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India’s premier technology institutes, the IITs, have found global recognition for their bright students but many lesser-known engineering colleges in India also produce students the country can be proud of. While it’s well-known that big private manufacturers such as Godrej Aerospace and L&T have contributed to the making of Chandrayaan-3, few would know that an engineering college in Salem district of Tamil Nadu devised motors for the Moon mission.

Students and researchers of Sona College of Technology developed a stepper motor for use in the LVM-3 rocket that lifted off the Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft and placed it into the Earth’s orbit. The research team of the college developed the simplex permanent magnet stepper motor for the actuator assembly of LVM-3 that controlled the rocket engine’s liquid fuel and oxidizer mixture ratio. While the college designed the motor, it was produced by a private company, Vee Technologies.

In April this year, in a significant milestone in developing India’s own reusable launch vehicle that is similar to a space shuttle, ISRO successfully conducted the Reusable Launch Vehicle (RLV) autonomous landing mission at Chitradurga in Karnataka. This ISRO project too had a critical component designed by Sona SPEED (Sona Special Power Electronics and Electric Drives), the R&D unit of Dept. of Electrical and Electronics Engineering at Sona College of Technology.
SONA 25kW quadruplex BLDC motor was used in the helicopter hoist for lifting RLV to 4.5 km altitude and releasing for autonomous landing on the runway at Chitradurga. The research team of the college supplied components for Chandrayaan-2. In 2017, Sona College of Technology students, along with students from five other colleges, launched a student PICO satellite from the ISRO facilities.
“We are privileged to contribute to ISRO’s Moon mission through R&D work at the Sona College of Technology. The research team is committed to supporting ISRO’s future space missions too,” Prof N Kannan, Head, SonaSPEED.

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