Rifath Sharook, an 18-year-old from Tamil Nadu is on the verge of creating history if everything goes as planned, in June he will become the designer of the lightest satellite ever placed in the orbit: A carbon fiber device made with a 3D printer that NASA plans to launch in space. He built a satellite that fits into a 4 cm cube and weighs 64 grams and named it after the former president and one of India’s nuclear scientists Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam.
Shaarook has won the Cubes in Space challenge jointly organized by NASA and an organization called ‘I Doodle Learning.’ The idea was pretty simple, but it is within reach of few: the program allows young children between 11 and 18 years to carry out a project from the conception of the same until it is placed in space.
The satellite’s primary purpose is to “demonstrate the performance of 3D-printed carbon” and see if the substance can endure the launch. Mission span will be 240 min, and the miniature satellite will operate for 12 minutes in a micro-gravity environment of space. It will have a new kind of onboard computer and eight indigenous built-in sensors to measure acceleration, rotation and the magnetosphere of the Earth.
Despite coming from a small town of Pallapatti in Tamil Nadu, Shaarook has a long history as an inventor at the age of 15 he also invented a helium weather balloon and won a national contest.