India launches pint-sized satellite designed by students

The Indian Space Research Organization launches the miniature satellite Kalamsat V2, built at a cost of 1.2 million rupees, with other payload at the Sriharikota space center in southern Andhra Pradesh state on Thursday. (AFP)
Updated 25 January 2019

India launches pint-sized satellite designed by students

  • The 10-centimeter cube satellite, named Kalamsat V2, weighs just 1.2 kilograms
  • The launch was another feather in the cap for the Indian Space Research Organization

SRIHARIKOTA, India: A lightweight satellite designed by students that can be held in the palm of the hand has been launched by Indian scientists, burnishing the country’s credentials in miniature design technology.
The 10-centimeter (four-inch) cube satellite, named Kalamsat V2, weighs just 1.2 kilograms (2.6 pounds), according to students from the private Space Kidz India group who designed the celestial unit.
It was launched from the Sriharikota space center in southern Andhra Pradesh state on Thursday, drawing praise from Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“Heartiest congratulations to our space scientists for yet another successful launch of PSLV (Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle). This launch has put in orbit Kalamsat, built by India’s talented students,” Modi tweeted.
The launch was another feather in the cap for the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), which won Asia’s race to Mars in 2014 when one of its spacecrafts reached the Red Planet on a shoestring budget.
India has been vying for a larger slice of the booming commercial satellite launch business as phone, Internet and other companies seek expanded and more high-end communications.
The Kalamsat V2 was built at a cost of 1.2 million rupees ($16,900), said Srimathy Kesan, the CEO and founder of Space Kidz India.
It will serve as a communications satellite for ham radio transmissions used by amateurs for non-commercial activities.
In 2017 an even smaller satellite, weighing just 64 grams and designed by the same group, was launched in the US aboard a NASA rocket, but never reached orbit.
The main payload on Thursday’s launch was the 740-kilogram Microsat-R that will be used to take high-resolution photos of Earth for defense research.
India has made giant strides in its space journey, launching a record 104 satellites in a single mission in 2017. It has also built a reputation as a reliable low-cost option for space exploration.


SpaceX launch moving ahead, weather uncertain

Updated 30 May 2020

SpaceX launch moving ahead, weather uncertain

  • NASA chief Jim Bridenstine: ‘We are moving forward with launch today’

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER: SpaceX’s historic first crewed mission to the International Space Station was set to proceed as scheduled on Saturday, NASA said, although uncertainty remained over weather conditions.
“We are moving forward with launch today,” NASA chief Jim Bridenstine said in a tweet. “Weather challenges remain with a 50 percent chance of cancelation.”
“Proceeding with countdown today,” said SpaceX founder Elon Musk.
Weather forced the postponement on Wednesday of what would have been the first launch of American astronauts from US soil in almost a decade, and the first crewed launch ever by a commercial company.
The Falcon 9 rocket with SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule is scheduled to launch at 3:22 p.m. Eastern Time (1922 GMT) on Saturday.
The next window, which is determined by the relative positions of the launch site to the space station, is Sunday at 3:00 p.m. (1900 GMT), and fair weather is predicted.
NASA astronauts Bob Behnken, 49, and Douglas Hurley, 53, former military test pilots who joined the space agency in 2000, are to blast off for the ISS from historic Launch Pad 39A on a two-stage SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.
The same launch pad was used by Neil Armstrong and his Apollo 11 crewmates on their historic 1969 journey to the Moon, as NASA seeks to revive excitement around human space exploration ahead of a planned return to Earth’s satellite and then Mars.
The mission comes despite shutdowns caused by the coronavirus pandemic, with the crew in quarantine for more than two weeks.
NASA has urged crowds to stay away from Cocoa Beach, the traditional viewing spot — but that did not deter many space fans on Wednesday.
President Donald Trump, who flew in for the previous launch attempt, is expected to attend again.