On Monday, the Space Club at Thiruvananthapuram’s Lal Bahadur Shastri Institute of Technology for Women (LBSITW) made history by presenting a satellite to the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre.
WESAT is the first satellite payload from Kerala and the first in India to be constructed entirely by women. In addition, it is the first satellite created by an institute that ISRO will launch as part of the next PSLV mission.
The goal of WESAT is to monitor UV radiation in space and on Earth’s surface, as well as their impact on Kerala’s mild temperatures and climate change events. The state does not have easy access to this information. The college intends to use a monitoring station to deliver live updates on the publicly accessible WESAT website.
The 2017 class of Space Club students came up with the concept for the WESAT project. Then, we didn’t know very much. Subsequent batches, however, carried out in-depth research. Then, when we had time to devote to the project during the epidemic months, we drafted a thorough project proposal and sent it to ISRO. A month later, we got a call from them, and we started working on the project,” explains Lizy Abraham, WESAT’s chief investigator.
The completion of the work, which started in 2019, took over four years. “We experienced numerous highs and lows, but our perseverance and hard work paid off,” says a jubilant Devika D, the project’s student coordinator.
One of the founding members of the space club, Gopika P S, states that WESAT is more than simply a project—it’s an emotion. I’ve always wanted to study astrophysics and work for ISRO or NASA. I even sent NASA an email in my high school years seeking a job,” Gopika remembers.
Renowned ISRO scientist G Madhavan Nair, who also received a degree in the same field, had an influence on my decision to major in electronics and communications for my BTech. At that time, the Space Club’s founding was a wonderful fit for her aspirations in life.
Kousalya R, an additional alumna who was involved in the Space Club, conveyed her happiness with WESAT’s accomplishments. “I’m overjoyed! We finally located a solar intensity sensor after considerable effort. Unfortunately, though, the project had to end before we could graduate. Our juniors had such a positive attitude. “I’m really proud of them and Lizy ma’am,” Kousalya exclaims.
The satellite will be launched as part of ISRO’s PSLV C58 mission, which will also launch payloads from various locations in the nation. Kerala will only be represented by WESAT on the mission.