Indian teen satellite
Beyond Metros, Tamil Nadu

Indian teen creates world’s lightest satellite

Indian teenager Rifath Shaarook has designed and built the world’s lightest satellite named KalamSat.

The 64-gram satellite is made of 3D printed carbon fibre. It was the winning entry in Cubes in Space, a design contest for young minds, organised by education company idoodle, and backed by Nasa and the Colorado Space Grant Consortium.

Rifath’s creation is named after former Indian president Abdul Kalam. It will be launched from Nasa’s Wallops Island facility in the US in June this year, entering into a four-hour sub-orbital flight.

Rifath, who is the lead scientist at Chennai-based science education organisation Space Kidz India, said: “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. The main challenge was to design an experiment to be flown to space which would fit into a four-metre cube weighing 64 grams,” he said.

Rifath originally hails from a small town in Tamil Nadu. He had previously built a helium weather balloon, when he was just 15 years old, as part of a competition for young scientists.

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