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Wednesday, May 17, 2017

18-Yr-Old Rifath Shaarook From Tamil Nadu Makes India Proud, Builds World’s Smallest & Lightest Satellite

Eight months of hard work, a team of seven youngsters from Tamil Nadu, a contest involving designs and models from 57 countries, and a winning model of a satellite that is only 64 grams in weight: seven Indian students have made the country proud by designing the world’s lightest and smallest satellite.
The Logical Indian spoke to the team’s leader, Rifath Shaarook. Rifath is only 18 years old and extremely passionate about space. He grew up in a science-crazy household, with his small room in Pallapatti, Karur, Tamil Nadu serving as his first research station.
“My dad, Mohamed Farook, was a scientist who did independent research in astronomy,” Rifath said. “He was an EC Engineer. He passed away in 2008 when I was 9. We always talked about space and astronomy in my childhood. I used to tell him that, one day, I would launch a satellite of my own. Now that’s dream is coming true but, sadly, my dad is no more with me.”

Shaarook built the 65gram (0.14lb) device as an exercise in demonstrating how well carbon fiber performs when 3D printed.

His invention is now set for a sub-orbital, four-hour mission in outer space.

During this short mission, the tiny satellite will be fully operational for 12 minutes in space’s micro-gravity.

“We designed it completely from scratch. 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,” he told Business Standard.

Shaarook named the little tech-wonder after India’s science-loving former President Abdul Kalam. He calls it KalamSat.

Kalam spearheaded many initiatives and paved the way for the country’s aeronautical scientists to make great advancements in space exploration for India.

Shaarok’s background is a humble one. He comes from a small town in Tamil Nadu and is currently working as a lead scientist for Space Kidz India.

The program encourages and promotes young children and teenagers in India to study science and education.

Shaarok also has a history of invention. For example, three years prior, he built a variation of a helium weather balloon as part of a nationwide young scientist’s competition.