18 Year-old Student Designs World’s Lightest Satellite That Weighs Only 64 Grams

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2:30 pm 15 May, 2017

A young, educated mind is the greatest asset for a country. The youth of today is breaking all boundaries of imagination; be it in the creative fields or in the ever-growing technology world.

Last month, a Chennai boy, Sai Kiran P, won the second prize in a NASA contest for proposing an idea that connects earth to the moon via elevators. And now, another tech genius, Rifath Sharook, residing in a small town Pallapatti, Tamil Nadu, has created the world’s lightest satellite.

The satellite weighs just 64 grams and will be launched by a NASA sounding rocket on June 21 from Wallops Island.

The satellite was selected via a competition called “Cubes in Space”, which is jointly organized by NASA and an organization called “I Doodle Learning”.

The core challenge was to design an experimental satellite which can fit into a four-metre cube, weighing exactly 64 grams.


Rifath spoke to TOI, and stated that this tiny satellite will operate for 12 minutes in space,

It will be a sub-orbital flight and post-launch, the mission span will be 240 minutes and the tiny satellite will operate for 12 minutes in a micro-gravity environment of space. The main role of the satellite will be to demonstrate the performance of 3-D printed carbon fiber.


He further pointed out that he had done a lot of research on cube satellites, and some of the components were imported.


We did a lot of research on different cube satellites all over the world and found ours was the lightest. The satellite is made mainly of reinforced carbon fibre polymer. We obtained some of the components from abroad and some are indigenous.


This will be the first time when an Indian student’s experiment will be flown by NASA. Well done, Rifath!


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