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Reaching for the stars

Statesman News Service |

IIT Kharagpur&’s National Students’ Space Challenge is the only
college festival in India to give space technology that much required boost

Ever since space exploration began both at a national and international level, the world has started seeing a broader picture of the gallant portrait of stars. In 2012, numerous events and discoveries gave students a better perspective about space technology&’s commodious reach and a group of students from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur has taken it upon themselves to popularise this technology across India.
   The Space Technology Students’ Society — a functional unit of the Kalpana Chawla Space Technology Cell of IIT Kharagapur – is the Indian Space Research Organisation&’s contact point in the institute. It is the only student body in India to dedicate an entire festival to space technology and provides students with hands-on experience to solve real problems that usually come up while exploring the deep annals of space. The festival — entitled National Students’ Space Challenge — also conducts workshops to guide present generations in astrophysics. The NSSC first gained recognition when it started becoming popular among students in India in its very first year. In 2012 a large number of students participated in the festival, which hosted a variety of events. “Ski-trek” imposed a concept of miniature space elevators that challenged students to build a rover capable of climbing a vertical pole carrying cubical masses that acted as the rover&’s load.
 “Armdroid” put forward the challenge of building robotic arms that were widely used in industrial sectors. The idea was to include varying degrees of freedom that the arm was capable of in a robot and participants were given tasks to put these degrees of freedom to the test. “Dock” imposed a unique real-life experience where participants had to build a mother bot and a daughter bot. The daughter bot had to detach itself from the mother bot, perform the task assigned to it and dock itself back. The water rocketry competition tested participants’ skills where they got full opportunity to improve the design of their rockets for maximum range and accuracy. D-space — a paper presentation event — worked on improving earth&’s space defences. Problem statements focused on preparing defenses in case an asteroid were to collide with the earth in the future.
This year, the NSSC will be a six-day event and will include a showdown of ground and underwater robotics, water rocketry, coding, overnight experience and a plethora of competitions for ambitious engineers to win prizes worth Rs 1.5 lakh. The festival will include lectures by eminent astronomers and personalities from across the globe. The NSSC hopes to reach out to as many students as possible in a bid to promote a passion for space technology across India. For more information, contact: [email protected], pra[email protected], [email protected] or [email protected]