Arun Lakshman/ Chennai, Feb 22 (IANS)
The Martin Foundation based out of Chennai has partnered with the Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam International Foundation, Kalpakam Atomic Research Centre, and Space Zone of India to launch 150 satellites made by school children from across the country. The satellites were launched on Sunday, February 19th at Chennai.
The Managing Director of Martin Foundation ,Jose Charles Martin told IANS in an exclusive interview the foundation is excited to be part of this novel initiative and is looking forward to more such projects that help kindle the interest of space science in children from government school and tribal backgrounds.
Excerpts from the interview
Q- What prompted Martin Foundation to be part of the space initiative?
A- Martin Foundation was inspired by the potential of space exploration that benefits humanity, and our local school communities and embraced the opportunity to get involved in the space initiative. Through its financial support and commitment to research, the foundation has become a major collaborator in small new-age satellite missions in the last few years. The foundation’s goals of equality also include advancing knowledge in space exploration, developing new technologies to make space education more feasible, and fostering collaboration between professionals in the same field. We are grateful to Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam International Foundation and Space Zone India for the success of this rocket launch and their vast enthusiasm for the space movement in India.
Q- After the Satellite launch you’ve commented that more such initiatives are in the pipeline, please explain.
A- Martin Foundation has always been a big believer in innovation and progress for everyone. So after witnessing firsthand the success of the rocket launch and the glimmering happiness it brought to the students and teachers who have participated throughout the year in this program, I understand the potential of such space initiatives. I believe space missions like this will definitely advance our society in the right direction, creating a better future for generations to come. So the possibilities are endless and we aim to be part of this progress.
Q- What was the feeling after the Satellites were launched?
A- It is something that cannot be described. To see the smiles on students’ faces who worked on this project for many months and to see their dreams come true is definitely a beautiful experience. We were all on the edge of our seats and rolled out the countdown together. The cheerful atmosphere is something I cannot forget and I thank every single person and human ingenuity for making this moment possible.
Q- Is Martin Foundation planning any independent Satellite launch for education purposes?
A- Martin Foundation has long been interested in education and understands its importance to support initiatives that will help to advance each field. We believe in its promise of helping create new knowledge, technologies, and opportunities that will benefit all humanity. We are also excited about the impact and learnings of this Satellite launch and the wealth of discoveries it will bring. So we want to uphold this support for the advancement of space knowledge and look forward to creating more opportunities.
Q- You have said that such an initiative would lead to more and more students getting hooked to Space. Please explain.
A- Over 2500 students from government, tribal and public schools across the country became part of a team that designed and constructed a student satellite launch vehicle (rocket) mission that contained a payload of 150 PICO satellite research experiment cubes. Isn’t that just exciting to be part of! I believe Martin Foundation’s role in this space initiative is to ensure that the students goals of the space exploration movement are met and that the potential of space exploration is realized. The successful launch of this rocket is a testament to the hard work of each and every student, teacher, and mentor and an optimistic sign of great things to come. I had the privilege to meet and learn from the students who had participated in the virtual training classes about the satellite launch. They gleefully mentioned how seeing a rocket being launched with the satellite equipment that they had designed and developed has naturally amplified their space curiosity and they plan to pursue STEM courses and take Indian Space Research to the next level.
Q- India is fast developing into a country that will offer satellite launches to other countries and the private sector is being encouraged in this area. Are you planning any such ventures?
A- The history of Indian Space Research dates back many centuries. And to honour and be a small part of this space quest is something I’m excited about. Our goal is to create space awareness in each and every village of our nation and give equal access to tribal, government, and private school students to learn and hone their skills in space exploration. After the huge milestone achieved in Tamil Nadu and seeing the space enthusiasm shared by children, and teachers across our country, we’re happy to be part of this momentous journey of satellite technology and the scientific advancements it brings forth.
Q- Please give us a small insight into Martin Foundation and the philanthropic activities that you are into.
A- Martin Foundation is a non-profit, fighting poverty, disease, and inequity in India. Our Foundation was founded by Mr. Santiago Martin (Founder, Chairman of ‘Martin Group’) on a mission to fight the greatest inequities in our country and across. The foundation supports many healthcare, food relief programs, emergency funds, educational help, and government relief funds. I am personally inspired by my mother Mrs. Leema Rose Martin and all her philanthropic pursuits that were imbibed within us as children. I’m naturally inclined to the belief that each individual must give back a portion of the goodness they have received, in return to society. And true success begins the moment you start giving.