ByDecember 26, 2019
How often do we have dreams that can shoot up to 10,000 feet in the sky? Well, not often. However, if your dream is powered by the support of a like-minded community and cutting edge technology, it certainly can.
Being a student of aeronautical engineering and a member of the prestigious thrust MIT project, what could have been a cloud-nine moment for me than to see a sounding rocket that we had built, reach that height!
As the name prompts, it is an initiative of Manipal Institute of Technology (MIT), which is run by engineering students. This 43-member strong team is into building sounding rockets. Exciting, eh?
We already have created some buzz by winning a spot award at the Spaceport America Cup, 2018 for the ‘design’. Guess what? It was our debut participation!
thrustMIT has been a great growth supplement in my career as an engineer and I can’t thank it enough. Being into aeronautical engineering, I couldn’t have asked for more of an exposure than being a part of this project. Not only do I get to apply my theory knowledge but also get to learn a lot about team-work.
Due to lack of availability of resources in India and ban of export for many chemicals and products, we develop everything in-house. As this is a very technical project, even a mistake of few decimal digits can lead to complete failure of the launch, we do not risk anything and double check everything. All the rockets developed by thrustMIT have 90% of their products manufactured in-house and only few items such as sensors are outsourced or bought directly.
Since it is a rocketry project and one of the only few in India, things were not that easy. Especially due to the lack of regulations and guidelines from the government, regarding model rocketry. The sky seemed to be filled with a mist of uncertainty as we did not know how to test our rockets. When that was figured out, there were more hitches on our way – the first rocket launch FAILED! The second launch was partially successful as the lift-off was successful and the apogee was attained but the parachute failed to open, therefore the recovery failed.
However, these failures and the hitches that we faced on the way was an integral part of learning and the success we achieved later on.
It is never an easy doing when you have to stay away from your comfort zone and to be honest, I was a little apprehensive about it when I stepped into Manipal for the first time. However, life became easier when I got to know the place and the people from close quarters.
‘Ragging’ is often a big issue with Indian engineering colleges but this is something that is non-existent in Manipal. I loved the ways in which seniors valued the inclusion of juniors in everything! I was glad and relieved to find out that focus over here is solely on innovation.
Another thing I would like to mention here is the infrastructure at Manipal which is among the best, not just in India but the world over. People might assume me to be biased in my appreciation of my alma-mater but they should come and see the facilities and the bonding students have with their senior counterparts and also the teaching and non-teaching staffs.
I have friends from various other colleges and I’ve never heard anyone saying anything about how great cross-departmental functioning is in their respective colleges. This is something that is commendable at Manipal. All the sectors work in resonance and run the university in a well-organized manner. No one in Manipal is unapproachable; you can seek an appointment with any faculty or staff right till the director level regarding any work! I have at multiple times sought the help of the teachers from the different department for doubts regarding my studies and the project work as well. Though thrustMIT is a project of the aeronautical department, we have never faced issues in using the resources of chemical, mechanical, electrical and physics department.
Manipal’s history needs no elaboration as it is etched in memories of the time. What makes this place even more beautiful is its geographical location. Situated on the south-western coasts of the Indian sub-continent, this place has a strong appeal. It is quaint and a little detached from the madding crowd of a typical city but guess what? It has all the facilities you can ever ask for even in the biggest of cities!
Certainly one of the finest places in India and the world to come, explore and study!
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