Come July, a nanosatellite that hundreds of students of PES University have worked on for over five years will be launched. PISAT — a close homonym to PESIT, but “actually named after the mathematical constant pi” — will be propelled into space by the Indian Space Research Organisation. The students are excited, while their mentors are busy ensuring that nothing goes wrong when the satellite is revolving around earth — at a distance between 680 and 720 km. The labs that house the electronic devices to control and orient the satellite are abuzz with activity, as the day for the payload to take off approaches. Guiding the students in this ambitious endeavour are Dr V K Agarwal, Dr V Sambasiva Rao — both formerly from ISRO — and Divya Rao A, assistant professor. All of them are working at Crucible of Research and Innovation (CoRI) at PES University. Dr Agarwal described PISAT as a near-earth satellite. “The main objective of the project is to teach students how a satellite works and what goes on before a satellite is ready for launch,” he told City Express. ISRO, he noted, was launching student satellites free of charge. “However, the expense incurred for the satellite design and ground station construction have exceeded 1.5 crore,” he added. Dr V Sambashiva Rao said new students are enrolled every year as PISAT would be an ongoing project. “SKR Engineering College, Veltech University, Chennai, Sona College of Technology, Salem, and Nehru College of Engineering, Thrissur, are also co-ordinating with us,” he said. Divya Rao said they had to work on three to four designs before the nanosatellite was finalised. “The design allows it to be very stable, a requirement for remote-sensing satellites,” she said. Dr Agarwal said PISAT would be the second student satellite from the state to be launched by ISRO.