A group of SRM University students bagged the second position in a competition last month, launching successfully CanSat, a model satellite to read atmospheric conditions.

The competition titled Planetary Atmospheric Entry Vehicle was organised by The American Astronautical Society (AAS) and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) at Texas, and sponsored by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and Naval Research Laboratory (NRL), USA.

Sidhant Dhall, team leader and a final-year student of Electronics and Instrumentation of SRM University, said the launch was totally technology-based where CanSat consisted of two parts — the carrier and the lander.

It was to be deployed from a rocket at an altitude of about 2,000 metres. Once released from the rocket, the CanSat was to descend at 10 metres per second using any type of descent control system or device, even parachutes.

“We used three parachutes for different altitudes that were unfolded mechanically reducing the descent rate to five metres per second. It took about 15 seconds to reach the highest altitude and 80 seconds for descend. Every two seconds, it provided information on humidity, temperature, pressure and atmospheric tension. Those were recorded at the control room," he said. To check for accuracy, one team had to put a raw egg inside the lander, the idea being the egg remained in tact without any damage on landing.

“Our team got the extra point; we had a buzzing system in lander and we located the lander within 500 metres from our control panel. This technology can be applied for further development and immediate forecasting depends on the time of landing,” Sidhant explained.

Of the 35 teams from 10 countries, team WELKINSAT from SRM University comprising 11 students finished second internationally and first in the country, and were awarded a cash prize of $1,500.

Team WelkinSat (VaikunthSat Abhiyan) — comprising Sidhant Dhall, Pradip Gupta and Akshat Agarwal — bagged the second prize in the competition. Vivek Ranjan, Tunul Richesh, Mohit Saxena, Gaurav Accha, Triyambak Tripathy, Cheerudeep Chintha and Mihir Shah were involved in the project under the able guidance of A. Rathinam.

The other two teams from SRM University SRM CANSAT and Akshayaan finished 7th and 11th respectively at the international level.