June 24, 2017
NASA on Thursday launched the world’s lightest satellite weighing 64 grams. Designed by 18-year-old Rifath Sharook and his team from Tamil Nadu, the satellite – Kalamsat – was launched at Wallops on a sounding rocket.
Describing the satellite, Mission Director Dr. Srimathy Kesan, who is also the founder of Spacekidz India Organisation, told The Covai Post that they started building a cube satellite with 27 sensors in 2015. “Since the orbital launch was very costly, we were considering other options. When ‘I Doodle learning’, NASA and Colorado Space Grant Consortium announced the ‘Cubes in Space’ competition, we converted the cube into a rocket. The competition was to design a rocket inside a 4 cm cube which they would provide,” she said.
“Kalamsat has 10 sensors. The satellite also carried sunflower, fig and basil seeds in it. The main motive of the satellite was to demonstrate the performance of reinforced [3D- print] carbon polymer, the material out of which the satellite is made of, in space,” she added.
Rifath, who started designing scientific models at the age of 13, is very pleased with the team’s performance.
Asked what would be his advice to kids with similar interest he said, “I would rather ask the parents to not pressurize their children and give them the freedom to choose their path and pursue their dreams.”