Bagging international recognition and grabbing an opportunity to be a part of the upcoming mission of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) on the Lunar surface, team AA-Star from Vizag stood third in the Lunar Delivery Challenge by NASA. Out of the three members of the team, Yo! Vizag got in touch with the design engineer, Ashish Karanam from Vizag to get an insight on their journey of acing the NASA competition.
Introducing the team, Ashish says,” ’AA’ in the name stands for Ashish and Amar, and ‘S’, in Star, stands for Surya. Amar and I are both alumni of Andhra University. Whereas, Surya Narayana Pappala, our team captain and my brother-in-law, is a data scientist with over a decade of experience in the field of information technology.”
Ashish pursued his Master’s degree in Machine Design from Vizag and has worked with many notable organisations as a design and product engineer. He shared that his interest, in science and technology, started from a very young age. It was during his undergraduate program when he developed an interest in designing and took various courses on the same. These Included a summer course at the Central Institute of Tool Design (CITD) in Hyderabad. Having two patents in Biomechanics and Industrial Robotics, Ashish said that research and project handling are his strong suits. Currently, he is working with U R Rao Satellite Centre (URSC), a department of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), on the research of satellite design composition.
Coming to the award winning design of the Transporter and Gantry (L-TAG), it is said to be operating in two phases. Team AA-Star has submitted an overall design, including the sequence operation, analysis, load conditions, among other parameters, all under the lunar atmospheric conditions. Quoting the article put up on NASA’s website, “The crane and vehicle of L-TAG, can move a mass of 12 metric tons, which is important when considering larger payloads, such as hardware needed to build lunar habitats. A deployable shield around the vehicle protects the payload from lunar dust and micrometeoroid impacts.”
Being a challenge-driven duo, Ashish and Amar have always been on the lookout for such competitions. Though this is the second time they have a design, for a NASA competition, it is the first time that an Indian team’s title has been put up on the official NASA website. “Competing on a global platform, with over 240 entries from across 100 countries, has definitely given an edge to our team. With NASA’s mission to set up a base at the Lunar surface by the year 2024, we feel ecstatic to have contributed to that mission. With the team signing a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) with NASA, there is only limited information that we can give at the moment.” informed Ashish.
“We are extremely humbled by the recognition and awards being showered by different organisations including the Andhra Pradesh State Government. We are also grateful for the encouragement that was given by the state government. Further, we look forward to seeking continued support from them for future projects to work on.” said Ashish. Upon receiving the news, the Andhra University Vice-Chancellor (VC), Professor PVGD Prasad Reddy, congratulated the team on their achievement.