Bengaluru: With every passing yr, human beings are more and more making their presence felt in area and the satellite tv for pc enterprise. But this additionally makes it more imperative to recognize how area works and the way satellites feature. This is the vision that 23-12 months-old entrepreneur Nikhitha C. Had when she co-founded the a hit Society for Space Education Research and Development (SSERD), based totally out of Bengaluru.

SSERD works inside the subject of area schooling and outreach in India and overseas, and has trained severa students in subjects related to space.

Nikhitha is likewise a recipient of the Kalpana Chawla Scholarship Fund provided by the prestigious International Space University (ISU) in Europe, wherein she has been decided on for the coveted Executive Space Course this year.

Space revolution
Nikhitha graduated with a bachelor’s diploma in aerospace engineering from Alliance University in Bangalore in 2017. In university, she started out a space membership in January 2016, in which she taught students topics like model rocketry. Since the membership became so a success, Nikhitha turned into keen to enlarge it right into a area outreach institution for college kids.

“We have had periodic revolutions during records. This time, it’s the space revolution,” she says. “When the IT revolution came along, it have become vital for each person to realize how to use a computer. In order to benefit from the area revolution, anyone have to understand and understand area.”

A 12 months before commencement, at a conference, she met entrepreneur Sujay Sreedhar, who shared her vision for space training. They both determined to paintings together on extending the space membership out of doors her university premises. They now not only actively sought out area education opportunities, but also commenced accomplishing space camps much like the well-known ones organised by using NASA.

“It expenses several lakhs to attend, and college students miss out on it due to that,” Nikhitha says. “So we presented a comparable opportunity right here.”

Helping students
The duo set up SSERD as a non-earnings agency in January 2016, and registered it in Kerala, after tries to sign in in Karnataka went nowhere. SSERD also regularly acts as a career manual for college students interested by space, so they don’t unknowingly turn out to be with an inappropriate engineering degree simply as it’s the norm.

They’ve additionally helped college students build very last-year projects for university, including model rockets, remote-managed airplanes, and CanSats — satellites the scale of a soda can, which do not enter orbit however transmit information lower back to Earth as they climb up.

“A lot of students tend to assume satellites are clearly big and might’t be constructed by way of students,” she explained. “We wanted to expose them they are able to.”

Their training outreach additionally proved very a hit. Three private colleges in Bengaluru signed SSERD as much as teach a new concern, area, so one can be in the curricula from the subsequent educational yr. The organization additionally works with the Akshaya Patra Foundation, which helps underprivileged youngsters to gain knowledge of technology and era.

SSERD has about two hundred volunteers and 3 different full-time personnel other than co-founders Nikhitha and Sujay. Several volunteers are college students who are still in school or university, a few are running, while others are researchers or professors.


One of SSERD’s most noteworthy achievements become supporting college students construct a payload that might be released from a high altitude balloon and measure stratospheric ozone; the scholars went on to submit a research paper from the findings.

The team is now running on an astrobiology project for a excessive college pupil, in which microbes and planets could be taken to a height of 30 km through a high-altitude balloon and uncovered to radiation. Once the organic cloth is returned on Earth, it will be studied for modifications. The challenge is in collaboration with the Indian Institute of Astrophysics, to be able to assist with the launch.

International projects
SSERD isn’t restricted to India — one among its student projects was with a college in Africa which wanted to construct a satellite that would climb to over 9 km. Nikhitha’s team helped layout this satellite tv for pc.

SSERD now has an established branch in the Philippines. While preliminary lectures and instructions used to take vicinity online for approximately 50 humans, the group changed into besieged with requests from hundreds of students. So, it installation a crew of teens first of all taught with the aid of Nikhitha, who’re now handing over lectures all over the Philippines.

Nepal is next up for the same extension, and The Netherlands is probably in line as well.

Back to analyzing
Nikhitha travels the world over for her projects and for SSERD’s space training, often handing over lectures at colleges and colleges. It was at one such lecture that Nikhitha encountered folks that helped make a choice that might lead her back to school.

“I was invited by the Space Generation Advisory Council (SGAC) to Mauritius ultimate December, to teach space technology to students there,” she stated. The SGAC is a international, non-governmental, non-profit corporation, running as a part of the United Nations Programme on Space Applications, to encompass younger area expert representatives in enterprise and the UN.

While in Mauritius, Nikhitha was encouraged by other global attendees to apply for the Executive Space Course at the International Space University. It’s a nine-week summer govt programme for humans running in the space quarter. The institute is funded and supported with the aid of the likes of European Commission, the authorities of Estonia, the French Air Force, Airbus, Lockheed Martin, the European Space Agency, NASA, or even the Indian Space Research Organisation, ISRO.

The direction takes region at a distinctive university in Europe every 12 months, and is in France this 12 months. It covers space technological know-how, coverage, entrepreneurship, engineering, arts (like cinematography), and more, with a international intake of one hundred students per batch. Students come from numerous backgrounds, which include finance, regulation, advertising and marketing, and so forth., and have a applicable degree.

Nikhitha additionally acquired the Dr Kalpana Chawla scholarship fund, which the ISU awards to at least one girl pupil from India every 12 months — this year, for a alternate, the scholarship is split among two applicants: Nikhitha and Aditi Nilvarna from Mumbai. The scholarship was set up with the goal of developing strong technical and area leadership features in gifted Indian women.

“We’ll have commonplace guides for the first 3 weeks,” Nikhitha explained. “The next three are specialisations and the last three is while we’ll do a undertaking.”

The future
Nikhitha has masses of plans for the nonetheless-bootstrapped SSERD once she’s achieved with the course. The Kerala authorities has expressed interest in which includes space as part of a few faculties’ curricula, and he or she is also hoping to release space clubs in tier-2 and tier-3 towns, to increase outreach to individuals who gained’t in any other case be exposed to area technological know-how and technology.