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Special Feature

Students' space innovations are taking off!

  • from Shaastra :: vol 01 issue 01 :: Jan - Feb 2022

Campuses across India are buzzing with ideas, and space technology innovations can truly take off if all the stakeholders come together.

Nikhil Riyaz, a second-year Master's student in Embedded Systems at the Sri Shakthi Institute of Engineering and Technology, Coimbatore, sleeps barely four hours at night. His waking hours are largely devoted to developing hardware for a satellite bus, communicating with various student teams building satellites, and reviewing the technical architecture of a mission that is as ambitious as it is celebratory.

Riyaz is the technical lead of 75 Students Satellites Mission 2022, a programme that will mark 75 years of India's independence with the launch of 75 student-made nanosatellites into space. The mission is a partnership of institutions that will construct and launch student-built satellites. Prime Minister Narendra Modi referred to the programme in his address to the United Nations General Assembly last September.

"If implemented successfully, it will be a start to something really big," Riyaz says.

Space science enthusiasts believe that the prospective launch of 75 nanosatellites - satellites that weigh less than 10 kg - attached to a dedicated launch vehicle from Sriharikota may transform the future of space education in India.

"It's not just about putting a network of satellites in space," says Riyaz. "There has always been interest in space tech among students; the issue was the lack of a forum where students could participate hands-on. With the ecosystem that we're trying to build with the 75 satellites mission, this gap will be filled."


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