Rifath Shaarook, an 18-year-old student from the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu, recently won the global Cubes in Space competition sponsored by NASA and the I Doodle Learning organization. His winning entry is a satellite weighing 2.25 ounces or 64 grams. Dubbed KalamSat by the inventor, it will be launched by NASA next month.
Shaarook named his satellite after former Indian president and space research pioneer Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam. It is made from 3D-printed carbon fiber and will be operational in a micro-gravity environment for about 12 minutes.
Researchers will examine how 3D-printed carbon fiber performs in space. Integrated sensors will also measure acceleration, rotation and the magnetosphere of the Earth.
The satellite was one of 80 experiments selected through the student competition, which received more than 86,000 submissions from 57 countries. Shaarook’s four-centimeter cube cost about $1,500 to make and was sponsored by Space Kidz India.