While NASA and ISRO are vigorously encouraging colleges to participate in their space research programs, some Indian institutes have already done so and many are keen to move forward in the direction.
The Trinity Colleg of Engineering in Kerala has joined hands with Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University to undertake a student-driven project to put in space a satellite called Trinity Adrak Student Satellite (TASSAT) that can study the debris in space.
Students of the Advanced Design and Manufacturing Lab of Trinity College and other departments have pooled in their efforts and hoep to send their satellite aboard PSL in 2018 as part of the student project that ISRO allows. They have recently visited Nanyang Technological University to have a complete understanding of such a project.
Referring to the project by Nanyang varsity, Arun Surendran, Strategic Directory of Trinity, said, “They have a sustainable programme and have been continuously launching their satellites from India using ISRO’s launch vehicle PSLV. We would like to have a similar programme at the college.”
The debris estimating satellite will be sponsored by a Muscat-based firm, said Surendran. It may be noted that after the blockbuster Hollywood film “Gravity”, the interest in space debris has grown into a full-fledged subject for study.
ISRO launched the first student satellite in 2010 called STUDSAT-1, which is a miniature satellite developed, that can capture the image of earth with a resolution of 90 metres and transmitting the payload and telemetry data to the earth station.
The next one was STUDSAT-2 that was built by by NITTE Meenakshi Institute of technology in Bangalore and a consortium of multiple engineering colleges affiliated to Visveswaraya Technological University (VTU). The STUDSAT-2, a twin satellite mission aimed at inter-satellite communication and increasing temporal resolution for remote-sensing applications.
Another student satellite to be launched by ISRO would be Pratham, which has been under development for some time by the IIT-Bombay. The student satellites will piggyback with other big satellites launched by the space agency.