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IIT-B adds another feather in its cap with launch of PRATHAM

PSLV C35 set to carry SCATSAT-1 on Monday

Mumbai : IIT-Bombay has another feather in its cap with a micro-satellite designed and built by its students being part of ISRO’s launch of eight satellites through PSLV C-35.

PSLV C-35, carrying India’s SCATSAT-1 meant for ocean and weather studies and seven other satellites, including PRATHAM academic satellite, from IIT- Bombay, lifted off yesterday from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Andhra Pradesh’s Sriharikota.

Started in 2008 by Saptarshi Bandyopadhyay and Shashank Tamaskar, then third year students of Aerospace Engineering course, the project took almost eight years to get materialised.

Since then, as many as 80 students from various batches joined the project and worked on it.

Dreams of the alumni and the current students, who worked on the project came true with launch of PRATHAM at 9.15 am from the space centre.

The 10-kg Pratham microsatellite will measure the total electron count (TEC) in the ionosphere that can improve the accuracy of the global positioning system in India and predict tsunamis, an official of the IIT-B said.

Designed to fit within a 30-cm cube, the Rs 1.5 crore microsatellite will orbit at an altitude of 670-km and orbit over India at 11.25 am every day. The life cycle of the mission is four months, but the satellite will be able to continue collecting data on the electron count, a professor of the institute said.

It is the first satellite to be designed and launched in the space by the Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay.

Beside SCATSAT-1 and PRATHAM, the 44.4 metre tall workhorse PSLV rocket also carried another academic satellite developed by BES University, Bengaluru; three from Algeria and one each from the US and Canada.

Before PRATHAM, six educational institutes such as IIT-Kanpur, Pune-based College of Engineering and Chennai’s Satyabhama University succeeded in launching academic satellites between 2009 and June this year.

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