Published: Thu, May 18, 2017
Science | By Cecil Little

This 18-year-old designed the world's lightest satellite

This 18-year-old designed the world's lightest satellite

Named after nuclear scientist and former Indian president APJ Abdul Kalam, the satellite has been selected as the victor in the Cubes in Space youth design competition. It weighs just 0.14 pounds and will measure the rotation, acceleration and magnetosphere of Earth, Sharook told Business Standard. Once positioned in microgravity, its main objective will be to test the durability of its extremely light, 3D-printed casing.

Rifath says the satellite will be a sub-orbital flight and the mission span will be 240 minutes post launch. The flight isn't so much about gathering data but rather checking that everything works as expected. And she did this when she was just 15 years old. The satellite cost around 100,000 rupees to make, equivalent to a little over $US1,500.

"We are extremely excited and [are] looking forward to the launch", Kesan said by email.

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The satellite is primarily created to check the feasibility and the performance of the carbon fibers infused in the 3D printed material. The main condition of the competition was to design a satellite which can fit in a 4 metre cube space, whose weight not exceeding 64 grams.

KalamSat, named after India's nuclear scientist and former President, APJ Abdul Kalam, is the smallest satellite in the world that NASA plans to launch on June 21.

Rifath's project is the first to be manufactured via 3D printing.

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This time around it is an 18-year-old boy, Rifath Sharook from Pallapatti town in Tamilnadu, India who has designed 'KalamSat', which is claimed to be the lightest and smallest satellite in the world for NASA.

Colorado Space Grant Consortium was also involved in the competition.

Sharook now works as a lead scientist for Space Kidz India, an organization which promotes science education for Indian youth. Rifath participated in this competition where his satellite was selected fulfilling all the requisites of the competition.

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