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Indian nanosatellite takes copy of Gita, PM Modi’s photo to space

CHENNAI, India: A copy of Bhagavad Gita in the form of an SD card and a photograph of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi are part of a nanosatellite that Isro’s PSLV-C51 carried to space on Sunday along with Brazilian satellite Amazonia-1 and other satellites.

The names of Isro chairman K Sivan and scientific secretary R Umamaheshwaran have also been etched on the bottom panel of the Satish Dhawan SAT (SDSAT) built by Space Kidz India.

Prime Minister’s photo and name appear on the top panel. The names of 25,000 individuals are etched on the panels.

Space Kidz India an organisation working towards promoting space science among students.

SDSAT is carrying three scientific payloads- to study space radiation, study magnetosphere and to demonstrate a low-power wide-area communication network.

PSLV-C51/Amazonia-1 mission was Isro’s first launch of 2021. It carried a total of 19 satellites to space.

The nanosatellite, named after one of the founding fathers of India’s space programme and developed by SpaceKidz India, an organisation dedicated to promoting space science among students, 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.

Kesan added that they decided to send a copy of the Bhagavad 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.

The satellite will be transported to the spaceport at Sriharikota on Sunday after some design changes were made following recommendations by ISRO.

“We are conducting last-minute checks before sending over the satellite. We had to re-do the solar panel on the satellites after testing at ISRO because there was a problem with the resin and there was a bulge on a few cells. But it was thought that the entire thing might ooze out in space in two to three days,” said Kesan.