Decade-old wait ends for students of Noorul Islam University as NIUSAT is put into orbit

It was a proud moment for Noorul Islam University on Friday as the Indian rocket PSLV lifted off successfully with the varsity made nano satellite NIUSAT along with ISRO's Cartosat and 29 co-passenger foreign satellites.

It was a proud moment for Noorul Islam University on Friday as the Indian rocket PSLV lifted off successfully with the varsity made nano satellite NIUSAT along with ISRO's Cartosat and 29 co-passenger foreign satellites.

Varsity Chancellor Majid Khan along with the students and teachers rejoiced at the lifting off of the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle. The nano satellite was built from scratch by the students of the NIU, located in Tamil Nadu, about 30 km from the Thiruvananthapuram railway station.

The NIUSAT weighs 15 kg and costs Rs 37 crore. It would provide multi-spectral imagery for agricultural crop monitoring and disaster management support applications. The 84-year-old Chancellor seated along with the students and staff of the University was seen clapping as he witnessed the launch on the big screen. It was a clean and successful launch.

"It all began when a tsunami hit the Kerala and Tamil Nadu coasts near here in 2004. It was sheer misery as there was no warning at all. Hundreds of lives were lost," Khan said. "We started to think what we could do to come up with a solution. It was in 2007, that our students and teachers began to work on this nano satellite."

"We are all delighted that this has turned out to be a success," said Khan. Professor Krishna Swamy, involved with NIUSAT right from the beginning, said this was a "huge and superb achievement" for all at NIU. "We are not going to stop with this," Swamy said. The NIUSAT would pass over the Tamil Nadu-Kerala coast once in 24 hours. It would be able to get information on the weather.

"We want to get regular information. So our next project is a constellation of four-to-five satellites that would reduce the time interval on the weather updates through the day," he explained. A beaming student, who worked on the satellite, told the media that this was a great experience for all of them for even in the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) engineers might not be able to work on all aspects of a satellite.

"So many students who studied before us and those currently studying all got a feel of working in the building of a satellite." The PSLV rocket standing 44.4 metre tall and weighing 320 ton lifted off at 9.29 a.m. The 31 satellites weighed 955 kg. The rocket's main cargo is India's 712 kg Cartosat-2 series satellite for earth observation.

This satellite is similar to the earlier Cartosat-2 series satellites. The co-passenger satellites comprise 29 nano satellites weighing 243 kg and are from 14 countries - Austria, Belgium, Britain, Chile, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia and the US.

The images sent by the Cartosat satellite would be useful for cartographic, urban, rural, coastal land use, utility management like road network monitoring, water distribution, the creation of land use maps, change detection to bring out geographical and man-made features and various other land information systems and geographical information system applications.

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