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National Students’ Space Challenge ’13, IIT Kharagpur

National Students’ Space Challenge (NSSC) has for the past three years, been a unique space fest held at IIT Kharagpur. Organized by Space Technology Students’ Society (spAts), functioning under Kalpana Chawla Space Technology Cell, the contact point of ISRO at IIT Kharagpur. NSSC is a platform to students all over India for appreciating the wide scope of space exploration and its contribution to mankind. The diverse problem statements in NSSC provide a first-hand experience to students in solving real time space challenges faced during the actual space missions.

NSSC ’13 was the third voyage of this amazing fest which was held from the 6th-8th September. NSSC ’13 was declared open by the Director, Prof. P.P. Chakrabarti on 6th evening. The events were a delight to watch where the participants were trying their best to complete the problem statements given.

Submerge II noticed an amazing enthusiasm among the students when they tried to perform the process of transporting blocks underwater. Many of them failed in their first attempts, so tried again to modify their designs according to the requirements. This brought out the true genius from the participants and their ability to adapt according to the given scenario.


Submerge: Autonomous robots have seen an exponential growth in the past decade and now they have significant effect in every aspect of our life.

Armdroid witnessed a tremendous participation where the robotic arm had to displace objects of different shapes from one location to another. Robotic arm is extensively used in international space stations and armdroid gave them a snapshot from the real picture.

Ski trek reached tremendous elevation with the bots transporting cubical objects to different heights. The major problem faced by the bots was to hold themselves at a particular elevation in order to transfer the object to the platform.

Lift-Off saw some amazing designs of water rockets which depicted awesome aero-modelling skills among the students in India. It took every-one’s breath away when a rocket reached the range of 170m. The top three rockets crossed the mark of 150m which made the task of measuring the range even more difficult for the organizing team. Several launchers were meticulously built which fetched the appreciation of all.


The water rocketry challenge is a competition to build a rocket powered by pressurised water

The workshops organized on astro-photography, amateur astronomy and Ornithopter also attracted a wide number of participants. The sessions on astro-photography allowed the participants to take a closer look at the night sky.

Drilldroid: NASA’s Mars Science laboratory landed the curiosity rover on Mars in 2011 with the efforts of finding evidence of life.

Despite a good turnout at the indoor sessions, the outdoor sessions had to be unfortunately cancelled due to the weather. Amateur astronomy gave them an idea to stare intelligently at the sky and try to identify different celestial bodies with the naked eye along with the different constellations.

Guest lectures by eminent personalities namely Dr. N. Srinivasa Hegde, mission director of Chandrayaan I and Dr. P. C. Agarawal, Retired Professor of Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) and an expert in X-ray and Gamma Ray Astronomy, grabbed the attention of all. Dr. Hegde provided some insight on the recent Mars orbiter mission that is being planned by ISRO, including a few technical details of the instruments to be used and their specifications. Dr. Agarawal gave a speech on how X-rays and Gamma rays are being used these days to explore the vast expanse of space around us.

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