Students of the College of Engineering, Pune (CoEP) finally have their moment in the sun, with their much awaited pico-satellite, Swayam. Swayam, which was built as a reliable bi-directional communication platform, will orbit the Earth at a height of 500-800 km.
The 40-odd students associated with the program say they are just waiting for final approvals from ISRO, which will make a launch site available at its Bangalore location.
"We recently paid a visit to ISRO and conducted a few final tests. The critical design review of the project has been completed. From our end, the entire programme is done," said Dr M Y Khaladkar, associate professor with the applied science department.
Dr Khaladkar said the ISRO's Mars mission held up the model's final testing. Students had to wait for Mangalyaan to get done before being able to visit the ISRO lab and conduct tests. But they soon got the required clearances and checks.
Nikhil Sambhus, project manager and final year student of computer engineering, said CoEP is in line to become the country's third institute to have a successful students' space programme. "IIT-Kanpur and Annadurai University have launched satellites successfully. But they were launched at much higher costs," he said, adding that Swayam was funded at just Rs 35 lakh.
A ground station has been set up within the college premises from where communication with the satellite will be established
The satellite will be useful in improving telecommunication in rural areas, said Rucha Vaidya, a student associated with the project. "The entire satellite weighs about one kilo. It was a challenge for us to fit all the components inside a small cubeshaped box, but we are happy to have managed it finally," she said.
Dr M S Sutawane, head of electronics and telecommunication at the college, who is also associated with the project, complimented the students for having pulled off the feat. "From our side, all the mandatory tests have been completed and all the project-related activities are fine tuned," he said.
TIMELINE OF EVENTS:
2008 - The project is initiated
January 2009 - Project officially approved by COEP
May 2013 - COEP Signs MoU with ISRO
February 2014 - Qualification model of Swayam ready
June 2014 - Thermo-Vac test done on the Qualification Model at ISAC
September 2014 - After critical design review, the final model is ready to be launched