Indian Teen Develops World’s Smallest Satellite - And NASA Will Launch It

Posted: May 17 2017, 5:32am CDT | by , in News | Latest Science News

 
Indian Teen Develops World’s Smallest Satellite - And NASA will Launch it
KalamSat, smallest and lightest satellite. Credit: Rifath Shaook' Facebook

The satellite weighs no more than 64 grams and is even lighter than a smartphone

An Indian teenager is believed to have built the smallest and lightest satellite in the world. The satellite, named KalamSat, weighs just 64 grams and will be launched into space by NASA next month. It would be the first time a satellite from Indian student will be send to space by US agency.

The 18-year old Rifath Sharook, the designer of the satellite, says that a NASA rocket will carry the satellite to the space on June 21. During the four-hour long mission, the rocket will not orbit the Earth. It will just enter the space and test the satellite for 12 minutes under microgravity conditions

"We designed it completely from scratch. It will have a new kind of on-board computer and eight indigenous built-in sensors to measure acceleration, rotation and the magnetosphere of the earth."Rifath Sharook told Business Standard.

Sharook belongs to a small town of Pallapatti of Indian state Tamil Nadu and is a 12th standard student. His satellite was selected through a competition called 'Cubes in Space', organized by NASA and an education company idoodle. Students from all over the world can participate in the program and they were asked to design structures that must fit into a 40 mm cube.

Sharook’s structure is made of 3D printed carbon fiber and is even lighter than a smartphone.

“We did a lot of research on different cube satellites all over the world and found ours was the lightest.” Sharook said.

The satellite is named after India’s former president Abdul Kalam, who also worked on the development of ballistic missile and aerospace engineering. KalamSat is one of the 80 designs that have been selected from 86,000 experiments from 57 countries.

It's not the first time that young scientist Rifath Sharook has invented something. At the age of 15, he has also built a helium weather balloon. The creation was a part of nationwide competition for kids.

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