College of Engineering, Pune (COEP) gets fund from Maharashtra govt for student satellite SWAYAM II
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College of Engineering, Pune (COEP) gets fund from Maharashtra govt for student satellite SWAYAM II

Education Minister Vinod Tawde had promised a financial help of ₹50 lakh for the project after the successful launch of COEP’s SWAYAM in June 2016

pune Updated: Jul 07, 2017 16:23 IST
Ananya Barua
Ananya Barua
Hindustan Times, Pune
Students at the robotics and automation lab in COEP.(Pratham Gokhale/HT PHOTO)

Keeping his promise to finance the second satellite project, SWAYAM II, a pilot project ofthe College Of Engineering, Pune (COEP), education minister Vinod Tawde has finally released the funds, confirmed the college director. After the successful launch of COEP’s SWAYAM in June 2016, Tawde had said, “Research work should not get affected by lack of funds. The state government will allot substantial funds for college level research projects.” The minister had promised a financial help of ₹50 lakh for the project, and the college has now received the funds.

“The education minister during the satellite launch visit had asked me about our future endeavours around SWAYAM. I informed him about the second edition of the project and he offered financial support. I am glad to say that he has fulfilled his promise,” said Dr Bharatkumar Bhagatraj Ahuja, COEP director.

Despite the delay, the authorities claim that the second project has been advancing fast.

“We started working on it in 2015 and are trying something new again. A non exhaustive propulsion technique called solar sailing which would enable orbital manoeuvrings,” said Deep Machchar, electronics engineering student working on the project.

“Unlike most satellites launched abroad that mostly stress on de-orbiting, we are trying to increase our orbits,” Machchar said.

In addition to the funds by the Maharashtra Government, the college had already receivedgrant from the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), which had kept the project going.

ISRO, following the successful take off of COEP’s first student satellite SWAYAM, has given the project a total grant of ₹20.6 lakh. The total budget of the satellite project had been valued between ₹70 to 75 lakh, the college authorities confirmed.

SWAYAM, one of the first student satellites of India, successfully completed six months of its expected space life and also completed a year on June 22.

Brainchild of four engineering students of College of Engineering, Pune (COEP), the cube shaped student satellite Swayam was launched along with 19 other satellites, 13 of which where from the US and two home-based student satellites. The second one was SathyabamaSat (2009), by students of Sathyabama University, Chennai.

Unlike SathyabamaSat’s mission, which focused on collection of greenhouse gas, Swayam’s mission was much beyond building small prototypes of ISRO’s existing satellites. They wanted to make an actual contribution to space research in India, said Dhaval Waghulde, an ex-student of COEP and member of Swayam team.

Claiming that they were the first in India, to use the technology called passive magnetic attitude control system (PMAC), Waghulde said, “Initially, the ISRO engineers wouldn’t believe us, that we were using PMACS technology, they were actually very excited, as not even ISRO satellites used it then.”

“The PMAC technology would control the rotation of the satellite, whenever in space, and was to keep it in orbit. The technique uses hysteresis rods and permanent magnets instead of electrical power for stabilisation in the orbit.This reduces the size and power consumption of the satellite, making it easier to control,” he explained.

Without much knowledge about the field and even without an aerospace department back in 2008, the four students began working on the project. Now, the scenario after the launch has improved.

First Published: Jul 07, 2017 16:22 IST