Adding another feather to the student’s space initiative, ISRO is all set to launch the students made satellite ‘Pratham’. The project which was conceptualised in the year 2008 with the aim of making IIT-B a centre for space science and technology research, has added a flying feather to the IIT’s students with the invention of this space satellite which is for the first time ever will be launched under the students space initiative.
According to the officials of the IIT, the prime objective of Pratham is to empower the students involved with the skill set required to develop a satellite through various stages of design, analysis, fabrication and testing.
What is Pratham?
Pratham is an Indian ionosphere research satellite which will be operated by the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay as part of the Student Satellite Initiative. The satellite is coated with aluminium alloy and other space-grade materials, and also has an on board computer. And, its primary mission as set by ISRO will be to count electrons in the Earth’s ionosphere.
The student made satellite is the first ever lightweight satellite which has been designed to calculate the electrons in the earth’s ionosphere. Weighs just 10kg, it is one among those satellites which can fit easily within a cube of 30cm, and has a lifespan of around four months.
How does Pratham works?
Pratham has been designed in such a way that it can easily transmit data whenever it passes over India. Added to this any university with a small ground station can also detect Pratham’s signals and measure the total electron counts (TEC). This initiative might also help the space researcher and the students in their various other studies.
Technically, Pratham’s payload instrument mainly comprises of two monopole antenna transmitting at a range of 145.98MHz and 437.45MHz. It also has three active monopoles, GPS, magnetometer, sun sensors, and magnetorquers and is powered by Li-ion battery and four solar panels, these will help the satellite to work faster and easily than any other satellite.
Why this project is important to India?
The student-designed satellite’s mission was primarily started with the hope of accomplishing knowledge from four-folds. First aim was to help the students interested in the space studies to acquire knowledge in the field of satellite and space technology. Second fold is to empower the IIT-B students to fully design a satellite. And the third fold was to launch it and measure TEC of ionosphere above India and Paris. One of the most important missions was to involve students from other universities too into the satellite projects.