All-women satellite from Kerala faces setback due to fund shortage

Anand P

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Photo: Lizzy Abraham

Kozhikode: If all goes well, WESAT (Women Engineered Satellite), a satellite developed and built entirely by students of Thiruvananthapuram Lal Bahadur Shastri Institute of Technology for Women, will embark on a voyage to research ultraviolet radiation and its effects.

The nanosatellite, built by the Space Club of the institution, is expected to be launched through ISRO’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) in November. The satellite will be launched into a 600-kilometer orbit.

Lizy Abraham, assistant professor and coordinator of the Space Club at the institution, said they had signed an MoU with the Indian National Space Promotion and Authorisation Centre (IN-SPACe) under the Department of Space. However, amidst all the excitement, the lack of sponsors to fund the project had made things hard for the all-women team.

"The institution has already spent roughly Rs 10 lakh on the satellite's development. However, we are in a race against time to complete the most difficult and expensive phase, which is the fabrication phase. To do that, we want to acquire sponsorship or government financing," Lizy Abraham told She added that a ground-based station for the project has already been established on the institution premises.

The institution proposed developing and building the satellite three years ago. Later, 30 students joined the project to create a nanosatellite that could measure UV radiation and their impact on Kerala's warm temperatures and climate change phenomena.

ISRO will conduct extensive tests on the satellite before launch, during which it must meet a variety of parameters. Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre is providing guidance for the project.

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