Team Abhyuday from Indian Institute of Technology Madras which participated in Spaceport America Cup (Pic. Courtesy Twitter/@ESRArocket)
The students of Indian Institute of Madras brought laurels for their institution and India their Team Abhyuday participating at the Spaceport America Cup in Las Cruces, United States, saw their rocket soar into the sky.
The team was co-led by Aaditya Edupuganti and last month at the event when their rocket ascended to its target altitude of 10,000 feet, there was jubilation in the entire group. Their performance got them 16th rank out of 158 in the category of Barrowman Ranking which is a measure of how close the team has achieved to the predicted height of the rocket.
Team Abhyuday’s story which is that of Edupuganti and 31 other students of IIT-M started in 2020 when they decided to participate in the world’s largest intercollegiate rocket engineering conference and competition. Organised by the Experimental Sounding Rocket Association, the Spaceport America Cup is an event that sees more than 150 teams from different colleges and universities around the world competing against each other to launch solid, liquid and hybrid rockets that are targeted to altitudes of 10,000 and 30,000 feet.
Talking to the media about how the idea for the rocket came into being, Edupauganti said he got attracted to aerospace engineering because of the legendary Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam’s persona. And the passion for this subject led him to enroll in the prestigious M.Tech dual degree programme at IIT-Madras.
Being the co-head of Team Abhyuday, he took charge of the rocket’s development and preparations for the competition. He also contributed to the research, brainstorming sessions and fabrication through his leadership skills and technical expertise.
Following extensive research, iterative design, constant refining and using of software tools like RocketSim and OpenRocket, the rocket christened Chetak-1 came into being. It underwent changes more than 20 times to be able to optimize the dimensions, distribution of weight and configuration of fin, so that it became optimally efficient and stable.
All this hard work, patience, determination and inventiveness paid dividends when the team made its maiden participation at the event where 158 international teams had gathered to showcase their innovative designs.
Edupuganti hails from Andhra Pradesh’s Vijayawada and his father E.Phani Purna Chandra Rao is an Indian Air Force veteran and his mother Anitha is a homemaker. He completed his schooling from Kendriya Vidyalaya in SN Puram and intermediate from Sarada Educational Institutions in Vijayawada.
Besides being passionate about rockets, he is fond of cricket and art and can play tabla like a professional.