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Kalamsat: NASA launches the lightest satellite designed by Tamil Nadu teen

India has a legit reason to rejoice over the extraordinary prowess of an 18-year-old Tamil Nadu teen. Rifath Sharook, along with six other teammates, has designed and built world’s smallest as well as the lightest satellite. Weighing just 64 grams, the satellite was launched in a NASA sounding rocket from a NASA facility in Wallops Island.

The team has christened the satellite after former Indian President and nuclear scientist Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam.

Sharook, a native of Tamil Nadu’s Pallapati town, is a part of the organization named ‘Space Kidz India’ that had funded the satellite. He has been a member of the organization since 8th grade. His innovation was selected by NASA after he exhibited his invention in a competition called ‘Cubes in Space’. Dr. Srimathy Kesan, founder and CEO of Space Kids India, supervised the team during the process. Speaking to ANI, Sharook had said,

It’s a 3D printed satellite. It is for the first time that 3D printing technology is being used in space. We have made history. The world’s smallest satellite has been launched in space. It was not possible without my team.

Rifath and his team, relied on carbon fiber polymer to develop the fully 3-D printed 3.8 cube structured-satellite. As per a quoted statement by Sharook, the satellite had aimed to “demonstrate the performance of 3-D printed carbon fiber.”

Coupled with nano Geiger Muller counter for measuring the radiation in space, it was able to operate for 12 minutes in microgravity once it was launched. Post that, Kalamsat fell into the sea. Talking to TOI, Dr. Srimathy said the satellite will be recovered and Nasa will be send it back to them for decoding the data. She terms the flight as “a divine intervention”, and adds,

I am calling it divine intervention because the previous Nasa mission from Wallops got postponed because of weather and we were able to launch successfully today.


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