The world needs to observe the history that will be made on June 21, when a NASA sounding rocket would be carrying world’s smallest and lightest satellite, namely the KalamSat, from Wallops Island, a NASA facility. This history is set to be created as an experiment of an Indian student will be carried out by NASA for the first time.
It would be the first time ever that NASA would be piloting an experiment of an Indian student. Developed by Rifath Sharook, an 18-year-old boy. This class 12 student is gearing up to break a global space record by launching this satellite. He is from Tamil Nadu’s Pallapatti town, and his experiment the KalamSat weighs only 64 grams.
‘KalamSat’ is named after the India’s nuclear scientist and the former President, Mr. APJ Abdul Kalam. This project of Sharook is the first one that would be manufactured via 3D printing and got selected through a competition named ‘Cubes in Space’, which was sponsored jointly by NASA and ‘I Doodle Learning’. The aim of the project is to take the performance of new technology to space.
The Cubes in Space challenge was organized and was all about creating an experiment that would fit in a four-metre cube and also possess an accurate mass of 64 grams, which can be sent to space. It was made using reinforced carbon fiber polymer and weighs lesser than a smartphone’s weight.
According to Sharook, this project would be a sub-orbital flight and after it is launched, the mission span would be 240 minutes. The tiny satellite is supposed to operate for 12 minutes in a micro-gravity environment of space. “The main role of the satellite would be to demonstrate the performance of 3D-printed carbon fiber”, the Times of India quoted Sharook as saying. “We did a lot of research on different cube satellites all over the world and found ours was the lightest.”
While talking about his experience, Sharook added: “We designed it completely from scratch. It will have a new kind of onboard computer and eight indigenous built-in sensors to measure acceleration, rotation and the magnetosphere of the earth. The main challenge was to design an experiment to be flown to space which would fit into a four-metre cube weighing 64 grams”.
This experiment was funded by an organization called ‘Space Kidz India’, said Sharook, adding he had a great interest in space and he was also a subscriber of the NASA Kid’s Club.