Students from four engineering colleges, Nitte Meenakshi Institute of Technology (NMIT), M S Ramaiah Institute of Technology (MSRIT), RV College of Engineering (RVCE) and MNS Institute of Technology (BMSIT) were part of the project.
Among the students was Thimmaiah K, a student of RVCE, who was involved in the project from January 2009. He was initially very nervous. "The project initially saw few hiccups but later we got it rectified. It is a great inspiration not only for our juniors but also those who are interested in space technology," he said.
Raghavendra S and Vigneshwaran K from BMSIT were the core members of the 'On Board Computers' which monitors the entire satellite. Ragahavendra says that more than building the satellite it was a great learning experience for all. "Initially I was very reluctant but the college encouraged us,” he said.
Avinash and Kishan from MSRIT also attributed their success to the college management which egged them on. "Shortly our college too will have the ground station where we will be able to monitor all the reading of STUDSAT," said Avinash.
A key brain behind the project, DVA Raghava Murthy, Project Director, Small Satellites Projects, ISRO Satellite Centre, had full faith in these students.
Speaking to Deccan Herald, he said that to build a satellite, one requires help from all streams of engineering. "Be it electronics, computer science, mechanical or thermal, building satellites required assistance from these fields. Encouraging these engineering students from different streams not only enabled them to work for an ISRO project but also enabled them to learn about space technology to make them future space vendors," he said.
STUDSAT is the smallest operational satellite launched by ISRO which weighs just around 850 gms. The main functional objective of the satellite is to perform remote sensing, and capture images of the surface of the earth using it's camera of resolution 90 m, the best resolution hitherto achieved by any Pico Satellite in the world which will be used for vegetation and terrain mapping.
Recalling the journey
At the NITTE Satellite Centre, a group of students with curious look on their face were glued to different monitors that were displaying images of earth, frequency numbers with constant beeping sound in the background.
"It was like Diwali in our college when the satellite was launched. Our basketball court turned into a celebration ground," exclaimed G Karthik, member of core STUDSAT team from NITTE. They had put up big screens in the college for everyone to witness the milestone moment.
Karthik and his friends were beaming with joy when they explained the moment when the "Pico Satellite" went up and beyond the skies. They had anxiously waited when the countdown began for the launch.
It all started in 2007 at the International Astronautical Congress which was attended by this enthusiastic team. They never realised that a simple challenge they accepted will materialise into something so extra-ordinary.
“We will be trained under our seniors and will handle the project once they leave. I think the venture is a perfect example of team work, where 14 seniors and 26 juniors from diverse departments work in one project,” explains Chetan, the supporting team member.