On Thursday, ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation) launched the world’s lightest satellite, called Kalamsat V2, in the space. It was launched from the Sriharikota space centre in Andhra Pradesh. The satellite weighs just 1.2 kilograms and fits in a palm, which shows the advancement of Indian miniature design technology. The satellite was made by a group of students from a Chennai based private space education organisation called Space Kidz India.
ISRO said that the satellite would help in communication through ham radio transmissions used by amateurs for non-commercial activities. It claimed that it would “inspire schoolchildren to become the scientists and engineers of the future.”
Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi was among the first to congratulate the team for the historic achievement. Mr Modi tweeted, “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.”
The satellite was launched by ISRO’s Indian Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) – a four-stage rocket which can take the satellite to a height of 277km (172 miles) above earth. Srimathy Kesan, chief executive of Space Kidz India, told Indian broadcaster NDTV that the satellite was made in six days, though it took them 6 years to develop the technology. It was built with a total cost of Rs. 12 lakhs and ISRO did not charge a single rupee to launch the satellite into orbit.
The iconic aspect of this launch was that it is the first time, the Indian space agency reused a stage of the rocket that launched the satellite. Usually rockets are discarded once they enter the space and become part of space debris. The three-levels of a rocket fall back to Earth, fourth one expends in space, where as in this case the fourth stage of this rocket could be restarted multiple times. ISRO claimed that could be reused to conduct space experiments and would be functionable for a year.
Another satellite launched by PSLV was 740kg Microsat-R, which would be used by India’s military to take high-resolution photos of Earth