Satellite Pratham, designed by IIT Bombay and launched on September 26 from Sriharihota, has sent a signal while passing over UK, today afternoon at approximately 3:40pm. A strong signal was received at the Ham University, UK, today, September 28, confirming the stability of the satellite.. According to the Pratham team at IIT Bombay (IITB), they were expecting a clear signal from the satellite within 48 hours after the launch. The satellite has passed over India thrice since its launch, but signals received from it were too weak. A strong signal implies that the satellite has stabilised in its orbit, and marks up to 95% success of Pratham’s mission.
“The signal gets converted into an audio file. We then input the audio in our system to demodulate it and recover the data inside. Once we get this data, we can identify the location, height, orientation, etc of the satellite,” said Hussain Manasawala, an IIT Bombay alumni and part of the Pratham team. Hussain, along with his team is currently headed to the Governor’s office for a commemoration ceremony for their success with India’s first student satellite. You can read about the commemoration ceremony here.
The signal received from the satellite has been debugged. “This confirms that the satellite has gotten rid of the high angular rates imparted to it during ejection from the laucnh vehicle. It has started estimating the correct altitude using GPS position, the Earth’s magnetic field, and sun’s position as reference vectors,” said Hussain. You can listen to the audio signal received from Pratham here.
The characteristics of the signal received, like the amount of distortion during transmission, will help the team derive details of the free electrons in the ionosphere. According to Hussain, as time passes, the stability of the satellite will increase. Pratham will pass over India once again tonight at around 11pm.
PaGaLGuY will keep updating about the location and orientation of the satellite, and any further signals received from it. You can watch a video of the launch of the satellite live through Doordarshan National here.
Hear the Morse code signal received from the satellite here.