New Delhi: When the US’ National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa) launches the world’s smallest satellite KalamSat on June 21, it will be the first time ever that it would be piloting an experiment by an Indian student. Developed by Rifath Sharook, an 18-year-old boy, from Tamil Nadu’s Pallapatti town, KalamSat weighs only 64 grammes.
‘KalamSat’, named after India’s nuclear scientist and former President, APJ Abdul Kalam, will be launched from a Nasa facility in Wallops Island. Sharook’s project, the first to be manufactured via 3D printing, got selected through a competition, ‘Cubes in Space’, sponsored jointly by NASA and ‘I Doodle Learning’. The project aims to take the performance of new technology to space.
Key features of the miniature satellite
Sharook said it would be a sub-orbital flight and after launch the mission span would be 240 minutes. The tiny satellite would operate for 12 minutes in a micro-gravity environment of space. “The main role of the satellite will be to demonstrate the performance of 3D-printed carbon fibre”, the Times of India quoted Sharook as saying.
Speaking about his experience, Sharook added: “We designed it completely from scratch. It will have a new kind of on-board 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 grammes”.
His experiment was funded by an organisation 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.