Forest-Side State College Girls Pick Up Signals From MIR-SAT1

Forest-Side College ‘Satellite’ Girls

Mauritius’ first satellite has aroused overwhelming enthusiasm among students at Forest-Side State College.  the 1st school in Mauritius to have decoded MIR-SAT 1, using a Ground-station and appropriate software.

They are the second school in Mauritius to be equipped with a simplified ground station donated by Radio Amateurs.  Vickram Mungul, (3B8BBD) and physics teacher at this school is pleasantly surprised to see the girls’ extraordinary enthusiasm.

“The girls were very motivated, honoured and wanted to know more about the project,” he recalls. The  Girls’ interest in this Mauritian satellite started over a year ago when they were gradually exposed to the operation of satellites and their importance. Since knowledge about satellites is not widespread in Mauritius, they were first introduced to the NOAA satellite and decoding through the use of appropriate software was explained.

“We were not sure of ourselves at the very beginning as this is a new subject. But, little by little, we learned new things. This is what motivated us to learn more, ”says Christa Gunnoo. She now understands  how to communicate with international satellites, but especially what is taught in her physics classes.

Receiving telemetry from the Mauritian satellite was not an easy task for the college. Several tests had to be carried out. Once the tests were completed, there was no sign that the Groundstation was going to acknowledge the first signals.

Aïshani Beeharry-Panray, a Grade 12 student, explains that three software programs are essential for communication. The first concerns the radio, Tracking and the decoder. “The software allows us to know when the satellites will pass over Mauritius and its elevation. We also receive audio and images, ”she says.

The software the girls use is free. They made their own antenna using PVC pipes, solder, pieces of aluminium and glue