NEW DELHI: Addressing the 76th session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) in New York on Saturday, PM Narendra Modi announced that India will launch 75 satellites into space, being built by Indian students, on the occasion of the country’s 75th Independence Day next year.
In his address, the PM said, “On the occasion of 75 years of independence, India is going to launch 75 satellites into space made by Indian students in schools and colleges. To strengthen science-based approach, India is promoting experience-based learning. We have opened thousands of Atal Tinkering Labs and incubators across schools” A start-up ecosystem is being developed in the country, he said.
Expressing his views on the importance of a science-based approach for learning, Modi said, “Regressive thinking and extremism is increasingly threatening the world. In these circumstances, the entire world will have to make science-based rational and progressive thinking the basis of their development programmes.”
The Initiative of Indian Technology Congress Association (ITCA) has been working on the “75 Student Satellites’ Mission 2022” programme in collaboration with national and international tech-space organisations. The mission comprises a consortium of institutions that would be developing and launching their own student-built satellites by 2022.
According to ITCA, 32 institutions are part of the consortium and their teams would be progressing to ‘deep-dive’ technology-capability-business potential assessments with ITCA's mentors and domain experts. It had earlier invited applications from 75 student groups to build 75 nano or small satellites. These groups would be provided an opportunity to use Isro's launchpad to launch their satellites. For student satellite launches, ITCA has also signed an MoU with Israel schools and government to collaborate with Indian institutions.
ITCA's initiative is inspired by Modi's idea of “Gaganyaan Space Mission 2022”, which too was earlier scheduled for launch next year to coincide with 75 years of Independence but the country’s maiden human space-flight mission got delayed due to the pandemic and now the launch is delayed.
Student satellites gained prominence globally as a hands-on education tool and has emerged as a trend to build experiential learning and demonstrate enhanced practice-based outcomes.