On the 26th of September 2018, Muktangan students received an exclusive invitation to the launch event for a book titled; From Gulab Jamun to the Stars. The book, a descriptive essay and an ‘unofficial public outreach project’ documented the journey of the the world’s smallest and lightest satellite, KalamSAT, from a humble dining room table in T.Nagar, Tamil Nadu to NASA and later space. It was launched, right here at a Crosswords bookstore in Kemps Corner, Mumbai.
Thanks to the book’s author, veteran space journalist and long time Muktangan well wisher Mr. Srinivas Laxman, the students were given front row seats to the event. As part of the experience Muktangan kids got the opportunity to meet and interact with the author and chief guest, Actor John Abraham during an engaging Q&A session. Take photographs with the Mr. Laxman and Space Kids India; the team of space heroes responsible for KalamSAT’s design and development. The latter part of the event also allowed for students to engage in a an exciting one on one with individual team members, including 18 year old Rifath Sharook, the team’s lead scientist and designer.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration, popularly known as NASA, operating as an independent entity since its inception, has been the foremost body for civilian space exploration and aerospace research in the US. In keeping with this orientation NASA has, over the years collaborated with an number of external private agencies and individuals of varied nationalities and ages across the world.
In 2014, it initiated Cubes in Space, a programme jointly conducted with american based education non-profit I Doodledu inc. Through this programme NASA provided a platform for students across the globe to integrate STEAM (Science, technology, engineering, the arts and mathematics) and create innovative solutions to real world space related problems.
It was this platform that provided the opportunity for Sharook and his team of space enthusiasts; to develop and launch ‘KalamSAT’. The 4cm cube, weighing a measly 64 grams and built from 3D printed carbon fiber made it into the history books of Indian space exploration when it was launched by NASA in June 2017. The satellite aimed at demonstrating how 3D printed reinforced carbon fiber polymer technology performed in microgravity space and the it’s ability to integrate payloads. Its existing payload included an new onboard computer and nano barometric and radiation sensors.
Muktangan students were inspired by their southern counterparts and were fascinated to learn about Space Kidz India’s other missions including prospective project designs for the lightest moon rover and India’s first ever Space Park!