The smallest satellite ever built was manufactured using 3D printing! Isn’t it interesting? But before we dive into the details of this satellite, let’s first learn more about these 3D printing projects for students.
About the event:
Cubes in Space, a program by idoodledu inc., is the only global competition, offered at no cost, for students belonging to 11-18 years of age to design and propose experiments to launch into space or a near space environment on a NASA sounding rocket and zero-pressure scientific balloon. The objective of the event is to engage students in design and experimentation activity. Students use their imaginations and critical thinking skills to design experiments that connect to real world space or Earth-based problems. Students come with their own 3D project ideas and submit their applications for shortlisting. One such 3D printing project by students was led by Rifath Sharook.
Since the program began in 2014, CubesinSpace have flown nearly 600 experiments representing 1800 educators and over 20,000 students from 57 countries.
About Kalamsat – The Only Indian entry shortlisted this year:
Kalamsat is considerably the lightest satellite probe ever built. This 3D project idea was started by an 18 year old high school student Rifath Sharook hailing from the small town of Pallapatti in Tamil Nadu. Rifath is a young scientist with deep connection with space exploration ever since he was 4 years old. Though the idea of making lightest satellite was always on his mind, the event provided him perfect platform to take his idea to proof of concept level. The team of six members led by Rifath, took more than two-years to build the experimental satellite using the 3D printing technology at a cost of just ₹1 lakh.
The experimental satellite that weighs just 64 grams was among the 80 models selected among 86,000 designs submitted by young contestants belonging to 57 countries. The satellite was the only model selected from India for the launch!
What was the 3D project idea about?
The objective of the project was to study the performance of CFRP (carbon fiber reinforced plastic) into the zero pressure atmosphere. The results will enable adoption of 3D Printed CFRP material into regular fabrication of satellites. As in case of the satellite, each part is unique and has to be light weight to reduce the payload. With 3D Printing, manufacturing of complex part geometry is easy and also lot of parts can be combined into one resulting in less weight. Rifath said that the experimental satellite would capture and record temperature, radiation level, rotation buckling, magnetosphere and others before landing in the ocean. Rifath states that, it will take 5 minutes for the satellite to land into ocean post which they will analyse the 3D printed structure and collect the data. This was the first time that a space probe made by an Indian student was launched by NASA.
Watch Rifath’s TEDx talk at NIT Trichy: