With ‘Swayam’ in orbit, COEP takes a giant leap in space

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Pune | Published: June 22, 2016 2:21:27 PM

It was a euphoric moment for students of the College of Engineering here as the academic satellite developed by them "Swayam" was today successfully placed in orbit along with 19 others.

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) early this morning launched record 20 satellites from Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Andhra Pradesh's Sriharikota. (Representative Image: Reuters)The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) early this morning launched record 20 satellites from Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Andhra Pradesh?s Sriharikota. (Representative Image: Reuters)

It was a euphoric moment for students of the College of Engineering here as the academic satellite developed by them “Swayam” was today successfully placed in orbit along with 19 others.

The cube shaped satellite weighs less than 1,000 grams and aims to ensure point to point communication even in remote places.

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) early this morning launched record 20 satellites from Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Andhra Pradesh’s Sriharikota.

It included two academic satellites developed by students of Sathyabama University (Sathyabamasat) in Chennai and College of Engineering, Pune (Swayam).

“This is a very emotional and amazing moment for us as over 170 students burnt midnight oil while working on the project for last eight years, and today the institute has taken a giant leap into space,” said Dr P B Ahuja, Director of COEP, who was at the spaceport along with the project team at the launch.

“It happened due to sheer hard work and determination of students and faculty,” he added.

In Pune, around 800 students, alumni and faculty gathered at the 162-year-old premier institute’s auditorium to witness the ‘live’ streaming of the launch.

They cheered in exuberance the moment the launch took place and congratulated one another.

Talking about ‘Swayam’, Ahuja said the project had started in 2008 with students from various streams coming together and working on it.

“The cube shaped satellite, which is smallest in the passenger list of 20, weighs less than 1,000 grams and hence, is termed as PICO satellite and it aims to ensure point to point communication even in remote places,” Ahuja said.

He said the unique feature of the satellite is that it has a passive system and does not draw any electrical power for stabilising and orientation towards the earth magnetic field.

“The team has devised an ingenious passive stabilisation system which employs a pair of hysteresis rods and a magnet to stabilise the satellite, thus eliminating the need to use bulky and power hungry magnetorquers,” he said, adding the feature was appreciated by ISRO.

He further said within moments of launch, ‘Swayam’ was separated at 515.3 km in orbit.

Deputy Director at COEP, Dr B N Chaudhari said the Passive Attitude Control System of SWAYAM is the first of its kind in India.

“The satellite houses a payload capable of half duplex communication over the HAM frequency band which enables it to receive, store and transmit messages from one corner of the globe to the other,” he said.

Chaudhari said the design life of the satellite is one year. However, it can be extended to two years.

“We are grateful to have the support of ISRO for reviewing our work and GMRT for providing testing facilities for evaluating communication system,” he added.

During the project, professor Manish Khaladkar worked as a head of the project and kept the interest of students alive and intact in the project batch by batch, he said.

Dhaval Waghulde, the project manager and one of the students at COEP said it was an inter-disciplinary project and students from all branches participated and senior students passed on their expertise and information to new students.

He said the team successfully cleared the Critical Design Review (CDR) at ISAC, Bangalore in September, 2014.

“All the subsystem designs and results were presented and approved by the committee. The team got a clearance for going ahead with the Flight Model of Swayam,” he said.

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