MUMBAI: IIT Bombay’s first student satellite, Pratham, will be launched on September 26 from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota. The nearly-10kg Pratham, which is also Mumbai’s first satellite, will launch aboard the highly-proven Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) at 9.30 am.
Pratham’s main role will be to measure what is known as the total electron count in the ionosphere. It has a four-month mission span and will operate at an altitude of 720 km in the sun-synchronous orbit.
Prof Hemendra Arya of the aerospace engineering department who is mentoring the Pratham team said the satellite’s integration with the rocket is expected to begin a week prior to the lift-off. “We have received a message from Isro that the launch is on September 26. If it is rescheduled on account of weather factors or any other reason, it will be postponed only by a day or so,” he said.
Isro officials confirmed that the lift off will be on September 26 and that the preparations are in full swing. Wishing the IIT students the best, ISRO Satellite Centre director Mylswamy Annadurai said in a Facebook post: “Today 11 Sep is a special day in many ways for many people. Today In ISRO satellite centre, it is flagging off a vehicle carrying two student satellites PRADHAM(IIT-B) & PISAT(PESIT).”
Pratham and six other satellites will piggyback on PSLV along with the main Isro weather satellite, ScatSat. Prior to being sent to Sriharikota, the satellites have undergone rigorous tests at the satellite centre.
On Sunday, Pratham and Pisat, another student satellite from Bengalaru, were flagged off to Sriharikota from the Isro Satellite Centre in Bengaluru in a single car.
The students have said that they are planning an event on the IIT campus on the launch day. With the launch day nearing, parents of the students are also getting involved. One of them has posted on Pratham’s Facebook page: “All the best. Lot of efforts. Proud of you all.” Thanking the parent, the students replied: “All because of blessings and support of all parents.”
Source: Times of India