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In a first, NASA to launch world’s smallest and lightest satellite made by Indian teens on June 21

18-year-old Rifat Sharook from Tamil Nadu has designed and built the world’s smallest and lightest satellite. (Twitter/Rifarh_Shaarook)

18-year-old Rifat Sharook from Tamil Nadu has designed and built the world’s smallest and lightest satellite. This will be the first time when a space probe, made by Indian students will be launched by NASA. It sounds like no less than a miracle. A young scientist at Space Kidz India born to Mohamed Farook, a scientist, and homemaker MD Shakila Banu, made the world’s smallest and lightest satellite which is now all set for the launch by NASA. According to a report by DNA, the space agency informed them that their satellite was accepted and that the launch will be on June 21. Sharook along with six other teammates designed and built the satellite and named it KalamSat.

KalamSat which is fitted in a 3.8 centimeters cube and weighs just 64 grams. The parts required in the composition of the satellite were supplied from India and some from abroad as well. It is composed of 3-D printed reinforced carbon fiber polymer and will be launched by sub-orbital spaceflight. The tiny probe will be operated only for less than 12 minutes to demonstrate the performance of 3-D printed carbon fiber in a micro-gravity environment of space.

Under the supervision of Dr Srimathy Kesan, Founder & CEO of Space Kidz India, a team of seven led by Shaarook, built the sattelite. Other team members include Tanishq Dwivedi (flight engineer), Vinay S Bhardwaj (design engineer), Yagna Sai (lead technician), Mohammed Abdul Kashif (lead engineer), Gobinath (biologist), are from various parts of India, who came together after they participated in Young Scientist Contest. Each one of them took a different job to complete the satellite.

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Telling about how did KalamSat came into existence, Sharook told DNA that when in November 2016 NASA announced its contest Cubes in Space, in collaboration with the global education company, I Doodle Learning, the team of young researchers decided to participate. But before participating in the contest, the team designed a 1 kg cubesat. Later, after realising the tremendous expense to build it, they decided to make a smaller version for the contest and altered the satellite as per the rules and regulations and came up with ‘KalamSat’. Once the KalamSat was built, the team conducted research for alternatives to launch the satellite, and came across the concept of BalloonSats, which was a simple package designed to carry lightweight experiments into near-space. And that’s how they created a new Near Space Launch Vehicle (NSLV) to launch KalamSat. The project was submitted in January 2017, and in April NASA informed them that the satellite was accepted for the launch on June 21.

Once the KalamSat was built, the team conducted research for alternatives to launch the satellite, and came across the concept of BalloonSats, which was a simple package designed to carry lightweight experiments into near-space. And that’s how they created a new Near Space Launch Vehicle (NSLV) to launch KalamSat. The project was submitted in January 2017, and in April NASA informed them that the satellite was accepted for launch on June 21.

The launch of the satellite will not only make Space Kidz India feel proud about their students but also the nation as a whole.