Students of SRM Institute of Science and Technology (formerly known as SRM University) launch a space probe balloon to capture pictures of C/2012 S1 (ISON) comet.
Students of SRM Institute of Science and Technology (formerly known as SRM University) have made a mark in the SRM history by launching a space probe balloon on November 28, 2013. This space probe balloon is the one only balloon launched from any educational institution in India till date, to have a scientific study of the comet C/2012 S1 (ISON). The Chief Guest, Mr. S. S. Ahmed, secretary to the Minister of New and Renewable Energy, dignitaries of SRM Institute of Science and Technology (formerly known as SRM University), Dr. M.Ponnavaikko, Vice Chancellor, Dr. N. Sethuraman, Registrar, Dr. D. Narayana Rao, Director Research, Dr. Kasmir Raja, Dean Research, Dr. Vasudevan, HoD of Aerospace Engineering, Dr. Bala Krishnan, former HoD of Aerospace Engineering, Dr. Venkatrathnam, NARL (National Atmospheric Research Laboratory), and Maple Software, sponsors for the project, were present to motivate the armature students during the launch of the Space Probe Balloon.
A team of students from different streams like, Aerospace Engineering, Computer Science Engineering, Software Engineering, Tele-communication Engineering, Mechatronics and Electronics and Communication Engineering, came up with an idea of capturing pictures of the ISON comet, the sun-grazer, fresh in the Oort Cloud. The space probe attached a payload to a hydrogen balloon and launched it around 3:30PM. The payload weighed 2.3Kg, consisted of a camera, a telescope, battery, radio sonde, thermistor, GPS, and a solar tracker. At ground level, two cars were used to track the balloon. An hour after the launch of the balloon, it was said by Nidhi Vasaikar, marketing and PR of the team, that, “The tracking device has tracked down the space probe near Tirupathi, at a level of 18,000 meters above the ground, and we lost the signal from the payload. Hope, it must have reached greater heights and lost the signal”. Later, a part of the team was sent to Tirupathi in search of the remains of the payload. This was an innovative effort taken up by a group of students of SRM Institute of Science and Technology (formerly known as SRM University).
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