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Rifath Sharook, Mohammed Kashif - The lead engineers behind world's smallest satellite

Kashif said the actual building of the satellite had taken just 6-7 days

Sunday February 3, 2019 10:29 PM, ummid.com Web Desk

Kalamsat V2

[(L-R) Sitting: Rifath Shaarook, Srimathy Kesan (mentor); Standing: Gobinath, Yagna Sai, Mohammed Abdul Kashif and Tanishq Dwivedi. (Photo courtesy: P Ravikumar/Forbes India)]

Mumbai: The entire country was upbeat on January 25, 2019 when India's Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C44) successfully injected Microsat-R and Kalamsat V2 satellites into their designated orbits.

It was really a proud moment as Kalamsat V2, the pint-sized satellite, was designed and built by students. Equally fascinating was the reports that parts of the team that built Kalamsat V2 were two Muslims - Rifath Sharook and Mohammed Kashif. Both of them were Lead Engineers in the 12-member team of Space Kidz India - a private group which patronises and grooms young aspiring space students.

Built at a cost of 1.2 million rupees ($16,900), the satellite in itself is named after another distinguished Muslim - India's former President and nuclear scientist A.P.J. Abdul Kalam.

Kashif said while the actual building of the satellite had taken just 6-7 days, at least four years of research had been invested in putting it together.

"We have produced a new electronic architecture for this satellite that ensured that it was lighter, smaller, more economical and consumed less energy while functioning like any other communication satellite", Mohammed Abdul Kashif said.

He said Kalamsat V2 can be used in disaster management scenarios, early warning systems and as backup satellite for other uses. It will also serve as a communications satellite for ham radio transmissions used by amateurs for non-commercial activities.

“There are a wide variety of uses it can be deployed for. But with this launch, we are only testing the technology and seeing how it operates,” he said.

The first satellite, also called Kalamsat, designed by the same team that also comprised of Vinay Bharadwaj, Tanishq Dwevdi, Yagnasai and Gobi Nath, went into space on a NASA rocket in 2017, but it was a sub-orbital flight and was not put into an orbit.

Kalamsat was just 3.8-centimetre, cube-sized satellite weighing 64 grams. It was billed world's smallest and lightest satellite. The project made it through the competition 'Cubes in Space', which was a collaboration between NASA and 'I Doodle Learning'.

Costing just 1 lakh rupees, the project was the first to be manufactured through 3D printing, and aimed to redefine the performance of new technology in space.

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