The Indian Space Research Organisation on Thursday night undertook its first mission of 2019, successfully launching military imaging satellite Microsat-R and Kalamsat, a satellite built by students. The satellites were launched at 11.37 pm on Thursday from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota.
According to news reports, Kalamsat is the world’s smallest and lightest communication satellite.
The two satellites were launched using a new variant of the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, according to IANS. “To reduce weight and increase the mass, an aluminium tank is being used for the first time in the fourth stage,” the space agency’s chairperson, K Sivan, had told IANS earlier.
Former ISRO chairpersons Krishnaswamy Kasturirangan and AS Kiran Kumar were present at the launch of Microsat-R.
Kalamsat has been built at a cost of just Rs 12 lakh. It is an experimental satellite built to study the communication system of nanosatellites. Sivan had told The Hindu on Thursday that the Kalamsat experiment would be short-lived as it would start about 1.5 hours from take-off and last about 14 hours.
Kalamsat has been contributed by Space Kidz India, a Chennai-based students’ organisation. “We have been working on the project for over six years now,” Space Kidz India Chief Executive Office Srimathy Kesan told PTI. “These students are from various backgrounds and the youngest one is studying BSc Physics.”