By: Dr. Ahmad Salahuddin Mohd Harithuddin
SERDANG, June 10 – Thirteen Aerospace Engineering students from the Engineering Faculty of Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) made Malaysia proud when they won the first place for Best Video category at the Global Space Balloon Challenge (GSBC) 2016.
This is the first time that UPM has ever won the Best Video category, making it the only university in Asia that has succeeded in winning under one of the categories, contested. They received a cash prize of US$300.
The success of Aero-PUTRA Space team who risked their life by experimenting a High High Altitude Balloon (HAB) Based System for Aerosol Sampling, Low-Cost Near-Infrared Agricultural Imaging Subsystem using High Altitude Balloon (HAB) and Smart Memory Alloy Study Platform in High Altitude Environment, had resulted in the creation of UPM high altitude balloon research innovation.
The team, led by Second Year Bachelor of Aerospace Engineering student, Mohd Fazri Sedan, comprised undergraduates and graduates who worked closely with university alumni and lecturers from the Faculty of Aerospace Engineering Department.
Throughout the duration of the contest which took place from April 11 to May 9 in countries of participating contestants, Aero-SON launched five high-altitude balloons which reached the altitude of between 20 and 38km from sea level.
Senior Lecturer of Aerospace Engineering Faculty of UPM’s Faculty of Engineering, Dr. Ahmad Salahuddin Mohd Harithuddin said the competition was the best platform for engineering students to experiment and apply their lessons to real-life challenges and problems facing the world besides competing in the global arena.
“Uniqueness of the video, special effects and interesting video presentation were among the criteria taken into consideration in selecting the winner. This video winner also highlighted the beautiful landscape of paddy fields around Teluk Intan, Perak, using a drone,” he said.
UPM GSBC Project Advisor, Dr. Syaril Azrad Md Ali said GSBC provided the platform for global community to display their work culture and educate the future generation about high-altitude balloon technology.
“Our intention is to create communities who are willing to share their knowledge with the international community and turn high-altitude balloons as a platform for scientific research in the stratosphere,” he said.
GSBC is organized by Students for the Exploration and Development of Space (www.seds.org) and the Space Generation Advisory Council (www.spacegeneration.org), with the aims which among other things, are to attract the participation of people from all over the world to high-altitude balloon competition.
This year, a total of 407 teams from 54 countries, including Malaysia, sent their teams. GSBC is sponsored by Stanford University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Michigan.
A total of nine categories, including Best Experiment, Best Video, Best Picture and Best Education Initiative, were contested in GSBC 2016. – UPM.
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