The Bangalore Edition of the Times of India, dtd 28th April, 2010 had this report on the STUDSAT
Copied from the e-paper site of the Times of India. Unfortunately the Launch of the statellite has been postponed from the scheduled date of 9th May, 2010 due to some technical fault detected in the launch vehicle. News on the rescheduled date is awaited.
Student satellite set to soar
Srinivas Laxman | TNNMumbai: On Wednesday morning, a unique Indian satellite that will rocket Indian education into a higher orbit will leave the Isro Satellite Centre in Bangalore and move to Sriharikota for integration with the four-stage Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) for launch on May 9.
What makes this spacecraft called StudSat unique is that it is India’s smallest satellite weighing just around 850 grams designed and developed by about 40 undergraduate students of seven engineering colleges in Bangalore and Hyderabad. Of the seven, four are in Bangalore and three in Hyderabad. StudSat’s departure from Bangalore to Sriharikota coincides with a conference on small satellites to be held on April 28 at the satellite centre.
StudSat, a portmanteau for student satellite, has been classified as a picosatellite which weighs between 0.1 and 1 kg. StudSat will be launched along with the indigenous Cartosat-2b satellite, Alsat, a satellite from Algeria, and two tiny satellites from the University of Toronto.
StudSat will be the second Indian student satellite to be launched by Isro in the past one year. On April 20, 2009, the 40-kg Anusat designed and developed by the Chennai-based Anna University was placed in orbit. The difference between Anusat and StudSat is that while the former is a microsatellite which weighs between 10 kg and 100 kg, the latter is the country’s first picosatellite. In plain terms, it means that it is the smallest satellite to be launched by India.
Chetan Dikshit, a student of the Bangalore-based Nitte Meenakshi Institute of Technology, one of the key participating institutions in the space programme, told TOI the size of the satellite is 10cm x 10cm x 13.5cm. “Once launched, it will be placed in a 700-km sun-synchronous orbit and will have a mission life ranging between six months and two years. The project cost was Rs 55 lakh,’’ he said.
With the increasing demand for miniaturization in space systems, there is a great need to develop a low-cost mission which can accomplish the goals of bigger satellites. Space experts said it is in this context a project like StudSat assumes significance.
Dikshit, who is in charge of the project and finance management of the programme, said the main role of the tiny satellite will be remote sensing and imaging the Earth with a 90-metre resolution. Its only payload is a camera. Last week, the satellite was subjected to rigorous prelaunch tests at Isro’s Satellite Centre and it came out with flying colours, he said.
Project director for StudSat, Jharna Mazumdar, said a ground-tracking station has been set up at the Nitte Meenakshi Institute of Technology, which is already tracking 250 satellites.
Jharna, a former DRDO scientist who teaches Computer Science at the Nitte Meenakshi Institute of Technology, and its R&D dean, said the cost of setting up an R&D centre, a clean room and the ground station at the college premises was Rs 45 lakh. All the three units are connected to the StudSat project.
What made them rembark on the space mission? Dikshit said: “We thought it would be a unique space venture. Space is, after all, still an untouched subject in India. We hope this mission will inspire students to opt for a career in space since it has provided them a hands-on experience in space technology,’’ he added.
SPACE ODYSSEY: A student of Bangalore’s Nitte Meenakshi Institute of Technology explains to space sage Prof U R Rao the features of StudSat, which will be launched from Sriharikota on May 9. Seven colleges — four from Bangalore and three from Hyderabad — have built the satellite at a cost of Rs 55 lakh