Finding their place beyond the sky

Published: 31st May 2013 10:09 AM  |   Last Updated: 31st May 2013 10:09 AM   |  A+A-


Gazing at the sky, watching out in hope for a shooting star to make a secret wish, wishing to sprout wings and fly high to kiss the skies...these are moments that form part of growing up for most people. However, these childhood fantasies of reaching out to the sky have come true for a bunch of youngsters from Toc H Institute of Science and Technology (TIST). The five-member team of EEE and ECE engineering students are the first ever team from the state to be selected for the prestigious international CanSat Competition which will be held at Abilene and Burkett, Texas, USA, from June 7.

“The competition is open to teams from universities and colleges across the world. The basic idea is to design and develop a can- sized satellite or ‘satellite in a can’ for the competition. In other words, the purpose of CanSat is to mimic the functions of an actual satellite,” says an excited Juhaim Ibnu Abdul Jabbar, a team member. TIST team is among the 26 teams selected from around the world for the competition.

CanSat is an annual student design-build-launch competition for space-related topics organised by the American Astronautical Society (AAS) and American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) in association with Goddard Space flight Center and Jet propulsion Laboratory from NASA, Naval Research Laboratory (USA), Ball Aerospace and Technologies Corp, Praxis Inc, and Kratos ISI. It provides the opportunity for students to be a part of the end-to-end life cycle of a complex engineering project, from conceptual design, through integration and test, actual operation of the system and concluding with a post-mission summary and debrief.

Speaking more about the competition, Vivin Abraham Mathews says, “The overall CanSat system is composed of two primary components, a science payload (large hen’s egg) and a re-entry container that protects the payload during descent. Once the deployed container/payload system reaches a low enough altitude (600m) the payload is released from the container to gently descend and safely land with the egg intact. All operations are to be autonomous. The safe landing shall be accomplished without using a parachute, para-foil, streamer, or any similar device to reduce its speed.”

Besides Juhaim, TIST team includes Vivin, Arjun Vinod P V, Abhishek N and P V Abimanyu Nair. The young engineers have named the team Tarang. Ask Juhaim the reason behind the naming, he says, “Our team and our project should become a hit in the competition, hence the name.”

The students become verbose when they talk about the one person who is the reason behind this achievement. “It was because of our professor Kiran George Varghese that we came to know about such a competition. He encouraged us to give it a shot.”

Team Tarang has been working hard for the past few months with the project and other procedures for going to the US. “We are indebted to Startup Village and specially to Sijo Kuruvilla, the CEO of Startup Village, who wholeheartedly supported our venture from its initial stages. The government, Infopark and ISRO have all helped us with our funds and specially Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has helped to make the government procedures fast paced,” they say.  Tarang is now all set to fly off to Texas on June 5.


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