Wednesday, December 5, 2018

SpaceX Puts India's First Private Startup Satellite in Polar Orbit

California-based SpaceX has announced the successful launch of India’s first homegrown satellite built by a Mumbai-based private startup, which is part of the 70-odd satellites from 16 countries, that were launched in a sun-synchronous polar orbit.

The ExseedSat-1, built with the contributions of several ham operators and with the help of small Indian firms, is expected to play a major role during natural disasters as it facilitates effective two-way communication through a simple hand-held walkie-talkie with a beam antenna.

Euphoria gripped India's southern city of Hyderabad on Tuesday after SpaceX announced that all 64 satellites on board the Falcon-9 rocket had been successfully placed on orbit.

The mission, launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, included a one kilogram CubeSat named ExseedSat1 which was fully conceived, designed and made by Indian start-up Exseed Space without taking any help from the state-owned space agency ISRO.

The startup was founded by Ashhar Farhan and Kris Nair. The startup claims that it is also part of the private consortium who won the historic AIT bid last year to build large satellites for the Indian government.

"ExseedSat-1 carried an amateur radio payload. Licensed radio amateurs around the world will be able to access, receive and talk through it using a simple hand-held walkie-talkie with beam antenna", Kris Nair, one of the founders said.

Exseed Space is working towards setting up India's first contract satellite manufacturing facility. Once operational, the facility will cater to the growing global demands of manufacturing CubeSats, NanoSats, and MicroSats (1U/2U/3U/6U). Platforms the start-up builds are based on units of 10cm by 10cm by 10cm CubeSats.

The power output is selectable between 1 watt and 0.5 watts. The purpose of the mission is to interest student outreach. Depending on the life of the battery, the satellite may provide service for two years and then the satellite would de-orbit naturally.

The SpaceX mission have launched 70 spacecraft from 50 different organisations, including 15 microsats and 56 cubesats, that will rank it as the single largest ride-share mission from a US-based launch vehicle, the report added.

It includes payloads from 18 countries: India, United States, Australia, Italy, Netherlands, Finland, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, UK, Germany, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Thailand, Poland, Canada, South Africa, and Brazil.

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