Friday, October 30, 2015

AGS visit to Pune

Pune visit team, from Left to Right: Ketkee Kambli,
Samuel Jacob Sir, Akshay Patil, Vikas Anaokar,
Pragnesh Panchal, Sandipan Das and Aishwarya Sansare
We the team members of Atharva Satellite Ground Station went to Pune on 4th August, 2015 with the purpose of visiting College of Engineering- Pune (COEP), Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) - Pune and Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM) to gain some knowledge pertaining to balloon satellites and atmospheric parameters measurement. We were a group of seven people including our project guide Prof. Samuel Jacob who accompanied us to the venture. Since the team is currently working on a balloon satellite project, APSARHA-1, this visit was necessary to understand the new technologies and methods used in advancements for a balloon satellite. We intended to meet experts and scientists in this field who could guide us to our way to launching our balloon. Also from visits and experiencing a live balloon launch if possible we would be sure that we are going on the right track. Visiting COEP was with the intention to have better contacts with other student satellite projects, know more about there ground and exchange knowledge amonsgt both of us.

As per our schedule, we visited COEP on the first day of our stay i.e. 4th August, 2015. There we saw their Robotics Lab, Fabrication Lab and also interacted with the SWAYAM team. We also went on to have a look to their ground station setup and had an interesting discussion on antennas, their characterisation techniques and their tracking mechanisms On-site, their team gave us a demo by tracking and recieving the beacon of a satellite that was passing by at range. We had a great time interacting with the students, they were very cooperative and helpful.

Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology
The next day i.e. on 5th August, 2015, we visited IITM, Pune. This was the most interesting and informative part of our visit. We met Dr. Chakraborty who told us about different atmospheric parameter measurement techniques, such as measuring the ratio of different isotopes of gases in the atmosphere. He showed us the equipment they use for the measurements. We also met Dr. G. Pandithurai who guided us and gave us information about the procedure to be followed for the launch of APSARHA. Luckily, we happened to witness the actual weather monitoring balloon's launch by IITM as well. It was quite a wonderful experience. Moving on, we also saw their data acquisition system which automatically plots the graphs of all the measured parameters.

On the final day of our stay, i.e. 6th August, 2015, we visited IMD-Pune, where we met Mr. Satish Banker. He showed us the ozonesonde and the radiosonde circuits that they use. Also, he explained to us briefly about the calibration process of the ozonesonde and its principle of working. We came to know that though the technology IMD uses is a decade old, it was very accurate in fulfilling the payload. Furthermore, we went on to see the pilot balloon launch which measures the wind speed, it was nothing but the Helium balloon with a long rope attached to it, the rope had two red flags on it, when the balloon was set uplift, technicians just had to track the distance covered by the red flags in equal intervals of time to get the speed of wind. This pilot balloon launch takes place twice a day. We got to know about various instruments for parameter measurement used on ground, such as the Stevenson screen, rain gauge, seisemometer. With this our visit came to an end.

Team at IMD-Pune

Thus this visit to Pune was very fruitful, where we got to know a lot of things about atmosphere parameters, their measurement techniques, ozonesonde, permissions required for the balloon launch etc. This visit also helped us build contacts and interact with very qualified scientists and like minnded students who are experts in their fields, including a healthy exchange of knowledge . We hope to make use of this knowledge gained in our projects and future ventures.


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