An 18 year old engineer from India just created the world's lightest satellite and it will be launched into space next month with the help of NASA rocketry and 3d printing.
His name is Rifath Sharook and his design of a cube shaped satellite weighing just 0.14 pounds won a contest sponsored by NASA to create a sub-orbital satellite that can read temperature. By using a 3d printable carbon fiber material for the satellite's encasing, Sharook was able to create a super lightweight, working miniature satellite.
"The main role of the satellite will be to demonstrate the performance of 3-D printed carbon fibre," he said in an interview with the Times of India. "We did a lot of research on different cube satellites all over the world and found ours was the lightest."
The cube shaped satellite will be launched on June 21st in Virginia by a NASA rocket, marking the first time that any student living in India will have one of their experiments sent to space by NASA.
The total mission time will be 4 hours and the satellite will operate in a micro gravity environment for 12 minutes before returning to earth into the ocean.
And in an excellent example of international cooperation amongst space exploring nations, Sharook says he was able to build the world's lightest satellite by sourcing parts inside India and outside the country.
"We obtained some of the components from abroad and some are indigenous," Sharook said