With a deceptively small, black-coloured cube, 18-year-old Rifath Sharook, a 12th grade student from Tamil Nadu’s Pallapatti town, has set a new record – designing the world’s smallest and lightest satellite.

His pocket-sized invention, named KalamSat after former Indian president APJ Abdul Kalam, is the first to be manufactured using 3D printing. It is made of reinforced carbon fibre polymer, and weighs just 100 gm. Soon to be launched at a NASA facility, KalamSat will spend 12 minutes in space with a mission time of 240 minutes.

Sharook’s device was selected through a competition, “Cubes in Space”, jointly sponsored by NASA and “I Doodle Learning”.

“The main role of the satellite will be to demonstrate the performance of 3D-printed carbon fibre,” Sharook said in reports. In its flight time, the satellite will be used to demonstrate the viability of the technology and pave the way to plan economical space missions.

This is not young Sharook’s first invention. The young scientist, as part of the Chennai-based group Space Kidz India, which promotes science among children, had also built a helium weather balloon for a country-wide competition.