IITM's Student Satellite Project Launched: IIT-Madras's students are constantly pushing the boundaries of technical innovation, and their latest project might be one of their most ambitious yet.
IIT-M's Student Satellite project, or IITMSAT for short, is exactly what it sounds like: an attempt by IIT-M students to launch a satellite into orbit.The mission's official objective is to design and launch a satellite to collect data about electrons and protons in the Earth's upper-ionosphere, to use for research on an earthquake prediction model.
Among the student members of this inspiring group are Aanveeksha Amilineni, Nithin Sividas, and Akshay Gulati. Professors who have agreed to help include P.K. Deshmukh, Dr. Umesh Kadhane, and C. Vijayan. While the project initially seemed daunting, even to the professors, through both perseverance and compromise the team was eventually able to channel its talents together effectively. IITMSAT secured funding from the IIT Madras Alumni Association in December of 2010.
Nithin spent a month visiting space physics groups at various US institutions, including MIT, Stanford, and SETI. This trip was funded by IIT MAANA's travel grants. His findings were directly useful to building the IITMSAT's Particle Detector. The team's next round of funding came in 2012, when they were given more than Rs. 30 lakhs by IIT-Madras alumni.
Today, the project stands at 45% complete. If all goes according to plan, it will launch by the end of 2014. While there is still a ways to go, the team has already learned valuable lessons. Nithin explained, "It was never about the satellite per se. Our aim has always been to inspire fellow students to take up challenging tasks with passion and work towards them collectively."