Sindhu Netra: Satellite built by students will keep vigil over seas

This was one of the four satellites developed by students and launched by Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) PSLV-C51 on Sunday.
ISRO's PSLV-C51 being launched. (Photo | ANI)
ISRO's PSLV-C51 being launched. (Photo | ANI)

BENGALURU: 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 Organisation’s (ISRO) PSLV-C51 on Sunday.

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.

Several staffers involved in the project and guiding the students, have been scientists at ISRO. The satellite’s payload has been designed and developed to monitor ships on the high seas and identify 
suspicious movements of sea-faring vessels close to India’s maritime borders. 

Students are monitoring, controlling satellites, says university

The satellite was developed after PES University was awarded a Rs 2.2 crore contract by the Hyderabad-based Research Centre Imarat, which is part of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). The students belong to the R-SAT team of PES, who are now monitoring and controlling the satellite, said a release by the university. “As many as 13 students, who have now graduated, were given a stipend and employed under the project. Additionally, 50 other students helped in design, and the projects identified for them,” Rao said, adding that the work had been in progress for three years.

Sushma Shankarappa, a final- year PhD student from PES University, told TNIE that it was a great experience with former ISRO scientists, both within and outside the institute, guiding them throughout the design, fabrication and testing of antennas for the microsatellite. It was her first experience with a satellite. “We used the software available at the university to design the antennas.

Fabrication required us to procure the equipment, which I did the with help from professors who are former ISRO scientists,” said Sushma, who hails from Tumakuru. Prof M R Doreswamy, adviser to the Karnataka government on educational reforms and chancellor of PES University, hailed the staffers and students involved in the designing of the micro-satellite, while pointing out that the day coincided with National Science Day.

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.

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