ISRO To Launch World's Lightest Satellite Made By Students, For Free

ISRO To Launch World's Lightest Satellite Made By Students, For Free

NEW DELHI: The world's lightest satellite made by Indian students will be carried on the back of a rocket launched by the ISRO today. It's on the house - not a single rupee will be charged by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) for the task. The satellite designed and built by students who work with a private organisation called "Space Kidz India" in Chennai weighs less than a wooden chair at only 1.26 kg.

It cost Rs. 12 lakh to make and was made ready in six days, though the group perfected the technology over a span of six years, said Srimathy Kesan, a 45-year-old professional who steered this motley group of 20-something at Space Kidz India.

The Kalamsat-V2 is the lightest satellite in the world, the ISRO said, adding today's launch will also mark another milestone - it's the first satellite designed and built by an Indian private entity and Space Kidz India to be launched by ISRO.

A 64-gram earlier version of the Kalamsat nicknamed "gulab jamun" because of its puny size was launched by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in 2017. But it never reached orbit.

The main passenger in today's launch of the space agency's workhorse, Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), is a 740-kg satellite called Microsat-R that will be used to take high-resolution photos of the Earth for defence research.

The 44.4-metre-long PSLV that weighs 260 tonnes will attempt to take both satellites into orbit on its 46th launch.

The ISRO will also convert the last stage of the rocket, which actually turns into space debris, into a working experimental platform. This is a new way of creating wealth from waste in space as the debris would now remain functional and help in research.

The countdown began ahead of the launch from the Sriharikota spaceport in Andhra Pradesh.

"In this mission, the fourth stage... will be moved to higher circular orbit so as to establish an orbital platform for carrying out experiments," ISRO chairman Kailasavadivoo Sivan told NDTV.

In its last mission on November 29 last year, the ISRO successfully placed India's Earth-observation satellite HysIS onboard the PSLV C43 into orbit.