Indian Teen Builds World’s Lightest Satellite | NASA Cubes In Space Competition


An Indian teenager has built what is thought
could be the world’s lightest satellite, which will be put into orbit at a Nasa facility
in the US in June. Rifath Shaarook’s 64-gram device was selected
as the winner in a competition co-sponsored by Nasa. The 18-year-old says its main purpose was
to demonstrate the performance of 3-D printed carbon fibre. Rifath told local media his invention will
go on a four-hour mission for a sub-orbital flight. During that time, the lightweight satellite
will operate for around 12 minutes in a micro-gravity environment of space. “We designed it completely from scratch,”
he said. “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 satellite has been named KalamSat after
former Indian president Abdul Kalam, a pioneer for the country’s aeronautical science ambitions. His project was selected in a challenge called
Cubes in Space, organised by NASA and education company idoodle. Newcomer scientist Rifath comes from a small
town in Tamil Nadu and now works as lead scientist at Chennai-based Space Kidz India, an organisation
promoting science and education for Indian children and teenagers. The KalamSat is not his first invention: at
the age of 15, he built a helium weather balloon as a part of nationwide competition for young
scientists.

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