StudSat, the collaborative student satellite project involving seven engineering colleges from Bangalore and Hyderabad, is all set to take off.

The ground station for this project, Nastrac (Nitte Amateur Satellite Tracking Centre) was inaugurated by K. Radhakrishnan, Chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), at the Nitte Meenakshi Institute of Technology on Tuesday.

The centre is capable of communicating with more than 250 amateur satellites across the globe and the Studsat team can receive telemetry data sent by other satellites, a press note from the institute said.

“Further, Nastrac may also track and communicate with International Space Station (ISS), which is the largest space observatory.” The StudSat, with a payload consisting of a camera that can capture images with a ground resolution of 90 metres, will be put in orbit along with Cartosat-2B of ISRO and will be carried by a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), slated for launch by May 10. The launch of PSLV-16, originally slated for 2009-end, was postponed on more than one occasion.

The inauguration of the ground station was followed by a demonstration of the technologies developed in this student project by team leader Chetan Angadi. Other core leaders of the team include Shwetha Prasad for onboard communication, Vighneshwaran K. and Avinash G.S. (for onboard command and data handling), Mamatha R.M and Harish Ramavaram (for attitude determination and control system), Sharath for structure, Visweswaran K. for ground station.

StudSat has been designed, developed and fabricated by the students with support from members of the ISRO. Weighing just one kg, the picosatellite is designed to operate in low-earth orbit at an altitude of 680 km. The satellite was developed by undergraduates of NMIT, R.V. College of Engineering, M.S. Ramaiah Institute of Technology, B.M.S. College of Engineering in Bangalore and others in Hyderabad.

Five satellites

S. Satish, ISRO's Head of Public Relations, said the PSLV-16 would put five satellites into orbit. These include Cartosat-2B (a remote sensing satellite with resolution of 0.8 m), Alsat (an Algerian satellite), two Canadian nanosatellites, and the StudSat.

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