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Student reports - 2012

Sahil Sehgal, Moonbuggy Team Italy/India, 2012 Highschool
Team Leader
International Space Education Institute

India, 31.03.2012

Sahil SegalI am Sahil Sehgal, I live in Delhi India, graduated in 2011 in Electronics and communication engineering from Guru Tegh Bahadur institute of Technology affiliated to IP University, Delhi, India.

NASA (National Aeronautical & Space Administration), one of the pioneer space research organization of the world has been constantly working on lunar rovers to bring out facts about this natural satellite to discover possibilities of human’s survival. Encouraging this research, they conduct an annual competition called “NASA GREAT MOONBUGGY RACE” at U.S Space and Rocket Centre in Huntsville, Alabama, USA.

An intensive course – a 7/10 miles of hills & craters simulating the lunar surface is constructed to test the students with their engineering skills and endurance to compete at an international level & prove their mettle to excel in their future career.
My interest in space education and a dream to be a part of NASA, become true when I participated in NASA Great Moonbuggy Race, 2010 (Team Leader) and 2011 (Technical Leader), where I saw many teams from all over the world came up with their moonbuggies to be at the top place, some of them with simple designs and some with complex and high tech designs.

In 2010, we did not win, but we never succumbed to the pressure and the loss and always rose higher with innovative ideas whenever we had our backs against the walls to realize our dreams turn into reality. So, in 2011 we registered in the competition once again with completely new moonbuggy with higher efficiency than the previous one. Our ability to overcome obstacles both on and off the course was recognized in the final ceremony when we received together with all indian teams  the “International Team Award" by NASA.
We were also felicitated by Indian National Overseas Congress, Long Island, New York, USA for our achievement at NASA.

Sahil Segal in LeipzigBut that was not the end; just the beginning, after the competition we received an invitation from Mr. Ralf Heckel, Chairman of the International Space Education Institute, Leipzig, Germany to attend the International Moonbuggy Summerschool, 2011. ISEI are so far the best International Team in the competition with nearly 10 awards in last 5 years and a winning team in 2010.
The program was sounding very interesting to me and my teammate Abhinandan Roy Chowdhury, so we went to Leipzig on 18th July to make an association between India and Germany and both of us are now the Leaders of ISEI India Division.

The foremost drive for us to be in Germany was Telemetry, one of the most powerful subjects which help to scrutinize the technical details and provide a way to improve the performance and efficiency of the buggy for the future years. We had a number of excursions which concerned space-rocket history, such as to the Mittelwerk rocketplant that the Nazis used as a factory for the V1 and V2 rockets, and in various occasions we learnt more about space history. I like the space race between the personalities of German scientist Wernher Von Braun, who later worked for NASA in the US, and Sergej Pavlovitch Korolev, the Soviet engineer who designed the Sputnik. Also Interaction with many German High tech companies and seminars with specialists proved to be a great learning experience for both of us.

Sahil and Roy in Mittelbau DoraFrom day 1, the NASA core values were made to run through our veins. These core values not only strengthen our values but allow us stretch our limits. “Teamwork, Integrity, Safety, Excellence, Mission Success” was the common language that was spoken within the International SEI. Many different nationalities were there under one roof but everyone followed and worked for mankind because moon and space will be reached by the Humans not by nationalities and we can do this but only together.

We were offered a possibility to participate in the 2012 competition as a multinational team in collaboration with Italy, under the supervision of ISEI along with NASA’s ok. Abhinandan and me, initiated the work by collecting three more students from the college. So, now all of us are part of the four multinational teams under ISEI.

Lastly, I would like to thank Mr. Ralf and Yvonne Heckel to offer us such great prospects that would prove to be a boon and in still in myself the audacity and buoyancy to excel in my life by getting informative information on space education and reciprocate them for the evolution of humanity and explore unlimited opportunities.

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