18-year old invents world’s smallest satellite

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An 18-year old teenager from a small town in Tamil Nadu in Indian, Rifath, has built what is thought could be the world’s lightest satellite, weighing just 64-gram (0.14lb).

The device which is expected to be launched at a NASA facility in the US in June was selected as the winner in a youth design competition

Riftath who told local media his invention will on a four-hour mission for a sub-orbital flight said its main purpose was to demonstrate the performance of 3-D printed carbon fibre.

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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 education company idoodle with support from NASA and the Colorado Space Grant Consortium.

Newcomer scientist Rifath, 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.