The smallest satellite was launched from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia last month. Designed by 18-year old student Rifath Sharook and his team (shown below) at Tamilnadu school, India, the satellite was 3D printed from carbon fiber to meet the size and weight requirements of 64 grams and 4-cm cubic dimensions. The satellite was named Kalamsat after the scientist and former President of India, A.P.J Abdul Kalam.
The team was one of about 86,000 other applicants participating in the Cubes in Space competition, which is aimed at building student interest in space technology and exploration. The Kalamasat was able to survive 12 minutes in microgravity to verify the material. It included a on-board microprocessor with sensors measuring acceleration, rotation, and the Earth's magnetosphere. The launch was sponsored by Dr. Srimathy Kesan, founder and chief executive officer of Space Kids India.
Decreasing the weight of payloads can save fuel for more satellite launches, while additive manufacturing provides a quick, inexpensive way to produce them.“The main role of the satellite will be to demonstrate the performance of 3D-printed carbon fiber”, says Sharook, quoted by the Times of India.
Watch the video below showing the team's excitement while seeing their satellite launched into space.