September 27, 2016 2:44:07 am
AS ISRO launched a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) early Monday morning, a bunch of students held their breath at the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay (IIT-B). The institute’s first student satellite was one of the eight satellites injected into space by the rocket.
Almost eight batches of students have worked on the satellite and Monday’s event saw many alumni members at the institute to witness their dream take wings. Many were moved to tears as their satellite Pratham detached from the rocket and entered its orbit. “There were way too many emotions in a moment to soak in,” said Sanyam Mule (26), who graduated in 2013 with a dual degree in aerospace engineering. “It took us eight years to build Pratham and it was overwhelming to see it launched into space in a matter of 30 minutes,” said Mule, who was a former project manager.
Watching the launch live at a screening in the institute was a ‘moving experience’ for 25-year-old Tushar Jadhav, who was the project manager from 2010-14. Some of these former students had joined the institute with the aim to work on the project. Mule, for example, had joined the project in the first six months of his time at the institute.
Manvi Dhawan, who graduated this year, had taken the Joint Entrance Examination only because she wanted to work in the Pratham team. She worked her way over the years to become the project manager. Her perseverance was rewarded as she was the incumbent project manager when the satellite was launched. The two former students, who had conceptualised the project in 2007, couldn’t attend the live-screening but were in touch with their juniors from the US.
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Speaking to The Indian Express on phone from the US, Shashank Tamaskar said, “The dream of many batches of students came true today.” For many alumni members, the experience has been life-changing. Even after graduating, they continued to provide mentorship to the following batches.
While Mule has started a small technology-solutions company, Jadhav, too, is planning to launch a start-up. “The biggest learning for us was that when there is no tool to solve a problem, we need to build one. That’s the purpose of an engineering course,” said Mule.
Pratham has brought together many students who now consider themselves family, said Dhawan. The team was waiting eagerly to receive signals from the satellite when it passed over India at night.
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