Sona College of Technology powers ISRO rocket that launched Insat-3DS weather satellite

Asha Bajaj
3 min readFeb 25, 2024




IBNS-CMEDIA: The Tamil Nadu city of Salem, famous for its textiles and steel production, is gradually becoming one of the key suppliers of components for ISRO’s space missions.

The Salem-based Sona College of Technology once again displayed its sound research capabilities when its SonaSPEED (Sona Special Power Electronics & Electric Drives) division created stepper motor powered GSLV-F14 rocket that launched the country’s latest weather satellite Insat-3DS with precision from the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, Sriharikota on February 17, 2024.

These were a set of simplex permanent magnet stepper motors for use in the mixture control actuator during the cryogenic stage of the launch. The mixture control actuator helps mix liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen in precise combination for a perfect lift off. The SonaSPEED Team created motors were performance tested in the presence of scientists at the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre before delivery.

“Sona research team rigorously followed the process in the design and manufacture of this critical piece of equipment,” said Dr SRR Senthil Kumar, Principal, Sona College of Technology.

This satellite will greatly assist India’s weather agencies and help in providing increasingly accurate weather forecasting and disaster warning.

“With years of research Sona College teams have sharpened design and development capabilities that go into making precision equipment for the space, defence and automotive sector,” said Chocko Valliappa, Vice Chairman, Sona College of Technology.

“Sona College researchers are confident of extending India’s sharp engineering edge to support the government’s Make in India initiative, especially in the defence sector,” adds Valliappa.

Sona College has earned half a dozen multi-million research grants from the Department of Science and Technology (DST)-Science and Engineering Research Board, IBM as well as National Technical Textile Mission in the current academic year.

As a reliable partner for developing indigenous technology products like rocket motors for mission critical applications of ISRO, SonaSPEED has been picked up to provide precision components for the ensuing Gaganyaan mission.

The pioneering R&D efforts of researchers and faculty at SonaSPEED have led them to supply ISRO special purpose BLDC (Brushless DC) motors for satellites and rockets as well as lunar robots for previous space missions.

Sona College of Technology students, along with students from five other colleges, launched a student PICO satellite from ISRO facilities in September 2017.

Sona College of Technology offers undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral programs in the areas of engineering, technology, and management.

The full-time faculty and researchers team that includes around 200 doctorates, Fulbright and Chevening scholars, has topped the National Programme on Technology Enhanced Learning (NPTEL) outcomes nationally five times.

The NIRF India Rankings 2023 place Sona College of Technology in the 151–200 Rank-band among Engineering institutions, the only institution from Salem. The college has 36 R&D laboratories for cutting-edge research and through which it strives to bring in new-age skills.

Sona College has been recognised as the ‘Best Industry-Linked Institution’, by the Confederation of Indian Industry and All India Council for Technical Education (CII-AICTE), for the past eight years.

The undergraduate and postgraduate programs at the Sona College are offered in Mechatronics, Bio Medical, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, Data Science, Computer System and Design, in addition to foundational areas like Mechanical, Civil, Electrical, and Fashion Technology, among others.

As an autonomous institution for over a decade, the College additionally offers 18-month advanced diplomas that can be pursued concurrently in AI/ML, Data Analysis, Data Design, Drone Technology, Wearable Technology, Smart Manufacturing, Cyber Security, Electric Mobility, and Smart Systems.



Asha Bajaj

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