The space experiment by India’s 18-year-old student Rifath Sharook weighing just 64 grams will be launched as part of the payload of NASA’s next mission on June 22, 2017, but it will not be placed in any orbit, clarified NASA on Friday.
Named after India’s former President and scientist A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, the smallest cube experiment was part of a project presented under the contest ‘Cubes in Space’, which was a collaboration between NASA and ‘I Doodle Learning’. The cube, first of its kind made through 3D printing, will be operational for 12 of 15 minutes of suborbital flight of the launch.
When contacted by MF Monitor, NASA has clarified that the cubesat will be part of the payload but it will not be put in any orbit. “The experiment in question is flying as part of idoodleearning’s Cubes in Space program. The Cubes in Space will be flying on a suborbital rocket June 22 from Wallops as part of a larger educational payload. None of the items will be placed in orbit. The flight is expected to be less than 15 minutes,” said Keith Koehler, Communications officer of NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility, which is sending the payload into space.
The KalamSat cube has an on-board computer and eight built-in sensors to measure acceleration, rotation, and the magnetosphere of the earth but more than its 12-minute operational function, its design that would fit into a four-metre cube weighing 64 grams is the main challenge, said Ahmed.
‘Cubes in Space’ is a global initiative to provide students (aged 11-18) an opportunity to design experiments to be launched into space on a NASA rocket or balloon. This year, successful experiments/cubes will be launched into space via sounding rocket from NASA Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island, Virginia on June 22, 2017. Since its inception in 2014, the Cubes in Space program has had over 5,000 participants from 37 countries.
Sharook’s project was sponsored by ‘Space Kidz India’, which is part of this initiative. He had told media earlier that the cube experiment was the result of a lot of research on different cube satellites all over the world.