Origami Starshade

Project Scenario

Have you ever wondered how space agencies search for new planets and take images to study them? Space agencies have sent telescopes having fabulous cameras to space. These cameras have an amazing ability to capture images of planets that revolve around stars other than the Sun. These planets are called exoplanets. But there is a problem that needs to be solved. A huge amount of light emitted by stars creates a problem for telescopes to capture dim planets.

Many scientists believe that a shade covering the light of a star can help telescopes spot planets revolving around it. The shade should be large enough to cover the light from the sun. But our rockets cannot store that large object in them. Therefore, you need to help space agencies by developing a foldable shade using origami that can be fitted with a small telescope that is being sent to space. Watch the given video to visualizes an unreal image of starshade developed by NASA. 

Credits for Video: NASA/JPL/CalTech/EEP

Problem Statement

To design and build a prototype of foldable starshade that can be fitted with a small space-telescope. 

Steps to project Success

Required Resources

Resources Download

Starshade Journal.pdf

05.06.2021 12:55:02

481 KB

Project Instructions

Download Resources

Download Resources available under "Download Resources"

I Explore

How will this project help you?

  1. It will help you in thinking like a design expert who provides creative designs as solutions to problems.
  2. It will help you learn basic origami techniques while applying those to build a starshade model.
  3. It will help you understand the challenges faced by telescopes during space observations.
  4. It will also develop a mindset of finding, building, and testing new ideas to solve a problem.

Which concepts will you explore and apply?



Space Telescopes

Click on concepts to learn more about each.

Which skills will you use?

Novel Ideas

Problem Solving

Explore the Problem

Step 1:
Thoroughly read the project scenario and problem statement.

Step 2:
Perform the activity given on "I Explore" page of Starshade Journal.

Step 3:
Write your observations on the same page.

I Connect

Create your first origami structure

Step 1: Learn the basics of Origami

Watch the video to learn about mountain and valley folds.

Step 2: Find ideas for your first origami structure

You must be curious to develop your own origami structure. Right?

Find out some amazing ideas on origami.me and try to build some origami structures using their diagrams and instructions.

Step 3: Have you created something? Use your experience for the problem statement

Answer questions on the "I Connect" page of Starshade Journal.

I Create

Explore existing Ideas of space origami

Idea 1: A prototype of starshade made | By NASA

Link to tutorial  

Download template

Idea 2: A bulletproof shield made for police | By BUC & NSC

Suggestion: You may get an idea for the starshade prototype from the origami technique used in making this shield. Carefully look at how they have used folds.

Idea 3: This is a great folding method designed for sunshade | By Chandra X-Ray Center, NASA

Download the template and instructions

Idea 4: This is another great idea for a starshade | By Chandra X-Ray Center, NASA

Download the template and instructions

Idea 5: Yet another one that is used in solar arrays | By Chandra X-Ray Center, NASA

Download the template and instructions

You don't have any limit! You may find more ideas or develop a new one on your own. 

Sketch your solution or idea

Step 1:

Choose an origami idea for a starshade from existing space designs or find your own.

Step 2:

Sketch the rough idea of the starshade prototype that you want to build using the art of origami.

Step 3:

Explain how your idea will let starshade fold to fit with the telescope and unfold in space to shade the telescope from the star's light.

You may need to test and try multiple origami ideas to conclude one that you may develop the prototype with. Therefore, it is recommended to take more than one printout of the "I Create - Ideation" template page.

Develop the starshade prototype

Step 1:

Take a printout of the template of the final origami idea. You may choose from the given ideas or use a template from the new idea that you have found.
*Make sure that the printout clearly indicates guiding lines for mountain and valley folds.

Step 2:

Make folds as per the instructions given in the guidelines for folding the origami sheet (refer to websites linked with each idea under "Explore existing ideas of space origami") 
If you have found a new idea, try to develop folding instructions for it or find already develop instructions from the place where you have found the idea.

If you have developed your own idea and want to proceed with it. You are free to proceed. Your innovation is highly appreciated and valued by Makershala.

Step 3:

Carefully make folds and develop the starshade prototype.

Your next step is to test your starshade prototype.

Test the the starshade prototype

Step 1:

Slowly fold and unfold the prototype multiple times.

Step 2:

Try to cover the light from the bulb in your room using the starshade prototype.

Keep the starshade prototype a little away from your eyes so that you can see objects around the area around the bulb, without getting distracted from its light.

*Do not perform this experiment directly with the sun, as it can harm your eyes.

Step 3:

Write your observations on "I Create - Test" page in Starshade Journal.

I Reflect

Attempt the Quiz by clicking on the button below. This is an important task to complete the project.

I Launch

You have done a hard work throughout the project. Share your work with us by uploading filled-in Starshade Journal.

YOU MADE IT Share with us, What you made




Pandemic Trooper

"Time for some innovations in the field of Robotics to overcome the challenges we are facing during the current pandemic."


Climbing Domes

"Build a model of Climbing Gym for a society's park to add a new experience for kids which can help them in developing motor skills."


Virtual Reality - Air Battlefield

"Let trainee pilots experience battlefield reality using the Virtual Reality headset."

Join our weekly newsletter

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consetetur sadipscing elitr sed.