Students expected from 45 countries for 8-week course. Chief says ISRO will launch satellites that meet quality standards
Bengaluru: The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is set to offer students from developing countries an eight-week training programme that will equip them to build small satellites.
Students are expected from 45 countries, with ISRO footing their expenses. They will be trained at the space agency’s U.R. Rao Space Centre (URSC) in Bengaluru.
ISRO chairman Kailasavadivoo Sivan announced the launch of the programme — INDOUNSSP: Capacity Building Programme on Small Satellite Development — at the ongoing UNISPACE Symposium being held in Vienna between 18 June and 21 June.
UNISPACE was started by the United Nations in 1968 to bring together the international community of space scientists and organisations to enable further development of students and young professionals in space research.
“India is proud to announce an excellent capacity building programme,” Sivan said at the symposium. “It is mainly to give opportunity for students from other countries to come to India and get involved in learning of space technology as well as getting hands-on experience in building satellites.”
Sivan also said that if these satellites meet quality standards, ISRO will launch them.
URSC chairman M. Annadurai said the objective of the training programme is to enable students from countries that have limited knowledge or exposure to small satellites to build them efficiently.
Over a period of three years, URSC is expected to train one batch of students every year, with support from the Ministry of External Affairs and the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA).
The first batch of students will be selected in September of this year, and training will begin in November.
Two from a country
Each participating country is expected to nominate two students: A mechanical engineer and an electrical engineer. They will be selected in batches of 30 each year, from 15 countries, and split into three teams of 10 students.
The students will first undergo theoretical classroom-style lessons: Two weeks on satellite technology and applications, followed by two more weeks of nano satellite design and realisation.
This will be followed by four weeks of hands-on experience with assembly, integration, and testing. The teams will be given the hardware and material for building a nano satellite and are expected to produce a functioning prototype at the end of the programme.
ISRO will work in conjunction with the trainees. Functioning nanosats will be launched by the Satish Dhawan Space Centre on PSLVs and will hold payloads developed independently by ISRO itself. These nanosats, weighing 10 kg at the most and running on 12 Watts of power, will have a lifespan of six months.
In the past, ISRO has guided the realisation and launch of five student satellites, all from India, and has also conducted satellite training programmes for 19 developing countries.