Tamil Nadu

Students launch satellites using helium balloon in Vellore

NDRF chairman Padmashree Mylswamy Annadurai, K.Anbalagan, Higher Education Minister and G.Viswanathan,VIT Chancellor, launching student balloon satellite on NDRF National space challenge 2020.

NDRF chairman Padmashree Mylswamy Annadurai, K.Anbalagan, Higher Education Minister and G.Viswanathan,VIT Chancellor, launching student balloon satellite on NDRF National space challenge 2020.   | Photo Credit: C. Venkatachalapathy

Teams from about 250 schools across India participate

Twelve payloads consisting of satellites were launched using a helium-filled balloon by school students during the National Space Challenge-2020 (NNSC), organised by the National Design and Research Forum (NDRF) from the launchpad at the Vellore Institute of Technology, here on Sunday. The balloon is expected to reach an altitude of 20 kilometres.

To commemorate the Golden Jubilee of NDRF and the centenary year of Institution of Engineers (India), a national payload design contest for school students was announced on August 30, 2019. The idea was to provide school students an opportunity to design and launch their payloads.

The contest was open to students from classes 8 to 12. Student teams of a maximum of 5 members each were encouraged to propose innovative payload ideas with the condition that it should not exceed 3.8 cubic cm in size and 50 grams in weight.

Teams from about 250 schools across India participated in the initial round of the contest and the NDRF selected 12 teams from Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Bihar, Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh and Goa for the launch on Sunday.

NDRF Chairman and Vice-President of Tamil Nadu State Council for Science and Technology, Mylswami Annadurai said, “We have to inculcate higher level of interest about space technology among school students as India has been emerging as power hub for space technology. As part of the contest, students have been given an opportunity to launch satellite (payload) in high altitude using a helium balloon.”

Minister for Higher Education, K.P. Anbalagan urged scientists and researchers working in higher education institutions and research labs in Tamil Nadu to get involved in research based on the needs of society, which would enhance the standard of living of the people.

Their research should address issues like increasing agriculture production, improvisation in industry and framing methods to preserve hygiene and environment, he added.

“Advancements in science and technology play a significant role in the development of key sectors in our country, like agriculture, industry, fisheries and animal husbandry. Developments in science and technology are related to the growth of higher education,” he added.

Enrolment ratio

Chancellor of Vellore Institute of Technology (VIT), G. Viswanathan, in his presidential address said Tamil Nadu is the number one State in higher education in the country with a Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) of about 50%, which is double the GER of India.

“It was late Chief Minister K. Kamarajar who laid the foundation for development of school education in Tamil Nadu and late Chief Minister M.G. Ramachandran laid the foundation for development of higher education, due to which the State stands number one in India in the education sector.” he said.

“Tamil Nadu is one of the forefront States in India which has contributed a lot for space research. I hope students will learn science seriously so that we will not only as a State, but also as a country be the leader in the study of science. India has been one of the best countries in the world for space research,” he added.

Vice-President, Vellore Institute of Technology (VIT), Sankar Viswanathan, Registrar, VIT, K. Sathiyanarayanan, and founder of Space Kidz India, Srimathi Kesan, also took part in the event.

Professor, Centre for Biomaterials, Cellular and Molecular Theranostics, VIT, N. Arunai Nambi Raj, delivered the vote of thanks.

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Printable version | Feb 26, 2020 8:13:26 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/students-launch-satellites-using-helium-balloon-in-vellore/article30602796.ece

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