Rocket is a transportation vehicle. Like a bus that takes passengers from one stop to another, rocket takes satellites from earth to space, is how class nine student N. Ajas Riswan from the Coimbatore Corporation Higher Secondary School, Ramanathapuram, explains the difference between rocket and satellite.
Satellite sits in the space and helps provide a variety of services. Navigation service that Google Maps provides, for one, is possible because of satellite. It also helps in disaster management, agriculture and defence.
The clarity with which Riswan speaks comes from his recent visit to the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) in Thiruvananthapuram. He was one of the 25 Corporation school students who went there as a part of the project undertaken by Aram Foundation and HCL Foundation.
Riswan continues. ISRO sent India’s first satellite Aryabhatta, you know, on a foreign rocket from French Guyana. India’s first rocket was Rohini 75, a miniature of which I saw at the VSSC. “I touched the Rohini 75 miniature before I could be warned. It was hard and I felt proud – proud of the achievements our country has made in space faring.”
The use of heat shield on rockets is what Okkiliyar Colony school Plus One student A. Mohamed Arafath found interesting. “It is the first time that I heard about it and wanted to learn more,” he says and adds that the four stages of separation also got him excited.
K. Harini, a Class 10 student from Ranganathapuram school, liked the model of astronaut’s suit that was on display. “I was gazing at the suit for quite sometime and when the guide at VSSC told us that even a scratch on the suit can endanger life, I was surprised to know the risk involved in space missions.”
Aram Foundation Managing Trustee Latha Sundaram says with support from HCL Foundation and Corporation, the organisation took 25 students and three teachers on a trip to the VSSC. The trip was a part of the smart schools project that the two foundations implemented in Corporation schools.
The schools selected the students for whom the foundations conducted an orientation programme prior to the visit. The purpose for holding the programme was to provide basic knowledge of rockets, satellites, launch, space and ISRO to the students.
As a part of the trip, the students’ visit to the Kerala Science and Technology Museum was fruitful in that the students related to the exhibits on display as most of those were working models of what they were studying in classrooms as theory and, therefore, had only imagined, says Physics teacher at the Rathinapuri school, S. Padmanathan. “That the students conducted experiments on the model had them wanting more.”
Mr. Padmanathan adds: the trip has made him a better teacher. “Earlier, I was explaining elephant to students without seeing one. Now that I’ve seen an elephant, I can explain better. That is the impact.”
Ms. Latha says that the 25 students are now demanding that they be taken to Sriharikota to see a launch live.
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