India’s first ever micro satellite built by Anna University, Chennai, and launched by Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) last April from Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota, is almost dead. Though Isro officials expressed ignorance about the functioning of the satellite, Anna University vice-chancellor, Dr Mannar Jawahar, told Deccan Chronicle that the country’s first ever-micro satellite built by a university is in “pretty bad shape”.
“Initially, we were getting a lot of data from Anusat. The performance was much better than our expectations. But over the last couple of months, the signals have become very weak,” said Prof Jawahar. He attributed the poor signals to the weakening of the solar panel of the satellite.
“It is the power generated by the solar panel which sustains the satellite. The position of the panel with respect to sun got disturbed. This seriously affected the functioning of the 40 kg satellite,” said the soft-spoken vice-chancellor. He said efforts were on to revive the satellite though chances of it coming back to normal look bleak. “We have not lost hope and the team of Anna University scientists is trying its best to bring it back to normalcy,” said Prof Jawahar.
Dr P.V. Ramakrishna, project director, Anusat, refused to say anything about the health of the satellite. “We have issued a release on August 19 and we do not have anything more to say about the satellite,” he said.
According to that release, the project team, operating from the College of Engineering Guindy, and MIT Chromepet, were monitoring the orbital and health parameters of the satellite on a day-to-day basis in close consultation with scientists at Isro. “With the performance results obtained so far, it is expected that the satellite will complete its expected life of two years,” said the release.
23:36 UTC – low pass, but strong carrier on 137.400 MHz