Published: 09th May 2018
Tiruchy teen’s mini-satellite to study air pollution launched from Mexico
Housed in a conical capsule, Anitha-SAT took off with the help of a hot-air balloon
Monday was a day of delight for Tiruchy teen K A Villet Oviya. Having performed well in NEET on May 6, 17-year-old Oviya was jumping with joy after the mini-satellite she developed and designed from scratch was successfully launched from Mexico.
Named Anitha-SAT, after the medical aspirant from Ariyalur who committed suicide last year, Oviya’s satellite would study atmospheric pollution. “My satellite would measure temperature, air quality, specific gas concentration like Carbon Dioxide, Carbon Monoxide, and Oxygen present in the atmosphere, indicating the effects of global warming,” said Oviya from Chennai from where she watched the launch of her 500-gm satellite. The satellite has an in-built temperature sensor, GPS, and a camera to live stream high definition video and would monitor pollution in Mexico City.
Housed in a conical capsule, Anitha-SAT took off with the help of a hot-air balloon. Upon reaching exosphere, the outer most layer of earth’s atmosphere, the balloon burst at an altitude of 8,000 meters and a parachute released it for a safer landing. The data collected would be transferred to Aztra Labs, a private firm in Mexico City. Oviya explained that the satellite would have a span of 260 minutes from the time of launch. “The satellite will be recovered by Aztra Labs, and data interpreted. It will be close to a week before I receive the data,” she said.
It took Oviya three years to build the satellite. “It all started when I took part in a science reality programme named E7ham Arivu on DD Podhigai, which helped me explore the field of technology,” she said.
“I got support from Agnishwar Jayaprakash, who was the producer of E7ham Arivu and the founder of Ignite-India and Agni Foundation. My satellite has been launched from Mexico, because the company has a link with a Mexico-based company. The design, satellite parts and technical support is provided by Garuda Aerospace in Chennai,” she said.
Agnishwar, an international swimmer-turned-entrepreneur, heads the Agni Group of Companies. He holds six national records which he achieved in 2012, at Istanbul, Turkey at the World Short Course Swimming Championships. Agnishwar helped Oviya get in touch with experts in Mexico which paved the way for the satellite launch.
“The data collected would be focused on air pollution level in Mexico. I am also working on a project to study the effects of global warming in India so that my satellite could be launched from here.” Though she is interested in technology, Oviya said her aim is to become a medical doctor.
The medical aspirant is also working on projects including an automated irrigation system and a hand-gesture vocaliser for people with speech and hearing impairment.