The Hush Post: Four students from India have developed what could be the world’s ‘lightest satellite’ which will be launched from a NASA facility in the US by August. The small device will be flown on a scientific balloon up to an altitude of 70km.
The 4cm ‘cube’ satellite named ‘Jaihind-1S’ satellite has been built by the first-year engineering students from Hindustan Institute of Technology and Science near Chennai. The satellite has been designed and fabricated for the ‘Cubes in Space’ competition conducted by NASA and idoodle-learning.
The small body of the satellite is made from polylactic acid (PLA) nylon material making it lighter than a medium sized egg, at just 33.39 grams.
Earlier too, a student from Tamil Nadu Rifath Sharook has developed a lightweight satellite for the same competition in 2017 which weighed 64 grams.
While talking to a national daily, one of the team members K J Harikrishan said, “The satellite will conduct three experiments – measure 20 weather parameters, test the nylon material in microgravity and track the trajectory while it is being flown. What makes the satellite unique is that all three experiments will be conducted at the same time”.
“It cost us Rs 15,000 so it is also the cheapest satellite,” he added.
Harikrishan worked with his three teammates P Amarnath, G Sudhi and T Giri Prasad for two weeks to assemble the satellite and feed in the programme.
The sensors will send the data to an onboard SD card. Once the balloon reaches the desired altitude, the satellite will disengage from the balloon and fall. It will then be collected for data retrieval.