Somaiya students’ amateur radio satellite takes to the skies | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times
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Somaiya students’ amateur radio satellite takes to the skies

Jan 02, 2024 07:50 AM IST

An amateur radio satellite created by students and named ‘Somaiya Beliefsat-0’ was successfully launched on New Year’s Eve at 9.10 am from Sriharikota’s premier launch pad. The satellite serves as a payload on the PSLV-C58 mission’s PSLV Orbital Experimental Module (POEM) platform

MUMBAI: An amateur radio satellite created by students and named ‘Somaiya Beliefsat-0’ was successfully launched on New Year’s Eve at 9.10 am from Sriharikota’s premier launch pad. The satellite serves as a payload on the PSLV-C58 mission’s PSLV Orbital Experimental Module (POEM) platform.

Somaiya students’ amateur radio satellite takes to the skies
Somaiya students’ amateur radio satellite takes to the skies

With the launch of the satellite, Somaiya Beliefsat-0 pays tribute to 100 years of the HAM radio in India and endeavours to succeed its predecessor. “HAMSAT was decommissioned in 2016,” said Umesh Shinde, the faculty coordinator for the mission. “Now Somaiya Beliefsat-0, positioned in a 350-km orbit with a 9.6-degree inclination, is set to become a crucial player in the realm of global amateur radio.”

HAM operators worldwide are poised to activate services once the POEM payload achieves its designated orbit.

Professor Suresh Ukrande, former principal of K J Somaiya Institute of Technology (KJSIT), said that Somaiya Beliefsat-0 was the first installment in a series of satellites dedicated to advancing space technology education. “Equipped with an ultra-high frequency (UHF) to a very high frequency (VHF) FM repeater and VHF digipeater, the satellite extends its services to the global amateur radio community,” he said. “Its innovative features include Automatic Packet Reporting System standard telemetry every 30 seconds, simplifying the reception of space tech telemetry for students with minimal set-up requirements.”

Ukrande added that the mission was a testament to the support and guidance provided by the college authorities and the Somaiya Trust under the leadership of chairman Samir Somaiya. Vivek Sunnapwar, the current principal of KJSIT, said, “Looking ahead, the New Leap Labs team has set out an ambitious roadmap, with plans to launch more satellites that will feature increased complexity and broader societal use cases. Beyond satellite projects, the team is actively involved in the research and development of radio frequency devices focusing on defense-grade electronics. The launch of Beliefsat-0 not only opens new frontiers for student engagement in space technology but also lays the groundwork for future breakthroughs in satellite development.”

Supriya Bhide, a student and co-founder of the mission, shared, “Back in 2017, during my pursuit of a degree in computer science, some classmates and I came together with the aspiration of building a satellite, inspired by students from premier institutes in the country. In the initial stages, we won a competition organised by ISRO, which boosted our confidence. Subsequently, we delved into further research and development in this domain.”

Currently pursuing a PhD at IIT Bombay, Bhide remains actively involved in the project at KJSIT. She emphasised that this initiative had contributed significantly to various aspects of self-development such as research, innovation, and management and leadership qualities. “Over the past five years, approximately 70 to 80 students have been part of this project, collectively achieving this success,” she said.

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