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BITS Pilani Dubai Campus launches satellite mission

BITS Pilani Dubai Campus (BPDC) recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with UAE-based Edutech4Space that will see its engineering students build and launch into orbit a working satellite named Mahasat.

The creation of Mahasat will be overseen by Dr Mylswamy Annadurai, Former Director of Indian Space Research Organisation’s Satellite Centre and the scientist behind India’s successful Moon and Mars Missions, popularly known as the Moon Man of India. UAE’s online space education hub, Edutech4Space, in partnership with various institutions across the globe will train and guide the students of BPDC on this mission.

The name of the satellite, Mahasat, is of particular significance. The term ‘Maha’ in Sanskrit means ‘large’, and in keeping with this, the initiative hopes to impart big lessons on engineering and development, space exploration and even record keeping. The term ‘Al Maha’ meanwhile is another name for the Arabian Oryx, which is BPDC’s campus mascot and is considered a sign of endurance.

Science investigations

The initiative aims to teach pupils from different areas of engineering skills in design, development, manufacture, integration, testing, launch, and on-orbit control of Picosats and Cubesats. These are small, compact and light-weight satellites, and a cost-effective platform for science investigations and new technology demonstrations.

Launching the Mahasat project, Prof Srinivasan Madapusi, Director of BPDC, said: "Mahasat will accord BPDC a star role in space and satellite technology and education. BPDC is uniquely positioned to provide the necessary technical foundation in view of its strong fundamentals in engineering and project-based experiential learning. Students will be involved in every aspect of this initiative ably supported by Edutech4Space. The interdisciplinary nature of this domain will provide far-reaching benefits to all the participants.”

Mahasat will be built in phases; first, a picosatellite will be built and tested using drones. Next, a ground station at the BPDC campus will be followed by an engineering model of the cubesat, constructed based off data collected in the field, and then the model will be further developed for final launch.

Shrisudha Viswanathan, Founder & CEO of Edutech4Space, says: “The Mahasat project comes at an exciting moment - at a time when the UAE is making inroads into space research with missions such as the Emirates Mars Mission and the Rashid Rover. Edutech4Space plans to arm the new generation with information and skills required to excel in the new frontier of space technology, with hands-on training and guidance from educators at the top of their fields. We can’t wait to see the final product.”-- TradeArabia News Service