Can-do attitude carries the day

The team designed a science vehicle that had to be loaded into a rocket. Photo: Special Arrangement  

It was a proud moment for 20-year-old Rahul Ramesh when his team finished fifth in a fray of 80 teams, drawn from across the world, at CanSat, a global astronautics-based competition conducted in Texas. Individually, he ranked first among students from Indian universities.

The American Astronautical Society (AAS) along with the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) organises this competition every year, which requires participants to produce a real satellite in the size of a soft drink can.

The creation should have all the major subsystems found in a satellite. “We had to design a vehicle which would be loaded into a rocket (given by the contest organisers) that was capable of rising to a height of 1000 metres. The vehicle would then fall using a parachute designed by us, which we made using an old umbrella and painted it to fill the pores,” explains Rahul.

The vehicle is further made to drop with a technology that is used in helicopters.

“It is designed to send data to our laptop while falling. It will send details about atmospheric conditions and its speed of descent, along with the video records,” says Rahul.

“Our science vehicle had a separate section where the egg was attached to the vehicle while it was flown at a height of 900 meters. The challenge was to protect the egg from impact, when the science vehicle dropped,” he adds.

They built the machine with plastic containers and scrap materials. Rahul, who is studying BE Electronics and Instrumentation at SRM University, Kattankulathur, says the team started working on the project last year. It was a year ago that the college formed its own team. “We were a team of eight. We also had coordinators from the previous year’s team and students from other departments.”

Rahul says it was a lot of hard work. He even stayed away from home for a few days to concentrate on the project. “I live in Mandaiveli. I have taken a flat with my friends near my college to work for such competitions. It saves me a lot of time. I even missed some of my classes. But the effort finally paid off.” They are already planning for the next year’s competition and are looking forward to getting their juniors to participate by selecting them for the next challenging task.

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Printable version | Dec 2, 2020 4:06:41 PM |

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