Varsity-led satellite project gets its ground act ready

PISAT, a small, 6-kilo satellite spearheaded by PES University, Bangalore, and sponsored by four engineering colleges from Tamil Nadu and Kerala is the latest university-driven spacecraft to queue up for launch into space.

Over 100 students from across faculties have been working at it for nearly two years at PESU’s clean room. The experimental spacecraft carries an imported camera with a resolution of 80 metres to observe Earth from about 600 km above ground.

The nano-class craft is almost ready and expects to be launched around by the end of this year on an upcoming launcher of the Indian Space Research Organisation, according to V.K.Agarwal, Director of PESU’s lab, Crucible of Research and Innovation.

PESU expects this to be the first of a series of small, experimental satellites, but does not yet have a specific plan, Mr. Agarwal told The Hindu .

S-band station

On Thursday, PESU’s new S-band ground station or satellite tracking facility was launched by ISRO Satellite Centre’s Director S.K. Shiva Kumar in the presence of D. Jawahar, PES group CEO. It is said to be the first such in that frequency, unlike the UHF/VHF used by most student satellite programmes.

While ISRO does not charge Indian universities for putting their nano satellites in space, it has asked them to control them with their own ground stations. PESU expects the Rs. 40-lakh facility to teach students to monitor spacecraft could be globally useful in similar S-band experimental programmes.