M. Adnaan, M. Kesavan and V. Arun took over two years to design and develop the satellite

An experimental satellite developed by three students of Karur has been selected for launch in sub-orbital space by NASA.

It took more than two years of research and development for M. Adnaan of Thanthonrimalai, M. Kesavan of Nagampalli village near Malaikovilur and V. Arun of Thennilai to design and develop the satellite that outsmarted a number of satellites developed by aspiring space scientists to win the global competition conducted by the Cubes in Space, a programme of Idoodledu Inc in association with NASA.

They were studying Plus One when they sat together and began to design the world’s smallest and lightest technology demonstrator satellite. The determination, hard work and perseverance of the students, now pursuing undergraduate courses, have made them proud. They were mentored and guided by Chennai-based Space Kids India, which encourages aspiring space scientists.

The satellite made of reinforced graphene polymer is 3 cm in size and weighs 64 gm. It has its own radio frequency communication to transmit and receive signal from earth to outer space. The solar cells attached to the satellite generate power for it. The photographic film will absorb and measure the cosmic radiation inside the rocket.

The satellite, christened Indian Sat, will be launched into the sub orbit in June next on NASA’s sounding rocket 7.

Rifath Shaarook of Space Kids India, who mentored the Karur boys, told The Hindu that it was one of the biggest moments for them as their model had been chosen among many submitted by young contestants from more than 50 countries. It would study the effect of reinforced graphene polymers in microgravity. It would be in sub-orbital space flight for a few minutes before landing in the ocean.

Helping hands

The young researchers faced difficulties in meeting the expenditure of about ₹1.35 lakh for the project due to their poor economic background. However, the faculty members of the Department of Physics of Government Arts College in Karur, where two of them were studying, and the Karur-based Shiva Educational Trust sponsored the project.

“We eagerly await the launch of our satellite. It will be a big moment in our life. It is like a dream comes true. In spite of financial struggle, we have made it to the big stage with the support of some big hearts,” says Kesavan, 18, son of a salesman in a ration shop in Karur.

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