They won a journey of a lifetime
By Shilpa Vasudevan - CHENNAI
03rd December 2012 12:00 AM
Faculty of Engineering of the University of Strathclyde, UK, conducted Reach for the Stars, a challenge where students were asked to work in teams of two on a business idea related to the space industry, this year. Participants were asked to present a two-minute video in this regard and were judged on their creativity and innovation, cost, marketing and communication skills. Arun Lakshmanan and Ashwin Sundaram Ramesh, third-year mechanical engineering students of Vellore Institute of Technology (VIT), bagged the grand prize that included a month-long trip to Faculty of Engineering which concluded in July.
“Our bonanza included spending time with NASA astronauts — Ron Garan and Mike Baker — and spacesuit designer Heather Paul in an informal environment,” beams Ashwin. “We visited Loch Lomond, St Andrews and Stirling Castle. It was thrilling to sail on Catalina, a Sigma 33 cruiser racer owned by the university’s Department of Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering,” says Arun.
They also visited companies like Thinktank Maths, Clyde Space and Steepest Ascent. For the latter, the boys helped with a consultancy project. “Steepest Ascent, which is into telecommunication signals is looking to venture into miniature satellites. We researched its potential for them,” Ashwin explained. Incidentally, the VITians project for the contest was on adapting NASA’s technology for aircrafts into Indian Railways to keep the drainage system clean.
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