India launches satellite designed by students

SRIHARIKOTA (AFP) – A lightweight satellite designed by students that can be held in the palm of the hand has been launched by Indian scientists, burnishing the country’s credentials in miniature design technology.

The 10-centimetre cube satellite, named Kalamsat V2, weighs just 1.2 kilogrammes, according to students from the private Space Kidz India group who designed the celestial unit.

It was launched from the Sriharikota space centre in southern Andhra Pradesh state on Thursday, drawing praise from Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“Heartiest congratulations to our space scientists for yet another successful launch of PSLV (Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle). This launch has put in orbit Kalamsat, built by India’s talented students,” Modi tweeted.

The launch was another feather in the cap for the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), which won Asia’s race to Mars in 2014 when one of its spacecraft reached the Red Planet on a shoestring budget.

India has been vying for a larger slice of the booming commercial satellite launch business as phone, internet and other companies seek expanded and more high-end communications.

The Kalamsat V2 was built at a cost of INR1.2 million (USD16,900), said chief executive and founder of Space Kidz India Srimathy Kesan.

It will serve as a communications satellite for ham radio transmissions used by amateurs for non-commercial activities.

Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle launches with student satellite ‘Kalamsat’ at Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh state. – AFP