By the end of February, an Indian private satellite carrying a photograph of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a copy of the Bhagwad Gita and names of 25,000 citizens will be launched into space.
The Satish Dhawan Satellite, or SD SAT, will be launched by the polar satellite launch vehicle (PSLV).
According to a report by Hindustan Times, the nanosatellite has been developed by SpaceKidz India, an organisation dedicated to promoting space science among students. The satellite will also carry three scientific payloads — one to study space radiation, one to study the magnetosphere, and another that will demonstrate a low-power wide-area communication network.
“There is a lot of excitement in the group right now. This will be our first satellite to be deployed in space. When we finalised the mission, we asked people to send in their names that will be sent to space. And, within a week we received 25,000 entries. Of these, 1,000 names were sent in by people from outside India. There is a school in Chennai that sent in the names of everyone. We decided to do this because it will spark interest of the people in the mission and space science,” said Dr Srimathy Kesan, founder and CEO of SpaceKidz India.
The people who sent in their names were given a “boarding pass”.
Kesan added that they decided to send a copy of the Bhagwad Gita to space on the lines of other space missions that have carried holy books such as the Bible. “We have also added the name and photograph of the prime minister on the top panel with the words Atmanirbhar mission. This satellite has been completely developed and fabricated in India, including the electronics and circuitry,” she said.
The names of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) chairperson Dr K Sivan and scientific secretary Dr R Umamaheswaran have been etched on the bottom panel.
This is one of the two satellites developed by Indian start-ups that will be launched for the first time by ISRO after the country opened up the space sector to private entities in June last year.
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