Last Wednesday 12/5 on a very chilly but clear morning in White Sands, New Mexico the KySat team received a stark reminder of just how risky getting to and operating in space is. We were all perhaps a bit overly excited about the mission and the tremendous job the student team had done in designing and building the Space Express payload. Prior to launch, at lift-off and early into the flight the Space Express systems and sensors were performing well. But later the rocket experienced a failure of the first or second stage of the launch vehicle causing the termination of the mission.
In retrospect, it's clear that our confidence, anticipation and inexperience obscured our objectivity a bit. In discussing the mission afterwards with a number of NASA and private sector space entrepreneurs and investors the response was always the same..."Welcome to the world of Space Flight". The fact is getting to and successfully operating in space remains very difficult. But if you are committed to building a bold and successful enterprise of this nature (as KySat is) you must deal with the inherent risks and launch, launch and launch some more. It's through the ups and downs of missions that real learning, innovation and progress occur.
While we achieved a number of our original objectives, everyone was very disappointed that we were not able to reach space. But after the initial shock wore off and we started the mission debriefing the consensus of the the team was clear: Let's build on what we learned and go again.