flights at constant altitudes play an important role in providing inexpensive access to the near-space environment for science and technology.

India, New Zealand ink Air Services Agreement

India and New Zealand have signed a landmark Air Services Agreement paving the way for introduction of direct flights between the two countries.

The agreement was signed in the presence of the President Pranab Mukherjee and the New Zealand Prime Minister John Key.

The agreement will lead to easier air connectivity between both countries that have inhibited both business travel and people- to- people contact in the past.

The Air Services Agreement was signed under the Convention of International Civil Aviation that aims to promote international air services between their respective territories.

Background

The two-way tourist traffic between India and New Zealand has witnessed sharp rise in recent past. There are nearly 1,75,000 persons of Indian origin  living in New Zealand of which about 15,000 are Indian students. The two-way trade between the two countries has doubled in the last few years. Business, Education and Tourism also have grown exponentially between both countries.