This 18-year-old designed the world’s lightest satellite
This teen literally reached for the stars, and it looks like he made it.
An 18-year-old from India built the world’s lightest satellite — and NASA’s going to send it into space.
Rifath Shaarook created a 4-centimeter (1½-inch), 3D-printed cube that weighs 2¼ ounces, making it lighter than an iPhone.
“We built it completely from scratch,” he told India’s Business Standard. “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 was one of 80 experiments selected through “Cubes in Space,” a student competition organized by NASA and the education company I Doodle Learning. The contest received more than 86,000 submissions from 57 countries.
Shaarook nicknamed his design KalamSat, after Abdul Kalam, India’s former president and famed rocket scientist.
NASA will send the tiny box on a four-hour, suborbital spaceflight June 22, but KalamSat will only operate for 12 minutes in a micro-gravity environment.
The up-and-coming scientist told the Times of India that the satellite’s main purpose is to “demonstrate the performance of 3D-printed carbon” and see if the material can withstand the launch.
Shaarook, who also invented a helium weather balloon when he was 15, is the lead scientist at Space Kids India. The Chennai-based organization, which sponsored his submission, promotes science education for Indian children and teens.