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'If We can Build Satellite in First Attempt, Can Make it Success in Second,' Say School Girls From Rural India Who Built AzadiSAT

By: Damini Solanki

News18.com

Last Updated: August 12, 2022, 10:49 IST

New Delhi, India

Student team of Modern Public School who participated in AzadiSAT

Student team of Modern Public School who participated in AzadiSAT

AzadiSAT is the result of ISRO's push for girls to take up STEM courses. Even though the satellite was not a success, it has ignited dreams in many young girls from rural India who now want to work in the fields of space & technology.

“No one in my family has pursued science. Earlier, my father was apprehensive but now when we have made a satellite, he too wants me to pursue my future studies in space and technology,” said Manya Saluja, a Class 10 student of Modern Public School, Delhi who was part of a team of school girls who were mentored by Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) to develop and built a satellite.

A total of 750 girl students from across India were selected to build ‘AzadiSAT’, a satellite which marked India’s 75th year of Independence. As part of the programme ISRO aims to push girls to take up Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). Even though the satellite was not a success, ISRO has been successful in planting dreams in eyes of young girls from rural India who now are aiming at working in STEM, especially space and technology.

In this initiative girl students from mainly government schools coming from economically weak backgrounds across the country were provided guidance to build these payloads, which were then integrated by the student team of “Space Kidz India”.

As many as 75 schools across the country were selected to be part of this futuristic project, where students, predominantly from classes 8th-12th, were provided with practical exposure to space science. Each team from the 75 schools consisted of 10 girl students.

All the 10 girls in my team want to pursue the science stream now as this initiative has pushed out our curiosity and fascination for space.

“All the 10 girls in my team want to pursue the science stream now as this initiative has pushed out our curiosity and fascination for space. We used to have four-hour long online sessions once a week and all of us used to be excited every time” said Angel Kalra, a student of Modern Public School, Delhi.

The countdown, launch, and all three stages of the journey from the Spaceport went as per the calculations of the ISRO scientists. SSLV was carrying the Earth Observation Satellite (EOS-02), the main payload of AzadiSat, but it was unfortunately declared a failure because it could not reach its assigned orbit.

If we can build a satellite in first attempt, we can do it again to make it a success.

The girls were disheartened after the failure, however, they have not lost hope. They say that if we can build a satellite this time, we can do it again to make it a success. “Although the satellite failed after the launch, we are happy that it passed the three stages successfully. The initiative is one of its kind with the ‘All women concept’ and it has really helped all the selected girls to explore space sciences,” said Avnish Kaur, another student who was part of this initiative.

As part of the project, girls were given a basic understanding and knowledge of space and were tutored to build a small experiment and launch it to the edge of space through a “Balloon Satellite” or through an “Orbital Satellite”.

“ I was the only one who was selected to visit the center. There were big digital screens there and the whole experience was nothing but mesmerizing. No one in my family has pursued the science stream and my father was not even sure if I should be a part of the AzadiSAT initiative. However now that we built a satellite of our own even he is excited and wants me to pursue my future studies in this field,” said Manya Saluja, a Class 10 student of Modern Public School, Delhi.

The 8 kg satellite was equipped with 75 Femto experiments, selfie cameras, and long-range communication transponders. It was embedded with 75 different payloads, each weighing 50 gm. To measure the ionising radiation in its orbit, it also contained a long-range transponder and a solid-state PIN diode-based radiation counter. The satellite also had a recorded version of the National Anthem of India.

AzadiSAT aimed to show the participation of daughters not just in the field of Space Sciences, but also in painting the future of this country.

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first published:August 12, 2022, 09:58 IST
last updated:August 12, 2022, 10:49 IST