The first satellite developed by IIT Bombay students was sent to Space by ISRO on September 26. The satellite sent signals in the first few weeks but suddenly stopped doing so in November. This left the students wondering if the satellite was still operational. Just as the ground station at IIT-B went mum in November, the rays of hope once again raised in the morning of December 17 when the station received signals.
The Project Manager of Pratham, Ratnesh Mishra, said, “About a week after the launch, beacon signals were recorded at ground stations across the world and at IIT-Bombay. After that, for more than a month we were facing technical difficulties, and unable to receive the signal.”
Pratham, the microsatellite aimed to help in forecasting tsunami warning and GPS error handling was launched from Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota on September 26 this year. The satellite sends beacon signal to the ground station which also tells about the voltage and the battery status of it. The team is expecting both the signals to reach them. It is after that only the satellite will start working. The team hopes that they will get the next signal by the next week.
Pratham satellite has started collecting the data. The basic task of the satellite is to count the number of electrons in the atmosphere of the Earth. Ratnesh Mishra said, “The satellite generally passes over India twice or thrice a day. On December 17, we received strong beacon signals thrice; twice during the day and once at night. Since then we have been getting signals twice a day.”
He further added, “We still haven’t received the down-link signal, and are analyzing and discussing the technical issues surrounding it. We did receive a faint signal when the satellite was passing over India, but we haven’t been able to confirm it.”
The long haul of events held from the year 2007 (the initiation of the project) up to the year 2016 (when finally the satellite reached its destination) represents the determination of IIT-B students associated with the project and this sudden awakening of the satellite is enough to elate the aspirations among them.
Cost around Rs 1.5 crore, the mission will last four months.