Guwahati/ 31st July’2017 (Prag News Desk): Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) became part of a global project that will help bring star travel closer to reality, when its PSLV C38 rocket launched six prototypes of tiny interstellar spacecraft, or sprites, into low-earth orbit on June 23 this year.
Though India’s Cartosat-2 satellite was the main payload of the June 23 launch, the PSLV C38 carried with it 29 nano satellites from 14 countries. The six sprite prototypes piggybacked on Venta and Max Valier educational satellites (two of the 29 satellites).
While Venta-1 is a Latvian satellite built in collaboration with Germany, Max Valier is a nano satellite co-developed by teams of Germany and Italy. Another four sprites are still mounted on Max Valier and await deployment.
The good news is that one of these six stamp-sized sprites, which weigh just 4gm and are 3.5cm long, has managed to establish contact with ground stations, becoming the smallest spacecraft ever to do so. It’s being seen as a giant step in space technology, with the Isro launch sowing the seed of what could be future interstellar missions.