Students set record for assembling rocket models

Express News Service

PANAJI: The launch of Gaganyaan, India’s manned space mission, has been postponed to 2023 due to Covid-19. Nonetheless, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is trying to keep the buzz going and motivate young minds by sponsoring 500 students to create a Guinness World Record for assembling Gaganyaan’s functional rocket model at one place. 

All these rockets assembled by 500 students following a two-hour exercise at the India International Science Festival (IISF) under the guidance of N Sudheer Kumar (Director, Capacity Building Programme Office, ISRO) were launched at Panaji Gymkhana ground. It was done under the super-vision of experts from the country’s premier space agency. Around 496 students were part of record-making lot.

“Size of the rocket is 300-350 mm and it will have cartridge of solid propellant. It rocket will weigh around 250-300 gm and can go to a height of 250 metres,” said Kumar.

He said it was an attempt to make a working model of GSLV Mark III for human rated launch vehicle (HRLV) for Gaganyaan. Training the students is Diyanshu Poddar’s start-up, Rocketeers. “We are not just attempting rocket assembly records but functional Gaganyaan model rockets which were launched at Panaji Gymkhana. Students from Class XI have been trained by 60 volunteers to assemble the rockets,” said Poddar, who has launched over 1.5 lakh rockets.

He graduated from the Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology, Thiruvananthapuram (IIST), in 2012 and worked with the Chandrayaan 2 team as part of the Spacecraft Mechanism Group of ISRO.

The idea was to train students in understanding rocket science and generate interest by building and launching their models. These rockets, being small, don’t go very high but involves skills to understand technology.