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A team of 15 girl students of Periyar Maniammai Institute of Science Technology (PMIST), Vallam, in Thanjavur district of Tamil Nadu, have launched a satellite contained in a helium-filled balloon. With this, it becomes Asia’s first Satellite launch by girl students.

The ‘power-puff’ girls were guided by the Dean (Academic) and Convener, SKI NSLV (Near Space Launch Vehicle) 9 Maniammaiyar SAT (name of the satellite), P.K.Srividhya, and were mentored and trained by the Chennai-based Space Kidz India, a Chennai-based organization dedicated in designing innovative concepts for students in the field of education. Earlier this year, Space Kidz was in news for making Kalamsat-V2, world’s lightest satellite ever launched globally.

Designed and developed entirely by girls at PMIST, the satellite was designed to reach a height of 70,000 feet, 5,000 feet above the troposphere, using helium-filled balloon. The satellite they made was capable of sending live telemetry consisting of data and flight parameters to the control station at PMIST premises.

The satellite reached an altitude of 1,38,000 feet (approx 42km). The Space officially begins at an altitude of 100 KM above the Earth’s surface.

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The telemetry contained call sign, packet number, latitude, altitude, velocity, heading, GPS timing, temperature data that would be processed by a micro-controller and transmitted to the base station throughout its flight, both ascending while being lifted up by the balloon and descending after coming under the influence of gravity due to explosion of the helium filled balloon at a height of 70000 feet above the ground level, according to university sources.

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Further, the data recorded from the sensors and images captured by the camera would be stored in an in-built storage provision in the satellite. The signals received at the base station would help track and landing of the payload (satellite) for retrieving the same. The payload with a parachute, attached to the helium filled balloon was released into the atmosphere by around 11-30 a.m. from the PMIST premises.

Chief guest of the balloon satellite launching event, Mylswamy Annadurai, whos former Mission Director at ISRO, called upon universities to improve their standard so that students could excel in their professional career. Such events should be conducted at the school level in order to kindle the interest among the younger generation to pursue aerospace technology as their career, he observed.

PMIST Vice-Chancellor, S.Velusami said the institute was planning to establish a Centre for Excellence in Robotics soon. The launch of balloon satellite formed a part of the ongoing birth centenary of Maniammaiyar, he said.

Source – The Hindu

[All Pictures – pmu.edu]

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