Taking a big leap in its technological quest, IIT Kanpur has developed a nanosatellite, which is expected to provide real-time data on drought, flood, vegetation and forestation.
The satellite, designed and developed by a group of students of the institute, will be handed over to ISRO, which is expected to launch it by the end of the year.
"This satellite will have specific function of sending imagery on ground conditions. We will set up a tracking station in our institute where we will get the real-time data on drought, flood, vegetation and forestation," IIT Kanpur Director Prof S G Dhande told PTI.
A team of students led by Santanu Agrawal, an M Phil student, has developed the satellite, costing Rs 2.5 crore.
The nanosatellite, which will be named 'Jugnu', will have a mass of less than 10 kg. It will piggyback on larger launches, avoiding the need for a dedicated launch.
"There will be no dedicated launch of this satellite. These kinds of satellites are launched from the belly of large satellites," Dhande said.
These nanosatellites have hardly any relation with nanotechnology. The nanosats, as they are called, are appealing because their small size makes them affordable and opens up potential for a swarm of satellites.
IIT Kanpur embarked on this innovative venture after the ISRO started accepting satellites developed by other countries and universities.
"We took it as a challenge. We thought why should not we develop a satellite and give it to ISRO. Then 20 students got inspired by the idea and started its designing and fabrication," Dhande said.
This satellite is not geosynchronous and will have low earth orbit. The data can be accessed when the satellite will be visible from the tracking station, Dhande said. This initiative is part of the institute's Golden Jubilee celebration starting this month. The celebration will continue till December next year. Dhande said nanosatellites are the new-age satellites prepared for specific purposes.
While larger satellites weigh about one tonne, these smaller varieties weigh less than 10 kg and have smaller electronic components. As of now, there is limited research in the area of nanosats. The space companies and institutes mainly focus their research on larger ones.