Students’ Rocket Soars Into History
'Vyom', the first ever rocket to be built by students, was launched from Thumba on Friday evening and went on to scale a height of 14 kilometers | By Yentha
On May 14, 2012


The Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology (IIST) was established by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), in 2007 to bring in the best minds in the country into space research and related fields. On May 12, 2012, at 8:25 pm, the first ever students’ rocket, conceived, planned and realized by a team of 26 students, that includes ten Alumini from the first batch of IIST, took off from the Thumba Equatorial Rocket Launching Station (TERLS). 'Vyom', reached the expected height of fourteen kilometers and officials of IIST confirmed that the project objectives were 'satisfactorily met by the team'.

“The real objective was to have them trained and get used to what it is like to work at ISRO. And they got to experience how team work can make things happen even when faced by the most complicated of obstacles,” said Project Head and Emeritus Professor, Dr. K N Ninan.


'Vyom' team


The Vyom rocket is a single stage sounding rocket standing at a height of 2.3 meters. It has a diameter of 207mm and a lift-off weight of 88 kilograms. The payload was the 10 kilogram tri-axis accelerometer, which measures the earth's gravitational force on the three axes. The unique features of Vyom, besides being the first rocket in India to be made by students, include using a new type of motor called the HTPB (Hydorxyl Terminated Poly Butadiene) motor, for which a new type of propellant grain too was developed by the team.

“This is the first project of this kind and is truly a giant leap for the nation in the field of space science and research,” says Anand Kumar, Administrative Officer, IIST.



The beginning of this project dates back to 2009, when a group of students from the first and second batches expressed their interest to know more about sounding rockets. Sounding rockets are those which have a range of 50 to 150 kilometers are primarily used to carry instruments to measure specifics within the range, which falls between the maximum of a balloon and the minimum of a satellite. They were encouraged to 'learn by doing' by the IIST faculty and with the support from the experts at VSSC, the multi layered, multi specified process of building a rocket was successfully completed three years later in 2012.


“We would like to see more projects like this happening in a continual fashion, but nothing has been made definite till now. There are a lot of technicalities involved in a project of such measure, so the matter needs serious discussions,” said Dr. K N Ninan, upon being asked about the possibility of seeing more projects like this.

The project 'nano satellite' which involved positioning a two kilogram satellite into the orbit has been shelved for now.



“It is a wholly different matter from Vyom and nothing more can be said about it now,” he said.


'Vyom' team with ISRO Director


As for the student team, they are already planning on upgrading the rocket to reach higher altitudes and develop green propellants, which would have minimal effects on the environment. For them, the project is both education and profession as the students from IIST go directly to ISRO to do research  and probe further into unraveling the mysteries of the universe.  

Image Courtesy: www.facebook.com/Vyom.IIST


Related Yentha Stories:

'Vyom' Will Kiss The Sky This Friday

Campus Talk: IIST – Training Ground For The Best In The Field

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