Chennai: Space junk to be transformed as an orbital platform for students' satilite

The 28-hour countdown for the launch has begun at 7.37 pm.It is also the first flight of PSLV-DL variant with just two strap-ons.

Chennai: In a novel idea, the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) on Thursday will transform the spent fourth stage of PSLV-C44 rocket as an orbital platform for Kalamsat, a nanosatellite developed by students. It is the first time that a space agency is trying to turn possible space debris into a valuable platform for space-based experiments.

PSLV-C44 rocket will launch Defence Research and Development Organisations (DRDO)’s Mircosat-R, an imaging satellite and Kalamsat on Thursday night at 11.37 pm.

“After the satellite is separated, the fourth stage (PS4) will be kept on and it will be re-used as an orbital platform for students’ satellite,” Isro chairman K.Sivan said.

The Microsat-R will be launched in low earth orbit at the altitude of 274 km. Then, the fourth stage will be moved to a higher circular orbit at the height of 450 km so as to establish it as an orbital platform.

In a normal launch, the fourth or final stage of the rocket would be cut-off after releasing the payload. It would wander around in space as debris.

“The indigenous lithium-ion battery will keep the fourth stage live for the re-use,” Isro officials said.

The 28-hour countdown for the launch has begun at 7.37 pm. It is also the first flight of PSLV-DL variant with just two strap-ons.

“After the separation of the satellite, the fourth stage will be restarted twice to achieve the circular orbit,” they added.

The rocket would separate the main satellite after 14 minutes of the launch. Then the entire mission including the restart of the engines and orbital platform would last for 15 hours.

Kalamsat, the student payload is developed by Chennai based organisation Space Kidz India.

“Kalamsat is experimental telecommunication satellite developed by a team of 15 students. During the disaster or emergency situations, in place of deploying huge satellites, we could deploy nano-satellites. We will test the effectiveness of nano communication satellites during this mission,” said Srimathy Kesan, CEO, Space Kidz India.

The lifespan of the satellite is one month and a team of 15 students developed this satellite in a week’s time.

“We will study how the communication systems function during the disaster and emergency situations. We cannot wait to conduct our experiments,” said Rifath Sharook, one of the team members who built the Kalamsat.

So far, the agency has already sent up nine satellites built by students, but this is the first to be launch in the new PSLV variant.


  • Kalamsat is a communication satellite with a life span of one month.
  • It is the first satellite to use the rocket’s fourth stage as an orbital platform
  • The nanosatellite is a 10 cm cube weighing 1.2 kg
  • The PS4 or fourth stage will be equipped with lithium-ion batteries to keep the spent stage in orbit.
( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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