It was at the Cubes in Space contest that Rifath Shaarook came up with the world’s lightest satellite device. Cubes in Space is a venture of Idoodlelearning that is supported by NASA and the Colorado Space Grant Consortium. The 18-year-old, Indian teenager scored the first position in the competition among all the entries. The tiny satellite, now named KalamSat after A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, the Indian nuclear scientist, and former President. School students were presented with the challenge to create a device has to be space-worthy, has to weigh less than 64 grams or 0.14 pound and no bigger than a 4-meter or 13-foot Cube.
“We designed it completely from scratch,” Rifath Shaarook told Business Standard.
Its small size is attributed to a material with an ultra-high strength-to-weight ratio, called Carbon Fiber Reinforced Polymer Frame and weighs 64 grams. The material has a vast range of utility ranging from fishing lines to aerospace engineering. The KamalSat is set to be launched by NASA on 21st June 2017; it will serve for a sub-orbital mission of 4 hours where it will test the robustness of its extremely light, 3D-printed casing. The launch will take place from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia; when placed in microgravity, the tiny satellite will be operational and online for 12 minutes.
“It will have a new kind of onboard computer and eight built-in sensors to measure acceleration, rotation, and the magnetosphere of Earth.” said Rifath.
NASA encourages contributions from around the globe without limitations on age, or background. There was a data correction incident from a teenager called Miles Soloman, earlier in March. Similarly, a teenager invented miniPCR; her name is Ana-Sophia Boguraev.
Among such brilliant young scholars, we cannot wait to see the launch of the tiny satellite by Tamil Nadu’s Rifath Shaarook.