NASA to launch the world’s smallest satellite developed by Indian teenager

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KalamSat will be launched from a NASA facility in Wallops Island

Image Courtesy: twitter

Rifath Sharook, an 18-year-old boy, from Tamil Nadu’s Pallapatti town, scribbled his name in the history books by developing the world’s smallest and lightest satellite KalamSat. The satellite that weighs only 64 grams will be launched by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) on June 21.

For the first time in history an Indian student of 18 years will be piloting the experiment. KalamSat, named after the Indian nuclear scientist and former President, APJ Abdul Kalam, will be launched from a NASA facility in Wallops Island.

Sharook’s project, that aims to take the performance of new technology to space, got selected through a competition Cubes in Space, which is a joint venture of NASA and I Doodle Learning.

KalamSat, the first to be manufactured via 3D printing, according to Sharook, will be a sub-orbital flight and the mission span will be 240 minutes post launch. The little satellite will operate for 12 minutes in a micro-gravity environment of space.

“The main role of the satellite will be to demonstrate the performance of 3D-printed carbon fiber”, Sharook told the Times of India newspaper.

Sharook said that the satellite has been built by using carbon fiber polymer. “We obtained some of the components from abroad and some are indigenous,” he added.

Speaking about his experience, the young scientist 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-meter cube weighing 64 grams”.  He said, “We did a lot of research on different cube satellites all over the world and found ours was the lightest.”

His experiment was sponsored by an organization called Space Kidz India. Sharook said he had a great interest in space and he was also a subscriber of the NASA Kid’s Club.