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How 750 girls from rural India created an 8-kg microsatellite that ISRO rocket will carry to space


On 7 August, 750 girls from rural India will make history, as the Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) newly developed Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV) leaves for its maiden spaceflight from Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh.


They will not be there only to witness ISRO’s smallest commercial rocket take off as most awe-struck children would. These students have played a role in the project.


Onboard the SSLV will be AzaadiSAT, an eight-kilogramme microsatellite carrying 75 small payloads developed by schoolgirls from 75 rural schools across India. It’s an all-girls project that started six months ago and Sunday’s launch will see their dream take flight.


No prizes for guessing why 75 is a recurring number. The SSLV launch is part of the Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav celebrations to mark the 75th anniversary of Independence.


What’s the microsatellite about?

On its first flight, the SSLV will carry one of India’s experimental Earth Observation Satellites – EOS-02 – that will have applications in mapping and developing various GIS (Geographic Information System) applications.


If all goes as planned, the small rocket will separate from EOS-02 12.3 minutes after its scheduled launch from Satish Dhawan Space in Sriharikota at 9:18 am. Exactly a minute later, at an altitude of 356 kilometres from Earth, it will part with AzaadiSAT which will get injected into the Lower Earth Orbit (LEO), reports News18.com.


The eight-kg satellite has 75 Femto experiments, selfie cameras to click pictures of its solar panels, and long-range communication transponders. The mission life of the satellite is six months.


How did the girls develop AzaadiSat?

The satellite was developed by an all-girls team from rural corners of India and the project was coordinated by Space Kidz India (SKI), a space start-up.


The girls, mostly from Class 8 to Class 12, were selected from 75 government schools. The first-of-its-kind space mission in the country was undertaken with the idea to promote women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics).


The Chennai-based organisation, Space Kidz, led the work on AzaadiSAT along with NITI Aayog, teaching the girls to build small experiments. The main systems, including the onboard computer, flight software, electrical power system, telemetry and telecommand were developed and tested by the SKI, reports News18.

What is AzaadiSAT’s mission?

AzaadiSAT will be a normal orbital satellite. “We are using hardcore technology, which is an enhanced version from the Satish Dhawan set. Power systems have also been enhanced,” Srimathy Kesan, founder and CEO of Space Kidz India told News9.


A key aim of AzaadiSAT will be to demonstrate the LoRA (long-range radio) transponder for creating a space-based LoRA gateway, which will be mostly used for amateur radio communication during this mission, according to the News18 report.


The indigenous nano-satellite subsystems built by students will be demonstrated. And the selfie camera, which will take pictures of the satellite and send it back to earth, can help study the impact of solar winds on the surface of the satellite and solar panels, says the report.


AzaadiSAT will carry a recorded version of the national anthem sung by Rabindranath Tagore, which will play in space as a tribute to the country.


Read More at https://www.firstpost.com/explainers/aazadisat-microsatellite-75-school-girls-isro-sslv-launch-11015401.html

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