Rama Krishna Sangem
Space Kidz India (SKI), a Chennai based organisation that promotes space interest among youth, has celebrated India @75 by sending a national flag 30 km above the earth. This is called near space zone as space begins at 80 km above the earth. The balloon is sent in 15 ft diameter through a parachute. This flag hovers over Chennai city.
The flag at 1,06,000 ft above the ground is launched into the high altitude of upper atmosphere, along with some scientific payload aboard the balloon. Dr Srimathy Kesan, founder CEO of SKI from Chennai told Excel India that: “We wanted to our tribute to the freedom fighters and celebrate 76th Independence Day by unfurling the flag above 1,06,000 ft from the earth”.
“This is a small gesture from a small organisation,” said she. A core team 12 and extended team of 25 people from SKI are behind this helium balloon launch. Dr Srimathy’s SKI may be small in size, but not in stature. She was behdind thousands of students and youth turning space as their passion and involved in making of satellites and 18 such helium balloons for space launch.
SKI joined hands with ISRO and other major space research organisations in the world to send satellites with scientific payloads in the last few years. SKI has a satellite Azadi Sat in the recent ill-fated ISRO’s rocket. This particular satellite was prepared by 750 rural girls. These girls were selected from 75 government schools in rural areas across India, at the rate of 10 from each. All the girls are from 8-12th class.
Niti Aayog has partnered for this project to bring this opportunity to the government school girls. SKI conducts space camps for the students where they can get real time experiences like zero-gravity etc. Srimathy Kesan, who was born and brought up in Hyderabad is now settled in Chennai. Her SKI has taken several youth to NASA too to get better exposure to the space as a career as well as passion.