Tamil Nadu Teen Girl builds Satellite to Study Air Pollution

Bhana Bisht
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Lancet Report Air Pollution India

K A Villet Oviya, a 17-year-old aspiring medical student from Trichy in Tamil Nadu has built a light-weight satellite, the TOI reported. The satellite will study the effects of air pollution and global warming in various regions including, major cities in Tamil Nadu.


It is named after Anitha, the student who committed suicide last year after she failed to clear NEET exams to get an MBBS seat.

Also: 17-Year-Old Shruti Tiwari’s Science Notes Published As Book

Anitha-SAT will study effects of Global Warming

The 500g satellite is packed in a conical-shaped capsule. It will take off in a helium balloon on May 6 from Mexico City. And will carry sensors to measure parameters like air quality, temperature, pressure and concentration of gases including carbon monoxide when it reaches an altitude of 15km in its three-hour lifespan. Oviya built the satellite with help from industry experts and NGOs.

It will have a GPS for positioning, a gyrometer and accelerometer to measure orientation and angular speed, and a barometer to measure the height. It will also have a camera to live telecast the mission. The data will be transmitted to the ground station at Aztra Labs in Mexico City. The balloon, after getting close to the uppermost layer of the earth’s atmosphere, will explode and the capsule will begin its descent. A parachute will be deployed as the capsule reaches around 8,000m from sea level. After it falls in the sea, the satellite will be recovered.

The data will be utilised by governments to come up with measures to curb air pollution.


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“I wanted to do something to create awareness about air pollution. My love for electrical and electronics drove me further to conceptualise Anitha-SAT”

Three years back, her participation in a reality TV show motivated her to come up with this idea. The show, E7ham Arivu was about identifying budding scientists. The turning point for Oviya was when she presented her project, smart irrigation system, to late President A P J Abdul Kalam.

“Building Anitha-SAT was not easy”

The project took three years to be completed. Agnishwar Jayaprakash, the founder of Ignite - India and Agni Foundation, sponsored it. Jayaprakash also conceptualised the E7ham Arivu show. Garuda Aerospace in Chennai, guided her to design, procure components, fabricate and feed in the algorithms required for the satellite.

Tamil Nadu chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami and Education Minister K A Sengottaiyan, met Oviya, appreciating and honouring her effort. Some of Oviya's earlier projects include, the automatic irrigation system based on soil moisture content, a bio-fertiliser and pesticide and a hand gesture vocaliser for people with speech and hearing impairment.
Oviya is awaiting her Class XII result. Her dream of becoming a doctor will also take off the same day when her satellite lifts off from earth. However, she will not be able to watch the launch as she would be appearing for the NEET exam that day.
Bhawana is an intern with SheThePeople.Tv
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