Naperville’s Krish Nangia sees his project launched into space

Donate Today Buy This Video

March 14, 2023, will be a day that Krish Nangia remembers for the rest of his life. With the help of 4-H and the STEM nonprofit Higher Orbits, Nangia witnessed an experiment he had a hand in, get launched into space.

How Nangia got to launch his experiment into space

Nangia’s foray into space all started last July. After graduating from Naperville North, he traveled to the Kennedy Space Center to compete in the ‘Go For Launch!’ contest, hosted by Higher Orbits. Nangia, the oldest member of the group, was joined by others from the Arizona, Florida, and Indiana 4-H programs. 

What is the experiment that was sent into space?

It was there that Nangia’s team came up with the idea of Spirulina growth under different lighting conditions in space. Spirulina is a blue-green algae, and one tablespoon produces up to four grams of protein. The team’s goal was to feed astronauts in future space expeditions. The group came out victorious and Nangia says his work with 4-H helped him get there.

“That sort of execution of, you know, leading a team, collaborating with a team under pressure, that is something that I would have never seen myself do had it been just like a few years ago,” said Nangia. 

The winning team went back to the NASA facility for the CRS-27 rocket launch. The Spirulina experiment is currently sitting on the International Space Station, about 250 miles away from Earth. 

“And like the shingles on the roof started to like tremble quite a bit as the rocket was going up,” said Nangia. “That’s how close up we were and so it was a really, really, you know, dreamy, magical, surreal feeling.” 

Other projects Nangia’s done at 4-H

Nangia, a freshman at the University of Illinois, moved to Naperville in 2015. At the age of 12, he joined Illinois 4-H. He recently finished his term as president of his unit-wide 4-H Teen Science Ambassadors club. He’s also created STEM and agriculture-related workshops for youth in Illinois, in addition to Brazil and Puerto Rico. 

Out of all his accomplishments, Nangia says this one is the biggest of his life. 

“Dreams do come true one day,” said Nangia. “I have always been interested in the concept of space from a young age. But never have I ever, ever, expected myself to sort of contribute towards (the) space industry, to actually have an experiment launch up to space.” 

It’s a good reminder, he says, that you can actually accomplish dreams that are out of this world.

 Have a story idea? We’d like to hear from you!