An Indian Private satellite that will be launched to space by the end of February will carry a photograph of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a copy of the Bhagwad Gita, and names of 25,000 citizens. The Satish Dhawan Satellite, or SD SAT, will be launched by the polar satellite launch vehicle (PSLV).
As reported by the Hindustan Times, this satellite has been named one of the founding fathers of India’s space programme and developed by SpaceKidz India, an organisation dedicated to promoting space science among students will also carry three scientific payloads —one to study space radiation, one to study the magnetosphere, and another that will demonstrate a low-power wide-area communication network.
Dr Srimathy Kesan, founder and CEO of SpaceKidz India while speaking to the media said, “There is a lot of excitement in the group right now. This will be our first satellite to be deployed in space. When we finalised the mission, we asked people to send in their names that will be sent to space.”
She said they received 25,000 entries within a week. “Of these, 1,000 names were sent in by people from outside India. There is a school in Chennai that sent in the names of everyone. We decided to do this because it will spark interest of the people in the mission and space science,” she added.
Kesan added that they decided to send a copy of the Bhagvad Gita to space on the lines of other space missions that have carried holy books such as the Bible.
“We have also added the name and photograph of the prime minister on the top panel with the words Atmanirbhar mission. This satellite has been completely developed and fabricated in India, including the electronics and circuitry,” she said.
The names of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) chairperson Dr K Sivan and scientific secretary Dr R Umamaheswaran have been etched on the bottom panel.
This is one of the two satellites developed by Indian startups that will be launched for the first time by ISRO after the country opened up the space sector to private entities in June last year.