NASA along with the education company, idoodle had recently organized a competition, called Cubes in Space, where the winning entry was presented by an 18-year old Indian teenager, Rifath Shaarook. He was selected as the winner for designing a 64-gram satellite device. The satellite has been touted by NASA as the lightest satellite the world has seen so far. NASA plans to put it into orbit at one of their US facilities around June.
Shaarook claims the main objective of the satellite was to demonstrate the performance of 3-D printed carbon fiber. The satellite will go on a four-hour mission for a sub-orbital flight. The lightweight satellite will operate for around 12 minutes in a micro-gravity environment of space, during that time.
Shaarook explains, “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 satellite has been named KalamSat after former Indian president. Shaarook had earlier built a helium weather balloon as a part of nationwide competition for young scientists, at the age of 15.
Shaarook hails from a small town in Tamil Nadu. He will be working now as a lead scientist at Chennai-based Space Kidz India, an organization promoting science and education for Indian children and teenagers.