Indian students built satellite goes to space with ISRO’s PSLV-C51 rocket


India now has a micro-satellite in space to keep an eye on suspicious movement of ships and prevent another 26/11-type of attack, thanks to the involvement of students from Bengaluru-based PES University.

This was one of the four satellites developed by students and launched by Indian Space Research Organization’s (ISRO) PSLV-C51 on Sunday.

A total of five student-built satellites rode into space onboard ISRO’s PSLV-C51 rocket from Sriharikota spaceport, giving wings to dreams of young minds.

The rocket lifted off with Brazil’s Amazonia-1 as primary satellite and 18 co-passenger payloads.

These small rideshare payloads included “Satish Dhawan Satellite” (SDSAT) built by Chennai-based Space Kidz India, a combination of three satellites “UNITYsat” and technology demonstration satellite “SindhuNetra”.

The three satellites (UNITYsat) were designed and built as a joint development by Jeppiaar Institute of Technology, Sriperumpudur (JITsat), G. H. Raisoni College of Engineering, Nagpur (GHRCEsat) and Sri Shakthi Institute of Engineering and Technology, Coimbatore (Sri Shakthi Sat).

The SindhuNetra (‘Eye of the Sea’) satellite of the DRDO and its basic infrastructure (the satellite bus) that supports the payload and handles its data, was designed and developed by a team of faculty members and students at PES University, said Dr V Sambhashiva Rao, Director, Crucible Of Research & Innovation (CORI) at PES, who is also a former ISRO scientist.

“UNITYsat is intended for providing Radio relay services”, an official of Bengaluru-headquartered ISRO said.

SDSAT is a nanosatellite intended to study the radiation levels/space weather and demonstrate long-range communication

SindhuNetra was developed by students of Bengaluru-based PES University, which was awarded the ₹ 2.2 crore contract by the Research Centre Imarat, part of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).

“This project by DRDO will help in identifying suspicious ships through satellite imaging”, an official said.

ISRO Chairman K Sivan termed Sunday’s launch as ‘special’ as it fell under the ambit of the recently announced new space reforms that allowed ISRO to hand-hold private players in developing their satellites, and there were students directly involved in at least four of them.

“ISRO hand-held them to ensure satellites are built correctly and launched precisely,” Sivan said after the launch. He hoped that this will encourage many others including students to build and launch their satellites with ISRO.