All it takes is some determination and hard work to make your dreams come true. 18-year old boy genius Rifath Sharook from India’s Tamil Nadu realised this recently. Rifath and his team gained overnight worldwide fame when NASA launched the world’s smallest satellite built by them into the space. The satellite which made history is named Kalamsat, after one of India’s most respected President and scientist himself, late APJ Abdul Kalam. Weighing a mere 64 grams, Kalamsat was flown by NASA into the space in a NASA sounding rocket from its facility in Wallops Island.
The launch is being considered as a moment of immense pride for India and its citizens as with this the South Asian country has been successful in creating a global space record.
Kalamsat, which was built by Rifath Sharook and his team under the guidance of Dr. Srimathy Kesan, founder and CEO of Space Kids India, is a 3D printed satellite. The satellite not only made history for being the smallest satellite to be ever launched into the space but it also gained popularity for being the first example of 3D printing technology being successfully used in space. The satellite has been 3D printed with reinforced carbon fiber polymer.
The satellite is a 3.8cm cube and can be easily held in one’s palm. Rifath and his team has equipped the tiny wonder with a nano Geiger Muller counter so as to measure radiation in space.
Kalamsat was selected to go into space through a competition called ‘Cubes in Space’, which was jointly organised by NASA and an organisation named ‘I Doodle Learning’. The competition required participants to brainstorm an experiment that can be flown into space but fits into a four-metre cube weighing exactly 64 grams. Kalamsat met all the requirements and was made its way to space.
Speaking to Times of India, Mission director Srimathy Kesan said that the total flight time of the rocket on which Kalamsat was onboard was 240 minutes. The satellite, which was assembled at her Chennai residence, successfully separated from the rocket after spending 125 minutes in the space’s micro-gravity environment and then fell into the sea. According to Kesan, NASA will soon be recovering the satellite and sending it back to them for decoding the data collected by it.
Kesan also believes that space is a neutral entity which belongs to everyone equally and we all should work together to decode it. “Space is not unreachable… Space has got no boundaries and therefore, let’s all do research together and let’s conquer Mars soon, Kesan said to ANI.