NASA launches Indian student satellite RamanSat 2 to the edge of the space

Two proposals submitted by SPACE-India won the opportunity to be flown by NASA, out of the 350 experiment proposals received from participants around the world. A total of 160 experiments were selected to be flown.
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RamanSat 2, a miniature satellite made by Aabhaas Sikka, a 17-year-old student, was successfully launched by NASA. The satellite, which measures 4 cm x 4 cm x 4 cm, was developed by Sikka, during his internship with SPACE-India, an organisation working in the field of astronomy, space education and technology. SPACE-India also provides the necessary training and guidance to young innovators.

The experiment, which consisted of a balloon carrying RamanSat 2, was successfully launched from NASA's Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility in New Mexico, USA, on Monday night and achieved an altitude of 38 km.

RamanSat 2 was developed with help from Sachin Bahmba, Founder and CMD of SPACE Group, along with the company’s research team.

From Left to right: Vivek Srivastava, Vikrant Narang, Sachin Bahmba, Aabhaas Sikka.

The experiment

The miniature satellite is carrying state-of-the-art equipment, which will measure the radiation from the sun and space. The experiment intends to make exploration of space safer for humans and satellites.

It is significant as India is preparing to send astronauts into space in its first human space flight mission Gaganyaan in 2022.

A view of earth from the edge of space captured by NASA's balloon which carried the experiments by students. The fully Inflated balloon is seen on the right. ( Image:Idoodleedu Inc )

Speaking on the same, Bahmba said,

“It is a moment of pride, not only for SPACE-India, but also for the country where such young students are demonstrating calibre to work on projects, that involves conducting experiments in the space. We are grateful to the Cubes in the Space programme, as well as, NASA for providing such an opportunity for our students to participate. Traditionally, only scientists and space agencies were involved in space, but now space exploration has become the domain of school students, thanks to this opportunity.”

The origin of RamanSat 2

The idea to develop the satellite came at a time when earlier this year, Idoodleedu Inc., a US-based firm working in partnership with NASA, announced an international competition, ‘Cubes in Space.’

A view of the NASAs gondola seen with the student’s experiments strapped on prior to flight. (Image: Idoodleedu Inc)

The competition provided an opportunity for students to build their experiments, which are then flown to space. Out of the 350 experiment proposals submitted by the participants, 160 were selected to be flown by NASA. This included two experiment proposals submitted by SPACE-India.

RamanSat 2 follows the success of Kalam Sat, named after former Indian President APJ Abdul Kalam, and built by an Indian high school team from Chennai, that participated in the same programme in 2017.

(Edited by Suman Singh)


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