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For the first time in the history of India’s space programme, a student-designed sounding rocket was launched from the Thumba Equatorial Rocket Launching Station near Thiruvananthapuram in May. However, very few people knew that a city lad had played a key role in it. Sounding rocket also known as research rocket is essentially instrument-carrying rocket used to take measurements and perform scientific experiments during its flight.
Twenty-one-year-old Gagan Agrawal led the systems engineering team, one of the key teams of students from Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology (IIST), Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala which was behind the launch of the first student sounding rocket of Asia from IISTs Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre. Agrawal, who just finished his B.Tech in Aerospace from IIST, has become the youngest project scientist in Asia after the rocket launch. At IIST, he had created a student technical forum to up the ante of innovation activities.
The 2.3-metre-long single stage sounding rocket called Vyom or sky in Sanskrit had a lift off weight of 88 kg. It was designed by at least 26 students of first and second batches of Indian Space Research Organizations (ISROs) IIST in early 2009. They had evinced keen interest in designing, developing and launching rockets. The first rocket to be made by students had used a new type of rocket fuel called hydroxyl terminated poly butadiene. As part of the systems engineering team, I was responsible for coordinating logistics between seven teams of students, Agrawal told TOI on Sunday, 8th July, 2012.
Courtesy: Times of India
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